In the Media: When a Doctor is Accused of Medical Malpractice

When an accusation of medical malpractice is made, it can be devastating to the physician as well as to the healthcare facility where they work. In the eyes of the patient and perhaps to the community at large, the doctor may be considered guilty of the charge before any proof has even been submitted. Indeed, the court of public opinion weighs heavily on the balance sheet of any company, and years of hard work may evaporate within days or weeks of an accusation. This is particularly true if the accuser’s story is broadcast on evening news programs or in the local paper’s headlines. In circumstances like these, if you do not already have a PR company representing you, it may be time to make the investment.

The Court of Public Opinion

Let’s face it; nobody enjoys going to a doctor regardless of the reason for the visit. It is usually inconvenient and costly to take time off from work, and the individual may already be in pain with no desire to interact with anyone much less undergo an examination. On the other side of the coin, when a person is ill they look to doctors to help them get well. Doctors have the weight of great responsibility on their shoulders, and when someone does not recover in the ways that they wish, the patient is inevitably disappointed. This is understandable. However, an unfortunate side effect of this is that the physician may be blamed for an outcome that was unavoidable and beyond the scope of what could be accomplished by medical treatment. In other circumstances, a physician may make a mistake that might or might not be classified as medical malpractice.

When the disgruntled former patient makes claims that a physician on your staff has committed medical malpractice, they may take their concerns to the local media. The situation may grow exponentially in a very short period of time. The time to react is immediately after you become aware of the complaint. A PR firm can protect its clients by monitoring social media and traditional media (primarily newspaper and television) for mentions of them, whether they be positive or negative. This makes it possible to react early in the process, and in some cases even before a claim is filed by the plaintiff’s attorneys. Each situation has its own nuances and challenges. Each situation must be handled carefully and strategically. Perception is everything. As a trusted and resourceful PR firm can help preserve your company’s reputation and integrity. It’s very important to act immediately, and the response you offer will set the tone which is why it’s critical to do it correctly. We can help you get it right the first time.

To learn more about how a PR firm can help your organization, contact a PR firm in New York, today.

Thank you to the experts at Goldman McCormick PR for their input on managing PR in medical malpractice.