HCA332: Health Care Ethics & Medical Law
Instructor: J. Chambers
October 3, 2011
Laws are enacted to regulate human behavior for the benefit of society. In the health care field, occasionally the ethic laws are not always followed (Pozgar, 2010). The Institute of Medicine found that up to 98,000 people die every year from preventable medical errors, which is the sixth leading cause of death (AAJ, 2011). As health care professions, it is our duty to provide quality health care and make sure the law is being obeyed. Areas of law affecting the health care provider and receiver are tort law, criminal law, contract law, and trial procedures (Pozgar, 2010). Medical negligence has been seen as a major problem and impacts health care and health care professions most directly. By discussing the history and the present issues involving medical negligence, possible future endeavors can be established to help these patients who suffer.
Tort is defined as a civil wrong, other than a breach of contract, committed against a person or property for which a court provides a remedy in the form of an action for damages. Negligence is a type of tort, a civil or personal wrong; it is a common action brought upon patients and is the most common law broken in health care. It is the unintentional commission or omission of an act that a reasonably prudent person would or would not do under given circumstances (Pozgar, 2010). Commission of an act would include administering wrong medication, the wrong dosage of medication, administering medication to the wrong patient, and performing a surgical procedure without the patient’s consent, on the wrong patient, surgically removing the wrong body part, and failing to assess and reassess a patient’s nutritional needs. Omission of an act would include failing to administer medications, failing to order diagnostic tests, and failing to follow up on abnormal test results.
Negligence is caused by...