Ask your patient to sign this!

December 23, 2002

A doctor devises a tongue-in-cheek disclaimer form for our litigious age.

 

Ask your patient to sign this!

 

A doctor devises a tongue-in-cheek disclaimer form for our litigious age.

By Gary Meller, MD
Internist/Fort Lauderdale, FL

Dear Patient,

The recent rise in malpractice premiums combined with the sudden decrease in Medicare reimbursement has left us scrambling for ways to increase the efficiency of our office. Our accountant advises us to adopt a more practical and commercial approach to our business, while our attorneys insist that we cover our bases.

While shopping recently at the local discount superstore, we noticed that all toys and kitchen utensils now come with a prominent disclaimer that sets forth the conditions under which each product is purchased and used. We feel that a similar document might assist our patients and staff in understanding the limitations of the services that we offer in our practice. So, before your next visit, we ask you to read and sign the attached Disclaimer.

 

Sincerely,

Gary Meller, MD

 

DISCLAIMER

This service that I have rendered to you, and for which you will not pay me, though I may be reimbursed by some unknown party, at a rate unknown to me, at a time in the distant future, should not be construed as a medical diagnosis of your condition, but is to be mutually understood as merely an opinion, subject to all qualifications as may be necessary to decrease my liability for this opinion in a court of law, and alterable at any point in the future by whatsoever fact, circumstance, or change in condition which may supervene and befall you as the patient.

Nothing in this statement should be regarded as absolute, definitive, or immutable, and you are cautioned to seek additional relevant opinions from close family members, alternative practitioners, casual acquaintances, television talk shows, and other outside parties.

Any medication, treatment, alteration in lifestyle, or activities which have been recommended to you are not guaranteed to have any effect upon your condition, now or whenever; whether or not you follow or ignore this advice.

This recommendation is subject to all such limitations as human knowledge may be, including but not limited to: future scientific research, community values, fad diets, or whims of fashion; facts known to you but undisclosed; facts known to me but poorly remembered; legal opinions in class action suits unsupported by any basis in scientific reasoning; or events which occur subsequent to this office visit.

You as the patient acknowledge that you did come to this office of free will and individual choice, uncompelled by any controlling authority, managed care entity, personal inducement, or promise of reward. As such, you are responsible for any economic or social consequences that may result from this visit including time lost from work, loss of mobile telephone reception, uncompleted work projects or homework assignments, poverty that may result from the purchase of medication, or other unforeseeable and unimaginable eventualities.

Recognizing that, despite this disclaimer, this service encounter may continue to be debated by third party reviewers, disembodied telephone voices, various government bureaucracies, courts of law, and countless other meddlers, you agree to waive any right to challenge the spelling, grammar, or punctuation of this opinion, now and in the future until the end of time.

You acknowledge that in the rendering of this opinion I made no statements to you that were demeaning, illegal, or intended to otherwise harm, offend, or bully you. Any statement regarding your future well-being, need for follow-up, diet, state of mind, or probability of demise is purely for conversational effect and should not be understood as instruction, direction, coercion, or advice.

You waive your right to file compensation claims for carpal tunnel syndrome caused by the number of forms you must fill out and the number of times you must fill out the same form.

You have the right to interpretation of this disclaimer in your native language, American Sign Language, and Braille. You must keep a copy on your person at all times, and a copy will be filed with each page of your medical records.

 

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Sign Here                   

 

Gary Meller. Ask your patient to sign this!. Medical Economics 2002;24:40.