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How to protect patients from medical malpractice

How to protect patients from medical malpractice

Posted by:

K. Moore

Client and Consultant Merogenomics

Image Source: Pixabay

There's no doubt that doctors are some of the most highly respected and well-paid professionals in the world. And with that comes a great deal of responsibility, which is why it’s so important for doctors to take steps to protect their patients from medical malpractice and negligence. This article will discuss some of the best steps doctors can take to avoid accidentally falling into such a trap.


1. Understand the basics of medical malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional deviates from the accepted standard of care, resulting in injury or death to a patient.

To protect patients from becoming victims of medical malpractice, it’s important to understand the basics. For instance, did you know that there are three general types of medical malpractice?

They are 1) failing to treat or diagnose a patient correctly, 2) providing treatment that falls below the standards set by the medical community, and 3) causing injuries during the course of treatment.

Additionally, there are certain risk factors that can make patients more susceptible to medical malpractice.

Some of these risk factors include being treated by a doctor who’s not board certified, being treated by a doctor who has been disciplined by a state medical board, and receiving treatment at a hospital that has a high rate of adverse events.


2. Follow best practices to avoid any potential for malpractice

To avoid potential medical malpractice, it’s best to follow established best practices. This includes taking precautions to ensure that you and your staff are up to date on the latest protocols and procedures. Additionally, it’s important to maintain a high level of communication with your patients and their families. By doing so, you can help prevent misunderstandings that could lead to legal action.


3. Document everything and communicate effectively

As a medical professional, you have a duty to provide the best possible care for your patients. Unfortunately, even with the best intentions, mistakes can happen. That's why it's important to take steps to protect your patients from medical malpractice.

One of the most important things you can do is document everything. Make sure to keep accurate records of all treatments and medications prescribed. If there are any changes in a patient's condition, be sure to note them down as well. This documentation will provide valuable evidence if a patient ever decides to file a claim against you.

In addition to documentation, effective communication is also key. Make sure to explain all procedures and treatments clearly to your patients, so they understand the risks and benefits involved. By taking these precautions, you can help reduce the risk of medical malpractice and provide better care for your patients.


4. Get appropriate insurance coverage to help protect you in the event of a lawsuit

Medical malpractice lawsuits are becoming more common, and the cost of defending against them can be astronomical. If you ask an experienced lawyer in any jurisdiction, such as the medical malpractice lawyer Staten Island sort of specialists, you’ll discover that the costs can be high.

If you don't have adequate medical insurance coverage, you could find yourself on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars or more. Even if you win your case, the legal costs can bankrupt you. That's why it's essential to make sure you have the right kind of coverage.

There are a few different types of medical insurance that can help protect you in the event of a medical malpractice lawsuit. The first is professional liability insurance, which covers you for damages that occur as a result of your professional activities. If you're a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional, this is the type of coverage you need.

The second type of coverage is patient safety insurance, which covers you for damages resulting from errors or omissions in your care. These errors can include things like wrong-site surgery or medication errors. Finally, there's general liability insurance, which covers you for any type of liability claim - not just ones related to medicine.

No one wants to think about getting sued, but it's better to be safe than sorry. Make sure you have the right kind of medical insurance coverage in place so that you're protected in the event of a medical malpractice lawsuit.


5. Educate your staff on how to prevent medical malpractice as well (and what to do if it does occur)

As a healthcare provider, it’s essential that you educate your staff on how to prevent medical malpractice. Train them on the proper procedures and techniques for delivering patient care, as well as techniques for minimizing the risk of errors. Additionally, providing ongoing training and support can help ensure that your staff stays up to date on new developments in the field and has a solid understanding of best practices.

Ultimately, helping your staff to understand how to reduce the risk of medical malpractice is not only a responsible thing to do, it’s also key for maintaining your reputation as a trusted healthcare provider. If a malpractice incident does occur, you should also provide guidance on how to deal with the situation effectively, including steps for alerting supervisors and keeping accurate records of events.

Overall, creating and maintaining an environment where your employees feel supported and empowered is vital for preventing medical malpractice and handling any issues that may arise going forward.


6. Respond promptly and effectively to any allegations of medical malpractice

Medical malpractice is a serious issue that can have terrible consequences for patients, families, and healthcare providers. When allegations of medical malpractice arise, it’s essential to respond promptly and effectively.

The first step is to investigate the allegations and gather all relevant information. This may include interviewing witnesses, reviewing medical records, and consulting with experts. Once the facts of the case have been established, it’ll be easier to determine whether there was any wrongdoing.

If it’s determined that malpractice did occur, steps must be taken to correct the situation and prevent future incidents from occurring. These steps may involve changing policies and procedures, providing additional training for staff, or taking disciplinary action against those who were responsible. By taking quick and decisive action, healthcare organizations can help to protect patients and maintain public trust in the healthcare system.

In addition, keep in mind that medical malpractice can have a significant financial impact. As such, it’s helpful to have adequate insurance coverage in place to protect yourself and your organization from the potentially high cost of litigation.


How can patients be protected from medical malpractice?

Client and Doctor Merogenomics

Image Source: Pixabay

One of the most important ways patients can be protected from medical malpractice is by ensuring that they are well-informed about their own health and condition. Patients should always ask their doctor questions if they don’t understand something, and should never hesitate to speak up if they have concerns.

Additionally, patients should keep a record of all their medical appointments, treatments, and medications, so that they can keep track of their progress and be sure that everything is being done correctly.

If a patient does feel that they have been the victim of medical malpractice, they should always consult with an attorney to discuss their legal options. By taking these steps, patients can help to protect themselves from becoming the victims of medical malpractice.


Cases for medical malpractice

Medical malpractice can occur in various ways, and it can have catastrophic consequences for patients. In some cases, medical malpractice can even lead to death. In this section, we will discuss a few case studies that illustrate the dangers of medical malpractice.

As per a Pacific Medical law case, the jury in the case of a tiny infant injured during labor and delivery awarded $6.7 million to Paul McGivern and Susanne Raab after trial and post-judgment negotiations on May 31, 2016. The award included a hefty sum for future medical expenses, which was the only economic damages component of the total verdict. The infant plaintiff was born with multiple injuries, and will subsequently suffer from significant developmental delays and will require lifelong care.

May 25, 2016: Parents of an infant who suffered brain damage due to his mother's eclamptic seizure won a $9.5 million jury verdict at trial for the couple, according to the New York Times. According to Ars Technica and The Telegraph, the parents of a two-year-old girl may have won a similar judgment in the UK in April 2016, but the amount has not been made public.

Another case involves a 28-year-old woman who was left quadriplegic after routine neck surgery and won a $55 million verdict in March 2016, as reported by the New York Post.


Genetic medical malpractice

As the map of the human genome has become more complete, our understanding of the role that genetics plays in health and disease has grown exponentially. This new knowledge has led to the development of a number of powerful tools for assessing an individual’s risk for various conditions, including cancer.

Angelina Jolie's revelation that she had prophylactic surgery to lower her risk of breast cancer following BRCA genetic testing is a shining example of the growing attention towards preventative genomic testing.

The aptly named "Angelina Effect" underscores the fact that as clinically-relevant genetic data becomes more accessible and useful, more individuals are turning to genetic testing to help them make educated health choices.

With the release of next-generation DNA sequencing technology and the increased availability of personal data, companies will be able to develop even more sophisticated and actionable profiles about individuals.

As such, it’s becoming increasingly clear that genetics will play an ever-more important role in the provision of healthcare in the future. To give the finest possible treatment to their patients, almost every sort of healthcare professional will need to be familiar with genetic testing and its consequences.


How it can go wrong

As the use of genetic information in medical decision-making grows, so does the chance of litigation alleging genetic malpractice. Cancer predisposition screening, prenatal testing, and pharmacogenomic profiling are three important areas in which liability is becoming an issue.

Cancer predisposition screening can help identify individuals who are at increased risk of developing cancer due to a genetic mutation. However, there’s potential for liability if a physician fails to order the test or interprets the results incorrectly.

Prenatal testing can be used to detect genetic abnormalities in a developing fetus. While this technology has the potential to save lives, it also carries the risk of wrongful birth lawsuits if the parents are not given accurate information about the risks and benefits of the test.

Pharmacogenomic profiling is used to determine how an individual’s genes will affect their response to medication. If a physician prescribes a medication that’s ineffective or causes serious side effects because they did not properly consider the patient’s pharmacogenomic profile, they may be held liable for medical malpractice.

As genomic medicine continues to evolve, it’s important for physicians to be aware of the potential legal implications of ordering and interpreting genetic tests. With proper education and training, physicians can help ensure that genetic testing is used appropriately and effectively to improve patient care.


The bottom line

Medical malpractice can have devastating consequences for patients, as the examples above show. That’s why it’s important for doctors to take steps to prevent it from happening in their own practice. By investigating allegations of malpractice promptly and taking decisive action, healthcare organizations can help to protect patients and maintain public trust in the healthcare system.


This article has been produced by Kevin Moore. Reproduction and reuse of any portion of this content requires Merogenomics Inc. permission and source acknowledgment. It is your responsibility to obtain additional permissions from the third party owners that might be cited by Merogenomics Inc. Merogenomics Inc. disclaims any responsibility for any use you make of content owned by third parties without their permission.


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