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Pregnant patients are malpractice liability

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Our practice recently hired two family physicians with the understanding that they wouldn't do any OB work. Now, they're refusing to see any patient who's pregnant, even for an unrelated problem like a sore throat. When asked, they explained they don't want to be named in any shotgun birth-defect lawsuits. What should we do?

Q: Our practice recently hired two family physicians with the understanding that they wouldn't do any OB work. Now, they're refusing to see any patient who's pregnant, even for an unrelated problem like a sore throat. When asked, they explained they don't want to be named in any shotgun birth-defect lawsuits. What should we do?

A: Call your liability carrier for guidance on the limits of an FP's responsibility when he isn't insured for obstetrics. Then, establish protocols describing the kinds of problems the non-OB doctors should be expected to handle. Generally, the treatment of pregnant women with acute illnesses-with the collaboration of an OB, if necessary-is within the scope of family practice.

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© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health