The Triangle: Law–Medicine–Politics

The dominant effect of this triangular nexus is the legalization of medicine. Documentation in the medical chart is no longer placing written information only for medical colleagues also treating the patient. Our documentation has become a financial and legal necessity for hospital reviewers so they can improve their organizations’ reimbursement rate while simultaneously meeting state and federal requirements. Additionally, our documentation in the medical chart has become an absolute necessity for us to verify the quality of care we have given the patient. Thus, our progress notes must be focused, logical, and legible for third-party reviewers. In legal circles, it is sometimes suggested that it is not what you do but what you can prove. This shift in the burden of proof process is new for physicians, but it is a reality. As this legalization occurs, we physicians must become more knowledgeable about the law. We must adaptively move past our understandable emotions of anger, resentment, and frustration with all things legal. These negative emotions not only affect the care we give our patients but affect us physically, mentally, and spiritually. They influence our professional behavior. They influence our relationship with our family. These negative emotions contribute to the many stress-related morbidity and mortality illnesses we encounter as doctors [19]. Therefore, our ability to understand and adapt to this new healthcare environment paradigm shift is vital both personally and professionally.


Medical Malpractice Malpractice Litigation Tort Reform Malpractice Lawsuit Medical Mistake 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

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