There are many cases of medical malpractice in clinics around the world every day, which causes irreparable damage to a patient’s health and sometimes even death. In some states of the USA, the penalty for a medical mistake that resulted in the death of a patient is up to 15 years in prison and a fine. To prevent such cases, three examples of negligence or malpractice on the part of health professionals will be reviewed and analyzed under this guideline, and recommendations will be made to address them.
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The first example concerns a person with a suspected fever who was examined by a physician trained in homeopathic treatment. The doctor went beyond his qualifications and prescribed allopathic drugs to the patient for a long time. Due to the lack of competence in this matter, the doctor made a mistake in the choice of drugs, and the patient dies (Yadav and Rastogi, 2015). This example describes medical malpractice: the attending physician deliberately went beyond his or her competence by prescribing non-core medicines. This member of staff was subsequently held legally liable. The situation could have developed differently if the patient had initially been informed of the qualifications of the attending physician.
An unintentional physician’s mistake, identified as negligence, is traceable and in a sterilization lawsuit. The woman decided to undergo sterilization and went to the clinic. However, the woman became pregnant after the surgery, although she should not have (Yadav et al., 2015). No one died as a result, but the court recognized the legal responsibility of the medical staff. In similar cases, to prevent such negligence, the physician must ensure that the procedures are correct and involve colleagues to confirm this.
The last example is the manslaughter of a six-year-old boy as a result of a medical error. The child was not thoroughly examined as required by evidence-based medicine due to stress and the employment of the attending physician (Larkin, 2018). Moreover, the doctor ignored the patient’s blood tests and obvious symptoms. As a result, the child was misdiagnosed and subsequently died due to improper treatment. This example describes unacceptable medical malpractice, such as inattention and disregard for the health of patients, which is the case when professional ethics are violated.
The above examples include cases of medical error and negligence, and we need to understand that these are different degrees of crime. The difference between them lies in the awareness of the subject’s actions. According to Yadav and Rastogi (2015), there are two main reasons for identifying medical personnel’s bad faith. If a doctor does not make the right decision due to a lack of experience, it can be considered an error. If the doctor deliberately neglects some of the rules of medical ethics and does not show due care to patients, and then it is negligence. Medical personnel who are negligent are legally responsible, which includes suspension, monetary compensation, or imprisonment.
Due to the need to prevent such cases to protect patients and medical personnel, it is advisable to write an instruction on minimizing cases of negligence. First, it is necessary to introduce preventive measures, including attending seminars and conferences on the subject. Secondly, all doctors are obliged to diagnose the patient only through careful examination and collection of all biomaterials. The final recommendation for staff is to share responsibility. The doctor should not be shy that he or she has forgotten any medical instructions but should consult his or her colleagues and give them responsibility for the patient’s care. Health care staff should be able to assess their skills adequately, refer patients to their peers, and pay due attention to patients.
Medical errors and negligence towards patients occur daily in many clinics. Such errors are often either fatal or harmful to human health. This guideline discusses three examples that describe the concepts of negligence and malpractice in different ways. It has been shown that malpractice is a continuation and consequence of negligence. Furthermore, the guidelines include a section describing the legal responsibilities of health care providers and preventive measures to avoid potential errors.
Larkin, J. (2018). Doctors, negligence, and the GMC. Scottish Medical Journal 63(2), 35-37.
Yadav, M., & Rastogi, P. (2015). A study of medical negligence cases decided by the district consumer courts of Delhi. Journal of Indian Academy of Forensic Medicine, 37(1), 50-55.