Many have said that our doctors are very clinical and detached. Some say that they interfere out of convenience to get to that golf game. Maybe that’s true for some, but not for most.
The number one reason that they are clinical, sometimes detached and interfere way too much is because of litigation … the fear of being sued. Who can blame them? The majority of their patients walk into their office completely uneducated, ill-informed and quite frankly, irresponsible for choices that are available to them. They leave the entire decision-making up to their doctor or midwife. Oh …and by the way … if anything goes wrong … these patients can and will sue you!
Can you imagine what it would be like at work if you could be sued for even the slightest error? How would that affect your job performance?
Now I’m not saying that our providers are the victims of their patients. It really is just a vicious circle for us all and both providers and patients are equally to blame.
Let’s start with providers.
I met with Dr. Alan Schapker, MD, Medical Director of Bethany Womens Healthcare in Phoenix. I wanted to ask him questions from an OBGYN’s perspective. He graciously agreed to talk with me during his 5-minute break from patients.
I wanted to know why he decided to include Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM’s) in his practice. He told me that initially he just wanted a female OBGYN choice for his patients who felt more comfortable with a female provider. However, most of the female OB’s were joining practices together, so finding one to fit his practice was proving to be very difficult. During that time he was also becoming aware of the changes in OB care. He noticed how women in labor were being managed more out of routine than out of medical necessity. With more interventions, there were more risks. More risks led to more complications. He felt that the routine interventions were not evidenced based and therefore did not prove to bring better outcomes. Including fetal monitoring, epidurals and ultrasounds. More physicians were implementing routine intervention out of fear of litigation.