The delineation of clinical privileges is important for improving the quality of patient care. This process is aimed at determining whether an individual practitioner can be allowed to perform diagnostic tests or therapeutic procedures (Pozgar, 2011, p. 182). It is essential for ensuring that the treatment is provided by competent professionals.
When the governing body approves the appointment or reappointment of physicians to medical staff, they assume a part of the responsibility for the actions of these professionals. Thus, they will pay more attention to the competence of these individuals. So, this activity is vital for safeguarding the wellbeing of patients.
A physician, who fails to respond to an emergency call, can be accused of negligence if a patient dies or sustains a permanent injury (Pozgar, 2011, p. 186). Therefore, this professional can be deprived of his/her license. Provided that this person has to attend another patient, he/she should appoint another service physician.
Hospitals are usually liable for every mistake made by a physician if this action or omission is related to the scope of his/her professional duties.
Hospital administrators can respond to disruptive behavior by giving informal counseling or developing a rehabilitation plan.
Provided that two physicians disagree about the needs of a patient, an attending physician should choose the evidence-based treatment methods that have already been tested. In this case, the main priority should be the wellbeing of a patient.
Radiologists and attending physicians can commit several malpractices. For instance, attending physicians may fail to order imaging studies on time. Moreover, they can misinterpret the images given by a radiologist. In turn, a radiologist can be accused of malpractices, if he/she does not deliver the images on time.
The poor outcome cannot always be attributed to the negligence of a physician if he/she followed evidence-based rules and procedures.
It is believed that a physician abandoned the patient if he discontinued the medical assistance against the intention of a patient (Pozgar, 2011, p. 211). Moreover, a medical worker can be accused of abandonment if he/she does not ask another physician to attend a patient. Additionally, a physician is guilty of abandonment, if he could foresee that the discontinuation of services could harm a patient.
Nursing and the Law
The scope of nursing is changing due to the development of technologies and the new legal or ethical responsibilities of these professionals. In many cases, they should respond to the urgent medical needs of a patient. For instance, they are allowed to make diagnoses and perform some therapeutic procedures such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (Pozgar, 2011, p. 217). The widening scope of nurses’ duties is important for improving the quality of healthcare.
A nurse anesthetist is only responsible for the administration of anesthesia, while a clinical nurse specialist has to cope with a wide range of tasks such as managing a multi-disciplinary team, integrating evidence-based practices, or educating patients (Pozgar, 2011, p. 222). In other words, these professionals have a wider scope of responsibilities. In their turn, nurse practitioners engage mostly in primary healthcare. For instance, they have to perform some examinations and order some routine diagnostic tests. Yet, they can treat various patients. In contrast, nurse midwives have to work only with female patients and their newborn children.
The legal risks of nurses can face a lawsuit for negligence, malpractices, or documentation errors. Furthermore, the license can be suspended or revoked.
There are several types of errors that are related to the administration of drugs. For instance, a medical worker can choose the wrong drug, dose, or route of administration. These are the main pitfalls that should be avoided.
Nurses must not follow a physician’s order if they believe that it is erroneous. Instead, they need to ask a prescribing physician whether this instruction is valid. Additionally, they should report this case to a nurse manager.
It is important to report the changes in the patient’s condition because these changes often indicate that urgent action should be taken. This information is taken into account by a physician who needs to decide which treatment method should be chosen.
Nurses are not obliged to fix the equipment because they may not have the expertise to do it. However, they should report that this equipment is malfunctioning.
Liability by Departments and Health Care Professionals
The EMTALA (Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act) is supposed to ensure that every person can receive urgent medical treatment regardless of his/her financial resources or legal status. In other words, this legal action is aimed at increasing the availability of healthcare in the United States.
Sexual impropriety committed by a healthcare practitioner should not be always resolved within a medical institution because the administration can be prejudiced against a person. Furthermore, the victim of abuse may not receive the necessary protection.
It is possible to offer a piece of medical advice via the telephone. However, it is permissible only if a physician posses the records of a patient, especially the results of diagnostic tests. If this information is missing, any recommendations are not acceptable.
Healthcare professionals are concerned about prescription, administration, or control of medications because any error or malpractice can result in significant risks for a patient. In turn, it can lead to the revocation of a license or litigation.
There are several differences between licensing and certification. First of all, licensing can be viewed as the permission given by a state authority. Instead, certification is performed by a private organization. A certificate only implies that a person has reached a certain professional level. Nevertheless, a license is necessary for practicing a medical profession, while the certificate is not.
Pozgar, G. (2011). Legal Aspects of Health Care Administration. New York, NY: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.