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As a healthcare worker, you have to put in extra work and more time than the average employee. This is because your job is very sensitive as it involves dealing with people at their very lowest. Whether you are a nurse, physician, lab scientist, or radiographer, you play a crucial role in ensuring that patients get better. However, mistakes can arise in the course of work. You may make the mistake personally or you may be looped in with a colleague but at times lawsuits happen. There are many legal cases you could face as a healthcare worker. Understanding what these are will help you avoid them and know where to get help if you are ever in trouble. Without further ado, here is a look at the common healthcare legal cases workers could face.
Withholding Information from a Patient
Every patient has a right to be fully informed about their health state and be given the chance to choose from the available treatment options. As a healthcare provider, it is your duty to ensure that the patient has sufficient information so as to make the decision. Patients should not be coaxed into giving consent without the proper information. It is your duty to explain both verbally and in written form everything that is to be done. Having documentation that shows a patient has given informed consent is good practice. This document can be used to defend you in a court of law if any issue ever arises.
Breach of Patient Confidentiality
Everything a patient says or reveals to a healthcare worker must be treated with confidentiality. Whether it is a brief family history, diagnosis, or abuse of drugs, all information must be kept confidential. It can only be shared with other healthcare workers who require access in order to help the patient.
Sharing patient information with the patient’s relatives of your friends is illegal. Whether it is intentional or accidental, disclosing a patient’s confidential information can get you sued. You could serve jail term or pay heavy fines if found guilty.
This refers to actions that may cause harm, injury, or death of a patient. It may be negligence in that a healthcare worker does not do what he or she is supposed to do or he or she does not do it in time. It may be made by the hospital management, the attending physician, the nurse in charge of giving medication, or the team carrying out the diagnosis.
Cases of medical malpractice are common and the consequences are dire when found guilty. You risk losing your job and practicing license! To avoid this, you must get the best legal representation if you ever find yourself with such an issue. If you are a nurse, you will need to work with a competent nursing license defense attorney. Such an attorney will help you create a good defense and help you retain your license. It is never advisable to face court charges without a good lawyer because this only increases your chances of losing. You could lose your license even if you are innocent.
These could affect you especially if you are working at a government facility. A patient could inform relevant authorities of fraudulent activity going on in your facility. Such a case could be on theft of supplies, stealing of hospital funds, and other issues. No matter what it is, this is a serious legal issue. You could end up in jail serving a long sentence if found guilty.
To avoid such issues, never take what you have not rightfully earned from your place of work. Even a single tablet of medication could land you in trouble. If caught, find a good lawyer to argue your case.
Euthanasia and Physician-assisted Suicide
No matter how sick a patient is, you cannot just help end their suffering. Whether you give them something that causes them to die (euthanasia) or provide them with medication with which they can commit suicide, it is illegal. Though Euthanasia is legal in some countries, in most, it is a criminal offense.
Physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia may be suspected when the course of illness of a critically-ill patient progresses faster than expected. If such a thing happens under your watch, you could be charged with murder charges.
As a healthcare worker, you need to do your best and serve the people who need your services. You may face some legal issues here and there but it is not a unique situation. Many healthcare service providers have faced such in the past. With a good attorney, you will get a fair hearing and your chances of winning are quite high.