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Best practices to avoid medical malpractice lawsuits


Medicine is not an exact science but is subject to the knowledge of the moment and therefore is not exempt from the possibility of making mistakes that result in a lawsuit. Here are practices that can be implemented in a medical organization or service to minimize the risk of malpractice.

A physician’s primary goal is to use his or her medical care to help sick people recover. Currently, in the ethical principles of medical practice, the term “principle of charity” is used, which is to promote the patient’s welfare as a fundamental objective implicit in the principle of “do no harm”, i.e., avoid any action. This means avoiding any action that could cause harm to the patient.

Medical care should have the following components: Be timely and patient-centered. Meet the patient’s health needs and expectations. Quality, safety, effectiveness, efficiency and equity. Patient satisfaction and staff satisfaction. Be based on continuous staff training and updating.

But what happens if these principles are not respected? Medical malpractice The concept of medical malpractice is defined as a negligence or error committed by a physician or health professional, endangering the patient’s life. Good doctor-patient communication is fundamental to building a good relationship. It also allows the patient to express him/herself and to trust the healthcare personnel accompanying him/her. Good communication can often prevent malpractice claims. Avoidable medical malpractice refers to situations such as error or delay in medical treatment, failure to diagnose, lack of informed consent, lack of training, birth injury or obstetrical malpractice, surgical error, medical equipment failure, inadequate supervision or continuation of treatment, lack of teamwork or communication, fractures, infections or subsequent injuries, including intentional injuries. Unavoidable medical malpractice corresponds to situations such as unknown allergic reactions or known adverse events.

Recommendations to prevent a medical malpractice lawsuit Here are some recommendations to minimize the risk of lawsuits in your daily practice: Continuing medical education and training. It is a good recommendation to choose continuing education courses that endorse the staff’s capacity, as well as refresher courses on specialized topics.

Adequate, clear and precise medical documentation. It should be remembered that the medical record is a medical-legal instrument in which absolutely all the patient’s information is recorded. These documents must include the informed consent where the patient authorizes the medical intervention after the physician has informed him/her freely, voluntarily and consciously about the procedure, its risks and benefits.

Establish good doctor-patient communication. This aspect is essential to establish a pleasant and trusting relationship with the patient and family.

Apply medical care guidelines in daily clinical practice.

Good working conditions. This includes a balance in the workload of all staff.

Having permanent visibility and understanding of the possible adverse effects of any treatment, therapy, medical device, etcetera.

10 recommendations to prevent medical error, malpractice and professional liability Here are some other practical tips and recommendations that will help reduce the risks of facing a lawsuit. Have the corresponding university degrees and accreditations to back them up: University degree and diploma duly registered with the competent authorities for all personnel. Professional and/or specialist credentials for all personnel. Certification from the corresponding Specialty Board. Maintain a high level of competence through continuing medical education, updates and certifications. Provide comprehensive medical care, with timeliness, professional competence, safety and respect for the ethical principles of medical practice. Support professional competence in the availability of current medical knowledge, in the skills required for the performance of procedures and in the development of experience for the solution of complex problems. Refer the patient to another physician, to the corresponding medical unit or level of care, when the necessary elements are lacking to provide care with the necessary quality and safety. Support the decisions made by the medical staff with the available evidence. Adhere to safety and risk prevention measures for patients. Consult and use the Clinical Practice Guidelines. Justify in the clinical record the decisions made, especially when they are not supported by current regulations. In general, the best practice is to ensure that you manage an adequate medical practice under legal guidelines, as well as continuous medical training that will increase your knowledge in your field with a high level of competence. All of this can protect a practice, office or clinic from suffering events such as a malpractice suit.

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