Although becoming an anesthesiologist requires the completion of rigorous training and comprehensive studies, you work in a high-risk area where anything can go wrong at any time.
Even though going through training and having robust ethics allow anesthesiologists to deliver the highest quality patient care, at times, patients may experience unexpected reactions. Additionally, caretakers may accidentally give patients too much or little anesthesia and jeopardize their health.
And even though more anesthesiologists believe that no specialist can plan to harm a patient, they should understand that accidents are part and parcel of human life. This is why it is critical for medical specialists to have malpractice insurance cover.
Having professional liability insurance helps secure anesthesiologists from lawsuits when an unplanned, unfortunate, and unexpected misfortune happens inside the operating room.
What Is Medical Malpractice Insurance?
Also known as medical professional liability insurance, medical malpractice insurance is a policy that covers the liability of a hospital, health institution, or health practitioner when faced by an alleged claim of negligence.
It is considered a malpractice liability if it leads to an injury or death of a patient.
For example, think of a patient waking up in between the surgery or falling into a deep sleep after anesthesia. No matter how careful the specialists are, accidents are bound to happen at one point since different individuals react differently to treatments.
Medical malpractice insurance helps cover medical practitioners when such things happen.
Five Do’s and Don’ts When it Comes to Anesthesiologist Malpractice Insurance…
1. Don’t Rely Solely on The Professional Liability Insurance Provided by Your Healthcare Facility
Some anesthesiologists are lucky to have hospitals and healthcare facilities that take medical professional liability insurance on their behalf.
Some may even enjoy premium covers for working at specific healthcare facilities.
While this is a helpful gesture to a medical specialist, its downside is that the policy won’t be transferred with you once you decide to leave that organization.
As such, the best thing an anesthesiologist can do is to get a personal malpractice insurance cover. Getting professional liability insurance cover from an independent agent means that you will be responsible for paying the premium, and you don’t have to stop paying for it even if you move from one organization to the next.
2. Don’t Assume That You’ll Never Get Sued For Malpractice
Experienced and highly-trained anesthesiologists may tend to believe that they will never have malpractice claims leveled against them. However, when you look at the numbers, you’ll agree that having a malpractice insurance cover is the way to go.
According to the Medscape Malpractice Report 2015, by age 54, about 59% of the physicians experience at least one malpractice suit.
Another study by the American Medical Association also indicated that 60% of anesthesiologists aged above 55 years experienced a malpractice lawsuit throughout their careers.
From these reports, it is vividly clear that more than half of physicians experience malpractice suits.
This means as anesthesiologists; you have a 50-50 chance of finding yourself sued at some point in your career.
Therefore, when you don’t find yourself in a malpractice lawsuit, make sure you have the right insurance cover.
3. Know the Actual Cost of a Professional Liability Policy
Although taking a medical malpractice insurance cover is essential, you must understand the policy rates and coverage before you get one.
While anesthesiologist insurance premiums may be expensive, they have gradually become manageable over the years.
Currently, an anesthesiologist‘s medical malpractice insurance cover will cost you something between the premiums for a realtor’s professional liability policy and a brain surgeon’s malpractice insurance premium.
You must talk to your insurance agent and discuss the policy coverage so that you don’t end up with an inferior cover. You can together go over the risk factors and look at the what-ifs so that you can come up with the right rates.
4. Understand What Claims a Medical Malpractice Insurance will Cover
Another vital thing that anesthesiologists need to understand is the threshold that a claim must attain so that professional liability insurance can cover it.
This will ensure that you know where to seek help when mistakes happen.
A claim will be covered by medical malpractice insurance cover when it meets these rules:
- If the application was made during the period when you were covered by insurance. Even if you paid for an insurance cover for a certain period as you agreed with an agent, and then someone sues you later when you have completed paying it, you will be covered by what is known as a tail policy.
- A policy is continually renewed from the time the incident occurred until the time a claim is made. You will be fully covered if you paid an insurance policy all through your career as an anesthesiologist.
A knowledgeable specialist ensures that they understand everything about malpractice costs and coverage before they start paying it.
5. Know the Common Anesthesia Errors that May Lead to a Malpractice Lawsuit
It is also crucial that you understand some of the mistakes that can lead to an injury. These include:
- Failure to review patients medical history
- Prolonged sedation
- Dosage errors
- Communication errors
- Use of defective equipment to administer anesthesia medication
- Failure to monitor vital signs
Using too little anesthesia on a patient may also lead to them waking up during surgery.
Anesthesiologists pass through rigorous training and education. However, to maintain professionalism, specialists need to do everything by the book to avoid any errors. Additionally, they need to have an anesthesiologist malpractice insurance policy to cover them against accidents and unexpected faults that may occur in the course of their service delivery.