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March 1996

How to Avoid Malpractice Claims

Author Affiliations

Boston, Mass

Arch Ophthalmol. 1996;114(3):339-340. doi:10.1001/archopht.1996.01100130335021

The chain gang boss says to his prisoner, Cool Hand Luke, the character played by Paul Newman in the movie of that name, "What we have here is a failure to communicate." The same may be said of a great number of medical malpractice claims.

Do you want to avoid being sued for malpractice? Here are some lessons on how to protect yourself. Obtain a full history and all pertinent information about your patient. Discuss every aspect of the proposed treatment with the patient. Discuss a child's treatment with the child if he or she is old enough and with the child's parent or guardian. Make sure that the patient has understood the potential risks and benefits of the treatment. Maintain complete and accurate records of every treatment. Do so no matter what the outcome. Do not under any circumstances alter those records. Continue to communicate fully with the patient

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