State of Florida
According to Joel’s textbook, APRNs including CNSs, NAs, CNMs. And NPs in Florida between the years of 1990-2014 had 571 reports of suits. And settlements filed as per the National Practitioner Data Bank by state and year (Joel, 2018). In comparison, physicians, including MDs. And DOs in Florida, recorded 23,291 reports of suits and settlements. More so, there were several adverse actions taken against the Adverse Practitioner Registered Nurses. And Physicians, including loss of clinical privileges, DEA actions, or exclusion from medical or professional societal groups’ participation. The APRNs recorded 77 reports of adverse cases. As compared to 5,769 reported cases in Florida between the same time frame (1990 – 2014) (Joel, 2018).
There is a vast difference between the number of reports of suits. And settlement and reports of adverse cases between the APRNs and the physicians; MDs and DOs with the MDs recording the highest number of cases in both cases. So, what factors contributes to these differences. First, the dramatic differences are brought by the less population of NP’s in the 90s as compared to today. However, the discrepancies in lawsuits. And adverse actions between the APRNs. And MDs in terms of medical malpractice might have been attributed by the roles of medical doctors in the hospital settings.
The medical malpractice
Most of the differences occur because physicians, especially MDs and DOs, attend various patients, and they are more vulnerable to mistakes. The medical malpractice involves misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, negligent lapse in a patient’s care, or failure to treat. More so, medical doctors are more involved in prescribing medications for the patients than the APRNS, thus this could result in medication errors. Medication errors may result from the wrong prescription of medications, dosage, or prescribing inappropriate interactions. Consequently, medical doctors are more involved in surgeries than the APRNs leading to surgical errors that lead lawsuits (Dos Santos Martins, 2020).
The smaller number of lawsuits reports among APRNs is also due to they spend more time face to face with their patients. Having a close relationship with the patients enables the APRNs to be open, respectful, honest, and improving the communication with the patient’s family members. It is conceived that the patient would less likely sue the APRNs when they feel that that they are more caring and professional. Also, the APRNs have improved their interactions with the patients, and they have avoided offering their opinions about the patient’s conditions since they are aware, they might be sued for making a medical diagnosis. More so, the APRNs can also be sued if they only act beyond their defined scope of practice or when their MD’s inadequately supervise them.
Malpractice lawsuits have a substantial effect on the patient’s access. First, the patient would be reluctant to seek medical services from the hospital or the clinic since the rumors or news about the malpractice might turn them off despite being potential patients. Also, if the patient has a concern about the medical negligence of a particular setting, they would tend to be nervous; hence, impeding their trustworthy and open interaction, which would be a cornerstone for provider-patient relationships (Hansen et al., 2020). Consequently, medical negligence has a direct effect on healthcare’s cost.
Since malpractice lawsuits have inclined generally with the claimants’ receiving settlements for millions of dollars, the provider’s fees and insurance premium costs have risen to help in meeting the cost of lawsuits settlement. These actions would have a significant impact on the patient’s access to healthcare services. Patients would also be positively affected by the malpractice insurance premium from the providers. Additionally, the providers would be forced to move from their states due to rising insurance cost to other states where they can manage the cost, thereby limiting the patient’s access to the best medical providers.
Joel, L. A. (2018). Advanced practice nursing: Essentials for role development (4th ed). F. A. Davis Company
Hansen, E., Zech, N., & Benson, S. (2020). Nocebo, informed consent and doctor-patient communication. Der Nervenarzt.
Dos Santos MartinsI, T. G. (2020). Comment on: Classification of plastic surgery malpractice complaints brought before the São Paulo Medical Board. That were treated as professional- misconduct cases: a cross-sectional study.