Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Heavy Duty - October 2016 - Subscribe to Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

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Page 40 of 126

n't ambulate without assistance from staff. But the patient decides he's feeling up for a walk down the hallway. As he leaves the bed, the alarm malfunctions and doesn't notify staff that he has stood up. During his journey, he loses his balance, falls and breaks his hip. Blame can, and will, be distributed amongst the staff that needed to have line-of-sight vision of him and those who needed to check on him regularly. But the facility may also be on the hook, because even though the bed alarm malfunctioned, the facility still owes an implicit duty to its patients to maintain its equipment. If it's discovered that you didn't exhibit reasonable care to maintain the bed alarms (for example, you slacked on regular maintenance checks), then the court may find you directly liable in the form of corporate negligence. Select and retain competent physicians The second duty, to "select and retain only competent physi- cians," requires that you have a robust hiring and credentialing process for physicians. The potential scenarios are endless, but could include anything from a physician omitting previous mistakes in his history, to a facility failing to perform a thorough background check. Attorneys will almost always invoke or explore this duty while look- ing for a source of "what went wrong," so make sure you have and strictly enforce a thorough hiring and credentialing policy. Oversee the medicine practiced within your walls You also have a duty to oversee all persons practicing medicine within your walls, but what does this mean in reality? In a plain sense, staff have a duty to recognize and report abnormalities in the treat- ment and condition of patients, and this duty then flows to the facility and its administration. Consider the case of an at-term, morbidly obese pregnant woman 2 3 O C T O B E R 2 0 1 6 • O U T PA T I E N TS U R G E R Y. N E T • 4 1

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