The Healthcare Malpractice: Alternative Dispute Resolution


Medical disputes due to malpractice are a major problem between patients and healthcare providers. Although such cases can easily result in litigations, the entire process is not the most appealing conflict resolution pathway for both parties. Therefore, multidisciplinary alternative dispute resolution (ADR) can be a more effective approach to address the issue. However, the latter cannot be fully utilized without incorporating core biblical principles of forgiveness and mutual respect. It is important to have both of these concepts because forgiveness-only ADR will result in disrespectful demand for forgiveness from a patient, which will not result in improvements. Mutual respect-only ADR will result in understanding, but litigations will still proceed in a respectful manner.


It is important to note that healthcare is a highly complex and intricate system with a wide range of parties with various interests, which means conflicts are inevitable. Malpractice in medicine can be considered as among the most valid reasons for conflict emergence, where a patient experiences disservice from a medical expert, and thus, it is clear that there will be a dispute. However, the objective of the given research is to analyze, identify, and recommend alternative dispute resolution approaches in order to minimize or eliminate any form of litigation in healthcare malpractice cases. On the basis of comprehensive analysis in combination with biblical principles, one can derive that utilizing multidisciplinary ADR in conjunction with forgiveness and mutual respect can be more effective at minimizing litigation and improving conflict resolution.

Medical Malpractice

In order to properly and comprehensively understand the selected subject and offer valid solutions through ADR measures, it is of paramount importance to assess and analyze the current literature on the subject. According to research, the system of medical malpractice liability operates by combatting provider negligence and compensating the harmed patients (Kessler, 2011). In a legal context, medical malpractice needs to be combatted by integrating novel reforms, which are centered around “patient compensation funds, disclosure and early offer laws, safe harbor laws, enterprise insurance and no-fault compensation systems” (Leflar, 2013, p. 306). For example, allied health professionals are highly concerned about medical disputes and the potential ramifications (Milligan et al., 2017). In other words, the given issue is a major problem for both parties, which are medical professionals and patients.

However, one should single out a single factor as the main catalyzer of malpractice. A study illuminates the fact that negligence alone is not the sole cause of healthcare provider malpractice, and thus, it is critical to take into account the degree of guilt imposed on a medical specialist (Sohn, 2017). For instance, some medical providers, such as allied health professionals, are likely to commit both minor and major diagnostic errors, which is due to flawed sociocultural norms, and therefore, multidisciplinary teams are integral for malpractice reduction (Thomas & Newman-Toker, 2016). In other words, there is a preconceived notion that only certain specialists bear responsibility for accurate patient diagnosis.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

The current medical environment is inclined to promote two conflicting concepts, such as patient safety and patient autonomy. However, the latter can hinder the former, which is why ADR can be a plausible approach for malpractice-related disputes (Amirthalingam, 2017). It is stated that knowledge and authority can be key elements of ADR approaches since these assumptions can be fundamental for ensuring effective mediation between parties (Ridley-Duff & Bennett, 2011). In addition, it is important to point out that ADR has other major benefits, which are increasing medical provider and patient satisfaction and reduction of costs (Sohn & Bal, 2012). Therefore, one should be attracted to the idea of utilizing and implementing ADR-based frameworks to medical disputes since they can be superior to conventional measures, which involve litigation.

Bible and ADR

It is critical to understand that Bible and biblical values can be a strong basis for successfully integrating ADR concepts into medical disputes. Religion and religious instruments can be a lead to serious conflicts as well as advance the notions of mutual respect and conflict resolution (Shore, 2013). Bible states: “a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (English Standard Version Bible, 2001, Proverbs 15:1). In other words, being mutually respectful towards each other can form a solid basis of ADR, where interactions and conflict resolution processes take place in a highly emotionally controlled environment. Another major Biblical lesson can be found in the idea of forgiveness, which can become a part of ADR approaches (Tran, 2020). For example, Bible states: “bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (English Standard Version Bible, 2001, Colossians 3:13). In other terms, the verse refers to utilizing the idea of forgiveness as a key principle for minimizing or eliminating litigations since the latter is the result of a major disagreement. Therefore, Bible can be a powerful catalyzer of ADR, where the latter is joint with the former to develop a new method of resolving medical disputes due to malpractice.


The recommendations are primarily based on biblical concepts of forgiveness and mutual respect, which need to become two major pillars of multidisciplinary ADR in order to yield minimal litigations. In order to properly handle medical disputes due to malpractice, one should realize that the causes are not always manifested in negligence because there are certain socio-cultural forces at play. Thus, the litigation-based approach towards conflict resolutions is the result of the lack of understanding and mutual respect. In addition, medical malpractice is not always the fault of a provider, and therefore, forgiveness is another critical pillar of the proposed ADR.

Subsequently, the recommendation for the selected healthcare facility is to be interested in multidisciplinary ADR with elements of forgiveness and mutual respect because it reduces costs and improves all-party satisfaction levels. The facility needs to approach such a conflict or dispute resolution measure with mutual respect and provide as well as ask for forgiveness. The use of the latter without the former will be ineffective since a patient will not be willing to cooperate in a forgiving manner if he or she is not fully respected. Similarly, being only respectful without forgiveness will most likely result in litigations, but in a respectful manner. Therefore, it is the combination of these two, which makes ADR highly effective.


In conclusion, medical disputes due to malpractice are the major points of conflict, which are naturally drawn to litigation-based measures. Therefore, exploring alternative dispute resolution approaches is necessary because the evidence shows that negligence is not the sole reason for malpractice, and multidisciplinary ADR and ADR in general can reduce costs and increase satisfaction levels for all parties. However, in order to develop the most effective multidisciplinary ADR, biblical principles can be highly useful. The Bible outlines forgiveness and mutual respect as core elements of conflict resolution, which can be incorporated into ADR.


Amirthalingam, K. (2017). Medical dispute resolution, patient safety and the doctor-patient relationship. Singapore Medical Journal, 58(12), 681–684. Web.

English Standard Version Bible. (2001). Crossway Bibles.

Kessler, D. P. (2011). Evaluating the medical malpractice system and options for reform. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 25(2), 93–110. Web.

Leflar, R. B. (2013). Medical malpractice reform measures and their effects. Chest, 144(1), 306–318. Web.

Milligan, F., Wareing, M., Preston-Shoot, M., Pappas, Y., Randhawa, G., & Bhandol, J. (2017). Supporting nursing, midwifery and allied health professional students to raise concerns with the quality of care: A review of the research literature. Nurse Education Today, 57, 29–39. Web.

Ridley-Duff, R., & Bennett, A. (2011). Towards mediation: Developing a theoretical framework to understand alternative dispute resolution. Industrial Relations Journal, 42(2), 106–123. Web.

Shore, M. (2013). Religion and conflict resolution: Christianity and South Africa’s truth and reconciliation commission. Ashgate Publishing.

Sohn, D. H. (2017). Negligence, genuine error, and litigation. International Journal of General Medicine, 6, 49–56. Web.

Sohn, D. H., & Bal, B. S. (2012). Medical malpractice reform: The role of alternative dispute resolution. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, 470, 1370–1378. Web.

Thomas, D. B., & Newman-Toker, D. E. (2013). Diagnosis is a team sport – Partnering with allied health professionals to reduce diagnostic errors. Diagnosis, 3(2), 49–59. Web.

Tran, J. C. W. (2020). Authentic forgiveness: A Biblical approach. Religion.

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