Symposium: Evolving Medicolegal Concepts 8 articles
Tort law seeks accountability when parties engage in negligent conduct, and aims to compensate the victims of such conduct. An exception to this general rule governing medical negligence is the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Historically, individuals acting under the authority of the government or other sovereign entity had almost complete protection against tort liability.
Medical liability reform is viewed by many physician groups as a means of reducing medical malpractice litigation and lowering healthcare costs. However, alternative approaches such as closed medical negligence claims data may also achieve these goals.
The term “standard of care” has been used in law and medicine to determine whether medical care is negligent. However, the precise meaning of this concept is often unclear for both medical and legal professionals.
Lawsuits alleging medical negligence by postgraduate physicians in training (residents) arise from treatment received by aggrieved patients at teaching hospitals. A threshold question in determining liability is whether or not the standard of care has been violated. Courts have questioned whether the proper standard governing resident physician conduct should be that of a reasonably competent generalist physician, that of a specialty physician, or whether the standard should be some subjective determination that addresses the resident level of training.
The requirement of obtaining informed consent before medical procedures is well established. With patients having greater access to information through information technology and owing to other factors, disclosure that goes beyond the traditional elements of the risks, benefits, and alternatives to an intervention is demanded from physicians.
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) refers to techniques used to resolve conflicts without going to the courtroom. As healthcare and malpractice costs continue to rise, there is growing interest in tactics such as early apology, mediation, and arbitration in the medical arena.
The rapidly developing array of online physician-only communities represents a potential extraordinary advance in the availability of educational and informational resources to physicians. These online communities provide physicians with a new range of controls over the information they process, but use of this social media technology carries some risk.