Juristische Implikationen ärztlichen Handelns – Professioneller Umgang mit Behandlungsfehlern

Translated title of the contribution: Legal Implications of Physician Action – Dealing Professionally with Treatment Errors

Dorothee Oldenburg*, Hans Otto Wagner, Jost Steinhäuser

*Corresponding author for this work


Background Complications arising in connection with medical treatment are a burden on patients, relatives, practice staff and physicians. Therefore, dealing with treatment errors is of crucial importance. With this training article, we would like to inform you about the main features of civil medical liability law and give tips on how to deal professionally with treatment errors. Methods Based on a structured literature review as well as the experience of the three authors (DO: lawyer with a focus on medical law, HOW and JS: specialists in family medicine with experience as expert reviewers), topics for training in the border area between medicine and law were developed. Afterwards, these topics were weighted within the framework of a Germanywide online survey of family physicians in the „Damocles study – To what extent do fears of legal consequences influence family physicians‘ actions?” 413 family physicians (49 % female, mean age: 50 years) participated in the survey. A maximum of three areas could be selected from five topics. The topic „Dealing professionally with treatment errors“ was selected most frequently as a legal topic by 245 (59 %). Main messages • Civil liability is usually at the forefront of medical malpractice cases, because the main issues are damages and compensation for pain and suffering. • The license to practice medicine is never jeopardized by a treatment error in civil proceedings and usually not in criminal proceedings. • It is important to be prepared for a prompt and detailed discussion with the patient. • Written information to patients or lawyers should only be given after prior legal consultation with the liability insurer in order not to jeopardize the insurance cover. Conclusions There is a high demand among family physicians for continuing education courses with a legal focus. Therefore, in the future, legal content should be taught more frequently in the context of medical training and continuing education.

Translated title of the contributionLegal Implications of Physician Action – Dealing Professionally with Treatment Errors
Original languageGerman
JournalZeitschrift fur Allgemeinmedizin
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)441-445
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2022

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 109-04 Educational Research on Socialization and Professionalism

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