6 Circumstances Contributing to Patient Injury

Top 6 Circumstances Contributing to Patient Injury


Disclaimer: This is not legal advice, I am not a financial advisor or an attorney. You have to reach out to your attorney for legal advice. The information presented here is purely for educational and entertainment purposes. These are my personal opinions and do not represent the opinions of my employer. 


What Contributes to Patient Injury?

Introduction to the Top Circumstances Contributing to Patient Injury

Medical malpractice is a kind of personal injury case that is brought against physicians, hospitals, nurses, EMTs, or other healthcare professionals. It is a form of professional malpractice that applies only when a patient is injured in the course of medical treatment. Patients that suffer from a medical malpractice injury may be able to hold the healthcare providers responsible for that injury liable under the special rules that apply for this type of professional negligence. In this blog post you will learn the top 6 circumstances contributing to patient injury in the hospitals.

The information presented below has been gathered from two thoroughly performed research studies by The Doctors Company, and Cooperative of American Physicians. Together, these studies evaluated 484 claims against hospitalists that closed.

This is one of the 5 blog posts on how to avoid medical malpractice lawsuit/claims. In this series, the next blog posts discuss the 10 best risk mitigation strategies for physicians to avoid having a medical malpractice lawsuittop 6 circumstances contributing to patient injurymedical malpractice lawsuit – 6 most common medical malpractice claims, along with the patient injury severity scale.


Key Points on How Physicians Contribute to Patient Injury

Top 6 Circumstances Contributing to Patient Injury


(1) Inadequate Patient Assessment

Lack of adequate assessments in:

  • Thoroughly reviewing—observations made by nurses, diagnostic tests, symptoms, lab values, and etc.
  • Ordering diagnostic tests
  • Thoroughly considering all the differential diagnosis

(2) Information Exchange Among Healthcare Providers

  • More eyes on the patient means more information at hand to monitor and manage the patient.
  • It will be futile if these eyes do not work in sync.
  • The more data points the attending provider has, better informed decisions can be made, and not much will be missed.

(3) Treatment and Medication Selection Issues

  • Physician reviewers have particularly identified mismanagement in pneumonia, asthma, infections, sepsis, cardiac arrhythmias, myocardial infarctions, and traumatic injuries.
  • Improper selection and management of medications, including failing to order any medication, failing to order the most appropriate medication, or ordering the wrong medication are amongst the issues that apply.
  • Claims associated with addressing do not resuscitate (DNR) orders are also included in this category.

(4) Poor Rapport Between Physicians and Patients and/or Family

  • Building trust with patients and their family is vital in providing healthcare.
  • Educating the patient of the responsibilities of the physician and the role of the patient in the process of the medical treatment can enlighten both the patient and the family in cooperating and complying with the process.
  • Failure to comply with treatment plans will result to unwanted outcome, this is why communication is key despite the challenges both parties can be facing.
  • In some instances, patients were not informed to contact their outpatient physician if they experienced certain specific side effects related to management provided in a hospital that required intervention.

(5) Not Calling Consults When Needed

The studies identified two types of cases in this category:

  • Either the hospitalist failed to determine that the patient’s condition needs the intervention of other specialists, or
  • The hospitalist was confident that he or she could handle the patient’s care without assistance

In this day and age, medical practice is becoming very specialty focused. Assuming broader role may be practical in certain situations (rural areas without access to consultants etc), however, long story short, if in doubt and when you have access to consultants, just call consults to get an expert opinion.

(6) Patient Behaviors

The studies identified two types of cases in this category:

  • Patient behavior plays an important role in the outcome of care, emphasizing on how vital it is for patients to participate in their own care and recovery.
  • The research articles reviewed in this post included patients who were non-compliant with treatment plans, follow-up appointments, and medication plans.

Most claims in this category included patients who were non-compliant with testing procedure recommended to monitor anticoagulants and blood glucose levels.

Although most of the content presented in this blog post seems pretty basic, the goal of this blog post is to highlight the importance of topics that often fall through the cracks, and eventually get physicians and patients in trouble. I hope that you picked up at least a few key points from this article, to include them in your practice. Practice thoroughly, keep your patient safe, and you stay safe!


In addition to this blog post, (Top 6 Circumstances Contributing to Patient Injury), please also read the rest of the blog articles in the same series: 10 Best Risk Mitigation Strategies for Physicians to Avoid Malpractice ClaimsTop 6 Circumstances Contributing to Patient Injury6 Most Common Medical Malpractice Claims, along with the Patient Injury Severity Scale.


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Legal Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. I am not a legal and/or investment advisor. This is my personal blog, and all information found here, including any ideas, opinions, views, predictions, forecasts, commentaries, suggestions, or stock picks, expressed or implied herein, are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only and should not be construed as personal investment advice. These are my views, it is not a production of my employer, nor is it affiliated with any broker/dealer or registered investment advisor. While the information provided is believed to be accurate, it may include errors or inaccuracies. To the maximum extent permitted by law, PhysicianEstate disclaims any and all liability in the event any information, commentary, analysis, opinions, advice and/or recommendations prove to be inaccurate, incomplete or unreliable, or result in any investment or other losses. You should consult with an attorney or other professional to determine what may be best for your individual needs. Your use of the information on the website or materials linked from the Web is at your own risk.

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