On Trial: What to Expect When You Are Sued

John P. Lyden, MD

Nothing in my training had prepared me for being a defendant on trial for a malpractice action. I had to quickly learn about the legal process and how to handle myself in this very unique environment. I hope that sharing my experience will help others prepare and survive a medical liability lawsuit.

It begins when you receive a summons. Your immediate reaction may be a visceral anxiety, embarrassment, anger, consternation, and a desire to hide the knowledge that you’ve been sued from your colleagues. In fact, this is a time when you should be finding and organizing records and discussing them at length with your risk management personnel and orthopaedic peers. They will provide different approaches and help give you perspective.

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