Selected Papers of The Jurist (法学家), Volume 3
Renmin Chinese Law Review: Selected Papers of The Jurist
Edited by Jichun Shi
Chapter 9: On the law and trust in doctor–patient disputes
Law has insuperable functional limitations when it deals with doctor–patient disputes. Due to the high asymmetry of information and knowledge between doctor and patient, and risk and damage being difficult externalize in medical malpractice, using law is not only a difficult way to prevent but also to resolve doctor–patient disputes. Medical fault liability tends toward rigidness in practical operation, which will lead to the excessive deterrence of doctors from causing any medical fault. We can summarize law’s dealings with doctor–patient disputes as a ‘Control Pattern’. But a ‘Trust Pattern’ can prevent doctor–patient disputes more efficiently via lower informational costs and particular moral emotional traits. Communication is the most important method of building doctor–patient trust, but the information that it conveys mainly concerns moral emotion, rather than medicine. Because of the subconscious nature of trust and the high costs of supervision, law is not only unable to enforce the trust between doctor and patient, but it is also difficult to use law to enforce communication full of human caring. The method of strengthening efficient communication to establish doctor–patient trust is through a form of non-price competition. In order to establish efficient competition among medical institutions, we should set up a market simulation system supported and limited by government.
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