× Women Physicians

Thinking about quitting Medicine, Need help

3 years 1 month ago #96620 by Teddy
Hi all,
I'm new here.
I have a predicament- I am seriously thinking about quitting medicine, but for what I have no idea....
Background info: I was sued and just dismissed from a malpractice claim, case lasted for over 2 years, that stemmed from the second month of my intern year, the case scarred me, shammed me, and has changed me forever. After being belittled and humiliated during court proceedings and treated like a criminal, I mean people who actually commit felonies only have to report it for 7 years.
As a physician, accused of malpractice I have to report it forever.
Also I am new, I have been out of residency for 1.5 years and I'm in a job which seems relatively low malpractice risk, but every time there is an upset patient or family, my PTSD kicks in and I'm afraid I will get sued again. I also have a huge difficulty in believing in/trusting my clinical judgement after that malpractice case.
I just finished my boards, both written and oral and I scored in the 99% percentile, Im not bragging, Im actually shocked that I could score that high and feel stupid and continuously doubt myself.
I dont know where to start or what I would do besides clinical medicine, but I cant keep doing the same thing anymore, Im very unhappy and scared in my current job.
Friends have suggested the VA, but the closest one is 1.5 hours away.
Maybe Medical director, CMO, but I have no business background ? I wish I could practice medicine without the imminent fear of being sued again.
I guess Im having a midlife crisis, without the Porsche
Any help or advice will be greatly appreciated.

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3 years 1 month ago #96622 by sahmd
Hi Teddy, I'm so sorry you had to go through that. :( Our malpractice system is so dysfunctional. You had the best possible result -- you were dismissed -- but you are still paying a very high price. Realistically, being sued can happen to any of us, regardless of our abilities or our potential abilities. We have deep pockets (or at least our insurers do) and are easy targets. I am not a psychiatrist and have no professional knowledge about PTSD after being sued, but I know that friends of mine did eventually recover from similar experiences. One friend became very depressed for a long time, but she is now happy and thriving and is still practicing medicine.

Hopefully your board scores, and the fact that you were dismissed from the suit, can provide you some objective evidence that you can believe in yourself. And maybe it would help to talk with someone who has actual experience in helping physicians through such problems. Or in helping people with PTSD in general. I hope there is a way for you to heal from the experience without burning your bridges. Once one leaves clinical medicine, it is hard to get back in. I hope someone here will have some more ideas of how you can heal, but you could also do some research yourself about that.

Be brave and I hope things get better for you.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Teddy

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3 years 1 month ago #96623 by Teddy
Dear SahMD,

Thank you for your kind words. I sincerely hope that things get better!

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3 years 2 weeks ago #96653 by Teddy
So my threat turned into a reality. Apparently that family is suing. I just can not do this any longer. I have been out of residency for less that 2 years and to have to deal with 2 lawsuits. It honestly makes me sick. I am NOT negligent, I am if anything a physician that orders extra tests, curbsides others when Im not sure.
PS I am not OBGYN or surgery. I am actually in a lower-risk specialty.
I try to get advice from other physicians but all I hear is most people if they are unlucky will get sued twice in their career, Im dealing with 2 in less than 2 years out of residency!!
I guess I suck thats all I can figure.
I guess I'll be leaving clinical medicine soon. No idea what to do, no training/skills in anything except medicine.
My heart and soul can not take this broken/greedy/litigious society us doctors are faced with. So I guess Im leaving before I even started...

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3 years 2 weeks ago #96654 by sahmd
Oh no...I'm so sorry :( I hope this one is dismissed as well, but I know the damage has still been done.

I was just thinking: maybe your malpractice carrier has someone who can offer you some advice. Ideally they would be in a position to say something more helpful than "You're unlucky" or "You suck." If not them, I still hope you can find someone to help you navigate through all this.

(((hugs))) and I still hope that things get better!

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2 years 10 months ago #96690 by Lisa Herbert, M.D.
Hi Teddy, I'm a physician coach and new to the group. I came across your post nd wanted to hopefully give you some uplifting words. I'm so sorry that this happened to you. Getting sued is the one thing that all physicians fear. It is unfortunately one of the things that can happen in our profession even when there has been no wrongdoing on our part. Right now you are trying to deal with this negative event and your negative emotions or overpowering anything positive that may be going on in your life. Negative events are inevitable and when we are faced them we have to learn how to effectively manage our emotions. It is completely normal to have the feelings you do but don't let them steal your joy, our your love and passion for medicine. Positive thinking is a choice even in the worse circumstances. Try to practice gratitude and write 5 things daily that you are grateful for. Be aware of what you're telling yourself and replace those negative comments with positive ones. Practice optimism and think of helpful ways to look at handling this situation. This event does not determine your future, whatever you decide it to be. And lastly forgive yourself. You did the best you could and had no control over what someone else's intentions were. As physicians we cannot live every day being scared of being sued or we would never be able to practice medicine, a career we really worked hard to attain. There are organiztions that help physicians with counseling and this may be of help to you as well. Keep thriving! :)


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