This course is most likely taught in most major medical schools in the USA today. In case you missed classes, here’s a brief overview. I was fly on the wall and took notes during all the lectures, so I’m here to clue you in on the essentials of Malpractice 101!
1. First do no harm. But if you do, don’t panic!
2. By harm, we mean measurable, provable damage. This would be something that we’d fear might be noticed by relatives of the patient. We wouldn’t worry if this is only picked up by the patient herself. We only worry about malpractice when the harm is so great that it might be noticed by others, especially those that might have leverage to hire an attorney, something that may seem disturbing to them. For instance, Tardive Dyskinesia is so noticeable that this may lead to a lawsuit. It may mean that we’ve blown it so badly that now, the otherwise employable patient is now unemployable.
3. Do not admit fault. NEVER. Never apologize because this makes you appear at fault.
4. Before the concerned relatives have a chance to gather steam, REDIAGNOSE the patient. All the new symptoms now must add up to a new psych diagnosis. So TD becomes OCD or anxiety. The patient is restless. Nervous. It couldn’t possibly be TD. Naw, she wiggles her hand because she’s compulsive. Or manipulative. Or attention-seeking. Now, give her more drugs for OCD. Have her totally convinced and playing the part.
5. See to it that there’s a gag order. This won’t be called a gag order, of course. No one can talk about such things. Just slide this one under the rug. Twenty years later, who cares?
6. You can keep harming all you want. Just keep following the formula and get rich quick.