Med Mal Matters: People Matter

Scartelli Olszewski P.C.

By Melissa Scartelli, Esq.As a personal injury law firm in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, we file legitimate lawsuits against doctors, hospitals, nursing homes…basically anyone or anything with a license to provide health care. For years, I have written about who to sue, when to sue, where to sue, and why to sue.Lest you think all I care about is making the responsible parties pay for their errors, I thought I would share some wisdom derived from 30 years of suing people by blogging about how to avoid a lawsuit. Yes, you read that right! A plaintiff’s lawyer is telling the other side the best way to avoid getting sued.Here are my top 10 surefire tips for health care workers to avoid having the pleasure of meeting me at the courthouse.

  1. Don’t make treatment decisions based upon what insurance plan the patient has.
  2. When you don’t know what’s wrong with the patient, tell him or her “I don’t know what’s wrong with you, but I will try my best to find out. Is that okay with you, or do you want to go somewhere else?”
  3. When something bad or unexpected happens, have a family meeting, and if someone made a mistake, say so. If you made the mistake, apologize.
  4. Give the same quality of care on a Saturday that you would give on a Tuesday.
  5. Listen to the patient. They will often give you the diagnosis.
  6. Don’t blame the patient.
  7. Don’t cover up for your colleagues.
  8. Don’t change the medical record after something bad happens.
  9. Take whatever time is needed to adequately address the problem.
  10. Treat every patient the way you would want your mother treated.

In 30 years of practicing law, I have come to learn a few things. One of them is that people will forgive someone who has committed an error, as long as they feel they have been treated fairly and with respect.I founded my law firm to help people. This is the first blog in a series I call “Med Mal Matters.” Med Mal matters, because people matter.