Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2016350
 


 



Do Poor People Sue Doctors More Frequently? Confronting Unconscious Bias and the Role of Cultural Competency


Frank McClellan


Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law

Augustus A. White III


Harvard Medical School

Ramon L. Jimenez


Monterey Peninsula Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Institute

Sherin M. Fahmy


Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law

2012

Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, May 2012
Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-16

Abstract:     
Low-income patients are misperceived by some physicians as a more litigious group than other patients. This article attempts to address this misperception through a holistic approach. First, it presents the conclusions of a number of studies that reveal that economically-disadvantaged patient groups are, in fact, less likely to file medical malpractice lawsuits. The article then discusses how the results of these studies are substantiated by how lawyers are often discouraged from taking on low-income clients. Understanding how the contingency fee system operates helps explain why the poor are less likely to sue as lawyers weigh the risks and costs associated with gaining courtroom access. Despite knowledge of these realities, the article then purposes this misperception continues to be held among some possibly due to the presence of unconscious bias.

Unconscious bias describes how decision-making and rational are influenced by stereotypes without one being aware of it. Lastly, recommendations to confronting unconscious bias and reducing the risk of medical malpractice lawsuits are presented in order to address this misperception in total.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 8

Keywords: medical malpractice, unconscious bias, cultural competency, low-income patients, contingency fee, physician misperception, orthopaedics

JEL Classification: K19, K32, K39, K40, K41

Accepted Paper Series





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Date posted: March 6, 2012 ; Last revised: April 14, 2012

Suggested Citation

McClellan, Frank and White, Augustus A. and Jimenez, Ramon L. and Fahmy, Sherin M., Do Poor People Sue Doctors More Frequently? Confronting Unconscious Bias and the Role of Cultural Competency (2012). Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, May 2012; Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-16. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2016350

Contact Information

Frank McClellan (Contact Author)
Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law ( email )
1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States
Augustus A. White III
Harvard Medical School ( email )
Landmark East 2N07
401 Park Drive
Boston, MA 02215
United States
617-998-8802 (Phone)
617-998-8808 (Fax)
Ramon L. Jimenez
Monterey Peninsula Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Institute ( email )
10 Harris Court
Monterey, CA 93940-7823
United States
Sherin M. Fahmy
Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law ( email )
1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States
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