Patients hold their doctors to extremely high standards. They expect their care providers to see to their needs. More importantly, they expect them to not make mistakes.
Should a doctor make mistakes, he or she could face a malpractice claim. Malpractice claims usually arise from alleged negligence on the part of the physician. If that negligence harmed the patient, they may face life-altering circumstances.
Since most malpractice claims center around negligence, physicians must understand what negligence is. They should also determine how best to avoid negligence allegations in their practice.
What is Medical Negligence?
The definition of physician negligence is often fluid. It mostly applies to scenarios when a physician departs from the standard course of care. Given the sensitivity of medical treatment, any variation in normal treatment is often against regulations.
Just because a doctor commits negligence doesn’t mean it will result in harm to the patient. However, the risk that harm may occur does increase because a doctor is not following standard procedure. As risk increases, the grounds for a medical malpractice claim also might increase.
Preventing Malpractice Claims
Should a patient feel that a doctor's negligence harmed them, they might sue for malpractice. Malpractice allegations could result in a trial or legal settlement. Any malpractice claim could cost a physician or facility money.
Doctors should take steps to reduce their chances of negligence. One of the best ways is to review your procedures of care. You can reduce your malpractice risks by overseeing your own practices.
- Maintain comprehensive records of your patients. Always document any changes to your patient’s course of treatment at the time of the change. In other words, take good notes.
- When meeting with a patient, make sure you always listen to the patient. A good bedside manner will help you pick up on clues that might help you make a diagnosis or avoid mistakes.
- Only give care and treatments for which you have training. Never perform any treatment without following established codes of conduct. This may include following the law regarding supervision, sanitation and post-treatment monitoring. By and large, perform services by the book.
- Never give elective treatment to a patient without getting consent. Always explain what the treatment involves, and how a patient can expect to respond to treatment.
- If you do not feel comfortable giving certain treatments, recommend a patient seek a second opinion. You might refer the patient to another physician who specializes in their condition.
By reducing your risks of negligence during treatment, you can reduce your risk of malpractice claims.
The Joseph A. Britton Agency, Inc. has your malpractice needs in mind. Call us at 800.462.3401 for more information on New York medical malpractice insurance.