In a unanimous decision, the Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled against medical review panels for malpractice claims. The state government had imposed the requirement that malpractice claims undergo review by medical panels before advancing to court in 2017. The medical review panel legislation had been put forward by a state senator who was also a physician.
Residents are medical school graduates who typically participate in graduate medical programs and train in specialized fields of medicine. It may be said they are both student and healthcare provider. Although they are not yet board eligible or board-certified physicians, they are permitted to write prescriptions, which can be filled at any pharmacy. Kentucky patients naturally have reason to rely on these prescriptions the same as they would from any other doctor.
A medical malpractice trial that involves a patient from Northern Kentucky and several hospitals in the greater Cincinnati area, which includes parts of Northern Kentucky has begun. The doctor who is the defendant in this trial is reportedly evading criminal allegations of fraud but has denied doing anything wrong.
Modern medicine relies heavily on the use of drugs to cure a patient's ailments or, at least, to make the patient's symptoms more bearable. This is true to such an extent that a Kentucky resident almost expects to receive, or be told to take, some type of medicine whenever they go to the doctor.
The Kentucky Legislature is considering a measure that critics say will further erode Kentucky's protections for victims of medical malpractice.
As this blog has discussed, doctors in this state owe Kentuckians several important duties. For one, they must diagnose their patients accurately or, at a minimum, follow the right process for ensuring their diagnoses are correct as often as possible.
Next to the surgeon, one could argue that the most important medical professional in the operating room is the anesthesiologist. While Kentucky residents might not realize it, this doctor administers very potent, and potentially dangerous, drugs to keep a patient sedated and comfortable during surgery.
One of the nightmare scenarios a Kentucky resident might have before going in to surgery is that the doctor in charge is not going to operate on the correct organ or body part. In extreme cases, doctors have even been known to amputate the wrong limb, meaning a patient winds up with no legs rather than just one leg.
A previous post on this blog discussed how, although not every misdiagnosis a doctor makes is a case of medical malpractice, many are. This is particularly true when a doctor draws hasty conclusions and acts on them without following an orderly process to get all of the facts straight.
Those Kentuckians who work in the medical field know that the practice of medicine still involves some amount of guesswork. As a result, doctors and other medical professionals have some leeway to figure out what is wrong with their patients, even if that process takes time and even if, initially, the doctor follows the wrong trail.