Malpractice 101: Learn from other people’s mistakes

Malpractice 101

Malpractice insurance can be a very confusing topic for dental students. We get it. MedPro also understands the value of malpractice education, which is why we created the Malpractice Minute, a quarterly e-mail that puts our experience in the hands of 20,000 dental students nationwide. Our dental specific risk management and claims teams review real-life court cases, and give practical insights for avoiding similar situations. Read it regularly, to see situations like this:

A new patient forgot to mention her heart condition in her medical history. Later, the patient’s Endodontist notified the office and the record was updated—without any medical alert tag.

Four years later, the dentist performed several uneventful procedures, without administering any prophylactic antibiotics. The woman became ill and died a month later, with indications of arrhythmia, stroke, sinus infection, bacterial colonization of the mitral valve, and Infectious Endocarditis while vacationing in Bermuda. The dentist was sued for malpractice.

The malpractice insurance company that defended the dentist retained a top witness, who identified the cause of death as a stroke, not bacterial infection. Facing pressure from his business partners, the dentist falsified the patient history to reflect proper pre-medication. Introducing fraud made the case virtually indefensible, resulting in a high-cost settlement.

RISK MANAGEMENT TAKEAWAYS:

#1: Discuss your patient’s medical history, every visit.

#2: Format notes consistently. When labs, reports, histories, etc. have the same layout, it’s easier to see incomplete, contradictory, and illegible entries.

#3: Perform a full medical history review before beginning any treatment.

#4: NEVER falsify records!

#5: Trust MedPro as the malpractice experts. Over 115+ years, we’ve seen just about everything, and we know what it takes to protect your reputation.

Want more? Sign up for the Malpractice Minute e-mail today, or tweet us your thoughts on malpractice education @MedProDental.

~Jennifer Gibson, dental student coordinator, Medical Protective

About Jennifer Gibson

Jennifer Gibson is the dental student coordinator for Medical Protective. Medical Protective is a leader in dental malpractice insurance and the company first involved when malpractice allegations were becoming prevalent more than a century ago. Medical Protective has been defending the reputations and assets of dentists since 1899, and will continue to do so for years to come.


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