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Medical professionals have options when facing malpractice claims

Those who choose to practice medicine provide an invaluable service to others. However, this occupation is not without its risks, and medical professionals may find themselves facing a malpractice suit whenever a patient's outcome was not what was expected. Some New York health care providers may currently be facing this difficult situation.

No medical provider sets out to cause a patient harm or make an existing illness or injury worse; unfortunately, not every poor outcome can be prevented. While many patients take setbacks in stride, there are many others who will attempt to hold providers responsible through the filing of a malpractice claim. There are several valid defenses against these claims. The first of which is to counter the claim that the outcome was a result of negligence instead of standard protocol.

Another valid defense is based on the fact that the patient's own actions or decisions contributed to the negative outcome. Not following a doctor's orders or withholding pertinent information can play a significant role if a recovery did not meet expectations. If a patient alleges that a provider went outside of the normal treatment options, the physician can provide examples of other respected providers who chose the same treatment. Doing so can help establish the respectable minority principle, which may effectively rebut a malpractice suit.

Another valid defense is the Good Samaritan laws. If a provider reacts in an emergency situation, many states have laws that will protect those who provide medical assistance, though certified medical professionals are expected to uphold the usual standards. Facing a malpractice claim is an unsettling experience because no health care provider seeks to harm either a patient or his or her own reputation. Those who practice medicine in New York have access to skilled professionals who can help ensure that one's ability to practice medicine is safeguarded in the years to come.

Source: FindLaw, "Defenses to Medical Malpractice", Accessed on June 3, 2017

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