MF&G, JCC host seminar
The timely subject of medical malpractice was the topic of discussion during the recent Wednesday Morning Breakfast Seminar on December 12 hosted by Myers, Fletcher & Gordon (MF&G) and the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce at the Altamont Court Hotel.
The audience of stakeholders from the insurance industry and related corporate groupings was expertly guided through measures to avoid medical negligence claims and the best defence if faced with such claims by MF&G attorney, Alexis Robinson. Given that medical procedures are risky and susceptible to litigation, Robinson advised that there are three key elements in establishing negligence: "duty, breach, and damage", and said that "standard of care" is judged on the basis of a reasonable and normally competent doctor practising and professing to have a particular skill.
To avoid medical negligence claims, she said one must follow common professional practice and ensure informed consent is acquired. She underscored the fact that consent is not merely a signed form, but also demands that the individual is informed of the nature of his or her condition and the proposed treatment, in addition to the risk involved, possible side effects, as well as the risks in not receiving treatment.
"Communication is key", she stressed. In the event that one is faced with medical negligence claims, Robinson opined that the best defence is medical records, warning that "If it is not written, it was not done". Medical records should be held for at least six years, or in the case of minors, for six years after the patient's 18th birthday.
Elements of substantial
medical records include: basic information about the patient, notes and histories, test results, photographs, decisions made and who agreed, and information on prescribed drugs. Medical records should also be legible, easily understood, in chronological order and dated.