MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE AND THE LAW- AN ANALYSIS : Day 4

27 January, 2018

COMMON SOURCES OF NEGLIGENCE

In Nursing Care by Nursing and Paramedical Staffs
  • Medication errors that result in injury to patients
  • Intravenous therapy errors
  • Burn to patients caused by equipment, bathing or spill of hot liquids and food
  • Falls resulting in injury to patients
  • Failure to use aseptic technique where required
  • Errors in sponge, instruments, or needle count in surgical cases
  • Failure to give a report or giving an incomplete report, to an oncoming shift
  • Failure to adequately monitor a patient’s condition
  • Failure to notify a physician of a significant change in the patient’s status

In Medical and Surgical Care by Doctors
  • Poor and ineffective facilities
  • Substandard and defective equipment
  • Absence of standard treatment
  • Poor medical record keeping and failure or refusal to hand over copies of the same to the Consumer
  • Communication failure with the patient like rudeness and nondisclosure of vital details of actions taken

VICARIOUS LIABILITY

Under this principle, the liability of the hospital authorities extends to the fault of doctors and others employees whether their employment is permanent, temporary or casual, paid or honorary, whole time or part time as in the case of visiting physicians or surgeons. To hold a hospital vicariously liable for the negligence or wrongful acts of an independent contractor physician, a Plaintiff must show that:
  1. The hospital held itself out to the public as providing medical services;
  2. The Plaintiff looked to the hospital rather than to the individual physician to perform those services; and
  3. The patient accepted those services in the reasonable belief that the services were provided by the hospital or the hospital employee. Doctors are not liable for their services individually or vicariously if they do not charge fees.
PREVENTION OF MALPRACTICE LITIGATIONS
  1. Good communication and obtaining informed consent after explaining the condition in comprehensible non-medical terms such as diagnosis, nature of treatment, risks involved, prospects of success, prognosis if the procedure is not performed and alternative methods of treatment;
  2. Using checklists protocols and computerised decision aids for prescription writing;
  3. Documents related to a particular case should be maintained properly
  4. Finances and bills should be properly explained and informed at the time of admission or even before admission
  5. Always give guarded prognosis
  6. Avoid use of a drug for unproved unlabelled indications especially where risk of drug use is higher than expected benefits


Read Day 3 Here
Read Day 2 Here
Read Day 1 Here