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"Friendly" doctors are better at avoiding medical malpractice claims.

Injured patients are apparently less likely to make a claim against their "like-able" physician. When you think about this it makes sense, who wants to sue someone they have a close personal relationship with? So a good way a physician can avoid malpractice claims is to simply be nice. Sage advice for everyone, especially M.D.'s.

Malcolm Gladwell discusses this dynamic in his book "blink." Mr. Gladwell is best known for his #1 bestseller "Outliers - The Story Of Success" published 2008 (Do yourself a favor and order these now, I have linked the titles to Amazon).

Gladwell's earlier book "blink" addresses how people make decisions. He refers to it as "thin-slicing." On the topic of medical malpractice he says:

Believe it or not, the risk of being sued from malpractice has very little do do with how many mistakes a doctor makes. Analyses of malpractice lawsuits show that there are higly skilled doctors who get sued a lot and doctors who make lots of mistakes and never get sued. At the same time, the overwhelming number of people who suffer an injury due to the negligence of a doctor never file a malpractice suit at all. In other words, patients dont' file lawsuits because they've been harmed by shoddy medical care. Patients file lawsuits because they've been harmed by shoddy medical care and something else happens to them.

The "something else" Gladwell says is the way they were treated. If the doctor rushed you or was not attentive, then he is more likely to be sued. The doctors who spent a longer time talking to and orienting their patients were less likely to be sued. So it comes down to respect, tone of voice and simple interpersonal skills. Gladwell's advice? If you are talking to your physician and you believe he or she "isn't listening to you" or "talking down to you" and generally insincere, it may be time to find another doctor.

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