It’s Not Just Doctors Anymore: Top 5 Allied Health Professions that Commit Malpractice
You were in a hospital receiving medical attention. Nurses, doctors, and a host of other professionals probably played a role in your care. Today, a physician alone rarely provides all of the medical care. Instead, there are dozens of sub-fields of health professionals who assist in the treatment plan. From nurses to radiology technicians and everything in between, there are a lot of professions involved. Each profession has its own standards and procedures. Therefore, when a person is injured or killed by medical error, it is important to speak with a skilled Florida personal injury lawyer who can review your case and determine whether malpractice played a role in the injury, and if so, who the responsible people are.
Are you unsure who may be liable for medical malpractice? Here are the top five health professions that cause serious medical injuries every year.
No. 1: Nurses
This should come as no surprise since nurses comprise the largest profession represented in American hospitals, and there are four times as many nurses as physicians. Therefore, patients are in contact with nurses far more than physicians. Although general nurses are often sued for liability, certified nurse anesthetists and certified nurse midwives are the two most commonly sued groups of nursing professionals. Both of these nursing fields require a large amount of autonomy and decision-making authority. Nursing malpractice at times includes birth injuries, fetal death, and brain damage.
No. 2: Physician’s Assistants
As the medical services industry looks for ways to maximize profits and cut costs to the public, hospitals and private practices are rapidly adding physician’s assistants (PA) and nurse practitioners, who are both authorized to practice with minimal supervision by a physician. These “physician extenders,” as they are often called, offer routine care to the public. In fact, a PA has probably seen you without you even realizing he or she was not a doctor. They make the same types of mistakes physicians do. However, the standards and procedures for a PA are different than a physician.
No. 3: Physical Therapists
Working with recovering patients who are suffering from orthopedic and muscular injuries, physical therapists regularly assist patients with regaining strength and being able to walk or sit up unassisted. In this type of profession, there are many ways to err and cause serious and permanent injuries to a patient. Sometimes a careless therapist will ignore training and use an unapproved lifting technique or cut corners by attempting to move a patient alone when two people are required. These types of negligent conduct can result in serious injuries and in extreme cases even permanent paralysis.
No. 4: Mental Health Professionals
Not all injuries are visible. Mental health treatment involves providing care to those who are suffering from personality disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, or any host of emotional, behavioral, or cognitive issues. In addition to the physicians who prescribe medications, the counselors and psychologists who provide care often make serious errors in determining when hospitalization is appropriate or at times delay referrals. Other times, simple mistakes like attempting to treat a condition that warrants a higher level of training can result in patient suicide or injury.
No. 5: Direct Care Staff
One of the largest groups of healthcare providers is the direct care provider. In some settings these are called certified nursing assistants (CNA) or patient techs. These individuals have no medical or nursing duties, but rather, they provide assistance with activities of daily living, such as eating, bathing, and moving patients. They are, however, responsible for accurately observing and reporting changes in condition. At times, these frontline providers will ignore life-threatening conditions and fail to report them to nurses and physicians, resulting in injuries and even death.
If you have been injured by negligent medical care, you should consult an experienced Miami personal injury lawyer at Pita Weber & Del Prado who can help determine who is responsible and fight to get you the justice you deserve.