Kansas Veterinarians – Providing Accurate Instructions to Pet Owners is Key

Veterinarians are very busy professionals in Kansas.  Many Kansas citizens own at least one pet, and there are hundreds of veterinarians across this state.  Therefore, this means that most veterinarians will have a large workload each day.  Because veterinarians are often so busy, many general tasks are left to support staff.  While support staff may have the requisite knowledge to accurately communicate instructions to pet owners, if that staff member provides the wrong information, or fails to provide sufficient information, a veterinarian may be held responsible if a support staff member’s mistake causes the pet any harm.

For example, if a pet has recently had a procedure (such as being spayed or neutered), the veterinarian him or herself should be the person providing specific instructions for post-operative care to the pet owner.  Allowing a staff member to communicate specific instructions leaves room for error that, as mentioned, could fall squarely on the veterinarian.  If the pet becomes ill, and the pet owner did not have instructions for how to help the pet (such as cleaning the wound and administering antibiotics, for example), a veterinarian may be forced to face a disciplinary action by the Kansas Board of Veterinary Examiners, if the pet owner files a complaint.

What You Should Do to Avoid Disciplinary Action

 In order to ensure your patients/pet owners are receiving accurate instructions following a procedure or other care, you should be the person to provide those instructions, no matter how busy your office may get.  While you may have very competent staff members, it is simply too risky to allow others to communicate your instructions.

For example, if you have just performed a spay or neuter operation, and the pet owner has arrived to pick his or her pet up, you should clearly explain post-operative instructions both verbally and in writing, and if there is any medication the pet needs to take, information about such medication must be clearly communicated.  Oftentimes, pet owners come to pick up their pets and leave without any instructions at all.  When this happens, the pet owner may not know what to do if something goes wrong and the pet’s condition worsens after going home.  The pet owner may be back at your clinic the following day, asking for advice, and this could cost you time and money.

To avoid potential communication errors with a pet owner, and to avoid resulting disciplinary action (or even a lawsuit), you, as the veterinarian, should always be the person to consult with a pet owner regarding post-operative care.  While some support staff members (such as high level veterinary technicians) may be allowed to offer post-operative instructions, it is still in your best interest as a Kansas veterinarian, to handle all communications with pet owners regarding post-operative care and instructions.

Contact the Sanger Law Office Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

If you are a Kansas veterinarian and you are facing disciplinary action, or believe you may be facing such an action in the future, it is extremely important that you contact a Kansas Professional License Defense Attorney as soon as possible.  You have spent time and money reaching your goal of caring for animals, and you should not lose your professional license because of one mistake a support staff member made while in your veterinary clinic.  Danielle Sanger of the Sanger Law Office helps a variety of Kansas professionals fight to keep their licenses when they are facing disciplinary action.  With her prior experience as Assistant Attorney General of Kansas, Danielle Sanger has a unique perspective from the disciplinary side that many other attorneys do not possess.  To speak with Danielle Sanger, contact the Sanger Law Office today at (785) 979-4353 to schedule your free consultation.

Kansas Dentists and Sedation Dentistry

There are a multitude of dental procedures that require patients to be sedated, whether it be full general anesthesia, or minimal sedation that leaves a patient in a “twilight” state.  Some patients may simply want to be sedated for simple fears that make it difficult for them to receive standard dental care.  Whatever the reason may be for sedation, it is important that dentists protect themselves when offering sedation services to patients.

Dentists can protect themselves by ensuring that their patients are good candidates for sedation prior to administering any sedative medication. However, not every patient should be sedated, due to the nature of their medical condition or other important factors.  Some patients may have underlying health problems that make sedation particularly dangerous, such as chronic high blood pressure, a history of heart attacks or strokes, or any other chronic and/or serious health condition.  If it turns out a patient cannot safely be sedated, then a dentist should inform the patient of this information and refuse to sedate that patient.

There have been situations across the United States where dentists have performed sedation dentistry without first ensuring the patients are healthy and stable enough to handle the sedative medications.  Many dental practices advertise that they offer “sedation dentistry,” and this catches the attention of many patients who have trouble sitting still or simply are afraid to receive certain dental care.  Such dental practices can be beneficial for many patients who qualify as good candidates, but there are many people who simply should not be subject to sedation if they are not healthy enough.

 What You Should Do to Avoid Disciplinary Action

If you offer sedation dentistry at your Kansas dental practice, you should make sure your current protocols protect both you and your patients from the potential hazards of sedation dentistry.  You should thoroughly evaluate every patient, and request a patient’s primary medical records (with the patient’s consent), to confirm whether or not there are any current health concerns that may pose a risk of harm to the patient if sedation is given.  Further, as a Kansas dentist offering sedation dentistry, you should require that your patients undergo general testing with another physician to ensure they are healthy enough to be sedated.

As long as you document your efforts to ensure your patients are healthy enough to receive sedative medications while undergoing dental procedures, you should be protected in the future if a patient claims he or she suffered harm as a result of undergoing sedation in your dental office.  By reviewing a patient’s medical records and ensuring the patient has undergone the requisite testing, you are being a responsible Kansas dentist and looking out for the health and well-being of your patients.  While problems with sedation dentistry are not prevalent, they do happen, and you should always be prepared in the event a patient becomes ill or alleges to suffer harm as a result of being sedated while at your dental office.

Contact the Sanger Law Office Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

If you are a Kansas dentist and your license is at risk, it is essential that you consider speaking with a Kansas professional license defense attorney as soon as possible.  Danielle Sanger of the Sanger Law Office defends her clients to the fullest extent possible, helping them keep their professional licenses.  With her prior experience as Assistant Attorney General of Kansas, Danielle Sanger knows what to expect from all Kansas professional licensing boards. Kansas Professional Liability Defense Attorney Danielle Sanger also has the skill and dedication necessary to provide the best representation possible when fighting the potential loss of your professional license.  To schedule your free consultation with Danielle Sanger, contact the Sanger Law Office by calling (785) 979-4353.

Kansas Physicians and Informed Consent

As a Kansas physician, you already know just how important it is to obtain your patients’ informed consent prior to treating those patients, whether in the clinical setting or in the operating room.  Hospitals and providers generally have a broad informed consent page that patients will sign.  While this certainly is helpful in documenting a patient’s permission to undergo a certain treatment or procedure, these boilerplate forms are not always sufficient to avoid potential litigation or disciplinary matters in the future.

For example, if a patient consented to have a procedure done by signing a boilerplate consent form that indicated the name of the procedure, but no further details were outlined on the form, that patient may complain down the line that he or she was not aware of the potential complications or side-effects of undergoing that particular procedure.  For this reason, it is imperative that Kansas physicians make further attempts to document a patient’s informed consent.  This can be documented by doing the following:

  • Ensure that your clinic and appointment notes leading up to a procedure document a patient’s informed consent, after you clearly explain the pros, cons, and potential complications or side-effects of the procedure;
  • Document your patient’s informed consent not only with a boilerplate consent form, but also in any operative report after you have again, explained the pros, cons, and potential complications and side-effects of the procedure; and
  • Make sure a nurse or assistant is present prior to the procedure to witness the patient’s informed consent

Issues with informed consent were not that prevalent until the past couple of decades.  A general consent to particular treatment or to a procedure used to be sufficient to prevent a complaint being filed in the future by an unhappy patient (whether the complaint be in the form of a lawsuit, or against the Kansas Board of Healing Arts, or perhaps both).

Because lawsuits are filed on a regular basis in Kansas for a patient claiming his or her injuries are related to a lack of informed consent, and because disciplinary complaints are also filed quite frequently with the Kansas Board of Healing Arts, it is essential to take extra steps to protect yourself as a Kansas physician.  Many claims filed by patients could be perfectly legitimate, but many are not.  By documenting your efforts to obtain informed consent, and confirmation that the patient did in fact give informed consent, as described above, you are preserving evidence that you acted in accordance with the law and professional standards of this state.

If an upset patient does file a complaint with the Kansas Board of Healing Arts and/or in the form of a lawsuit, you will have all of the documentation you need to dispute the patient’s allegations. In order to ensure you are doing everything you can to protect yourself, you should consider speaking with a Kansas professional license defense attorney who can help you prepare for what the Kansas Board of Healing Arts may ask of you should you face disciplinary proceedings in the future.

Contact the Sanger Law Office Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

Facing the Kansas Board of Healing Arts can be stressful and frightening.  If you are a Kansas physician and are facing potential disciplinary action, you should speak with a Kansas professional licensing defense attorney as soon as possible.  Kansas Professional Liability Defense Attorney Danielle Sanger of the Sanger Law Office dedicates her law practice to helping professionals overcome the hurdles that disciplinary proceedings often present.  Danielle Sanger’s prior experience as Assistant Attorney General of Kansas allows her to provide her clients with outstanding service, as she knows what to expect from all professional licensing boards.  To speak with Danielle Sanger regarding your professional licensing matter, contact the Sanger Law Office today to schedule a free consultation by calling (785) 979-4353.

Kansas Attorneys – How to Avoid Malpractice Complaints for Missed Deadlines

One of the biggest mistakes Kansas attorneys and law firms make is missing a client’s deadline, especially with failing to comply with the statutes of limitations in Kansas.  While attorneys try their best to ensure important deadlines are not missed, mistakes can happen and this can lead to a client filing a complaint with the Kansas Office of Disciplinary Administrator, or filing a complaint against your for legal malpractice.  Missing a client’s deadline is more prevalent in personal injury and tort law generally.  As an individual only has a certain period of time to file a lawsuit, it is imperative that plaintiff’s attorneys calendar when the deadline is for filing a lawsuit.

Most attorneys have an internal calendaring system that alerts them to particular deadlines.  If a client’s filing deadline is missed and the statute of limitations has run, a client may seek to file either a disciplinary complaint with the Kansas Office of Disciplinary Administrator, or seek to file a legal malpractice complaint against you.  If you have found yourself in this situation, you know just how devastating one small mistake can be.  More often than not, if you have made one calendaring mistake (or even just a few), your law license may not be at risk.  However, if you repeatedly miss client deadlines, your license may be at risk.

 What You Should Do to Avoid Missing Important Deadlines

In order to ensure your internal calendaring system is adequate to alert you to key deadlines, you should consider doing the following:

  • Have your calendaring system in both electronic form and paper form;
  • Designate one employee in your law practice to stay on top of client deadlines, reminding you well in advance to ensure you don’t miss a deadline (for example, if the statute of limitations for a potential personal injury lawsuit is coming up, your calendaring system should alert you to this deadline at least one month beforehand, with weekly reminders);
  • Keep your clients informed as to each deadline, so that your clients can also maintain a calendaring system; and
  • If you find your case load is too large to manage multiple client deadlines, consider referring some cases out, or rejecting some cases entirely.

As to the last point above, many attorneys (more often plaintiff’s attorneys), tend to take on more cases than they are able to handle.  This often occurs in small or solo law firms.  The more manageable your case load is, the more likely it is that you will be able to avoid missed deadlines.  Further, if you realize you have missed a deadline, you should alert your legal malpractice insurance carrier to ensure you have taken all steps necessary to document your error, and seek to remedy the situation.  Your insurance carrier will then know that there’s a slight chance action may be taken against you by your client.

 Contact the Sanger Law Office Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

If you are a Kansas attorney and you are facing disciplinary action that may put your law license at risk, you should speak with a Kansas professional license defense attorney as soon as possible. Kansas Attorney Malpractice Defense Lawyer Danielle Sanger of the Sanger Law Office dedicates her practice to defending professionals who are facing disciplinary action and/or the potential revocation of their professional licenses.  Danielle Sanger’s prior experience as Assistant Attorney General of Kansas helps her protect and advocate for her clients in a way that distinguishes her from other professional license defense attorneys.  To schedule a free consultation with Danielle Sanger to discuss your professional licensing matters, contact the Sanger Law Office today by calling (785) 979-4353.