Why every doctor should get doctor’s indemnity
Doctors work every day to save lives. Their profession is one of the noblest callings in the world. But at the end of the day, they are also human. They also make mistakes. They have to make huge judgement calls, many of which are associated with certain risks. Yet, a patient’s condition might deteriorate even when there has been no negligence by the doctor.
We live in a time of litigation these days. Any professional mistake can turn into a lawsuit and ruin a doctor’s practice. But doctors should be able to work in a stress-free environment. They need to be able to make decisions that are the best for their patients, without living in constant fear of a worst-case scenario.
This is why it is important for doctors to have a support structure to see them through such possible tough times. And a doctor’s indemnity policy can work as that support structure. This policy usually covers the following potential sources of litigation or claims:
- Breach of confidentiality: A doctor is sworn to respect the confidentiality of each patient and the details of his or her condition. If a doctor releases some confidential information about a patient to any third person, albeit inadvertently, there is a breach of confidentiality. In such cases, the patient may file a lawsuit, claiming damages. An indemnity policy will make sure that such claims cannot affect a doctor’s financial security.
Dr Nishita Singh wrote an article in a medical journal about the unique condition of one of her patients. She did not reveal the patient’s identity. But the characteristics of the condition were so distinctive that the patient felt he could be identified. The patient sued Dr Singh. But she was indemnified against such claims.
- Loss of documents: A patient may submit important documents at the doctor’s office. These could include test reports, x-ray or MRI plates, and previous medical records. Sometimes, these documents could be misplaced due to the negligence of the office staff or even disasters like flood or fire. If the patient files a case with regard to the loss of documents, the indemnity scheme will protect the doctor against financial loss.
- Employee fraud or dishonesty: A doctor has to depend on the office staff for several functions. Some of these employees may be involved in unethical practices or negligence, which may affect the patient. For instance, one of Dr Apoorv Mungetkar’s patients underwent a lot of trauma when his nurse gave him a wrong medicine. An indemnity scheme ensured that Dr Mungetkar was not affected by the resulting litigation.
- Libel and slander: Since a doctor has to examine the patient physically, cases may arise with regard to inappropriate behaviour. Often, these cases are nothing more than a misunderstanding by the patient or a wilful attempt to slander the doctor. All doctors should have an indemnity scheme in place to prevent such accusations from ruining them.
If you are a doctor, you would be running a huge risk in continuing your practice without indemnity. An indemnity scheme goes a long way in establishing a secure and stress-free work environment for doctors.
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