The appellate court’s analysis in this case highlights how the application of res ipsa loquitur to medical malpractice cases still requires expert opinion. In fact, plaintiff was under the mistaken impression that because she relied on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur — a legal theory under which “the thing speaks for itself,” meaning that an inference of negligence is supported when an injury would not have occurred if not for negligence on behalf of the person who controlled the object causing the injury — she would not need to present a declaration from an expert in support of her position.
There are two things healthcare professionals can do to position themselves for a good defense in case of a malpractice lawsuit. First, do not promise patients success or even imply it. Also, be careful when creating policies and procedures.
When a healthcare professional receives notice of a lawsuit, everything he or she does from that moment forward can affect the outcome, for better or worse. Knowing the most common mistakes to avoid can help lead to the best resolution.
Expanding the frequency and improving the quality of communication between radiologists and emergency physicians about imaging studies is always a good practice to facilitate patient care and mitigate mutual risk.
The loss of chance doctrine can be a strong tool for plaintiffs to recover damages when a physician’s failure to follow a certain course of treatment resulted in the patient losing the opportunity of a better outcome. It is important to consult with qualified legal counsel in the local jurisdiction to ascertain whether it applies, and with what potential nuances.
Although the plaintiff’s expert provided some controversial comments on the standard of care, it is likely that, if given his well-established expertise, a proper analysis and explanation of his testimony will, at the very least, increase the plaintiff’s odds of obtaining a favorable verdict. There always is a standard of care, especially for relatively common procedures. The standard may not exist in written form. Instead, it is considered to be what a reasonable physician would do in similar circumstances within the same community.
Emergency nurses and physicians may not understand the liability implications of using charts to air grievances. A unified defense is recognized as the best approach for all defendants in ED malpractice claims, but finger-pointing notes make it difficult. Physicians and nurses should meet briefly before each shift to discuss the importance of teamwork, not only regarding patient care but also documentation.
Failure to timely diagnose, failure to order diagnostic tests, and failure to interpret diagnostic tests were the most frequent allegations in malpractice claims involving aortic dissection, according to an analysis of claims filed between 1994 and 2019.
Some charts might indicate there was chest pain and an abnormal ECG, but the patient was discharged with no explanation. Plaintiffs can use this to make a case the emergency physician missed classic presentation of myocardial infarction. Counter this allegation with specific documentation outlined here.