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surgblumm

When can a medical error or deviation from the standard of care become manslaughter?

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As you all know, for the past twenty or so years I have written and published a monthly malpractice article to help my PA colleagues. It actually started after a number of people on the old PA forum were involved in malpractice suits and were dropped by their carriers. As in all things related to this subject some PAs found it difficult to get another policy because of their actions and could now only work for an institution. Some lost their careers, some waled away from their professional endeavors distraught over the litigious society that we exist in. Some PAs found that they were not covered for their poor judgement moment or their medical error and lost their incomes and their personal savings. Some advocated for going bareback in states that allow it but nevertheless this was a problem that I decided that I could respond to in orfer to establish hope and a foundation for my fellow PAs. From the discussions on that forum, I was enriched with ideas or stories which is why I post many of those articles on this site. I ask the question above because obviously this has happened and I want to enlist comments that will help me write a future article in this subject.

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"I accidentally gave the wrong drug" should never rise.  It's a mistake, an error.

However, if you were perhaps intoxicated on the job and a mistake resulted in the a death.  I could see them going after you in that situation.

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My understanding is your malpractice won't cover you if there is a complaint you committed a crime (manslaughter). I'm sure legal experts will have opinions but as Cid said there is a difference between error and acting in such a way your actions could would be believed to cause harm by a reasonable person. It is the many shades of grey in between that  become the battle ground.

I think any time we do anything "off label" we put ourselves at risk. Anytime we do something we aren't credentialed to do, any time we do something we are qualified to do but don't have adequate documentation of training and skill maintenance.

It seems some days are an exercise in self protection.

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Thanks CID and SAS for your comments which will be saved and seen again in another form. Sometimes it is not until after the EBTs that the litigation goes from one of a medical error to overt man slaughter. I am interested in other ‘hidden’ opinions.

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