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Becoming a Partner in the Case

A physician must make an effort to learn about his or her case and convince the attorney that he or she wants to be involved in the case. If the case entails litigation, the physician should discuss the specific tasks that require medical expertise. The attorney may be reluctant to have the client involved in the case--and not unreasonably. Physicians are notoriously poor clients; they do not show up for appointments, they do not want to come to the attorney's office, and so forth. In general, physicians spend untold time and energy agonizing over being sued, and this anxiety is often expressed as hostility and passive aggression toward their own attorneys rather than being channeled into productive activities.

The physician must convince counsel, through words and deeds, that he or she can constructively be involved in the case--for example, by taking on a simple task such as organizing the medical records and preparing a chronological summary of the care provided and the personnel involved. If this is done quickly and impartially, it will demonstrate the physician's sincerity and value to the attorney.


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