Something which you never ever want to happen as a medical professional is for someone to file a case of malpractice against you. As doctors and nurses we all have a duty and a responsibility to keep our patients safe and do the best we can to treat them, and sometimes this just isn’t enough and the patient will sadly pass away. Most families are understanding when it comes to a loss like this, but now and again you may have a family who accuses you of not doing enough and this can be a huge dent in your career. Today we are going to talk about some ways that you can prevent medical malpractice and protect yourself.
It is important for people in a hospital or a doctor’s surgery to be able to communicate rapidly under stress. For example if someone goes into cardiac arrest, a code is sent out and there will be a team of doctors who will run from where they are in the hospital to treat the patient. When we find out more about malpractice one of the common issues can be a lack of communication and it is true that a lack of communication can cause issues. Make sure that you always have pagers or phones or walkie talkies in hand to communicate in an emergency.
Get it in writing
One of the hardest things for you to hear as a doctor is when someone decides that they no longer want to be treated and they instead want to go into palliative care for the rest of their lives. It’s hard for us to do as doctors but it is even harder for families, and if they weren’t present at the time they might not believe that this is what their family member really wanted. This is why it is important to get things like this in writing because it will give you protection after they pass. If you can prove that they asked for this, you won’t be put on the line for it.
Keep in the loop with standards
As a healthcare professional it is always important for you to provide the most up to date and accurate care for your patients. This means that every month it can be a good idea to have a meeting with the team and discuss any new methods or treatments which have been discovered, and to decide whether you should try these yourself. Being up to date with the world of medicine ensures that you are always providing first class care to your patients and therefore you cannot be argued against for using older methods than what is available.
Consent as we know is when we get someone’s permission to do something. In a medical setting consent can be the difference between life and death and it is something which is incredibly important for you to uphold. Always be sure to gain consent from your patient which is informed, and this means that your patient is sentient and able to understand what they are agreeing to. This can be tricky with patients who have mental issues such as Alzheimer’s so be sure to make sure they know what is going on, or that they have someone else who can make the decisions for them.
Medical malpractice isn’t always something which results in the death of a patient. It can also be something which results in someone having long term issues. This is why it can be a good idea for you as a doctor to follow up on your treatment at all timed and be sure to take the time to debrief and discuss things with your patient. They will sometimes find it hard to cope with their new lifestyle and this is why you have to be there as a comfort blanket and offer them the support and the advice that they need.
Understand what they are going through
As a doctor the hardest thing for you to manage is to put yourself in their shoes and be able to see what they must be feeling. To give your patient the best possible care that you can, you need to do this because you will be able to see things from a different viewpoint and change your attitude accordingly. When you see what someone else is thinking and feeling you can become a better doctors as a result because you can adjust your treatments and your approach to suit them the best.