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First Do No Self HarmUnderstanding and Promoting Physician Stress Resilience$
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Charles Figley, Peter Huggard, and Charlotte Rees

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780195383263

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195383263.001.0001

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The Medico-Legal Environment and How Medico-Legal Matters Impact the Doctor

The Medico-Legal Environment and How Medico-Legal Matters Impact the Doctor

Research Findings from an Australian Study

Chapter:
(p.146) 8 The Medico-Legal Environment and How Medico-Legal Matters Impact the Doctor
Source:
First Do No Self Harm
Author(s):

Louise Nash

Michele Daly

Elizabeth Van Ekert

Patrick Kelly

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195383263.003.0008

Adverse outcomes happen in health care, regardless of intent and quality of care provided. Patients may be harmed, or experience inadequate treatment, or be dissatisfied, causing them to seek redress through medico-legal processes against the doctor. In Australia, formal complaint mechanisms operate in all Australian states and territories, and a complaint to one of these complaint bodies is common. Patients also seek compensation as a result of medical negligence claims. A minority of patients claim for compensation when there has been no wrongful treatment or when there is found to be no cause for complaint. Bad outcomes cause distress for all concerned, not only for the patient and patient’s family, but also the doctor and doctor’s family. The medico-legal processes of complaints, claims, and inquiries that can follow can be distressing for the doctor regardless of the cause or the outcome. This chapter explores the impact the medico-legal process has on the health and well-being of the doctor and the impact on the doctor’s practice of medicine, including the way they relate to patients.

Keywords:   adverse health outcomes, medio-legal process, tort system, physician distress, physician well-being, changes to practice, patient relationships, psychiatric morbidity, professional support

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