What is medical misconduct?
What is medical misconduct? Medical misconduct is defined as behavior that deviates from duty by a healthcare professional. Examples of medical misconduct include, but are not limited to the following: practicing as a healthcare professional fraudulently, practicing with gross incompetence or medical negligence, practicing while impaired by alcohol, drugs, physical or mental disability, being convicted of a crime, filing a false report; guaranteeing that treatment will result in a cure, refusing to provide services because of race, creed, color or national origin, performing services that are not authorized by the patient, harassing, abusing or intimidating a patient, ordering excessive tests, and/or abandoning or neglecting a patient in need of immediate care.
In the past patients looked upon doctors as heroes, totally believing in their medical advice and respecting the medical care they provided. Then patients very seldom questioned doctors but now I would have to say that things are much different. And unfortunately with the increase in medical misconduct over the years, many people have lost faith in doctors and the healthcare profession.
There are many medical misconduct cases throughout the United States. In the Nashville area, the New Life Lodge Rehabilitation Center has been sued twice for the death of a patient. The latest suit was filed by Penny Lynn Bryant, a mother seeking a total of $13 million in compensation and damages. She says that her son was prescribed medications he should not have been and was unresponsive for about four hours before being discovered by staff. Her son Patrick Bryant who was admitted to the center for drug rehab died on his 20th birthday, July 16 2011. New Life Lodge and its former lead physician Dr. Jonathan W. Butler are accused of medical malpractice, negligence and wrongful death in Bryant’s passing. The New Life Lodge Rehabilitation Center has another pending lawsuit against their facility in the amount of $32 million for the death of 29 y/o Lindsay Poteet who died of combined drug toxicity, a mix of anti-depressant and therapeutic drugs.
Things have definitely changed over the years. Our society is more eager to sue and nowadays everything that happens we are made aware of. So we hear about all the malpractice, negligence and wrongful deaths that we wouldn’t have heard about in the past. Patients are no longer kept in the dark. The Patients’ Bill of Rights was first adopted by the American Hospital Association in 1973, and even though it is not a legal binding document it does provide guidance and protection to patients and their families by stating the responsibilities a hospital and its staff have toward them. Upon every hospitalization a patient must be given a copy of the Patient’s Bill of Rights. Before any procedure or test is performed patients must be made fully aware of why the procedure or test is ordered, and what to expect. Next the patient must give their informed consent before any procedure and/or test can be performed. This is required whether the medical service is at a doctor’s office, outpatient x-ray clinic or hospital.
What can be done to help stop medical misconduct?
It’s not only the healthcare provider and facility who hold responsibility for your care. You yourself have a big responsibility as well. It’s up to you to stay involved in your treatment plan. Medical misconduct is a serious offense and the FBI is very much involved in the investigation of cases. If are suspicions about a healthcare provider, institution or if you feel that negligence, abuse, and/or fraud may be involved, don’t sit back and do nothing about it. You can find contact info to report this by accessing the State Fraud and Abuse Reporting Contacts’ site. If you are an employee and have something to report, then don’t hold back. There are whistle blower laws to protect you from retaliation in the workplace. You have no excuse! Don’t be a victim or sit back and allow medical misconduct to continue. You must report it if you witness it, and sincerely want to stop it!