The relationship between medical professionals at a hospital or in a clinic may affect patient care. While it is tempting to picture medicine as a unique effort that occurs in isolation between a doctor and a patient, that view is too simplistic. Instead, an individual patient’s care hinges on so many factors–a primary doctor, other specialists, those who read the tests, aides who perform basic services, nurses who inform doctors of conditions, office staff that deal with records, device manufacturers that produce equipment, and more. Problems with any one individual may result in serious errors and harm.
That is why more and more attention is being placed on the actual relationship between all those who work in a medical setting. When those relationships are strained, then communication is often lacking. Medical errors are far more likely to happen in those situations. While strong working relationships are important in any profession, the need is perhaps strongest in the medical field because life and death are literally on the line.
Dysfunctional Working Relationship
One assumes that most medical teams have strong bonds which are used to ensure all medical patients receive adequate care 100% of the time. But that isn’t always so. For example, a new VC Star article discusses a unique case where a doctor facing more than twenty medical malpractice lawsuits is pointing the finger at his colleagues. Specifically, he is suggesting that he was being forced out of his practice because others with whom he worked did not want to pay more than a million dollars in bonuses and fees that he was owed.
In a legal action filed last month, the neurosurgeon claims that his privileges at a local hospital and independent-contractor relationship were terminated without a proper investigation. The termination was presumably due to the doctor’s numerous medical malpractice lawsuits. Facilities obviously have an incentive to ensure that those working in their building–regardless of the specific employer/employee relationship–provide quality services that do not harm patients.
Yet, in his lawsuit the doctor suggests that patient safety was not the reason for his termination. Instead, he claims that he was driven out because of the facility’s desire not to pay him over a million dollars in promised bonuses. He suggests that he generated nearly three million dollars for the business, and that he was promised certain income based on the revenues he provided. He further argues that if the facility would have performed a full investigation, he would have been cleared.
In response, the hospital’s attorney minced no words in denying the improper motivation for the doctor’s dismissal. He explained, “It sort of reminds me of the definition of chutzpah where someone murders their parents and then pleads for mercy on the basis that they’re now an orphan.”
The facility suggests that the surgeon’s privileges were terminated because of the myriad of problems that arose in this 17 months in service. Specifically, different patients argued that many problems developed following his work, including infections and complications that often required revision surgery. The doctor’s use of medical devices like rods and interbody cages was called into question.
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