Malpractice disputes have a long-term effect on primary care physicians’ quality of life, according to research led by National Taiwan University College of Public Health.
When medical negligence or errors occur, including inadequate care and substandard treatment by doctors, not only patients but also physicians are negatively affected. Making a medical error can lead to depression, making the doctor a “second victim” in an apparently vicious cycle. They investigated the role of malpractice disputes in physician’s health-related quality-of-life. Using propensity score matching method with average treated effect (ATE), they found that physicians experienced a malpractice dispute had significantly worse health-related quality of life with regard to general health, mental health and vitality. The effects were particularly strong among physicians specializing in surgery or obstetrics and gynecology. Overall, their results suggest that harm reduction programs for physicians involved in malpractice disputes should be implemented.
This study was published on February in the Journal of the Formosa Medical Association.
Tan, E. C. H., & Chen, D. R. (2019). “Second victim: Malpractice disputes and quality of life among primary care physicians“. Journal of the Formosan Medical Association, 118(2), 619-627.