Tuesday, February 22, 2005

True, or Not? A Medical Assistant Will Not Get Sued...

I am wondering, have you ever heard a similar statement from one of your colleagues: "A medical assistant can't get sued if something happens, because the doctor is responsible." Indeed, I have overheard this being said numerous times in the past, and I am always baffled by how widely spread and accepted this false belief seems to be!

Nothing could be further from the truth!

I am not sure; of those of us who attended law and ethics classes during our training, an integral part of the medical assisting curriculum, how many truly ever got a true grasp on the tort and negligence, and superior respondeat lessons. Nevertheless, one thing is undoubtedly true: although we, as medical assistants are dependent practitioners who work under the direct supervision of the physician, there ARE laws that affect us and we will all be held responsible for our own mistakes! We don’t have to cause severe injury to face a serious law suit as a consequence of our actions, or failure to act.

It is the law, that medical assistants when providing patient care have to remain within their limited scope of practice; if they don't, and a mistake happens that injures a patient, they may face a serious malpractice lawsuit, especially if it can be shown that they acted outside the professional norm, and their specific scope of practice!

The same rule applies to medical assistant students, who cannot, for example, blame their instructor, or the attending supervising nurse, if something goes wrong. Although every student must be taught and supervised properly, if a student causes harm to another person, then chances are good that the instructor, as well as the student will be named in the ensuing malpractice law suit, and both will be held responsible for their negligence and any mistakes.

Therefore, medical assistant volunteers, students on their externship, as well as practicing medical assistants, should carry their own professional malpractice and liability insurance rather than taking their education and experience for granted. After all, no matter how deeply caring and careful we are, mistakes CAN happen!

Learn how to evaluate your professional malpractice insurance policy! But first, if you care to leave a comment, please feel free to do so now.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have been in the medical field for 30 yrs and take pride in my job performance. But I am seek ing damages against a staff of a physicians office who negelected to act on behalf of a petient who labs were so severe the patient was in danger. They are part of a network and could have gone above their physician head if he failed to see the seriouness of the labs. Result: Malpractice suits have been filed against staff, physician and radiology staff/ radiologist.