Received a patient complaint? Here’s what to do next.

Received a patient complaint? Here’s what to do next.

The receipt of a patient complaint is normally a deeply unsettling experience for any practitioner. Emotions range from guilt and contrition to hurt and indignation. In such circumstances, it is not easy to keep a cool head. But a cool head is what is needed most. Like so many aspects of medical practice today, responding to a patient complaint is as much about a process, as it is about the outcome. From the perspective of a lawyer who represents practitioners...
Patient confidentiality: winning the unwinnable [Case Study]

Patient confidentiality: winning the unwinnable [Case Study]

Which should win out in medical information: patient confidentiality or a subpoena? This is the conundrum that Dr M was faced with. After treating a patient for years as their general practitioner, Dr M was served with documentation from an Australian law firm that demanded she produce her patient’s medical records for use in court. Fearing a breach of patient confidentiality were she to comply or a breach of the law if she didn’t, Dr M found herself in a...
Concerns about another medical practitioner [Case Study]

Concerns about another medical practitioner [Case Study]

Unfortunately, and thankfully very rarely, medical practitioners have to deal with an underlying concern about a colleague. Whether it concerns a one-off event, or a more general anxiety over time, it is a worrying position for a practitioner to be in.
Pre- and post-surgery management: HDC Case

Pre- and post-surgery management: HDC Case

On 20 February 2018, the Health and Disability Commissioner (HDC) found that a DHB failed to provide services to Mr A with reasonable care and skill, and breached Right (4)(1) of the Code of Health & Disability Services Consumers’ Rights.
Fatigue: a medico-legal risk?

Fatigue: a medico-legal risk?

  We have had several inquiries recently about the issue of fatigue and whether it would constitute a medico-legal risk. Put another way, if a mistake happened when a practitioner was in a fatigued state, what risk would they be carrying of an adverse finding against them?