If you practice medicine today, you face a number of legal and ethical concerns that can affect the services you provide to your patients. Whether you have your own medical practice or work for someone else, physicians lawyers stress the importance of understanding these issues.
Attorneys who represent physicians know this profession has many rules, regulations, and practice standards. To make sure you are properly informed about the many legal and ethical obligations that apply, it is a good idea to seek the legal assistance of a lawyer experienced in such matters who can thoroughly review these issues with you.
From the moment a new patient comes into your practice, there are certain ethical rules that you and your staff must follow. Any type of relationship outside of the doctor/patient relationship , especially of a sexual nature, is expressly forbidden as unethical and could be viewed as misconduct.
Such relationships are considered as an abuse of professional power and should be avoided. Physicians lawyers warn that this type of misconduct could result in the loss of your medical license and expulsion from the medical profession.
Attorneys who represent physicians advise that patient confidentiality is a prime concern. Improperly releasing patient information is not just an ethical problem; it is also a legal one. HIPAA regulations are very strict on the subject of how your practice must handle and store patient information as well as what other parties are entitled to access such records.
You are also responsible for the actions of any third parties you allow to access patient medical information. Consider obtaining legal assistance from an expert to ensure you stay within HIPAA regulations to avoid violations that may result in costly fines.
Another important legal issue that physicians lawyers want to point out is the fact that you must obtain informed consent from your patients before any treatment. This is especially important before you do any type of procedure or surgery that involves a certain degree of risk.
The issue of informed consent and confidentiality can be complicated when dealing with underage patients. In Texas, a minor is anyone under the age of 18. A person under 18 cannot consent to medical treatment without parental consent. The Family Code does allow certain stated exceptions. This is one topic that when a physician should seek legal assistance to ensure there is a full understanding of the best way to handle minor patients.
No matter what type of medicine you practice, there is always some risk involved of being sued for malpractice. Although such lawsuits are commonly filed after a patient sustains some sort of injury, lawsuits can also be filed for any type of omission in a patient’s treatment and ongoing care. As such, many physicians attorneys advise doctors who want to avoid negligence lawsuits to practice "defensive medicine" which basically means practicing medicine in a manner that would avoid any legal exposure or risk of malpractice accusations.
Based on these and other concerns, physicians lawyers stress that it is your duty as a physician to understand your responsibility in providing ethical and legally sound care to your patients. These issues can be very complex and may require you to seek legal assistance with a lawyer experienced in such matters.
This expert can review your current policies and advise if it appears that you are practicing within the rules and regulations set forth by the state of Texas and your profession. Experienced physicians attorneys can help you understand any legal and ethical concerns and advise on how to best handle them!
The Stevenson Law Firm, PC
6302 W. Broadway, Suite 120
Pearland, TX 77581
Phone: (832) 481-4548