The field of medicine has many laws that are in place to protect both the doctor and the patients from injuries and lawsuits. There are three laws in particular that are helpful in protecting patients from the risk of being the victim of medical malpractice. Read below to find out which laws are protecting you and your family.
Doctor Licensure Laws
One of the most basic laws that protect patients against medical malpractice is doctor licensure law. The law has many different layers that protect patients from being treated by someone who has not been through the proper training. Usually the doctor must be licensed in the state in which he or she wishes to practice, and must be licensed by the licensing medical board of that state.
In addition to the initial certification that every new doctor must go through, doctors are required to renew their licenses after a certain period of time, usually two years. The process of renewal often requires that the doctor submit to to a mandatory physician survey. In addition, doctors are required to have completed a certain amount of education each renewal cycle to stay ahead of new medical breakthroughs or discoveries that have happened since their initial education. The licensure program is particularly helpful in protecting patients against anyone ill-equipped to provide adequate care, thereby limiting the risk of a bad procedure.
Informed Consent Laws
At first glance, informed consent laws seem to be there only for the protection of those practicing medicine. However, these laws also do a lot to protect the patient as well. These laws state that before a doctor or any medical professional proceeds with any sort of procedure or treatment, the patient must be thoroughly informed of the process, risks, reason for the procedure or treatment, and whether or not there are any alternative options to the proposed treatment or procedure. This means that a doctor must get the patient’s permission before taking an action. In the case of the patient’s inability to make a decision due to incapacity, a designated family member will be able to make these decisions for them.
Before a procedure, the medical professional will approach the patient or family members with a consent form that must be signed before any action is taken. This certainly helps protect doctors from lawsuits, but the process protects the patient as well from doctors being able to do whatever they want without asking permission first.
HIPAA Privacy Rule
In addition to providing patients with the rights to their privacy regarding medical records, the HIPAA Privacy Rule was put in place to give patients to right to look at and obtain medical records at a reasonable cost. This is extremely important in the protection of patients against malpractice because it gives doctors accountability to keep detailed and accurate records of any procedures or treatments that are performed. Because of this law, patients who feel as if they do have a case for medical malpractice are able to obtain their records in order to use them in their case against the doctor or hospital.