Medical Malpractice Lawyers and Their Families: Can Doctors Ethically Withhold Care?

USA Today has a good article about a nurse who was fired because her husband is a medical malpractice lawyer in Texas. Wait, strike that, the hospital she worked for assumed he was a medical malpractice lawyer. He is not.

Many are surprised to hear such a species still exists in Texas anyway, given its Draconian medical malpractice damage caps. But this story highlights a new trend of many doctors refusing care to medical malpractice lawyers, their families, and employees.

Some medical malpractice lawyers – and many doctors – see the refusal of doctors to provide medical treatment to patients seeking care as contrary to the Hippocratic oath, in which new doctors vow to appreciate “special obligations to all my fellow human beings.”

I can’t imagine a decent doctor withholding care because you married to, work for, or are a medical malpractice lawyer. But if you encounter a doctor who refuses to give you treatment, I think you are probably better off.

It is also worth noting that our law firm occasionally does legal malpractice work in Maryland. This is not at all frowned upon by other personal injury lawyers or any other lawyers. I’m not putting lawyers on a pedestal above doctors. I have three kids and I want them all to be doctors, not lawyers. Believe me. But I don’t think lawyers feel targeted by legal malpractice lawyers because we figure if we do our job within the standard of care, we will be fine. This is why I get so confused by doctors who have never so much as seen a medical malpractice lawsuit – 96% according to a recent study in North Carolina – who get so involved in this issue.