Monday, March 10, 2008

Malpractice Insurance

Do we really need malpractice insurance?

I was speaking to an attorney on Saturday. This particular attorney makes a living defending doctors and dentist in malpractice cases. (NO, I am not getting sued. She is a mother of one of my basketball players. We got creamed by a team that hadn't won a game. Thank goodnes it was our last game.)
So told me about a neurosurgeon that made a ridiculous amount of money and didn't have malpractice insurance. She said that he would put away $500,000 a year for insurance purposes.
Not that she was condoning this or but she wasn't saying it was stupid either.

Then we started talking about dentistry. She said that she has never been a part of or heard of a dental case that ever went to trial.
She says it either gets settled or the plaintiff decides that the process is too arduous and expensive to go through with it.

So I started to think...(I know this is dangerous), what if I didn't have malpractice insurance.

My father has been practicing for 33 years and has never even had to hire an attorney to look over something.
Now imagine if he still had all that money.

Imagine if he was just putting the money in an account and if he needed it he would use it.

Imagine if he never needed it and kept it at the end of his career.

Now lets talk about me. I have been practicing for 13 years. I have been paying premiums and have never needed it.
There has been a couple of incidences that got the butt sweat going but never anything happened.
What the heck I will tell you about them. One guy was pissed at me and maybe hired an attorney. I can't remember what he was mad about. I think he said his face swell up after I treated him. But he was a scumbag and I knew it from the beginning. So in his chart I wrote everything. When I called him and he didn't come back. When I told him to do things and he didn't do it. He was nasty to the staff and I knew he was trouble from the beginning.
There was also this woman that was the mother of a VERY famous boxer.
She had my full mouth temporaries for more than two years. She had four teeth on the top and a bunch of broken ones on the bottom. I made a little bridge on the top and gave her a transitional partial. On the bottom it was all temps.
Again I knew she was trouble and really documented her case, with words and pictures. When they broke I said, "These are TEMPORARIES". After a couple of YEARS, I had repaired them a couple of times until I told her I was going to have to charge her the next time. She said she didn't have any money to repair them (as she rolled up in her Bentley). I stood my ground and she got upset.

These are not the reasons I have malpractice insurance. I feel like if I treat people right and I "know my patient" (which is hard to do, when you are sometimes trying to get a stranger out of pain on an emergency visit). I am not concerned with messing up someones tooth.
I can fix any tooth problem. Lets just say I break a file while doing a molar endo. The endodontist can't retreave it. I tell the patient lets finish the root canal anyways and see what happens. Even though it is on the consent form, I may feel a bit responsible. Lets say the failure rate on this tooth is now about 25%. Lets say 5% of these failures blame me. NO PROBLEM. I would talk to my periodontist and he does an implant for me (maybe for free or for a reduced rate).
I can fix issues with teeth.
Lets just say someone was so mad at me (I can't imagine) that they didn't ever want me to work on their mouth again. So I pay the next guy $2000 to repair a tooth.
Do I need to pay all these premiums for this?

What would concern me the most is the big stuff. We once did a study club and our oral surgeon showed a bunch of his work. People would walk into the general dentist office and he or she would miss a bone radiolucency distal to the molars. Anyone would of missed it. But in the next year the person had swelling and then went to the oral surgeon. Guess what the little radiolucency was not little anymore. It was half of the patients right mandible. The oral surgeon said, "This one settled out of court for 2 million dollars or this dentist lost everything because of this one. "

This is what we have insurance for. But what are the chances of this person walking into your office. My father and I together have been working a total of almost 50 years and nothing.
So we are insuring ourselves for the one in a million guy that walks into your office with the beginnings of an aggressive form of cancer that we MAY miss.
The answer is Yes.

Have you ever been into a doctors office and at the front office a sign reads, "The doctor does not carry malpractice insurance"?

I am not condoning it but It might be a thought I might entertain.

As a famous pastor Steve Brown would say, "You think about that."

Talk to you soon,


Buckeyedental said...

Dear John

I have thought about insurance before.I feel all insurance is the bet that something bad is going to happen. I would like to think more positivly. But bad things happen to everyone.

If you think about how little we have to pay for Malpractice insurace in dentistry (2,000-3,000) for here on the west coast of Florida it is relatively cheep compared to some of the specilalities in medicine. I know that over a career that 3,000 could add up to over $100,000 of lost opportunity.

I know of Orthopedic surgions who are paying 100,000 a year in insurance, and yes they are considering practicing naked (with out insurance). So we need to see what is the cost benefit ratio. Also before you do something like this need to talk to your estate lawyer and make sure you shelter as much as you can.

I have not been sued but did have a mad employee come at me with a workers comp claim. It was nice to hand it off to the insurance lawyer and not have to think to much about it.

The bottom line I believe is that insurance is the cost of doing bussines.

Have a great day.
Kim Shaw

Buckeyedental said...

Forgot to say in Florida if you practice without insurance you need 100,000 in open credit.

Kim Shaw
Pr 14:23 enough talk need to get back to work.

chiropractic malpractice insurance said...

Personally speaking, I think a person should also consider this type of insurance, most especially those people who are required to have a special medical attention. No one knows what might happen so; it will be much better to be sure on any possibilities, right?

gatordmd said...

Chiropractic malpractice,
I wrote that blog about three years ago but I totally agree with you.
Really for our professions it is not that expensive and is a no brainer.
You have to have it NOT for the tooth issues...but for, like you said, the medically compromised.
Thanks for reading,


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