Liability insurers are now separating the policies of medical professionals who practice in hospitals from those of general internists. In the past, hospitalists were given the same rate as primary care physicians. But this could soon change because the number of lawsuits against hospitalists is on the rise.

The Doctors Company, which is the largest national physicians insurer, predicts that as hospital practitioners take on more roles and responsibilities, they may face more lawsuits.

Mistakes by Hospitalists

While hospitalists and primary care physicians both practice medicine, their environments and daily pressures are vastly different. The patients of hospitalists are usually sicker than those of general internists. In addition, hospitalists aren’t able to develop longstanding relationships with these ailing individuals. So they don’t have detailed background information or knowledge of how the hospital patients assigned to them communicate.

Furthermore, many hospitalists have more patients than they can safely handle at any given time. A Johns Hopkins study in January revealed some troubling statistics. According to its survey, 40 percent of participating doctors reported an excessive number of patients at least once a month. More than 36 percent of doctors said this happened to them on a weekly basis.

Because of this structure, the study found that many hospitalists are unable to devote the necessary attention to each patient. Other oversights follow, such as delayed admissions and discharges, ordering of needless tests and worsened quality of care.

Danielle Scheurer, M.D., a hospitalist and chief quality officer at the Medical University of South Carolina, feels these trends need to change. In her article for The Hospitalist, she writes that it’s time to take a proactive role and break old habits.

“Many of us in the healthcare industry often wait for someone else to tell us when to start doing new things, but rarely do we expect, do we hear, or do we initiate the order to stop doing something. We need to think deeply about all the things we do…and about how to radically change the industry in which we work,” Scheurer advises.

Need Legal Help?

When you or a family member is sick and in need of medical attention, you trust your physician to provide the necessary care. But sometimes doctors make mistakes or act in a negligent way that puts your health at risk.

Our South Carolina medical malpractice attorneys at Joye Law Firm know that a physician’s error can have devastating consequences for you or someone you love. If you or a loved one is the victim of medical malpractice in South Carolina, please contact us for a free consultation at 877-936-9707 or fill out our convenient online form today.

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