Published on:

Beware: risk of medical malpractice when rural ERs not staffed by doctors

Occasionally, medical malpractice lawsuits are filed after medical residents or other midlevel practitioners take the place of busy doctors and make medical mistakes. Many rural emergency rooms, however, are not staffed by doctors but by “midlevels” like physician assistants and nurse practitioners. There has been a shortage of doctors in rural areas, and many of the existing rural doctors do not have the time, energy, or stamina to staff emergency rooms. 1 out of 7 rural hospitals in 2007 had only midlevels as emergency room staff. Medical malpractice could be caused if these midlevel practitioners mistake something serious for something harmless or make other errors. Many hospitals have found success with this system but it is important to be aware of a medical practitioner’s level of expertise when being treated at a rural emergency room. For the full story, click here.