In some situations, patients are not provided the quality of care that is required and expected from hospitals or clinics. In cases where a doctor or nurse is negligent, the consequences can be serious.
If a patient believes that an injury was caused by the negligence of his or her physician, the patient may have a claim against the caregiver for medical malpractice. It can be difficult to prove that a physician is liable for medical malpractice; straying from federal health and safety guidelines can be one way to demonstrate negligence.
Recently, a Pennsylvania doctor, his staff, and the health clinic that the doctor runs have been under public scrutiny with regards to medical malpractice. The doctor has also recently been charged criminally for acts connected to his medical practice.
In this particular case, this doctor is alleged to have failed to follow public health guidelines in his clinic. One allegation states that his staff used contaminated equipment on patients. It is also alleged that the doctor was not certified to perform the medical procedures he provided. Other documents show that the health clinic has not been inspected since the early 1990s.
While this particular situation is shocking, the consequences that a patient faces are the same, whether the doctor is not following protocol because he is too busy or whether he neglects to follow standards for other reasons. For example:
- the use of unsanitary equipment can lead to serious infections or diseases
- surgical equipment left inside a patient's body can damage vital organs
- misdiagnosis, in extreme cases, can lead to disability or even death
- negligent supervision can unnecessarily prolong a patient's recovery
Whatever the case, physician or health care staff negligence is serious and can have devastating consequences for the patient.
Source: The Washington Post online, "Pa. ex-gov. flabbergasted by lax abortion security," Patrick Walters, 21 January 2011