Hospitals are more than just places where people go for surgery. They provide both major and everyday health care services for people from both near and far. Patients expect exemplary services. Moreover, they want doctors to make them feel better, not cause them more harm. If the care provider does make mistakes, it could become very costly for both them and the patient. These are situation in which patients might sue for malpractice. What are some of the claims that might cause malpractice suits?
Hospitals and individual physicians need malpractice insurance for claims of patient harm. Malpractice is sometimes a hard allegation to prove. But, if it does occur, it could lead to costly losses. Therefore, all doctors should know what to do to prevent these mistakes.
Malpractice occurs when a care provider causes harm to a patient in the course of treatment. It can occur anywhere from the check-in desk to the operating table or exam room. Many patients sue for malpractice if they feel a doctor failed in their standard of care. However, not every physician mistake counts as malpractice.
Legally, most malpractice claims must present proof that a physician acted negligently. According to the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys (ABPLA), malpractice consists of the following mistakes:
- A provider committed a violation of the standard of care. There are clear rules throughout the medical community on how to treat certain cases. Failure to follow these standards might lead to harm.
- The provider caused a negligent injury. Patients must show that because the doctor violated their standard of care, the patient sustained harm.
- The patient must sustain significant damage. Mistakes happen sometimes during surgeries or treatment. However, for a mistake to be malpractice, it must cause harm to the patient. For example, it must leave them with physical, financial or even emotional harm. Usually, to make a claim valid, the patient must prove that the mistake caused ongoing harm.
Even the procedures that seem low-risk could result in significant harm to a patient in the blink of an eye. A simple check-up could even cause a malpractice claim. Doctors need to watch out for certain common mistakes that could occur anywhere.
Common Malpractice Claims
What happens in a hospital emergency room is different from what happens in a radiology lab. However, in any setting, a malpractice mistake might occur. Here are the most-common liability claims that might occur:
- Misdiagnosis occurs when physicians fail to competently evaluate a patient’s symptoms. If another doctor could have easily made a heart attack diagnosis, but the physician in question missed tell-tale signs, the patient might have a malpractice claim.
- Mistreatment of conditions happens if a doctor fails to follow established treatment routines. Most conditions present clear protocols on treatment. Deviating from these procedures might result in malpractice.
- Injuries during childbirth can occur even in the best conditions. Giving birth remains high-risk and very sensitive, even with modern medicine. If a doctor did not follow protocol in prenatal care or delivery, a malpractice claim might arise.
- Errors in anesthesia are very scary situations. It takes a lot of research and evaluation to decide what kind of medication or sedation to give patients. Failing to carefully determine and administer anesthesia could harm or kill a patient. Therefore, malpractice might occur.
- Surgery errors can occur in any procedure. That is why patients must sign consent to allow doctors to perform the operations. Mistakes might occur without a physician knowing it. However, if a patient can prove that the physician failed to follow established protocol, they might have a malpractice claim. For example, paralyzing a patient during surgery because you skipped procedural steps might be malpractice.
- Wrong administration of medication might occur more commonly than a doctor might think. Today’s medications are sensitive chemical combinations. They can treat medical conditions very well if administered correctly. However, if prescribed or administered incorrectly, they might cause harm. Reactions could include allergic shock or physical harm. They could even exacerbate another condition a patient has. Doctors must comprehensively review a patient’s qualifications before prescribing a medication. They also must track the patient afterwards to see that they tolerate the condition well. Failing to do so could lead to malpractice.
Every malpractice case will differ. The best way to avoid malpractice claims is to simply follow the rules on a patient’s treatment plans.
Oversight and Professionalism are Key to Minimizing Risks
Every hospital, indeed, every physician, presents different safety risks to patients. Therefore, there is no real formula to prevent malpractice from occurring. However, facilities should establish straightforward rules and standards to prevent these.
Put regulations in place to verify that physicians know how to process a patient through treatment from start to finish. Regularly conduct reviews of all staff to ensure they always maintain their professional standards. The more you do, the better you can keep malpractice risks to a bare minimum.