Senior Trial Attorney Philip Michels and Attorney Steven B. Stevens with Michels & Lew were quoted in a July 31, 2012 Reuters article, "Make a stand with hospital paperwork," discussing the potential legal ramifications of the forms that patients are asked to sign by hospitals and healthcare providers. These forms include a paragraph that the hospital will not be held responsible for errors made by their physicians during the course of the patient's care. If these forms are signed, they will be used by the hospital to block efforts to hold them responsible for negligent care.
Additionally, these forms contain a clause that mandates the use of an arbitrator to resolve any legal disputes instead of going to court. Mr. Michels suggests rejecting the sections regarding liability and arbitration by writing, "do not understand" next to the pertinent paragraphs, or crossing them out altogether before signing the document. If malpractice occurs and a claim is filed, such paperwork could prove to be a legal impediment, but is unlikely to completely absolve the hospital of responsibility. Mr. Stevens asserts that most people sign these documents without fully understanding them because, "You're not thinking about lawsuits, you're thinking about your health, your child's health - and getting medical care".