According to Nye and Hofflander
(1988), professional liability refers to the legal obligations that arise in
the line of work in one’s profession.
These errors may come about due to negligence, omissions during the line of
duty, or other professional related errors. Consequently, medical malpractice
insurance is meant to protect physicians among other healthcare professionals
from liability on claims initiated by the clients. Among these medical practitioners includes dentists,
nurses, and doctors. Moreover, this paper aims at discussing medical
professional liability, explaining the
types of claims associated, and finally explaining the kinds of negligence covered.
essence, there exists two types of malpractice insurance; the Occurrence and
the Claims made (Nye and Hofflander, 1988). In the latter, the policy is effected upon reporting by a client hence responding to the loss. Accordingly, it is in force during the reporting period whereas the
former indemnifies losses during the period covered. As opposed to the latter
case, the policy is in action regardless of the time of laying claim. Moreover, it also offered coverage after the cancellation of a
policy. These plans are aimed at investigating and defending claims
laid by clients. Hence, a patient may put
claims against the healthcare workers in case of an injury related to
negligence or omissions on the part of the latter.
In the medical field, numerous errors may
arise during judgment, however, not all
amount to negligence. According to
Franklin, Stroger, Marutzky, and Sandberg (2007), an action amounts to
negligence once it falls below the established standards. These standards are established as a means to offer protection
to the patient hence cushioning them from harm. One of the errors amounting to
negligence includes omissions by the practitioner that consequently aggravate a
patient’s condition. Consider the case whereby a physician offers a patient an underdose due to the exclusion of the correct drug dosage on the drug’s packaging.
additional form of negligence includes misdiagnosis either due to the failure
of consultation of specialists, inadequate
monitoring of the patient, or carrying out of the wrong tests. It is the most substantial amounts of negligence
according to a report by Dove, Brush, Chazal, and Oetgen (2010). Moreover, they
gave an example of cardiac diseases that prove to challenge physicians during
diagnosis hence leading to misdiagnosis. Consequently, after the occurrence of
a misdiagnosis which at times can lead to the death of a patient in severe
cases, the patient if they survived and/or their families benefit from the compensations made. According
to the study conducted these claims amounted to $248, 291 for cardiologists
whereas for other physicians it amounted to $204,268. Besides, 53% of these
cases involved a loss of life with compensation paid in 21% of these cases.
Evidently, the insurance helped alleviate the suffering of both the patients
and their families hence acting as a consolation.
The third form of negligence includes the
failure to treat a disease properly. It
may arise as a result of poorly administered prescriptions, the improper use of
medical devices, or the failure to
prescribe a medication. Fourthly, a breach of contract arises after a physician
fails to deliver promised results. Finally, when a physician fails to get
proper consent from their procedure before
proceeding with a test amounts to negligence (Dove, Brush, Chazal, and Oetgen,
2010). An occurrence of any of the above cases poses critical risks towards the
health of the patient. Accordingly, the policies have place to help compensate
the patient once they begin a legal
patient has to establish three principal
points for them to recover the damages. Firstly, he/she must prove that the physician owed them a duty.
Secondly, they have to establish the standard
violated by the healthcare worker. Besides, the injury caused has to be compensable. Finally, there has to be a
connection between the broken standard and the harm caused to the patient (National Conference of State Legislatures,
2015). Consequently, at trial, the
plaintiff has to ensure the above points before laying their claim.
of malpractice liability ensures that practitioners try and minimize the number of errors made in their line of
work. Consequently, they enhance the well-being
of their patient by ensuring that mistakes caused
due to negligence are kept to a minimum.
It is pivotal to note that 93% of physicians practice defensive medicine at
work according to a study conducted (Dove, Brush, Chazal, and Oetgen, 2010), a
move that aims at minimizing the occurrence of the above mistakes. Hence, medical
liability system aims at protecting the well-being of patients, allowing them
to lay claims in case of negligence by
practitioners and consequently indemnifying them after the harm caused.