Category Archives: Medicolegal Considerations

MANAGED CARE ISSUES

MANAGED CARE ISSUES The influence of “managed health care hat changed many aspects of dentistry. This In the doctor-patient relationship and the way decislonsatil . made regarding which treatment alternatives are most appropriate. Dentists are often .placed in the middle of a  conflict between a desire to provide opti mal treatment and a health care plan’s, willingness to approve  approriate, &#

WHEN A PATIENT THREATENS TO SUE

WHEN A PATIENT THREATENS TO SUE Whenever a patient, the patient’s attorney, or any other representative of the patient informs the dentist that a malpractice suit is being considered, several precautions should be taken: First, all such threats should be documented and reported immediately to the malpracticEtinsurance carrier. The dentist should follow the advice of the malpractice carrier, institution

COMMON AREAS OF DENTAL LITIGATION

COMMON AREAS OF DENTAL LITIGATION   Litigation has involved all aspects of dental practice and nearly every specific type of treatment. A few types of dental treatment have a higher incidence of legal action. Removal of the wrong tooth usually results from   communication breakdown between the general dentist, and oral surgeon or the patient and dentist. When in doubt the dentist must confirm the tooth to b

PATIENT MANAGEMENT PROBLEMS

PATIENT MANAGEMENT PROBLEMS Non compliant Patient Dentists and staff should rout indy chart lack of cornpliance, Including missed appointments, cancellations, and failure to follow advice to take medications, seek consultations, wear appliances, or return for routine visits. Efforts to advise patients of risks associated with failing to follow instructions should also be. recorded. When the patient’s he

COMPLICATIONS

COMPLICATIONS Less-than-desirable results can occur despite the dentist’s best efforts in diagnosis, treatment planning, and surgical technique. A poor result does not necessarily suggestthat a’ practitioner is guilty of negligence or other wrongdoing. However, when complications occur, it is mandatory that the dentist immediately begin to address the problem in an appropriate fashion. In most ins

REFERRALTO ANOTHER GENERAL DENTIST OR SPECIALIST

REFERRAL TO ANOTHER GENERAL DENTIST OR SPECIALIST  In many cases dentists may think that the recommended treatment is beyond their level of training or experience and may choose to refer a patient to another general dentist or specialist. A referral slip or letter. should clearlyindicate the basis for referral and what the specialist is being asked to do. The referral should be recorded in the chart. A writ

RECORDS AND DOCUMENTATION

RECORDS AND DOCUMENTATION Poor record keeping is one of the most common problems encountered in the defense of a malpractice suit. When. the quality of, patient care is questioned, the  records supposedly reflect what was done and why. Poor records provide plaintiff attorneys with an opportunity to claim that patient care also must have been substandard. Even though a perfect record is neither possible nor re

INFORMED CONSENT

INFORMED CONSENT  In addition to providing quality care, effective communication and good rapport should become a standard part of office management .objectives. Dentists can -be sued not only for negligent treatment but also for failing to inform patients properly about the treatment to be rendered, the reasonable alternatives, and the reasonable  benefits, risks, and complications of each. In fact, in some 

RISK REDUCTION

RISK REDUCTION  The foundation for all dental practice should be sound clinical procedures. However, properly.addressing other aspects of patient care and office policy may considerably reduce potential legal liability. These aspects include dentist patient and staff-patient communication, patient information, informed consent, proper documentation, and appropriate management of   complications. Additionall

LEGAL CONCEPTS INFLUENCING LIABILITY

LEGAL CONCEPTS INFLUENCING LIABILITY To understand the responsibility of the dentist in risk management, it is important to review several legal concepts pertaining to the practice of dentistry. Malpractice is generally defined as professional negligence. Professional negligence occurs when treatment provided by the dentist fails to comply with “standards of ” care” exercised by other dentist