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Physicians as second victims after a malpractice claim: An important issue in need of attention.

Gómez-Durán, E L; Vizcaíno-Rakosnik, M; Martin-Fumadó, C; Klamburg, J; Padrós-Selma, J; Arimany-Manso, J.
J Healthc Qual Res; 33(5): 284-289, 2018 Sep - Oct.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30361104


Being sued for malpractice is extremely stressful and potentially traumatizing. We aim to identify claims' consequences on the physicians' well-being and medical practice.


We administered a confidential telephonic survey to those physicians with a claim closed during 2014, among those insured by the main professional liability insurance company in the region. The questionnaire addressed several topics: symptoms and well-being changes, needs, impairments and practice changes. We used descriptive statistics as well as Chi-square and T-Student tests.


A total of 99 physicians responded to the questionnaire (response rate of 64.7%). Most of them (80.8%) acknowledged having suffered a significant emotional distress, no matter the claim's outcome (p=0.958) or the kind of procedure (p=0.928). Anger and mood cluster of symptoms were frequent, and the experience frequently affected their personal, family or social life and professional conduct. Practice changes correlated significantly and positively with the number of symptoms reported (p=0.010), but not with the outcome of the claim (p=0.338) or the kind of procedure (p=0.552).


Most claimed physicians suffer a significant emotional distress after a malpractice claim, which affects their professional performance. According to our results, they should be assessed and assisted in order to minimize the negative consequences on their well-being and their praxis.