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October 2, 2002

Patient Complaints and Risk of Being Sued

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2002;288(13):1585-1586. doi:10.1001/jama.288.13.1585

To the Editor: Dr Hickson and colleagues1 found that malpractice risk is correlated with the number of patient complaints. This result agrees with those of earlier studies that show malpractice risk is associated with shorter office visits and patients' feelings of being rushed and ignored.2,3 Hickson et al suggest that teaching physicians interpersonal skills will mitigate the risk of lawsuits. Unfortunately, short office visits, rushing of patients, and high levels of clinical activity are not due primarily to insensitive physicians. Rather, they are often deliberate products of the managed care system.

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