Medical Malpractice in Vascular Surgery

An infrequently discussed field of medicine is medical malpractice. Although figures suggest that up to one in four doctors will be identified in a medical malpractice lawsuit over the course of their career, depending on what area of the nation the physician practises in. In recent years, these figures have risen dramatically and are now at the centre of what many perceive to be a crisis in health care. A mass migration of doctors has seen areas considered to have high rates of medical malpractice lawsuits with high plaintiff awards. These regions suffer from the absence of all practitioners, but high-risk areas such as obstetrics and gynaecology, orthopaedics, neurosurgery, trauma and vascular surgery are also absent in particular. In the end, in these regions, patient treatment is adversely impacted. Restricted facilities can be deadly in these valuable areas of patient care.Check out Pulse Vascular-Vascular Surgeon for more info.

Given this high incidence of litigation, most physicians undergo very little standardised medical malpractice training in medical school or post medical school. No courses on the medical litigation process and no courses on medical malpractice avoidance or prevention. This is somewhat shocking as some proportion of these cases are thought in hindsight to be preventable.

Without proper educational training and planning, a vascular surgeon will never enter a surgical operation and the same idea applies to this unfamiliar terrain. Therefore, from the viewpoint of the practitioner, I would make some points regarding the behaviour of medical malpractice litigation.

If a case is to be successfully prosecuted, the four prongs of medical malpractice are necessary. That include obligation, violation of duty, immediate cause and damages. Duty is defined by showing that there was a physician-patient relationship. By deciding the quality of care and showing that it was not met, infringement of duty is established. Proximate cause refers to deciding that the negligent act was liable for the injury to the patient.

The physician patient relationship can be formed in traditional ways, such as an office visit or a hospital appointment, but interestingly, a passing “cocktail party” referral has been successfully argued as a relationship on how to treat a medical condition. Most generally, the standard of treatment is determined by an expert witness. This differs from state to state, with some states requiring the “expert physician” to be licenced by the board in the same region as the defendant. In another case, the event itself sets the level of treatment. The Latin word for it speaks for itself’ applies to Res ipsa loquitur. The surgical sponge that is left inside the patient is an example of this sort of quality of treatment.

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