For years, hospitals and medical centers have attempted to limit their financial exposure for the medical malpractice of the professionals who work within their facility. They have attempted to do this by contracting with third-party professional corporations, sometimes local and at other times national corporations. Such corporations provide the services of anesthesiologists, certified registered nurse anesthetists, hospitalists, intensivists and radiologists, but to name a few. In Part II of the series, “Do You Know Who is Taking Care of You in the Hospital?,” the attorneys at Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas & Cannavo, P.C. (SPBMC) address the issue of who employs the persons who are putting you to sleep, reading your X-rays, taking care of you in the ER and caring for you in the intensive care unit.
It is Essential to Know Who is Providing Your Medical Care
Often, patients find that they are receiving care by an alleged “independent contractor,” physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner without a physician being physically present in the hospital. This issue especially occurs during nighttime hours. Although the hospital requires that these persons meet basic credentialing requirements, our experience has demonstrated that neither the hospital nor the employer of this healthcare provider undertakes the rigorous interview and investigative activities that would reveal if they truly are able to meet the standard of care.
When you are cared for in the hospital, ask for the card of the person caring for you. When you are planning to have surgery, specifically discuss who will be providing you with anesthesia ahead of time with your surgeon. Also on the day of surgery when you meet your anesthesia team, most likely for the first time, ask who they are—a doctor a nurse or some other type of providers. If there is any issue with the interpretation of an X-ray taken in the hospital, insist upon a second opinion. You may find that the radiologist who interpreted your CAT scan, MRI or other diagnostic study is a remotely located reading radiologist—this means that they may not have been present in the hospital, or even in the same state.
You Are Entitled to Request and Review Your Own Medical Records
As a patient, you have the right to request a hard copy of your own diagnostic studies, and if you have any concerns, you should request a copy and then have your own physician have it read by someone in whom he or she has confidence. Another way to determine who is caring for you is by analyzing the hospital and physician bills you receive. Many healthcare providers are part of a healthcare system, and information regarding the health care provides who have cared for you, and who they are employed by, are revealed through the billing record. When these doctors, nurses or physician’s assistants are employed or their services are provided from a third-party contractor and not the hospital, you will see the name and address of that entity on any bill that is sent to you.
Do not be afraid to ask about the background of the person who is caring for you as well as by whom they are employed. Do not be afraid to ask your physician who these people are and who is responsible for supervising the care they provide.
If a complication or act of negligence occurs causing you harm, it will be essential for your attorneys to know not only the names of all the persons involved in your care, but also the identities of those who employed them in order to ensure that all responsible parties are held accountable.
The most important thing for you to do is to ensure that the physicians and hospitals that you are using deserve the reputation that they are advertising. You can look up your physician on the New York State Department of Health to gain access to their credentials and more.
Discuss Your Options with a Medical Malpractice Attorney at Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas & Cannavo, P.C. Today
If you are a victim of medical negligence, we urge you to discuss your unique experience with the seasoned and skilled medical malpractice attorneys at Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas & Cannavo, P.C. We promise to always ensure that your case is fully and competently reviewed by our experts in medical malpractice. We promise you answers, and if the answer supports a claim of medical malpractice, we will provide you with effective, diligent and compassionate representation. To learn more, contact our New York Office today.