The medical industry is full of heroic professionals and is one of the world’s most important industries. The medical and healthcare industry has changed the world with new knowledge and advanced treatments. The health care sector continues to rise to new challenges and cure diseases. Advancements in medicine and complex procedures have bought hope and trust in doctors and medical establishments.
However, medical professionals and organisations also face increasing risks when carrying out their medical duties. They are the most hard-working professionals in the world, without a doubt. They study 7+ years to gain the title and power to save lives – but, unfortunately, many of us forget they are humans too, and mistakes could occur in this complex profession.
The risks are mainly related to liability to their patients. Patients can easily sue and blame a doctor for bodily injuries, sickness, etc due to their medical advice or activity. So one mistake could lead to a hefty lawsuit and reputation damage for the professional and organisation.
These risks are why medical professionals and organisations should purchase medical malpractice insurance. The article will explain how important this insurance is and what it covers during challenging situations.
What is Medical Malpractice Insurance?
Lawsuits could occur when a patient or their family believes that the healthcare professional advice or medical activity caused the patient medical harm or death. One lawsuit can destroy a doctor’s reputation and all they have worked for. However, they never intend to cause damage and try their best every second when on duty.
Medical malpractice insurance is professional liability insurance for medical professionals and healthcare organisations. This insurance policy protects medical professionals from lawsuits against them regarding their professional negligence, error or intentionally harmful treatment decisions.
What does Medical Malpractice Insurance cover?
Medical negligence can happen during diagnosis, treatment, or as part of the advice given for treatment after an illness. No matter how hard a doctor tries, there are cases where a doctor can not successfully complete an operation or makes an error that negatively impacts the patient. These errors can be caused by a lack of knowledge, tiredness or a freak accident.
Even if the medical professional tried their best, the patient and family may still blame them and accuse them of negligence. For example, in Hong Kong, a doctor was sued by the family of a top banker who died after Botox jabs. The family appealed that the doctors didn’t advise the patient about the possible risks. They demanded action against the doctor’s licence and a hefty compensation.
These cases are precisely why medical professionals require medical malpractice insurance to cover their liability. The insurance will help the doctor fight the case and prove innocence. It will also pay fines, compensation, and settlement costs if the case is lost. The law takes medical negligence very seriously, but the professionals try their best to avoid it in almost all cases.
Good Samaritan Acts
There are times when medical professionals are suddenly called in to perform surgery or assist a patient. However, there are also situations where a victim may need urgent medical attention out of the hospital (on-site). If a doctor is available near the situation(area), they may need to act quickly and make medical decisions on the spot. In these situations, the healthcare professional is still liable for their action even if it is a good samaritan act.
Therefore as they are liable for their actions, the victim can sue them if things go wrong. For example, when there is an accident on the road, and the drivers need instant medical care, an off-duty doctor in that area might step in and try to help the victim. Although if his tools are not sanitised, this can cause severe infection, putting the victim’s life in danger. The victim and the family can sue the doctor for off-duty negligence.
Thankfully medical malpractice insurance provides good samaritan act liability. Good Samaritan acts protect volunteers, rescuers or off-duty doctors from civil liability after delivering emergency assistance to a victim. The insurance will cover their liability and protect against lawsuits from their medical actions.
Legal Protection And Damage Costs
As discussed, these errors/accidents happen and can quickly turn into lawsuits. But what comes after? Dealing with medical lawsuits is complex and very expensive for a medical professional or organisation. Experts must conduct an intense investigation to analyse the situation and gather evidence. Therefore an experienced lawyer needs to be hired for advice and to study the allegation. All before the case has even begun.
As the case begins, the lawyer fees will continue to increase, and if lost, the accused professional will have to pay a large amount of compensation, fines and settlement costs. These costs can eventually add up to hundreds of thousands and more, depending on the severity of the allegations.
These expenses are almost impossible to pay without diving deep into savings or ruining the organisation’s financial plan. Fortunately, when medical professionals and organisations purchase medical malpractice insurance, the insurance will reimburse these costs. Moreover, fighting a case can be stressful itself; one shouldn’t have to worry about the costs of defence.
Loss of Document
The medical industry is different in every country and city. It is an industry that relies on essential documents, sensitive information and online forms. The documents, online or offline, are crucial for the professionals and patients, as it helps understand the medical problem and perform the proper procedure. These documents include patient information, past medical history forms, invoices, etc.
However, there is always a chance of these documents getting lost in the institution or by the professional. In such cases, the medical party must do their best to recreate or find the documents. Such problems can end up being costly to do re-tests and inform patients.
Medical malpractice insurance will cover these costs and help quickly solve the loss of document problem. Medical professionals have a lot on their minds and a lot of pressure. Hence, these mistakes can happen, and they shouldn’t have to stress even more.
Types of Medical Malpractice insurance
- Claims-made policies: Only covers claims if the policy was in effect when the treatment happened and when the lawsuit was made.
For example, this type of medical malpractice insurance will not provide coverage if, after a year of an operation (the policy expires), the patient falls ill and sues the doctor and establishment. Therefore, the lawsuit and treatment both must be within the policy duration.
- Occurrence policies: Covers any claim made on a treatment that occurred while the policy was in effect, even if the policy has since expired.
This type will cover lawsuits even if the policy expires, as long as the treatment occurred during the policy. Therefore if the doctor did the operation during the policy, no matter when or if the lawsuit is submitted, the insurance will cover it.
Who Needs Medical Malpractice Insurance?
Medical malpractice insurance is perfect for all medical and healthcare professionals and organisations. If you advise or work medically on your patients, you need this insurance to protect your liability. Medical professionals and institutes include dentists, physiotherapists, nurses, doctors, hospitals and clinics.
Insurance can be a lifesaver when things go wrong. As lawsuits are extremely costly, and this insurance is the best financial cover. Additionally, one should get the best lawyers when dealing with such serious claims, and cost shouldn’t be a deciding factor.
The insurance provides peace of mind against a broad range of claims. Therefore professionals do not have to worry about sudden claims and just do their best to save lives and be the heroes they are.