Medical malpractice occurs when a medical practitioner causes harm to a patient in their care due to negligence, which can result in serious health repercussions for the patient. Apart from negligence, malpractice can also be attributed to incorrect diagnoses, treatment and aftercare as well as general health management of the patient. The cost for a malpractice suit for the practitioner depends completely on the laws of the place where it occurred. Similarly, the chances of getting sued with malpractice or experiencing it depend on where the person in question is living. Due to the complex nature of medical malpractice, it is suggested to always follow a strict set of rules with every patient in order to ensure that upon such an instance, you are not held responsible for the misfortune.
Steps to Halt Malpractice Suits
If you follow these steps every time a patient comes to you, there will be no reason to worry about malpractice.
There is absolutely nothing more important than this when trying not to get sued. This is the building block of a healthy and supportive doctor-patient relationship. Issues related to communication are the largest causes of malpractice suits. Despite your expertise and extensive knowledge, establishing a clear and communicative exchange is of extreme importance.
2. Written Documentation
While information given verbally can be used to prevent a malpractice suit, written proof that states you took all the necessary measures to uphold your oath and protect your patient is crucial in fighting against it. Ideally, this documentation should be explicit and clearly worded. There are some things you need to remember while recording. Sign everything with the date and time, specify the patient by name in the report, note down everything you discover and when you discover it, and if there is any ambiguity on whether to document something or not, choose the former.
3. Understand the Law
When beginning your practice, especially if it is in a new place, make it a point to read up on everything there is to know about malpractice laws. Take time to absorb the information and double-check everything you have and whether it falls in line with the laws. Also, don’t just do this once. Make it a habit to check up every few years. Better yet, stay notified whenever the regulations change.
4. Obtain Informed Consent
This is a no-brainer but very important not to ignore. An informed consent form is necessary before any major medical procedure. Here, communication will come in play as you need to convey the possible risks and the costs of the procedure and make sure the patient understands what it means. An informed consent can be given by the patient themselves or, in some cases, the guardian.
5. Follow Up
Normally, you would think that your job is done when the patient has left your care, but that is hardly true. After administering any treatment to the patient, it is necessary to check up on them from time to time until they have completely recovered. The patient is not the only one you should be following up with. If another doctor, such as a specialist, was involved in administering anything during the treatment, remember to follow up with them as well.
6. Ask for Help
Now some would ask what this has to do with malpractice, but it does more than is obvious at first glance. Sometimes, you might face hurdles in trying to diagnose your patient and have the slightest hint that a particular condition may be something else. If that is the case, don’t be too proud to ask someone else for their help or opinion on the matter.