How to Avoid Medical Malpractice

How to Avoid Medical Malpractice

The medical profession is one of the noblest professions in the world. Doctors give people new lives; they often bring them out of near-death situations. But this noble profession can land in hot waters in the case of medical malpractice. Often, a minor mistake or misunderstanding can cause medical malpractice. And suppose a patient files a medical malpractice lawsuit against a doctor or a healthcare practitioner. In that case, it can seriously tarnish their reputation and career. It also costs a good fortune to hire a lawyer and fight the case.

A doctor is always scared of getting sued, but it is almost inevitable. No amount of advancement and development in technology or clinical practices can eliminate error. But you can lessen the chances of malpractice by taking precautions. Here are seven ways you can avoid medical malpractice as a healthcare practitioner.

1) Document Everything:

Make sure that you write down and document every detail of a patient's case. Document all the visits, discussions during the visits, the medicines or the tests you prescribed, the results that came in, etc. It will help you a lot in the long-run and short-run as well. You cannot memorize every detail about a patient, so it's better to document every meeting with your patient to keep the minor details safe. It increases the chances of better treatment. 

For example, if a newborn suffers from cerebral palsy due to a healthcare professional's negligence during childbirth. The family has the right to hold the responsible party accountable in this situation. The family may also file a claim for cerebral palsy medical malpractice to establish the value of their case and collect financial compensation.

As a result, lawyers with the required abilities and experience to negotiate birth injury litigation may submit a claim against the medical provider. In that case, the first thing that will help you is the documentation and all the records. It might even help you win the case, thus helping in the long run.

2) Keep An Eye on Every Little Detail:

It is an obvious thing, yet necessary to mention. Every patient has a history of habits that can directly and greatly affect the current case you are handling. Be sure to watch out for every little detail because without knowing everything about a patient, the chances of mistreatment are very high. Sometimes medical malpractice may occur due to other underlying factors that were undiagnosed. It is better to double-check the patient's medical history, the diagnosis, the suggested treatment, ensure you are using the correct medical equipment, etc. It is also important to get a consent form signed by the patient. If this is not done, it is medical negligence and most definitely will lead to medical malpractice. It would help if you were very thorough about all the risks and complications involved. Bring all the risks involved in the procedure, no matter how small, under the knowledge of the patient before he agrees to perform the procedure. 

3) Clear Communication and Patient Education:

As a practitioner with years of practice, you are much more proficient in medical terms that others might not even be able to pronounce. They might not understand all the detailed information you provide them. It is important to communicate with your patients in a layman's language. So they can understand you. There can be a literacy or language barrier between you and your patients. Be sure to overcome such barriers so that your patients can express themselves clearly. And ensure that patients completely follow what you are telling them. Miscommunication is the number one cause of medical malpractice. The communication needs to be clear both ways, so you can correctly diagnose and treat the patient.

4) An open and Trusting Relationship with the patient:

Having a trusting and open relationship with your patients is necessary for their correct diagnosis and treatment. If the patient believes the doctor did not give him enough time, did not listen to his concerns, was disrespectful to him, and so on, he is unlikely to trust him. Suppose the doctor-patient relationship is not open. Then the patients might not share their personal information, like drug use or sexual activities, etc., which heavily affects the diagnosis and treatment. 

5) Maintain High Standards:

Keep in mind to set higher standards for each step in your medical practice. Have stringent and clear policies for prescriptions and treatments. Make sure you check up on the patient after taking your prescribed medicine or tests. Be very open to receiving complaints and keen to solve them. Have a high standard for protecting and storing patients' data. You should have policies about cancellations as well. Having strict policies will help you with every other factor mentioned here. With strict policies, you can reduce the chances of misdiagnosis. Also, ensure you are up-to-date about the developments in your specialty.

6) Ask for Help and Make Referrals:

No matter how experienced and knowledgeable you are, you cannot know every prescription for every symptom of all the patients. Many things do not fall under your area of specialty. If you see such a case where you are unsure, there is no shame in asking for help. You should always refer the relevant specialist to your patient. Suppose a patient is coming in again and again with the same symptoms and with little to no improvement. In that case, you should consider sending them to another specialist. Being honest with your patient will only increase their trust in you. It will also help you avoid any medical malpractices.

7) If Something Goes Wrong:

Medical malpractice is almost unavoidable. During your practice, you will have to face this situation one day. Even if you do everything correctly, but malpractice still occurs, you should react reasonably. If something goes wrong during your practice, whether it is a wrong diagnosis, treatment, or operation, ensure to follow up on the patient. Don't hide or avoid the patients and their families. Be there for them, have a detailed discussion, and let them know you care for them. When a doctor neglects or avoids patients after malpractice, there are higher chances of them suing the doctor. The empathetic and caring behavior of the doctor is crucial in such circumstances.

Conclusion:

As a healthcare practitioner, you must always take careful steps to avoid medical malpractice throughout your practice. The smallest-looking things can sometimes cause the biggest adverse outcomes. And the last thing you want is a medical malpractice lawsuit to shatter your confidence and harm your career. You can find some guidelines in this article by which you can avoid a malpractice situation.



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