3 legal issues facing gastroenterologists and what to do about them

Eckert, Seamans, Cherin & Mellott listed the three most common liability issues facing gastroenterologists and provided best practices on ensuring your practice is safe in The New Gastroenterologist

Approximately 50 percent of physicians have a malpractice claim filed against them sometime during their career. Gastroenterology is responsible for 2 percent of total claims, according to an AGA news brief.

The three most common issues facing gastroenterologists are:

1. Negligence — A patient claiming a treatment failed to meet the applicable standard of care.

2. Informed consent — A physician needs to obtain full, knowing and voluntary informed consent for any procedure. A patient must know the benefits, risks and alternative treatments available as well as consequences related to declined treatment.

3. Contractual liability of doctor to patient — A patient can sue if the outcome of the treatment is not what was promised in the contract.

The law firm recommends the following three best practices to mitigate risk:

1. Document every step of the process

2. Be aware of contractual liability and don't guarantee anything

3. Create relationships centered around quality communication.

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