The 2000 movie focuses on the fishing industry, their difficult tasks and their ability to work both as a team and with other teams. PAs also face difficult tasks and need to work with varied teams to ensure the best outcomes.
But occasionally, because of a break in procedure or protocol, a healthcare worker may place a patient in great danger. The entire team suffers and is liable—the perfect storm, legally speaking.
Let me give you an example.
An unfortunate incident in the OR
Last week, I spoke to a malpractice attorney who was brought to the OR for an elective procedure.
Sometime during surgery this man fell from the table and sustained fractures of his hip and knee. The straps on the OR table may have been removed for catheterization, but they were never reapplied. The man was left unconscious and vulnerable.
He has scars, orthopaedic problems, possible arthritis from his fractures and the lingering fear of medical institutions and his next hospitalization.
Obviously, this case went to court. And everyone was entered into the litigation. The court found them all guilty, and they all paid damages.
Why was everyone sued? Because it’s the responsibility of the hospital, circulating nurse, surgical technologist, anesthesiologist, surgeon and, last but not least, surgical assistant (in this case, a PA) to keep the patient safe.
What’s interesting is that if the same malpractice insurance carrier was responsible for a number of people involved in the case, it didn’t offer equal support for every member of the team.
How to prepare for the storm
This illustrates why it is imperative to have a personal liability insurance policy in addition to the coverage your employer provides. It can save you from inadequate employer insurance.
At the very least, you should have a policy that will help defend you, protect your reputation, and pay your legal fees and an additional portion of the settlement.
The perfect storm can happen in your OR tomorrow morning. Are you prepared?
Contact an AAPA-endorsed medical professional liability insurance company today. You do not need to be an AAPA member to apply for insurance!
AAPA Insurance Services offers AAPA-sponsored insurance plans from insurance professionals and companies (distinct from AAPA) that are solely responsible for all insurance communications.
Robert M. Blumm, MA, PA-C, DFAAPA, is a former NYSSPA president, a national PA consultant, activist and conference speaker. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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