Physician practice behavior and litigation risk: evidence and opportunity

Clin Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Dec;51(4):688-99. doi: 10.1097/GRF.0b013e3181899c2c.


Malpractice risk bedevils obstetricians. Suits can be a nuisance or emotionally and financially devastating. In this chapter, we ask simple questions and provide empiric data to demonstrate that interpersonal factors trigger suits. A supportive relationship between the obstetrician, team members, and the patient can reduce the chance of being sued after an unexpected event. Collaboration between physician colleagues and others to promote teamwork reduces error and increases patient satisfaction. Physicians who disrupt the emotional ecosystem increase liability for themselves and team members. A method of identifying physicians at increased risk and a strategy for intervening to reverse the pattern is described.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Communication
  • Female
  • Gynecology / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Gynecology / standards*
  • Humans
  • Malpractice* / statistics & numerical data
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control*
  • Obstetrics / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Obstetrics / standards*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk-Taking
  • United States