Last Friday, while the jury was deliberating, I was at the University of Washington Medical School giving a talk to physicians about medical malpractice. It had been scheduled for several months and so I was obligated to deliver it in spite of the stress of the day. A lawyer-nurse married to a physician talked to her husband about this idea and they both agreed it was something that should be done. I’m grateful to both of them for an opportunity to correct mistaken ideas about the subject.
The talk was televised with their system to other physicians in hospitals under the University umbrella within Seattle. The lecture hall was full, but I don’t know how many were watching on the television system.
I gave them a primer on basic Washington state malpractice laws along with advice of how to avoid malpractice as well as advice when they were sued. This included the recommendation to hire a personal lawyer in appropriate cases because the insurance company is not the physician’s best friend in that situation. I gave them totally straight talk including all my prejudices about the subject. There were a lot of questions after the short lecture. During that time I expressed my opinion that a substantial amount of the hard feelings and conflict between our two professions was due to the misinformation of insurance companies interested in making profit. I cited statistics and facts to support this opinion.
I shared Washington State Insurance Commissioner’s findings about the real facts involving malpractice suits, caps on damages and tort reform misinformation generally.
It seemed to be well received and there were no attempts to come down to lecture platform and attack me. I considered it a privilege to share information like this.