The recent Minnesota Supreme Court ruling in May 2019 caused angst within the medical community, as doctors can now be accused of malpractice even though they were not directly involved in treating the patient. This was a ruling aimed at sensitizing doctors on the importance of taking accountability for their actions. This move might subject doctors to more lawsuits, and thus the medical sector must seek innovations to meet the needs of patients at all costs.
For example, a hospital doctor supposedly failed to admit a patient that was being ministered to by an Essentia Health Clinic nurse in Hibbing, MN in August 2014. Dr. Richard Dinter from the Fairview Range Medical Center denied admission of Susan Warren, 54, following a call from the nurse. She was experiencing a fever, abdominal pains, chills, and was showing other symptoms. She succumbed a few days later. Although in this case the doctor was deemed to have practiced appropriately, things might change for such cases of accountability.
In the above-mentioned case, the patient-doctor relationship comes into question. This relationship needed to be established in a court of law to hold the doctor accountable. However, this could change, as a malpractice action is now directed as long as the doctor’s decision can affect the patient, in spite of being in direct contact with the patient. It is clear that the conventions of medical liability are changing. For instance, a doctor failing to diagnose the contagious disease of one patient leading to the infection of another person could constitute medical malpractice.
A staggering 80 percent of all complications, admissions, inpatient costs, and hospital-related deaths are as a result of emergency surgeries. On average, three million Americans undergo surgery every year. While some of these surgeries are elective, many are due to emergencies. Regardless of the type of surgery administered to a patient, they must acknowledge the risk of a medical error. If a patient is harmed through a mistake that could be avoided, those involved should think through their legal rights and options.
If a patient suffers harm or complications due to either direct or indirect actions of a doctor, they may have a viable medical malpractice claim. Nonetheless, pursuing such a claim needs persistence and patience. To prevail, medical malpractice lawyers need to establish the case of negligence on the part of doctors and how it caused further injuries or complications, and even death.
A great deal of trust is assigned to doctors, who have to take the responsibility of patients’ health care with matching accountability. This was the driving force toward the move by the Supreme Court to allow for patients or their families to sue for harm and negligence, even when the doctors had no direct relationship with the patient. It is a move that promises to safeguard health safety and reduce the chances of medical malpractice in the future of America’s health care system.