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Decreasing Malpractice Risk in the Emergency Department

      Thousands of nurse practitioners each year find themselves caught up in medico-legal disputes, such as being named in a medical malpractice lawsuit. In fact, according to the national practitioner data bank (NPDB), from 2012 to 2016, 11,095 claims were paid out by malpractice insurance companies on behalf of all practitioners, including physicians and advanced practice providers.
      • NPBD research statistics
      Being named in a medical malpractice case can lead to time away from work, time away from family, hours of lost wages, depression, anxiety, and feelings of worthlessness.
      • Brenner IR
      How to Survive a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit the Physician’s Roadmap for Success.
      However, for a plaintiff to win a medical malpractice case, there must be the presence of 4 elements: a duty to the patient, a breach in the standard of care, injury to the patient, and a causal relationship between the practitioner’s breach in the standard of care and the patient’s injury.
      • Brenner IR
      How to Survive a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit the Physician’s Roadmap for Success.
      During everyday practice in the emergency department, one can get bogged down in clinical duties and forget that medico-legal threats loom. There are several easy things that can be accomplished to decrease one’s legal risk and increase patients' quality of care and overall satisfaction with their ED visits.
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      References

        • NPBD research statistics
        National practitioner databank.
        (Accessed March 10, 2018)
        • Brenner IR
        How to Survive a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit the Physician’s Roadmap for Success.
        Wiley-Blackwell, Hoboken, NJ2010
        • Hetland B
        • Hickman R
        • McAndrew N
        • Daly B
        Factors influencing active family engagement in care among critical care nurses.
        Adv Crit Care. 2017; 28 (https://doi.org/10.4037/aacnacc2017118): 60-170
        • Lin JL
        • Cohen E
        • Sanders LM
        Shared decision making among children with medical complexity: results from a population-based survey.
        J Pediatr. 2018; 192: 216-222https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2017.09.001

      Biography

      David Warren is Nurse Practitioner at Integrative Emergency Services, Dallas, TX.