How to minimize nurse practitioner liability

Both nurse practitioners and primary care physicians could be liable in medical malpractice cases. Therefore, it is important that practices take steps to reduce the odds that this happens. The first way to do this is to figure out what a nurse practitioner can do in a given state. By following Georgia or other relevant state law, there are fewer opportunities for such a person to go beyond his or her scope.

By providing adequate supervision, doctors can be relatively sure that nurse practitioners are following office protocols. Without supervision or enforcement, rules or protocols are ineffective and can lead to liability. Examples of office rules could be to send a patient who is experiencing chest pains to the emergency room or to a specialist. Patients who have health conditions that are difficult to manage could be sent to a supervising physician.

As a general rule, the odds of a nurse practitioner facing a medical malpractice claim are low. Even if a person in this role faces a lawsuit, they tend to be settled for less money. However, it is worth noting that claims against nurse practitioners increased from 2008 to 2016 while the number of claims against physicians decreased in that same time period. This is likely because the use of nurse practitioners has increased.

If a patient receives an incorrect diagnosis or is the victim of a doctor error, those actions could rise to the level of medical malpractice. Those who pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit could receive compensation for medical bills incurred as well as lost wages or lost future earnings. An attorney may review a case and represent an individual during both settlement negotiations or in a formal trial if needed to obtain a favorable outcome.

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