Law Office of Brian K. Mackintosh, JD, PhD
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Nurse practitioners and medical malpractice

One of the many types of healthcare professionals in Hawaii and the rest of the country who can be sued for malpractice is the nurse practitioner. Any failure of a nurse practitioner to remain within their scope of practice results in liability. However, doctors can take certain steps to limit the number of malpractice claims filed against the nurse practitioners who work in their practice.

According to a study conducted by the largest doctor-owned medical malpractice insurance company in the nation, nurse practitioners face almost the same type of liability risks as primary care physicians. The study was based on the review of nearly 1,500 claims that had been filed from 2011 to 2016 against nurse practitioners as well as internal medicine and family medicine physicians. The desire to determine if nurse practitioners have special risk management concerns was spurred by the realization that they are expected to account for almost 33 percent of the family practice workforce within the next decade.

To reduce the number of malpractice lawsuits faced by nurse practitioners, physicians should be aware of exactly what nurse practitioners are permitted to do under state law. The physicians should have a written protocol that specifies what actions the practitioners can and cannot perform.

However, even with protocols and policies in place, people may not adhere to them, which is why physicians should properly supervise their nurse practitioners. The practitioners should be aware of the situations in which a patient has to be referred to a specialist or a supervising physician.

An attorney who practices medical malpractice law may work to obtain financial compensation for victims of medical malpractice. Healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists and nurse practitioners, might be pursued for financial damages for errors that result in worsened medical conditions, delayed treatment, unnecessary treatment or death.

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