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Telemedicine | Holding doctors accountable for mistakes

May 13, 2019 | Firm News, Medical Malpractice

If you suffered harm because of a mistake made by your doctor, you understand how overwhelming it can be. Not only are you dealing with physical and possibly painful medical problems, you could also be facing expensive bills and emotional distress. Medical malpractice can bring significant suffering to an Indiana family.

When you think of medical malpractice, you probably think about instances that occur when a person seeks in-person medical care. Examples of this include giving the patient wrong medicine, operating on the wrong part of the body or giving a sick person the wrong diagnosis. However, the issue of medical malpractice is not always clear when a doctor is assisting a patient indirectly.

Is telemedicine risky?

With the growth of the internet comes the growth of the number of people who are seeking medical advice online. From learning what certain symptoms may indicate to actually speaking to a medical provider over a video conference call, there are many areas in which medicine and the internet overlap. You may wonder how liable doctors are for errors in telemedicine.

A recent study looked at the occurrence of medical malpractice claims reported in just one month. You may assume that with a teledoctor’s inability to physically observe the patient and see symptoms in person that malpractice cases would be high, but that does not seem to be the case. Of the 551 cases from this specific month, none related to direct-to-consumer telemedicine.

Low malpractice rates

Various types of doctors have expressed concerns over telemedicine leading to an increase in the number of malpractice cases. For this reason, many hospitals and health systems offer malpractice insurance to their doctors who work in telemedicine. The findings of this specific study may not give a complete look at the risks of telemedicine.

Doctors who practice this type of medicine often only take cases involving things like simple colds, basic skin issues and other relatively minor health complications. As a result, the diagnosis is usually simple and the medicines involved are usually not high-risk medications. This may mean fewer complications, leading to fewer malpractice claims.

What does this mean for you?

If you used the services of a teledoctor, perhaps you had concerns about the nature of your diagnosis or the efficacy of the medication provided. When a doctor misses a serious diagnosis or does something that causes harm to the patient, it could mean it is appropriate to move forward with a malpractice claim. If your situation involves telemedicine, you may want to work with a lawyer experienced in complex cases who can accurately assess your case and inform you of your rights.