Doctors fear medical malpractice. Many clinicians will be sued for medical malpractice during their careers. There are many fallacies surrounding this topic. This article review some medical malpractice information.
Functional Elements of a Lawsuit
A simple mistake or error in diagnosis or error during a procedure does not define medical malpractice. Four things must be proved to have a case of malpractice. These are causation, duty to the patient, negligence or breach of duty, and damages.
There are several recurring themes in malpractice cases that doctors should always consider. These categories are patient care/diagnosis, referral, communication, documentation, physician skills, and protocols/guidelines.
Patient Care and Diagnosis
Physician Skills/Continuing Medical Education (CME)
Protocols and guidelines help because they are approved by large numbers of doctors from different fields. Explain when you chose not to use the protocol or guideline. It is fine to deviate from established protocols; however always explain the medical reason for doing so.
Reports indicate that medical malpractice-related costs are almost $60 billion, or between 2% to 3% of annual healthcare spending. This total does not include all the medical price incurred from unwarranted tests and treatments to avoid lawsuits.
Often, there are situations when a malpractice claim is necessary. The reasons might be beyond the clinician's control; nevertheless, most malpractice cases arise from events that are preventable. People commonly believe, that all malpractice cases stem from gross errors, yet, in truth many times mistakes are simple. A clinician-patient relationship should be founded on understanding a situation and managing details that can be controlled to avoid complications from unexpected events.
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