Legal Ramifications of Mistakes Made by Anesthesiologists

When you first begin thinking about becoming an anesthesiologist, you may find yourself wondering what will happen if you cause some kind of harm to a patient. Even though you may make a legitimate mistake, our society tends to demand severe punishment for these kinds of issues. Regardless of the college you graduate from, or how much effort you put into your residency training, you will need to think carefully about all lifestyle issues that may cause you to wind up facing the legal consequences of medical malpractice.

Ability to Get Malpractice Insurance

In a sense, assigning blame in malpractice issues is not so different from the methods used in automobile collisions. Typically, your malpractice insurance carrier will make a series of inquires, and then act on your behalf to settle the matter. During this process, the carrier will usually arrive at some specific conclusions about whether or not you acted negligently. From there, both parties either agree to a settlement amount, or the case goes to court. While these events will come up from time to time during your career, you can expect your premiums to go up if evidence of negligence is found.

License and Censure

Once the insurance company completes their investigation, they will also alert state authorities that govern the licensing and credentialing of anesthesiologists. At that point, the board may or may not decide to issue some type of formal censure against you. As with issues regarding your malpractice premiums, you may avoid stiff censure on the first occasion, but may find that two or more instances of negligence will result in loss of your license to practice anesthesiology.

Civil and Criminal Penalties

Regardless of whether or not you made a legitimate mistake, there is no question that the investigation and settlement process may lead to a range of court hearings. Among other things, you may be asked to submit to drug testing in order to find out if there is any possibility that use of certain drugs influenced your work performance. Any drug that was taken illegally can easily result in criminal charges as well as create a situation where it will be impossible to avoid a lawsuit. Needless to say, if the insurance company finds out about drug use or other factors that affected your performance, they may well be within their rights to revoke your coverage as well as refuse to work on your behalf to settle the current claim.

It goes without saying that every person in the world will make mistakes at one time or another. On the other hand, when you work as an anesthesiologist, your training and personal background are supposed to ensure that you make far fewer mistakes than the average person. Therefore, when a patient dies, or suffers some type of permanent injury as a result of your performance, you can expect that a wide range of penalties and censures will result. At the very least, if you are committed to being an anesthesiologist, you can do everything possible to avoid any type of situation or lifestyle choice that may have a negative impact on your performance.