Insurance Seminar: Lessons Learned

In the past week or so I attended a seminar organized by my medmal carrier, with the purpose of educating us on how to deal with frustrated and angry patients, and avoiding suits from them.  The course was given by two attorneys who have significant experience in medmal defense, and give this as a traveling road show.  Why did I go?  I’m against being sued, and attending knocked some off my bill this year.  The bad news?  Most docs have an office and this was aimed at the longitudinal-care doc.

Things I enjoyed: good speakers who know their topic, and can present some useful information without being terribly patronizing.  Also, they had a wireless voting gadget, with every attendee having an (anonymous) keypad, and live surveys were taken during the talk and the results incorporated into the talk.  And, it finished a few minutes early.

Things I learned that were potentially useful: say “Uh, huh…” more, to encourage a history to be given spontaneously; don’t say the word ‘no’ in a confrontational situation (which will be hard for me); and, as an ER doc I cannot fire a patient.

Things I relearned: at any doc gathering there are a few who were ACE’s (Admission Committee Errors), and they like the microphone during comment times (and sometimes when it’s not time).  These are the docs who think they’re the only ones with unjust suits and want to gripe at every lawyer they see; they’re the ones who want to argue with lawyers temporarily on their side about whether the ADA applies to their office (it does); and they’re the ones who never learned how to turn off the ringers of their cell phones.  Look, fellas: we all have a phone, we all have them on, and they’re not all that hard to squelch.  Show how smart you are and don’t let us know when yours goes off.

SO, I tried the ‘uh, huh’ today, and got what I deserved: two minutes of unhelpful dreck about the patient’s cousins’ uncle’s hernia, and blank stares from those to whom ‘go on’ is unintelligible.  I really think emergency medicine is a world all its own.  I’ll probably tell someone “no” really soon.