Warning! ‘Loss of Chance’ Theory Becoming a Growing Threat in Malpractice

August 27, 2012 – In The News
Healthcare Risk Management

Jacqueline Carolan commented on the resurgence of the use of 'loss of chance' -- arguing what might have been if medical treatment or diagnosis had taken place earlier or been properly carried out -- by plaintiff's attorneys.

"Some states are showing more leeway, and some that never recognized loss of chance are saying maybe they should start eroding that prohibition and let it in," said Carolan.

Risk managers should educate clinicians on the increased threat from loss of chance, Carolan suggests.

Counsel them to avoid giving patients false hope with comments such as, “It’s going to be OK,” which is a phrase Carolan hears patients repeating in depositions all the time.

“They don’t have to be Debbie Downers all the time, but they do need to give a balanced approach, and that means the good and the bad,” she says. “Sometimes there is an expectation that everything is going to be solved in healthcare, and sometimes unfortunately it can’t be.”