Objectivity in Communication  

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Responding Appropriately to Patient Care Situations Involving Other Providers

When a physician encounters a disagreement with a colleague, an unanticipated outcome in patient care, or a notice of a lawsuit, an already challenging practice environment gets even hotter. A physician’s ability to respond appropriately to patient care situations involving other providers is crucial. Expressing oneself objectively in both written and oral communication is key to promoting continued patient care and, if applicable, defense of a malpractice claim.

In these charged environments, many providers have rushed to confess their shortcomings or criticize a colleague’s care (which can appear to be self-serving). This can lead to undesirable consequences, among them:

  • Learning later that the outcome was unrelated to the care given
  • Learning later that there were additional factors that influenced treatment choices
  • Acting as a trigger for the filing of a lawsuit
  • Being pulled into a lawsuit against another provider

In this whitepaper...

  • Learn how disparaging remarks in the medical record can help a plaintiff’s case that is already underway.
  • Review recommendations from NORCAL’s Risk Management experts to assist you in similar scenarios.


Since 1975, NORCAL Mutual Insurance Company has been a policyholder-owned and physician-directed medical professional liability insurance (MPLI) carrier dedicated to ensuring the availability of affordable and relevant coverage. NORCAL provides protection to physicians, health care extenders, medical groups, hospitals, community clinics and allied healthcare professionals across the nation. With its subsidiary companies Medicus Insurance Company, FD Insurance Company, NORCAL Specialty Insurance Company, and its affiliate Preferred Physicians Medical Risk Retention Group, a Mutual Insurance Company, NORCAL Mutual is one of the top ten MPLI carriers in the nation, based on direct written premium.  NORCAL holds an “A” (Excellent) rating by A.M. Best for its financial strength and stability.

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