Why patients sue and how institutions can mitigate their risk

Medical negligence has been cited as a major cause of patient suffering and deaths in our nation. It is due to the frequency and publicity that has been given such practices that it has become a major concern to the general public. Despite such concerns and increasing incidences of suing of practicing physicians by patients, the practice is far from over. Existing statistics have shown that medical professionals have an estimated 40 percent chances of being sued in their career lifetime (Bhat, 2001).

It has however been evidently established that such cases are not mainly a direct result of malpractices. It is due to this that mitigating malpractices in the medical profession needs more than just ensuring competent clinicians. This essay talks about the problem of suing of physicians by patients, its cause and possible solutions. There are many cases involving patients and medical physicians on claims of malpractices. Many reasons have been attributed to this increasing concern on the effectiveness of our medical profession.

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The first and most common claim is improper performance by clinicians during the process of treating patients (Fielding, 1999). Such involve incorrect conducting of operative and/or diagnostic activities by the doctor thus compromising the patient’s ability of realizing reliable health care. This is regarded a crime based on the fact that clinicians owe standards of care responsibility to patients (Fielding, 1999). Medical misadventure and error of delayed diagnosis is another cause of suing of physicians by patients (Evanko, 2010).

This is claimed if the doctor fails to give sufficient treatment and/or ignorance of conducting early diagnosis for terminal diseases on patients thus worsening the patient’s health condition. Failure by clinicians to effectively monitor medical condition of patients can also result to suing. Many doctors have been sued as a result of procedural failures such as failure to conduct a procedure that have been deemed necessary on the parent (Fielding, 1999). Such also include performance of un-indicated procedures on parents as well as failure to give clear communication and instructions regarding medical procedures to be taken.

From the reasons given for cases between patients and physicians, it is clear that the underlying problem is not entirely as a result of medical negligence by clinicians. Poor communication and documentation of medical proceedings by doctors has also been found to cause such court battle for practicing physicians (Fielding, 1999). To solve the problem, it first needs ensuring of qualified and highly competent medical practitioners in our health facilities. This will reduce incidences of medical negligence by clinicians.

Physicians should also be equipped with training on excellent communication and listening skill. This is quite important as it ensures clear communication between the clinician and the patient thus reducing chances of misunderstanding between the two. Medical records are important not only for statistical reasons but also for showing the patients disease history. Medical record documentation should thus be of concern by all medical practitioners (Fielding, 1999).

This is because they can effectively mitigate the problem of medical misadventure as well as delayed diagnosis as physicians will have adequate information on the patient’s illness to make sound decisions. This will also allow effective treatment by a different physician. Medical institutions should also insure medical malpractices to cover the risk in the event that they are sued by a patient. In conclusion, it is evidently established that the rate of court battling between practicing physicians and patients due to malpractice is high in our nation.

It is due to this reason that there is much need for having a lasting solution to the problem. Medical practitioners should have the right competence to avoid negligence or medical mistakes on patients. References Bhat, V. (2001). Medical Malpractice: A Comprehensive Analysis. Westport, CT: Auburn House. Evanko, L. (2010). Why Patient’s Sue – Medical Malpractice Claims and How to Avoid Them. Retrieved January 15, 2010, from http://lukanguide. com/ARCHIVES/Why%20Patients%20Sue%20-%20Archive%204. pdf Fielding, S. (1999). The Practice of Uncertainty: Voices of Physicians and Patients in Medical Claims. Westport, CT: Auburn House.


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