When Medical Malpractice Is a Crime

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When Medical Malpractice Is a Crime

When negligent behavior injures patients, physicians are subject to claims of medical malpractice. This phenomenon is becoming a serious problem in the United States. Studies have determined medical malpractice to be the third leading reason people lose their lives in America.

The higher numbers of heart disease and cancer eclipse the number of malpractice deaths, but the numbers should not be as high as they are when preventative measures are available to reduce the fatalities.

Medical Malpractice Explained

The failure of a healthcare professional, healthcare facility or other medical providers to strictly follow appropriate standards of care is considered to be medical malpractice. In most circumstances, these are often civil cases. Victims may be compensated and recover damages for medical costs, lost income, services at home, pain and suffering, permanent and temporary disability and disfigurement.

Medical Malpractice as a Criminal Offense

Medical malpractice may become a criminal offense in some extreme circumstances. More often, the situations regarding the death of a patient are sometimes viewed as criminal. The death of a person without any malice towards him or her may be considered manslaughter if gross negligent behavior was observed by the attending physician. This could be through surgery, administering medication that leads to death and even negligence in an emergency room. The actions of the physician and the outcome of their actions are what usually determine the circumstances to be a criminal offense. In order for medical malpractice to rise to the criminal level, the prosecutor must be able to establish that the healthcare provider’s conduct meets every necessary element of the crime as described in the relevant statute.

Healthcare Fraud

Medical malpractice is sometimes a broad category of several types of actions. In some situations, healthcare fraud is considered to be medical malpractice. Usually these crimes involve actions of medical professionals using medical procedures to fill their pockets. Thousands of medical procedures each year are performed by various healthcare providers that are unnecessary and often not related to the issue the patient has. These unneeded procedures are often performed because insurance companies, Medicare, Medicaid and even private insurance businesses pay the healthcare facility for longer visits and extra care for patients who need treatment that helps prevent surgery complications. A new study published in the Chicago Tribune explained an analysis of records for over 34,000 patients with surgical procedures in 2010 at one of twelve specific hospitals run by Texas Health Resources. Of these, over 1,800 had at least one complication that was preventable. These complications led to a quadrupled length of stay at the facility to up to fourteen days increasing the revenue of the hospital to a little over $30,000 average additional costs.

For some physicians, these unneeded procedures were due to improper or inadequate training. These situations may not be considered fraud. However, if the surgical procedures were due to the fraudulent circumstances the Chicago Tribune discovered, both the healthcare facility and any participating physicians may be guilty of fraud. Criminal charges would be added to civil medical malpractice liable actions.

Unnecessary Procedures

Research has found many of the cardiac stents used to be unnecessary. These devices often have side effects or may cause complications especially when they are not required inside the body. Other unneeded procedures may include extra tests, medical prescriptions, longer examination stays in the hospital and others depending upon the patient. Extra tests may not incur a cost to the patient with insurance, but the doctor or healthcare facility obtain revenue from insurance companies that pay out for these procedures. Medication for some is at an all-time high, so the individual’s insurance coverage may not pay the entire amount for individuals.

Injuries through Medical Malpractice

Many types of injuries may be sustained through malpractice, but the more negligent ones may be evaluated for criminal malpractice. Actions committed by a physician that cause surgical procedures to fail are often analyzed carefully. Some instances of malpractice may lead to litigation by a patient’s remaining family for those that have died on the operating table. These actions may lead to both civil and criminal offenses. Long-term care, death, disfigurement and severe complications all may place healthcare providers in jeopardy of facing criminal charges.

Seek Legal Consultation

It is important to seek a lawyer any time a doctor or hospital visit leads to further complications or injury. Medical malpractice suits may require extensive documentation and time for examination. Secondary doctors or other staff may be needed to explain how the procedure went wrong or why it was unnecessary.

 

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By | 2016-07-14T14:55:56+00:00 July 25th, 2016|Blog, News|0 Comments

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