While more and more people are heading to emergency rooms, hospitals are trying to cut costs in that particular department. They are now using physician assistants (PAs) to treat at least 10 percent of all emergency room patients.
While this practice saves money for hospitals, it also opens them up to more medical malpractice claims. PAs are more likely to misdiagnose a patient or give them the wrong type or wrong dose of medication.
PAs do benefit the hospital and the patient in some ways. They decrease the wait times for patients, and patients also receive more attention. Hospitals enjoy less overcrowding and reduced costs. The dangers of medical malpractice suits, however, are very real.
The National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) conducted a medial liability study in 2008. This study indicated that there were over 1,500 medical malpractice payment incidents against PAs from 1991 to 2007.
The study also indicated that there were five categories where PAs were more likely to receive medical malpractice reports:
As a patient, you can take steps to protect yourself. Always double-check the diagnosis that you receive from a PA. Also follow up with the supervising physician to see if you were given the correct medication (dosage and type) and the correct treatment.
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- Digital Journal. “More Emergency Room Physicians’ Assistants May Raise Malpractice Claims.”