Victims of medical negligence can feel like docors are constantly getting away with poor professionalism but medical negligence cases and lawyers are actually helping to create new medical standards as well as improve existing ones, according to speakers at a recent conference in Sydney.
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There’s an unfair and untrue belief that medical negligence cases are forcing doctors to now act in a defensive manner, so as to best protect themselves from any future lawsuits, without actually treating the patient as effectively as they could. In reality, legal cases in the medical world are often published in well-read medical journals meaning that there’s more discussion and awareness of what acceptable practice is. This discussion has led to improvements in the quality of care patients are receiving.
Part of this improvement in the quality of care provided for patients is that doctors are more aware of the importance of discussing with and getting patients more involved with their own health care. These discussions also included better explanation and counselling about side-effects and risks of treatments. Previously, many doctors had felt too busy to become engaged with each individual patient to this level, including making detailed histories, but the rise of medical negligence cases has made it apparent to doctors that this time needs to be made if they wish to continue in the profession.
Detailed histories are highly crucial in medical cases, particularly those that could be seen as negligent, as keeping documents that including patient histories, diagnoses, other potential diagnoses (including rare but dangerous conditions), management plans and a follow-up plan as they are in fact Medicare consultation requirements. Already a doctor’s case looks shaky if they are shown to not be following required procedures, but these documents are what form the basis for a doctor’s defense.
Though medical negligence is extremely horrible, a successful medical negligence case can definitely have far-reaching consequences to how the Australian medical world operates. To find out more about medical negligence take a look at Obesity and Medical Negligence: Where’s the Line?.