Expired CME Article
Psychologic Effects of Poor Outcome and Professional Liability Actions on Physicians
Objectives: Little is known about the psychologic effects on obstetricians and gynecologists of adverse maternal or fetal outcome and malpractice claims.
Methods: An anonymous survey regarding the psychologic effects of professional liability claims, as measured by 19 items which were used to create four composites rated on a 5-point scale, was mailed to the members of the Central Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Results: Among respondents, 78% had at least one malpractice claim, and 9% experienced a patient death, 12% a fetal demise, and 21% neonatal neurologic damage. In general, professional liability claims had significant effects on psychologic trauma (P < 0.001), shame/doubt (P < 0.005), and active coping (P < 0.05), but not on job stress, whereas patient death, but not fetal death or neonatal neurologic injury, had significant effects on all 4 composite variables.
Conclusion: Physicians experience psychologic trauma influenced by patient death and professional liability actions.
* Obstetricians and gynecologists are likely to be sued, as 78% have at least one professional liability claim during their practice.
* Among those experiencing a professional liability claim, there were significant effects indicating psychologic trauma, shame/doubt, inactive coping, but oddly enough, not job stress.
* Physician experience of maternal death had a significant effect on all composite variables.
* Physicians experience psychologic trauma influenced by patient death in professional liability actions.
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