Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Discusses How Medical Professionals Can Protect Themselves Against Allegations Of Misconduct

Allegations of misconduct in the medical profession are never easy to refute. Even if you rebut the allegations thoroughly, the stigma of the claims remain, at least for a little while. Unless one completely disproves the allegations of misconduct, then there will always be a question. As a medical professional, you do not want your employers doubting you, your patients doubting you, or your co-workers questioning you. Take affirmative steps to reduce or even eliminate the chance that someone will accuse you of wrongdoing.

A medical professional has an obligation to act competently at all times. In other words, a nurse, for instance, is competent when the nurse’s conduct meets the standard of care for nurses. Failing to satisfy that level of care is malpractice. Protect yourself against claims of negligence. Obtain physicians’ signatures for every order they make, if feasible. That reduces the chance of miscommunication leading to administering incorrect dosages or subjecting patients to unintended procedures.  Also, be sure to explain the informed consent forms to your patients thoroughly. Failure to explain the informed consent form correctly, accurately and promptly, is malpractice. Getting the patient’s signature, if the patient is competent, ensures that the patient understands the procedure in question and knows the risks of the procedure.

Thorough and complete documentation will also protect against allegations of malpractice. Nurses and other medical personnel must closely and accurately document all of the medical procedures taken, vital signs, medications administered, and other modalities applied. Otherwise, questions could arise as to the treatments given to the patient. Nurses’ notes exist so that you create a history of your patient’s treatment. Also, your notes help you recall what action you took, at what time, and under what circumstances. Good nurses’ notes not only help you remember what you did but why.

Nurses are mandatory reporters of abuse and neglect. Failure or refusal to report physical abuse, mental abuse, or sexual assault of a patient is not only an ethical violation, but it might also be a crime. Do not take unnecessary chances. If you believe your patient is suffering the abuse of any kind, you have an obligation to report it. There are dire consequences if you fail to report the abuse. While you may not desire to cast aspersions on others with whom you work or family members of your patient, you do not have the luxury of turning a blind eye. Make your report promptly and comprehensively.

Medical professional universally have the duty to maintain a patient’s medical information private. There are few exceptions. HIPAA prohibits the unauthorized disclosure of confidential information. Any questions you have related to HIPAA must be referred to your medical director or some other medical professional charged with enforcing HIPAA rules and regulations at your healthcare facility. Nurses usually have direct control over patient charts and records. Therefore, the nurses attending to patients must guard against disclosure of private and confidential information. Unlawful or unauthorized disclosure can lead to civil liability as well as professional discipline.

Nurses and other medical practitioners should use caution when administering medication.  The nurse should question doses if the order does not appear correct. You, as the nurse, are responsible for overdoses.  You must also make sure that you are giving the right medication to the intended patient with the proper timing as well.  Many mistakes and consequently patient injuries could be avoided if nurses took greater care when administering medications.

Be Diligent With Your Obligations

Kansas and Missouri professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger understands the perils nurses and other medical professionals face every day. If you are the subject of an investigation into wrongdoing which could lead to professional discipline, call Kansas Professional Licensing Defense Attorney Sanger immediately. She has many years of experience vigorously defending the rights and livelihoods of her clients. Call Attorney Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule a consultation.