Disruptive medical patients - Forensically informed decision making

L. F. Sparr, J. L. Rogers, J. O. Beahrs, D. J. Mazur

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Patients who disrupt medical care create problems for physicians. The risks are not entirely clinical. Although these patients may compromise sound clinical judgment, some are also litigious and express their dissatisfaction in legal or other forums. It then becomes necessary for treating physicians to be aware of the legal and ethical boundaries of their patient care responsibilities. Some disruptive patients are treated by setting limits, which is usually affirmed by health care agreements. A hospital review board may advise clinicians on these agreements and on the management of disruptive patients. If termination of the physician-patient relationship is considered, physicians must follow proper protocol. We examine these forensic considerations and place them in the context of malpractice. Communication, consultation, and documentation are the key elements in reducing liability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)501-506
Number of pages6
JournalWestern Journal of Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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