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The Medical Malpractice Myth

~The Reality of Medical Malpractice~


Have you ever heard someone say: "the customer is always right" (even when they're not)? Take a look at the following two famous medical cases:


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A well-respected gynecologist, Dr. Nikita Levy, secretly took thousands of images and videos of over 8,000 of his patients, thereby infringing on their human privacy rights. When his files were discovered and he was fired, he committed suicide and left the debt to the hospital where he worked at.


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This recent case convicted Dr. Seth Lookhart of nearly 50 felony and misdemeanor counts, including hoverboard tooth extraction, Medicaid fraud, and anesthetic procedure without consent or training. His sentence: 12 years of incarceration, 8 years suspension, and 10 years of probation.


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~Reasons for Medical-Related Disputes~


Unlike some medical cases that have made it to the news headlines, the majority of medical disputes arise from a number of things. These include:

~ lack of communication,

~ defective case records,

~ mistakes during operation,

~ and a number of other issues.


~The Malpractice Myth~


Believe it or not, 93% of all medical malpractice cases are resolved outside the courtroom. In fact, not only physicians but also nurses, PAs, and other healthcare providers face false accusations all the time.


A preliminary report study across a number of hospitals in Shanghai found, that about 3.54% of the 561 medical disputes analyzed were on the grounds of misdiagnosis and mistreatment. In comparison, Zinda Law Group shows a diagram on their website stating that 52% of all emergency room medical malpractice cases in the United States involved misdiagnosis.


In November 2020, a scientific article reviewed 177 medical malpractice cases against cardiac surgeons in the U.S. over a time period of 25 years (1994-2019). They found that 50% of physicians were accused of malpractice due to patient death. But did you know that 54% of these clinical cases involved cardiac arrest? Cardiac arrest is the result of an abnormality in heart ventricle function, not medical malpractice.


~Malpractice Prevention~


Physicians have been given local and national guidelines for overall professional work ethic. If adhered to, these laws may actually protect the medical practitioners from false accusations. To ensure this, it is important that physicians:

  • Are familiar with their local and state laws,

  • Get written patient consent for any examinations and procedures,

- This requires clear communication with the patient, and additional explanation, if necessary, in order to prevent misunderstandings.

  • Offer chaperoned examinations,

- A chaperone would usually be a health professional with medical training in the field of examination.

  • And keep careful records of all the physician’s interactions with the patient.

- Documenting discussions, including anything relevant to the patient’s consent and decisions regarding the presence of a chaperone, as well as the chaperones’ names.


~Takeaways~


Keep in mind, that:

  1. Although the guidelines listed here are U.S.-based, healthcare systems around the world have adopted similar strategies in order to protect all healthcare providers.

  2. Mistakes are a natural part of being human - they are a part of life! Mistakes happen, even to the best of us. (Take our cells, for example. Those little characters make mistakes all the time and look at us now: a human population of nearly 8 billion)


 

Thanks for stopping by! :)

~Ryen Belle Harran~

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