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Tag Archives: Malpractice

Medical License Verification to Minimize Medical Negligence and Medical Malpractice

A 1984 Harvard study of more than 30000 records from 51 randomly selected hospitals in New York found that adverse medical events occur in the more than 3.7% of patients admitted and that more than a quarter of these were due to medical negligence. Close to 14% of the adverse medical events were fatal and 2.6% resulted in severe disability. When extrapolated to the 2.7 million patients discharged from New York hospitals that year about 13,450 people died and 2250 were seriously injured. (When Doctors Kill By Stephen J. Cina, Joshua A. Perper).

These are the stats which are showing the medical malpractice and medical negligence issues of the most prominent and advanced city of the world. After reading those horrible figures one can understand that the world is suffering from medical malpractice and negligence on a much higher scale and the prevention only lies when we background check our doctor or medical practitioner through primary source verification, medical credentialing and by medical license verification.

Investigation and verification of medical license can assure you the safety and integrity of the doctor or a medical practitioner you are going to get treated. To practice medicine, a practitioner must obtain a license from the appropriate state licensing agency (i.e. state medical board). A physician usually applies for a state license after completing medical school and passing an examination that established his or her knowledge in the basic sciences.

When a medical professional is suspected of a board violation, he or she will likely be investigated to determine if disciplinary action is necessary. The conditions for discipline vary from board to board and state to state, but there are some rules that are adopted by all or almost all professional boards. Some of the common grounds for discipline include:

• License registration or renewal fraud

• Verify license, expiration date, and sanctions or limitations.

• Medical practice misconduct, fraud, or negligence

• Committing a health law violation

• Practicing while a license is pending or suspended

• Practicing while under the influence of alcohol or drugs

• Alcohol or drug dependency

• Committing a criminal offense

• Qualifying as mentally unstable or insane

Core Criteria for Medical License Verification

The core criteria followed by different international organizations like joint commission international for medical license verification is performed at the time of initial appointment, and at the time of each reappointment and/or re-privileging, and is recommended at the time of license expiration. The following points must be considered while performing medical license verification:

• Date and time of the license issuance.

• State of licensure, license number, date of original licensure and expiration date.

• Name (first and last) of the person initiating the verification call

• Name (first and last) of the person verifying the information

• Are there any current, past, or pending restrictions on the license?

• Are there any current, past, or pending disciplinary actions against the practitioner?

Peer Referencing is Essential for Medical License Verification

Peer Referencing is very important when medical license verification process is live. A peer must be someone who knows the doctor or medical practitioner from past three to five years. If the applicant is finished training during past three to five years the peer referencing letter must be from his/ her training program director. And at least one reference from the practitioners specialty which marks the reputation and competency factors.

What to verify:

1. Relationship of peer to the applicant (Training director, colleague practitioner, etc).

2. How the peer is aware of applicant’s current clinical competency.

3. Validation and confirmation by the peer of the applicants request for clinical privileges.

Potential verification Method: Send a letter, and a questionnaire directly to the peer reference.

Conclusion

Every medical professional must be licensed in order to legally practice medicine. Licensing boards are run at the state level and dictate the licensing requirements and conditions for all physicians or nurses within a particular state. These boards oblige all licensed individuals to meet certain criterion in order to remain in good standing. If a medical practitioner whether a doctor or nurse acts in a way that violates the code set by the board, he or she could be put on probation or could have his or her license revoked altogether.

Muhammad Saad Khan is a Research Analyst at Q2 Group. Q2 is specialized in medical credentialing, primary source verification, and medical license verification according to the standards of joint commission international.

Medical Malpractice For South Carolina

The vast majority of medical and health care providers including primarily hospitals, surgeons, doctors, pharmacists, physicians, nurses and emergency medical technicians (“EMTs”)do offer excellent care that will help us to recover from a personal injury or medical condition. However, some providers fail to meet the requisite standard of care, and, under such circumstances, may be guilty of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice, commonly called “medmal” for short, generally occurs when a negligent, careless or reckless act, mistake, error, or omission by a doctor or other medical professional causes damage or harm to a patient

 

COMMON TYPES OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

It has been estimated that almost 98,000 people die in hospitals in the United States each year, and that medication errors injure approximately 1.3 million people per year. Medical malpractice errors or negligence typically occur in the diagnosis or treatment of a patient, and may include, but are not limited to:

>Failure to treat
>Wrong treatment
>Delay in diagnosis
>Failure to diagnose
>Failure to rule out causes or conditions
>Misdiagnosis
>Failure to test
>Failure to obtain informed consent
>Surgical injury
>Wrong prescription of drugs
>Patient abandonment
>Use of defective medical products

A patient’s right to recover compensation for medical malpractice is generally governed by common law as well as statutes and regulations which have been promulgated to protect patients who have been subjected to medical malpractice or medical negligence. Medical malpractice suits are usually complex, time-consuming, expensive to litigate, dependent upon expert testimony, and vigorously defended by health care providers and their insurers.

 

ELEMENTS OF A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE OR MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE CLAIM

The medical malpractice personal injury victim is commonly referenced as a “plaintiff” and the person or entity that caused the harm is commonly referenced as a “defendant.” The South Carolina Supreme Court has set forth the elements of negligence with regard to a medical malpractice personal injury claim that a plaintiff has to prove as follows:

>A physician-patient relationship exists
>The generally recognized and accepted practices and procedures that would be followed by average, competent practitioners in the defendants’ field of medicine under the same or similar circumstances >That the defendant departed from the recognized and generally accepted standards
>The defendant’s departure from such generally recognized practices and procedures was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s alleged injuries and damages

 

Thus, the medical malpractice lawyer and his client must present evidence to meet each of the foregoing elements at trial.

A physician commits malpractice by not exercising that degree of skill and learning that is ordinarily possessed and exercised by members of the profession in good standing acting in the same or similar circumstances. Durham v. Vinson, 360 S.C. 639 (2004). A plaintiff and his attorney must proffer expert testimony to prove both the required standard of care and the defendant’s failure to conform to that standard, unless the subject matter lies within the ambit of common knowledge so that no special learning is required to evaluate the conduct of the defendants.

 

INFORMED CONSENT CLAIM

A physician’s failure to obtain a patient’s “informed consent” with regard to a procedure or treatment is a form of medical malpractice. The term “informed consent” means that a physician must tell a patient all of the potential benefits, risks, and alternatives involved in any surgical procedure, diagnostic procedure, medical procedure, therapeutic procedure, or other course of treatment, and must obtain the patient’s written consent to proceed. Under Informed consent law, a physician who performs a diagnostic, therapeutic, or surgical procedure has a duty to disclose to a patient of sound mind, in the absence of an emergency that warrants immediate medical treatment, (1) the diagnosis, (2) the general nature of the contemplated procedure, (3) the material risks involved in the procedure, (4) the probability of success associated with the procedure, (5) the prognosis if the procedure is not out, and (6) the existence of any alternatives to the procedure. Thus, the plaintiff and his lawyer must present evidence of the physician’s breach of the foregoing elements of an informed consent claim in order to prevail at trial.

 

BREACH OF CONTRACT OR WARRANTY CLAIM

While most health care providers will not guarantee or warrant a particular outcome, there are times when they do, and a failure to successfully provide the outcome may give rise to a breach of contract or breach of warranty claim. These type cases usually involve plastic surgery wherein the patient is told that his or her post-surgery physical appearance will be the same as demonstrated on a computerized enhancement of the patient’s photograph. Thus, much like a business breach of contract claim, the plaintiff and his lawyer must present evidence of the physician’s breach of the stated warranty or guarantee by the preponderance of evidence in order to prevail at trial.

 

COMPENSATION IN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASES

In a medical malpractice personal injury lawsuit, a victim seeks compensation for the injury or injuries he or she has suffered. Compensation can include past and future medical expenses, disability or deformity, loss of income, emotional and mental anguish, loss of a spouse’s comfort and society, past and future pain and suffering, and an amount which would be necessary to make the person whole as respects a permanent personal injury. McNeil v. United States, 519 F.Supp. 283 (D.S.C. 1981). In cases where the defendant acted recklessly, maliciously or willfully, punitive damages may also be awarded. Punitive damages in medical malpractice lawsuits are intended to punish the responsible party and deter others from committing the same acts. Gamble v. Stevenson, 305 S.C. 104, 406 S.E.2d 350 (1991). If a wrongful death results from the medical malpractice, the decedent’s beneficiaries are entitled to compensation.

 

CAPS ON MEDICAL MALPRACTICE DAMAGES

For medical malpractice cases arising on or after July 1, 2005, which placed caps on non-economic damages a patient could recover from a liable defendant health care provider. S.C. Code § 15-32-220(a) limits the civil liability for non-economic damages of the health care provider to an amount not to exceed $ 350,000 for each claimant regardless of the number of separate causes of action on which the claim is based. S.C. Code § 15-32-220(a) provides an exception to the foregoing cap where the health care provider is proven to be grossly negligent, willful, wanton or reckless and that conduct was the proximate cause of the claimant’s non-economic damages. S.C. Code 15-32-220(b) provides that the $ 350,000 cap is limited to each claimant. S.C. Code 15-32-220(c) allows a claimant to stack his claim, and provides that up to three health care providers may be subject to the $ 350,000 cap per claimant, for a total of $ 1,050,000 per claimant.

 

The non-economic damage cap of $ 350,000 per medical entity or practice or person does not apply to economic damages and does not apply to punitive damages. Effective for medical malpractice cases arising on or after July 1, 2005, S.C. Code 15-32-230 further limits liability with regard to emergency obstetrical or emergency department situations. This section eliminates liability on behalf of any person providing emergency care or emergency obstetrical care to a person in immediate threat of death or an immediate threat of serious bodily injury while in an emergency room, obstetrical or surgical suite, unless the health care provider is proven to be grossly negligent. Other caps or limitations may be applicable to a medical malpractice case as well.

 

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

The plaintiff’s attorney must timely bring a medical malpractice suit within the required timeframes. There are time limits on bringing a personal injury lawsuit in the state of South Carolina known as statutes of limitations. See S.C. Code 15-3-530(5); 15-3-535. While a medical malpractice personal injury suit is generally subject to a three year statute of limitations, there may be exceptions depending on the circumstances, such as a medical malpractice case where the negligent conduct may be covered by a concept known as the “discovery rule.” See S.C. Code 15-3-545; Wilson v. Shannon, 299 S.C. 512, 386 S.E.2d 257 (Ct. App. 1989).

 

The statutes of limitations are different for negligence suits against a South Carolina state government agency pursuant to the South Carolina Tort Claims Act (“TCA”) and the federal government pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”). Under the TCA, a suit must generally be filed within two years, unless a verified claim is filed within a year of the injury, then the statute of limitations is three years. S.C. Code § 15-78-110. Under the FTCA, an administrative tort claim must generally be presented to the subject federal agency within two years. Once a timely administrative tort claim has been filed, there is no statute of limitations on bringing a suit unless the federal agency denies the claim, in which case a suit must be brought in federal court within six months after the denial. 28 U.S.C. 1346(b), 1402, 2401, 2675.

 

NECESSITY OF AN EXPERT

South Carolina Code 15-79-125 requires, on medical malpractice cases arising on or after July 1, 2005, that before a medical malpractice suit can be filed, a plaintiff has to simultaneously file both a notice of intent to file suit and an affidavit of an expert witness subject to the affidavit requirements established in 15-36-100 in a county in which venue would be proper for filing or initiating the action. Statutory mediation of any such medical malpractice case is required as well, and, there are time limits for filing suit should the attempted mediation fail. As noted above, an expert’s testimony is necessary at trial to prove a breach of the standard of care and proximate cause of the injury, and the medical malpractice lawyer should retain a medical expert early on to assess the case and to be prepared to testify at trial.

 

Medical malpractice suits in South Carolina are difficult to pursue. Before undertaking a med-mal suit, the injured client would be well advised to consult with a lawyer with medical malpractice experience.

 

Joseph P. Griffith, Jr., Esquire
Joe Griffith Law Firm, LLC
7 State Street
Charleston, South Carolina 29401
(843) 225-5563 (tel)
(843) 722-6254 (fax)
http://www.joegriffith.com

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Anesthesia Medical Malpractice

In the United States, medical malpractice is very common.  Anesthesia medical malpractice make up the majority of these malpractice cases, ranking twelfth highest of the medical specialties where doctors in these specialties have to pay compensation for their mistakes.  Anesthesia malpractice is life changing.  A doctor’s negligence can cause permanent damage to the brain and even death.

Even though medical malpractice is common, proving negligence with anesthesia cases against the defendant is not easy to do.  One reason is that a patient is heavily sedated, even unconscious at times, when given anesthesia.  Another reason proving doctor’s negligence is difficult is because there is little to no notes taken for a patient’s medical record during surgery.

How Can Medical Malpractice Related to Anesthesia be Avoided?

Taking thorough notes on every patient should be standard by hospitals, so any chances of anesthesia malpractice can be avoided.  Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and while the patient is under anesthesia, an error occurs.  A patient’s medical record should include:

A pre-anesthesia exam
Informed consent form
Operative record
Transfer notes
Doctor notes
Post-anesthesia record

Regrettably, there are cases when notes of a patient were taken but sadly, they were “altered” or “misplaced” to cover up their misconduct.  Malpractice insurers and professional medical societies have a duty to inform health care professionals not to alter any medical records.  Nonetheless, this professional and ethical advice gets forgotten when a mistake does occur that was life altering or even life threatening.

Where Does Medical Malpractice Happen?

It is often thought that medical malpractice with anesthesia takes place only in an operating room.  This is not the case, anesthesia mistakes can occur before surgery, after surgery, any procedure room and even in a dental office.  Any type of situation where anesthesia is given can result in malpractice, from childbirth to a simple dental procedure.

A patient can suffer many different types of problems due to this type of medical malpractice.  Some of the more common injuries a patient can suffer include:

Cerebral palsy
Brain damage
Nerve damage
Paralysis

How Can You be Prepared?

Most of these anesthesia malpractice cases are unintentional but not any less devastating to an individual.  It is important to be aware of these mistakes and be prepared for them.  Sharing your medical records with your doctor, anesthesiologist, and close family members is a good way to be prepared.  Make sure you and others are aware if you have any allergies or if you could have a harmful reaction before administering the anesthesia.

If you or someone you know, was a victim of an anesthesia medical mistake contact an experience medical attorney immediately.  They can evaluate your claim and will go over all of your legal options.

David Austin is an Attorney focused on complex injury cases. You can learn more about Anesthesia Medical Malpractice at his website. http://www.Burke-Eisner.com