Massey & D Massey, P.C.
Dermatology Malpractice

The Massey Law Firm, P.C.
Attorneys and Counselors at Law

Dermatology Malpractice

Even physicians who practice dermatology may be liable for damages to a patient caused by their medical malpractice. Studies indicate that most malpractice claims result from the most common types of clinical situations, not the more exotic procedures.

The most common malpractice claim against dermatologists arises from the failure to diagnose malignant neoplasm of the skin. The second most common condition for which claims are filed is acne, with psoriasis ranking among the top five. These conditions make up a very large percentage of the volume in an average dermatological practice. Most dermatology malpractice claims result from a claim of improper performance of the procedure or prescription errors.

Dermatology is still a low-risk medical specialty. However, dermatologists are being advised to take certain steps to decrease the chance of being on the wrong end of a malpractice claim. Many of these steps involve informing the public and patients about realistic expectations from treatment. Unrealistic expectations produce patient dissatisfaction and provide material for lawsuits. The cautionary advice given to dermatologists includes the following:

* Not exaggerating expected results to the media. It is not unusual to see articles in newspapers where dermatologists are quoted and misquoted by journalists. The dermatologist should take great pains to realistically present expected results.
* Always asking to check the facts on all articles based on information provided by a dermatologist.
* Refusing to participate as a dermatologist in situations that may tend to compromise the physician's professional status. An example of this practice is the popularity of Botox parties, which trivialize the procedure and make dermatologists look unprofessional and money hungry.
* Refusing to endorse a commercial venture that uses a dermatologists's background solely to validate a technology. If a dermatologists endorses a skincare product, he or she should make sure that the promoter's data supports the claims of effectiveness.
* Refusing to give an opinion in an area of dermatology where the physician has only limited knowledge.

    Copyright 2008 Lexis Nexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.


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