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When Good Doctors Get Sued - 2nd Edition A Guidebook for Defendant Physicians Involved in Malpractice
ABOUT THE BOOK
An informed and well-prepared witness is a powerful adversary. This “how-to” handbook helps doctors and other healthcare professionals get ready for a deposition or trial by building and improving skills in the areas of listening, identifying potential traps, answering questions, and coping with litigation stress. If you find the legal system frustrating, idiosyncratic and intimidating, this handbook is better than two aspirin and a morning call. No doctor should face an opposing attorney without it.
WHY BUY THIS BOOK?
Facing a lawsuit is a frightening and confusing event in anyone’s life, but particularly so for doctors being accused of causing harm to those they are pledged to help. Often professionally embarrassed, angered by accusations of incompetence or neglect, and fearful of possible repercussions, many medical professionals believe they have few places to turn for the practical advice, help, and support they need during the litigation process. This book is intended to help fill that need.
At least some of the anxiety surrounding a lawsuit comes from uncertainty and confusion about the process. Defendant doctors have many questions: What is the best way to deal with aggressive cross-examination? What will I be asked at my deposition? Will I have to be in the courtroom during the entire trial? Who will be on the jury? Should I wear my scrubs or a suit? This book answers those and many more questions.
WHAT DOES THIS BOOK COVER?
This guidebook is not intended to be a primer on the legal system, nor does it give legal advice. It is a resource to help healthcare professionals be the most effective witnesses they can be at a hearing, deposition, or trial. Chapters cover such key issues as:
- Basic anatomy of a malpractice lawsuit
- Active listening for lawyer traps
- When and why patients sue their providers
- Answering difficult questions
- Coping with the emotional toll of being sued
- Preparing for and going to trial
- The form and content of a deposition
- Question and answer practice
Although the book refers to “defendant doctors” or “physicians,” the intended audience includes nurses, physician assistants, midwives, therapists, and others who have professional liability for patient care. The guidebook is also recommended reading for spouses and partners of defendants, expert medical witnesses, defense attorneys, insurance representatives, risk managers, and medical residents.
WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT THE BOOK
“ . . . an excellent instrument for physicians to prepare themselves to defend against malpractice lawsuits at a time when one in four doctors can expect to be sued. Well-written, instructional, timely, it is a solid primer that gives the physician a strong edge in the tricky, combative arena of malpractice litigation. This book is a potential resource for every practicing physician.”
“ . . . a valuable guide for the physician involved in a malpractice lawsuit. Forewarned is forearmed and this little gem fulfills its stated purpose.”
“This book teaches the physician and other health professionals, in a clearly written and well-organized guidebook, how to help their lawyer protect them from the real and imaginary dangers of the legal system.”
“I would strongly recommend [this book] to any physician who has been named in a medical malpractice case – and to anyone who has yet to be sued. The authors provide a wealth of practical advice that will enable physicians to negotiate the legal system successfully.”
“[This book] will open a whole new window of understanding for medical, legal, and insurance professionals engaged in the business of medical malpractice.”
“Fast-paced reading that covers the basics in an easy-to-understand manner. The legal process is complex enough; Dodge and Fitzer have found a way to make the system comprehensible with pointed suggestions for success.”
When Good Doctors Get Sued
About the Authors
Angela M. Dodge, Ph.D.
Angela M. Dodge, Ph.D. is a litigation psychologist with 25 years of experience as a trial and jury consultant. Over her career, she has assisted attorneys with witness preparation, juror sensitive trial strategy, jury de-selection, and pre-trial research (focus groups and mock trials). She has special expertise in working on medical/dental malpractice defense cases, and has prepared several thousand doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to give more effective and compelling testimony.
Dr. Dodge has also led hundreds of pre-trial focus groups to assess case strengths and weaknesses, particularly in the area of medical professional defense. She has conducted many post-verdict interviews to determine how and why juries arrive at their verdicts in medical negligence cases. Angela is particularly experienced in de-selecting high risk jurors in medical malpractice trials. This includes developing jury de-selection strategy, designing juror background questionnaires and high risk profiles, composing case-specific voir questions for attorneys and judges, and implementing information management methods to ensure the effective use of strikes. Well over 90% of the cases on which she has consulted resulted in a defense verdict for the healthcare professional.
Steven Fitzer, J.D. (Deceased)
Collaborator Steven Fitzer, J.D. was a respected trial attorney and senior shareholder of the law firm of Fitzer, Fitzer, Veal & McAmis, P.S. in Tacoma, Washington. Starting his practice in 1976, his specialty was medical and legal professional liability defense. He successfully defended hundreds of cases and worked with thousands of witnesses in his active practice, including doctors, nurses, physician assistants, and other healthcare professionals. Mr. Fitzer also served as a pro tem judge. He died unexpectedly in the fall of 2019.