2017-09-14 11:45:18 UTC

Legal Issues for the Gastroenterologist

Sept. 14, 2017

Ensure you are aware of the most common liabilities and how to effectively manage your risk.

At some point in their career, almost half of all physicians have had a malpractice claim filed against; the field of gastroenterology represents about 2 percent of total claims.  

Lawyers from Eckert, Seamans, Cherin & Mellott provide the following explanations for the most common liability gastroenterologist face and tips for minimizing risk. More details are available in the latest issue of The New Gastroenterologist.

Professional Liability

  • Negligence: A patient claims that a physician, in the course of rendering treatment, failed to meet the applicable standard of care.
  • Informed consent: A physician must obtain full, knowing and voluntary informed consent from her patient for any nonemergency surgical procedure. This requires more than simply having the patient sign a form; patients must clearly understand the benefits, risks and alternatives of treatment, as well as possible consequences of declining treatment. 
  • Contractual liability of doctor to patient: Physicians and patients can enter into express written contracts regarding the care provided. Once a contract is formed, a plaintiff may have a cause of action for breach of contract if the outcome of the treatment is not what was promised.

Minimizing Risk

  • Document, thoroughly and legibly, all aspects of care provided.
  • Be cognizant of contractual liability and never guarantee results.
  • Create a relationship with your patients involving quality communication.