Medical malpractice signifies a breach of duties by a healthcare provider, causing harm to a patient due to medical negligence. This happens when the provider or practitioner fails to provide proper healthcare to a patient, leading to death or other life-changing consequences. While cases concerning malpractice tend to favor the victim in both story and public sympathy, there are cases where the practitioner is actually innocent of wrongdoing, as there is more to the incident, and the job as a whole, than meets the eye.
Stories relating to malpractice tend to form misconceptions about the healthcare industry. While this may seem solid on paper, it ultimately causes bias and distrust between the public and the healthcare providers. Learning about these common myths can help dispel such misconceptions. At the same time, it can provide a new perspective as to what occurs behind the scenes of the medical industry.
Misdiagnosis rarely happen because of doctor training
The human body is complex, and patients themselves can add to that complexity by withholding information about their health conditions, or if their ailing health is a result of neglect or a lack of previous medical support. Legal battles tend to happen for the former, especially if the patient in question has tried to diagnose the problem themselves. As for the latter, it is usually a matter of socio-economic complications.
To give an example of this, a study was conducted in Quezon City, focusing on obstetrical cases, its rate of misdiagnosis, and its cause. It was found that there’s a high prevalence of misdiagnosis by urban obstetric providers. Reasons for misdiagnosis were due to numerous factors, including the challenge obstetrics poses to low-income countries, maternal mortality, overall quality of healthcare, and the complications that arise within the patients themselves. Medical practitioners are indeed, trained professionals, but there are factors that can bar them from doing their jobs properly.
Doctors refuse treatment to people with filed medical malpractice claims
If one were to remember the principles stated in the Hippocratic Oath, one part states the sanctity of medical confidentiality between practitioners and their patients. By law, doctors are not obligated to ask about their patient’s legal history. Even if they find out about it, they cannot refuse patients who require immediate attention. They can only inquire about certain kinds of legalities if it involves their patient’s insurance policies or religious prohibitions. Either way, they are still obligated to help anyone in need in any way they can.
Nuisance lawsuits relating to malpractice come up all the time
There is truth to this, but at the same time, it hardly becomes an immediate court issue once brought up to an attorney. People can try to have their cases filed by attorneys, but depending on the severity and the context of their claims, it can either end up in a storage shelf or in the trash. Trials cost time and money, and lawyers can’t afford both if they agree to take on every malpractice claim that comes their way. There are three kinds of people who file malpractice claims:
- Ambulance chasers – people who make up stories to claim hush money from doctors and/or insurance companies.
- Actual victims – real victims of malpractice that have a chance of winning in court.
- Misguided patients – people who felt that they were wronged by a medical practitioner, but lacked the means to prove that they themselves were not responsible for their predicament.
In any case, this sort of myth affects lawyers more than medical practitioners. More so if a frivolous but successful lawsuit suddenly trends in the news like the infamous Mcdonald’s coffee case.
There are many things to consider when it comes to the legalities and the consequences of medical malpractice. The one thing practitioners or medical students need to understand is that, in the medical world, there is always a legal risk in this job. Legal battles are expensive, which is why doctors are encouraged to invest in malpractice insurance. Healthcare providers should not be burdened by thoughts of financial constraints, especially when we rely on them the most.