12 episodes

The majority of physicians will be sued during their career, yet the topic is largely taboo. This podcast for physicians discusses malpractice litigation and litigation stress. Start at the introduction, and work your way through; you’ll hear the voices of docs who have been there, and advice from experts including psychologists and attorneys.

Theme music by @BenjaminBanger

Doctors and Litigation: The L Word Gita Pensa MD

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.9 • 133 Ratings

The majority of physicians will be sued during their career, yet the topic is largely taboo. This podcast for physicians discusses malpractice litigation and litigation stress. Start at the introduction, and work your way through; you’ll hear the voices of docs who have been there, and advice from experts including psychologists and attorneys.

Theme music by @BenjaminBanger

    Introduction: What’s the Big Deal?

    Introduction: What’s the Big Deal?

    Litigation affects the majority of physicians during their career -- in other words, good doctors often get sued. Yet the topic is largely a taboo one among physicians. In this first episode, Dr. Gita Pensa introduces the topic of litigation stress, interviews physicians who have been sued about what makes the experience difficult, and talks to Louise Andrew, MD JD about why this topic needs to be addressed.


    Dr. Pensa successfully defended a multi-million dollar malpractice case spanning twelve years, including two jury trials. She speaks nationally on the topic of litigation and litigation stress, and has been a practicing physician for nearly 20 years. She is currently academic faculty at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. However, these opinions are her own, and this podcast does not express the views of Brown University, her employers, or any affiliated hospital systems.   


    More about Dr. Pensa: doctorsandlitigation.com


    Also available here on Apple podcasts.


    Theme music by BenJamin Banger (Instagram: @BenJaminBanger)

    • 17 min
    First Steps: You‘ve Been Served

    First Steps: You‘ve Been Served

    In the second episode of Doctors and Litigation: The L Word, we discuss the very first steps in litigation, starting with when you are given notice of a medical malpractice lawsuit. Experts Dr. Sara Charles, Dr. Ilene Brenner, and Dr. Louise Andrew lend their expertise; physician voices describe their experiences.


    More about author Dr. Pensa: doctorsandlitigation.com


    Topics discussed:


    The emotional impact of the first steps into litigation (and the intended effect from the plaintiff's attorneys), as well as some advice on how to frame it in your mind

    First action basics: contacting your insurance carrier, and finding an attorney to represent you

    Board of Licensure/Department of Health investigations that begin automatically in some states when litigation starts

    The beginnings of the 'discovery' process

    Who to talk to...and who not to talk to

    Do's and definite don'ts in the first stages


    Resources mentioned:


    "How to Survive a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit", by Ilene Brenner MD


    "Adverse Events, Stress and Litigation: A Physician's Guide", by Sara Charles, MD and Paul Frisch, JD


    Litigation stress website with free resources: www.physicianlitigationstress.org (founded by Dr. Sara Charles; note host Gita Pensa MD serves on the voluntary advisory board)


    Dr. Louise Andrew, MD JD: www.mdmentor.com


    Theme music by BenJamin Banger (Instagram: @BenJaminBanger)


     


     

    • 25 min
    Stark Choices: The Case of Dr. V

    Stark Choices: The Case of Dr. V

    In this third episode, you'll hear the story of one tragic medical case and its legal aftermath, involving a physician who did everything right -- and yet winds up as a defendant in a high-stakes malpractice trial. 


    More about author Dr. Pensa: doctorsandlitigation.com

    • 20 min
    Darkness Into Light: Suicide, Coping, and Hope

    Darkness Into Light: Suicide, Coping, and Hope

    In this fourth episode, we first hear the story of Dr. J, an accomplished OB Gyn who died by suicide during litigation in the aftermath of the death of his patient. We then talk about barriers to physicians seeking help, and how peer support programs can act a a lifeline. And we talk to a psychologist with expertise in physician litigation about some techniques and strategies for coping with litigation stress. 


    If you are in crisis, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 is there for everyone -- even healers. 


    More about Dr. Pensa: doctorsandlitigation.com

    • 40 min
    D-Day: Preparing For Your Deposition

    D-Day: Preparing For Your Deposition

    In this episode, we discuss the need for emotional, psychological, and practical preparation for your deposition. We hear from experts such as defense attorney Ryan Deady (of Barton Gilman, LLP) as well as Dr. Ilene Brenner, author of 'How to Survive a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit.' As always, you'll hear from physicians about their experiences as well. (Note: this is not concrete legal advice -- you need your lawyer for that. This is meant as a general guide to the process and what you might expect, but just like in medicine, every legal case is unique.)


    More about Dr. Pensa: doctorsandlitigation.com


    PRIOR TO DEPOSITION: In addition to obtaining books and discussing with your attorney, you may find these points helpful. This is not comprehensive, but it's a start.


    1) Study your chart well, and any other documents provided to you by your attorney.  2) Discuss whether to do any research about the medicine in question with your attorney -- there are pros and cons to this. 3) Know the weak spots in your case and your charting, and how you will articulate your thoughts about them 4) Practice answering difficult questions in a direct and succinct manner, avoiding providing extraneous information. 5) Discuss with your attorney how to handle questions about co-defendants. In general, avoid finger-pointing. 6) Know your 'arrows' and when to fire them (i.e., if you have a 'slam dunk' in your defense)--this is the exception to the 'don't explain too much' strategy. Your attorney will help you identify these points and how to get them into your testimony. 7) Plan for the day itself: make sure you're not on call or post-overnight, know what sharp, professional outfit you will be wearing, know where to be and when -- and plan something fun and relaxing that evening to decompress after it's done. 


    DURING DEPOSITION: 1) Pay attention to your attorney during the process -- they are with you for a reason. 2) Take your time answering questions; pause before speaking. 3) Do not answer any question until the question is complete. Do not interrupt or speak to fill in an awkward pause. 4) If a question has multiple parts or is confusing, ask the questioning attorney to break it down or rephrase it. Do not answer questions unless you know exactly what the question is. If the question seems out of 'left field' avoid over-explaining why it seems to be so. If you cannot answer the question as it's asked, say so and ask them to rephrase it. 5) Be aware of verbal traps such as double negatives, hypotheticals, overly vague questions or generalizations, or questions posed after a long series of statements or data. 6) If you don't remember or don't know, just say you don't remember or you don't know. Don't guess, and don't say anything you only 'think' you remember. Stick to what you're sure of. 7) Do not agree to calling any text, journal or article "authoritative". It's not. 8) You should look at hard copies of the chart or labs when asked direct questions about them -- but then stop flipping through the chart and pay attention to the next question. Do not direct their attention to any other parts of the chart or try to educate them. 9) Take a break whenever you need one. Refresh, recharge, and speak with your attorney in private. It's a long day. 10) When it ends, get far away from the building and into a safe space before you talk to your attorney about what went on in there. You never know who's listening, and anything they observe is fair game, even if it's not in the transcript.

    • 44 min
    Experts and Testiliars: Part One

    Experts and Testiliars: Part One

    In part one of this look at medical experts in malpractice litigation, we hear the story of Dr. M, a physician embroiled in a dramatic legal battle after the death of a patient, and his efforts to bring the medical expert in his case to justice. We speak more with Dr. Louise Andrew, MD JD, about the necessity and ethics of medical expert testimony, and hear the voices of physicians who have been defendants, plaintiffs, and experts themselves. And we examine the psychological impact that unethical, exaggerated, or misleading expert testimony has on defendant physicians, including the story of a physician who died by suicide after being accused of witness tampering. 


    More about Dr. Pensa can be found at www.doctorsandlitigation.com. 

    • 47 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
133 Ratings

133 Ratings

Mel T, MD ,

This is so needed!

Thank you, Gita, for destigmatizing this taboo subject. I have been secretly terrified of my own malpractice ignorance. Thank you for shedding some light!!

appsarnik ,

Wow

Just finished episode 1- this is going to be so helpful to SO many physicians. Thank you and I hope more are to come.

MD needing a JD ,

An incredible resource

Dr. Gita Pensa gifts us with this incredible resource. As physicians we get little to no training on what to do when the inevitable lawsuit comes.
With over a decade of experience handling malpractice litigation, as a physician, Dr. Pensa teaches us how to not only survive litigation but how to thrive despite it.
If you haven’t listened yet, make sure to!

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