Dynamic Chiropractic - April 26, 1991, Volume 09, Issue 09

Page printed from:

Risk Management in Chiropractic -- Developing Malpractice Prevention Strategies

By -- Louis K. Campbell, J.D.; C. Jacob Ladenheim, J.D., Robert P. Sherman, J.D.; Louis Sportelli, D.C.

Published by -- Health Services Publications, Ltd. 11 Roanoke Street P.O. Box 206 Fincastle, Virginia 24090

Hardcover -- 301 pages

Without a doubt I feel a little guilty reviewing this text. Again I'm virtually forced to extend accolades to Dr. Louis Sportelli. It must sometimes seem that I'm the president of his fan club, but it's not so. It's just that he happens to associate and present only those things within chiropractic that reflect quality, and Risk Management in Chiropractic -- Developing Malpractice Prevention Strategies is an excellent example.

In fact, even the foreword to the text by the noted attorney F. Lee Bailey should receive special attention. There's nothing perfunctory about it. It's not some kind of "knee jerk" nod to friends but an honest in-depth analysis. It could have almost been a chapter by itself.

The pages that follow are filled with important information -- the type that can be used by the majority in the profession. Too often we produce texts that qualify the majority of chiropractic physicians by the narrow concepts of a few. This sends a confusing and dangerous message to the courts about just what we are qualified to do. This book does, as it should, address the broad mosaic of laws that cover chiropractic in the different legal jurisdictions of the states. After all, what good is information if it's only for those who don't want to do anything but analyze and adjust?

The book is divided into 15 chapters: 1) A Doctor's Duty: More Than Just Good Health Care. 2) Compliance with the Legal Standard of Care. 3) Protection Strategies in Insurance Relationships. 4) Protection Strategies in Office Procedures. 5) Forms, Records, Paperwork: Traps for the Unwary. 6) Protection Strategies in Securing Valid Informed Consent. 7) Protection Strategies in Referrals and Consultations. 8) Abandonment: Snares and Pitfalls. 9) Vicarious Liability: Extended Responsibility. 10) Protection Strategies in the Sports Practice. 11) What to Do When "It Won't Go Away." 12) The Insurer, Insured, and Insurance Hired Attorney. 13) Understanding and Using the Discovery Process. 14) Trial Preparation. 15) Trial and Testimony.

There are some in the profession who delight in legal struggle and look forward to engaging in almost any kind of litigation; I'm not one of these. While I insist on a broad scope of practice, I'm always aware that too often we are forced to deal with a "sue happy" public, and what I feel are their often prostituted lawyers.

The last thing I want to have happen is to be sued and this is where this text shows its muscular content. Throughout the volume are listed 132 protection strategies germane to the subjects covered by the chapters -- the ultimate in prevention "how to" texts.

After each chapter is a "Safeguard Synopsis" which is as unique as it is valuable to the reader. In fact, you could read the chapter heading and go directly to the synopsis and get more information than from most of the books I've read on the subject. Of course, the wisest thing to do is read the content of each chapter which is filled with anecdotal and useful advice. After the synopsis are the notes and references on what has just preceded.

The volume ends with a protection strategy summary, glossary of legal terms, an appendix containing a sample of jury instructions, a patient survey to be given periodically to see just how well you and your staff are following practice protection strategies, and just before the index, instructions on recommended procedures for safe table operation.

Clearly, Risk Management in Chiropractic is one of the finest texts I've ever read on the subject, and I've read many. It's not that there's just a lot of information; what's most important is that it's all useful. Every word has relevance.

A horrible scenario is one in which you might be sued for malpractice. A worse one is being sued because you weren't smart enough to read this book.