Legal Issues That Doctors and Medical Professionals Often Face
It seems that when you mix the delicate care of human life and free enterprise, you get a few legal and ethical quandaries. These are the issues that doctors of today face, especially in countries where medical care isn’t free or state sponsored. Also, when you add in pharmaceutical industries and health care insurance providers, the problem only gets worse. It seems that the unquenchable thirst to make a profit far outweighs the health of a certain population of people – even if lives are at risk. Many doctors and medical professionals can avoid being in the legal crosshairs by being weary of the legal issues in the first place. Here are some legal issues that doctors and medical professionals often face.
One of the legal biggest issues facing doctors and medical professionals – especially with the rise of digital documentation – is privacy breaches. Imagine how much private and confidential information is enclosed in patient documents. Not only are there medical records, but also social security and credit card numbers. If you run a small practice, the information can be even more at risk, because hackers and even employees can access it very easily. Much of the information is sold to third parties looking to steal identities and money. Who gets the blame? – Usually the doctor or medical professional.
Another big legal issue facing medical care professionals has more to with confidentiality than privacy. Patients assume that what they say and do in the doctor’s office is completely private and confidential – which it is. Doctors are required to keep this information confidential – unless it has to do with the safety of the patient or someone else. However, sometimes this information can be leaked, which can put doctors in some serious hot water. The moment confidential information is leaked, you can bet a lawsuit is in order.
The next biggest legal issue facing doctors and medical care professionals is malpractice. In fact, this is one of the oldest and most common legal issues – mainly because it happens more than you think. Sometimes doctors make mistakes – and that’s just what they are: mistakes. However, one little mistake could have extremely negative consequences. Mislabeling a patient’s bedside chart could result in serious injury or death. What if a patient gets the wrong medicine, or even has the wrong surgery? While some medical malpractice suits are a result of gross negligence, many of them are unfortunate and avoidable accidents.
Lastly, there are many ethical quandaries that can put doctors and medical care professionals in legal hot water. It can happen among pain management and injury relief doctors, dental care providers, surgeons and many more health care providers. Many of the times, these ethical issues have to do with payments by pharmaceutical industries, kick-backs by hospitals for more patient referrals and even over-billing insurance companies. While some of these practices have been common for a long time, they are far from ethical and far from legal. If you are a doctor and don’t want to get mixed up in a lawsuit, stay away from third parties paying for unnecessary services. If you are a patient, always report negligent activity among doctors.