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Dell Salter devotes a substantial portion of its practice to defense of healthcare professionals and medical product liability claims. Our experience includes the defense of physicians, nurses, other allied healthcare professionals, hospitals and outpatient facilities, often in cases potentially involving extremely significant economic and non-economic damages. We have provided representation in cases involving hospital policy and procedure issues including credentialing and evolving issues of confidentiality of medical records. We regularly defend clients in clinical practice areas including emergency medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, nursing, general surgery, neurosurgery, cardiovascular surgery, plastic surgery, orthopedics, neonatology, oncology, organ transplant, gastroenterology, radiology, otolaryngology, internal medicine and family practice.
John Jopling: We have always had a very clear vision about exactly who it is we represent and the interests that we represent there. One of the things that’s different about medical malpractice litigation is: it affects you differently than it does to be sued for professional negligence, which goes to the heart of how most of us identify ourselves as those people.
David Delaney: One of the first things I keep in mind is that it can be the most trying time that a professional doctor or some health care provider has ever experienced. Their care is being directly called into question, despite their best efforts for a patient. We work through those issues so they can then focus on the medical facts, and they can teach me so then I, in turn, can explain it to a jury or whoever might be looking at this case and understand how we perhaps had a bad outcome. But, that wasn’t at all related to any substandard care by the physician.
John Jopling: The type of work that we do is sometimes called a tripartite relationship. It involves, most of the time, an insurance company that the physician has paid premiums to, to provide coverage. But the lawyer’s client is not the insurance company; the lawyer’s client is the physician that’s being sued. That’s a distinction that has never been lost on us. It’s one that everyone theoretically knows but, sometimes, the lines get blurred. We don’t let those lines be blurred here. When we are retaining a case, we’re there to represent the physician that’s being sued.
One of the first things we do in every case is: we’ll go to them and sit down in their offices and get to know them, talk to them about the case, about their concerns; and not just the medical facts of the case, but to really try to understand how they feel about the case, how they feel about its emotional impact on them, because that’s an intensely emotionally impactful situation to be in. I think that our appreciation for that and our empathetic defense of these physicians is something that helps to set us apart. I don’t mean that all lawyers aren’t caring, but that’s a particular emphasis we have, and it frankly is something that we get feedback on from our clients that indicate they detect that we really care, and they appreciate that. We get a fair amount of positive feedback on that and it’s something that, I think, does set us apart.