Part BWhat is Medical Negligence?A hospital, doctor, nurse or otherhealth care professional is expected to provide a certain standard of care. A medical malpractice to beconsidered, a number of factors must be involved.1.
) Failure to provide aproper standard care – The law requires that health care professionals adhereto certain standards, or potentially face an accusation of negligence.2.) An injury results fromnegligence – If a patient feels the provider was negligent, but no harm orinjury occurs, there can be no claim. The patient must prove that negligencecaused injury or harm, and that, without the negligence, it would not havehappened.3.) The injury must havedamaging consequences – The patient must show that the injury or harm caused bythe medical negligence resulted in considered damage, such as,a) Sufferingb) Enduring hardshipc) Constant Paind) Considerable loss ofincomee) DisabilityBal (2009) states that for a caseof malpractice to be considered, the following must be true.”The Injured patient must show thatthe physician acted negligently in rendering care, and that such negligenceresulted in injury. To do so, four legal elements must be proven: (1) aprofessional duty owed to the patient; (2) breach of such duty; (3) injurycaused by the breach; and (4) resulting damages.
This includes doing nothingwhen they should have done something. This may be considered an act of omissionor a negligence.”Dissatisfaction with the outcome oftreatment does not imply malpractice.
It is only malpractice when there isnegligence and injury and negligence causes the harm or injury. Therefor Medical negligence ormedical malpractice defined as when a health care professional or providerneglects to provide appropriate treatment, omits to take an appropriate action,or gives substandard treatment that causes harm, injury, or death to a patient. Types of Error and Malpracticea) Misdiagnosis or failureto diagnoseb) Unnecessary orincorrect surgeryc) Premature discharged) Failure to orderappropriate tests or to act on resultse) Not following upf) Prescribing the wrongdosage or the wrong medicationg) Leaving things insidethe patient’s body after surgeryh) Operating on the wrongpart of the bodyi) The patient has persistentpain after surgeryj) Potentially fatalinfections acquired in the hospitalk) Pressure ulcers orbedsoresl) Negligent prenatal carem) Negligence duringchildbirthn) Anesthesia ErrorsOther serious incidents in the pasthave included fires in hospitals and patients committing suicide while in thecare of health staff. Informed ConsentIf the patient does not giveinformed consent to a medical procedure, the doctor or health care provider maybe liable if the procedure results in harm or injury, even if it was carriedout perfectly.
If a surgeon does not inform the patient that a procedureinvolves a 30 percent risk of losing a limb, and the patient loses a limb, thedoctor will be liable, even if the operation was done perfectly. This isbecause the patient may have opted not to go ahead if they had been informed ofthe risks.What does a medical negligence caseinvolve?If a patient thinks a medicalnegligence has happened he or she can file a case.
A medical negligence caseinvolves following parties.The Plaintiff – The person whocomplaints. This can be the patient, legal guardian, next of kin.The Defendant – The party who isbeing sued. This can be a hospital, a clinic, healthcare administrator, adoctor, a nurse or any health care provider.The Prevailing party – The partywho wins the case. Either plaintiff or the defendant.The Losing Party – The party wholoses the case.
The Face Finder – the judge or thejury. If a medical negligence case is wonby a plaintiff he or she may be awarded compensatory and punitive damages.Compensatory damages – It mayinclude economic damages, including lost earning capacity, life care expensesand medical expenses. Usually past and future losses are assessed.Compensatory damages may alsoinclude non economic damages, which assesses the injury itself, psychologicaland physical harm such as losing one’s vision, arms or legs, extreme pain, andemotional distress.Punitive damages are only awardedif the defendant is found guilty of malicious or willful misconduct. Punitivedamage is a form of punishment.
It is compensation in addition to actualdamages.If the injury is minor, the patientmay spend more on the lawsuit than the eventual money they will recover. Policies and Protocols that can beused to avoid Medical Negligence LawsuitsMedical negligence or malpracticelawsuits against physicians and other heat care providers are no longer solelybased on error in medical treatments. They have become more about how a patientfeels how they were treated or mistreated by the doctor, nurse, caregiver orthe health care facility. While this may seem irrational, its reality, and it’salso why health care professionals need to consider these few steps foravoiding a medical negligence when performing.1.) Establish a good patient-caregiverrelationshipsYourpatients expect to receive quality medical care from you. It is what broughtthem through your doors.
They also expect to be treated with true concern, kindnessand respect.Asthe care giver, it’s your job to help your patients feel comfortable. Sometimesmany of us aren’t when it comes to discussing our bodies and our health ingeneral. Respect and empathy go a long way in helping patients be forthcomingabout their overall health, specific ailments and how they feel abouttreatments that may be necessary.Openand honest communication, rooted in kindness and respect is vital to fosteringpositive patient caregiver relationships. It also helps you get to know yourpatients better and helps their family members gain a good understanding ofcare and procedures.
It all adds up to earning the trust of your patients. Andwhen you have a patients trust they are less likely to bring a lawsuit againstyou if something goes wrong.2.) Be clear and consistentInaddition to being compassionate it’s important to communicate clearly and onthe patient’s level.
Most of your patients won’t understand the technicalmedical terminology you use when conversing with colleagues. They’ll moreeasily understand common terms explained in simple ways. Illustrations can beuseful tools to help a patient visualize their diagnosis or show how a medicationor treatment wil improve a condition.
Beingconsistent in your care is equally important. The same level of care andprotocol should be administered to each patient you see.3.) Getting informedconsentBeforeyou engage in dialogue about a patient’s health and the care you’ll be giving,it’s crucial to get your patient’s informed consent. Informed consent means youdiscussed the advantages and the risks of the care you will provide and givesthe patient the opportunity to discuss alternatives.
Most health carefacilities obtain the informed consent of their patients by way of a signedagreement that is completed with enrolment paperwork. It’s a simple task, andan important one that can defend you in a malpractice case.4.) Accurate and completedocumentationMakingand keeping accurate records and documentation of a patient visits is importantand vital to a successful practice. In fact, documentation can make or break amalpractice lawsuit. In a case of negligence where no documentation is presentedto back up the provider, a jury is very likely to side with the patient. Poorlykept documentation fares are not good.
Good documentation charts and recordsthat are current thorough and specific to the exact care given at every visitcan be very helpful in supporting a health care worker during a medical negligencecase.5.) Stay CurrentTosay in business you are required to maintain your license through continuededucation, training and testing. But there is a whole world of medicine outsideof your specialty much of which is readily accessible to the public. Make sureto stay informed about the health care industry as a whole. You’ll be positionedto answer questions your parents may ask of you, building their confidence inyou.
And also you’ll be well versed representative in your medical community,something a jury will look upon with favour.6.) Be preparedDoctorsand health care professionals are often seen as distant and rushed.
Howevertrue that maybe of your practice, you should never compromise the time you giveto preparing for appointments. Do your very best to review your patient’s filesbefore walking in the door for an appointment. It is not only important toensure you are up to speed about a patient’s condition and care, but it’s alsoa simple matter of courteousness. Again showing that level of considerationreally is meaningful to you patients. When a patient feels like just anotherpatient, he or she may be more likely to sue in a case of medical negligence.
7.) Follow properproceduresItis important to build a positive patient and caregiver relationships. Asimportant as those relationships are they alone don’t trump the importance offollowing proper procedure and practice in your care. Policies are set for areason and they must be followed to ensure the best possible care is provided.This must be the case each and every time you see each and every patient. Andagain consistency in your procedures is of utmost importance.
The smallestinfraction against a set policy or procedure can cause devastating effects inthe treatment outcome for the patient and possibly a subsequent medicalnegligence lawsuit.Itis important that as policies and procedures or treatments are amended or addedto your practice, the official documentation used within your facility is alsoupdated. Avoiding a medical negligence case should be of utmost importance toyou.8.) Avoid developing badhabitsManyhospitals and practices are facing dozens of deficiencies that limit theirabilities, such as understaffing and the lack of funds.
While these hurdleswill certainly impact the overall capability of your practice as a whole, it isimportant to not let these shortcomings impact your work as an individual. Don’tlet obstacles lead you into developing careless habits that will have anegative effect on your patients. Understaffing and limited budgets aresignificant issues in the healthcare industry that must be addressed on alarger scale. But do not let that become an excuse for you to lower your own expectationsand exertion.