|December 2010 · Vol. 22, No. 12
FOCUS ON PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY
Sound strategies to avoid
on labor and delivery
First of 2 Parts
A communication–trust–shared responsibility triad established at the first prenatal visit is your best hedge against allegation of malpractice even much later, on L & D
The counseling that you provide to a patient should be nondirective; it should include your opinion, however
Assume the patient does not understand the information you’re providing. Ask her to repeat your instructions back to you.
Patient and physician both have responsibilities that are important to achieving an optimal outcome; so does the hospital
The medical record is the best witness to interactions between a physician and a patient
Avoid medical jargon in the record. Be careful not to use vague terminology or descriptions, such as “mild vaginal bleeding” or “gentle traction.”
Dr. Martin Gimovsky is Vice Chair and Program, Director of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Newark, NJ, and Clinical Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY.Alexis
Dr. Alexis Gimovsky is a house officer in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, DC.
The authors report no financial relationships relevant to this article.