Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers: Doctor-Filmmaker Pushes the Conversation

When the respected magazine The Atlantic recently published a feature article about the work of Dr. Angelo Volandes, they were not intending to talk about medical malpractice lawsuits. And yet, unknowingly, they did.

The article focused on a personal campaign being waged by Dr. Volandes to educate patients and their families about making medical decisions (specifically, decisions concerning end-of-life care). The doctor, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, is passionate about the subject — so much so that he gave up medical practice to devote all his time to a singular mission: producing films to help patients everywhere fully understand their options.

So, what does such a commendable effort have to do with medical malpractice?

From the standpoint of a medical malpractice attorney, it is the reasons cited by the doctor that are alarming.  Coming from a medical professional — who admittedly describes himself as subversive — these quotes provide a disturbing inside view of how some medical malpractice cases come to be. Just a few of Dr. Volandes’ comments were:

  • “I think… the most urgent issue facing America today, is people getting medical interventions that, if they were more informed, they would not want. It happens all the time.”
  • “Here is the sad reality: Physicians are good people. They want to do the right things. And yet all of us, behind closed doors, in the cafeteria say: Do you believe what we did to that patient? Do you believe what we put that patient through? Every single physician has stories. Not one. Lots of stories.”
  • “There is nothing more essential to being a good doctor than your ability to communicate… You are not doing your job if you are not having these conversations in a meaningful way with patients and their families.”

Unfortunately, it seems that too many doctors fail to have ‘The Conversation’ — a discussion with patients explaining treatment options thoroughly and in plain English, and giving patients a chance to have their voices heard. In the legal world, this is what we call Informed Consent, and the lack of it forms the basis for many a medical malpractice suit. Speak to the Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A. today if a doctor did not have The Conversation with you and you suffered as a result.