For the past decade or so, and into the near future, hospitals have increased the output of their surgeons by having them schedule several surgeries in one day. Doctors will often find themselves working 14-hour days going from one room to the next and performing the most complicated parts of a surgery while they leave residents and other assistants to do the rest.
While medical review boards insist that the practice is safe, many wonder how that could be. Doctors are required to go over the patient’s charts, ensure they are getting the best quality of care, and it is not clear how that happens with the assembly line style of care.
Not all doctors agree that the process is safe. In fact, there have been some outspoken critics of the process who contend that patient care suffers as a result of assembly-line medicine. Among their chief complaints are that patients require personalized care that they do not receive when they are the 10th patient their doctor has seen in the past hour. This is largely a response, they contend, to the corporatization of the medical industry.
When people suffer a negative medical outcome, they are entitled to pursue a lawsuit against their doctor. That does not mean that their lawsuit has merit or will be successful. In order to prove medical negligence or medical malpractice occurred, they must show that the doctor failed in his or her duty of care.
In cases in which the patient was one of 10 other patients that a doctor either saw or performed surgery on that day, the question will always be: Did the quality of care suffer as a result of the practice? The medical profession at large says no, while individual doctors have varying opinions on the practice. However, the fact that one doctor saw so many patients in one day and the patients suffered injury as a result of their care can be used as an argument against the doctor in court.
In a case in which assembly-line medicine results in a negative medical outcome, the plaintiff may be able to argue that the practice of assembly-line medicine results in a substandard quality of care. This argument may not always be successful, however. Plaintiffs and their attorneys must show that this individual doctor made some kind of medical mistake that most other doctors would not have made. In other words, alleging assembly-line medicine alone is not enough to pursue a case against a negligent doctor.
Attorneys for the defendant will discuss how this practice works, why medical boards across the country believe it is safe, and point out that the defendant has a great rating. Nonetheless, overworked doctors continue to raise the alarm on how this practice harms patients.
If you have been injured by medical negligence, you can sue to recover damages for pain and suffering, lost time from work, and future medical costs. Call Lafferty, Gallagher, & Scott today for a free case evaluation.
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