Unlike a traditional hospital, a teaching hospital incorporates training resident physicians, interns and medical students. There can be a lot of benefits to this in that some of the most up-to-date treatments are available and patients tend to receive a high level of quality care. However, there may be risks that patients should take into consideration when seeking teaching hospital care.
Risks to Consider Regarding Teaching Hospital Care
Of course, some worry that they will provide subpar care when inexperienced students or residents are the ones working. This may be especially worrisome in surgical procedures. Surgical mistakes are, of course, not limited to teaching hospitals. A 2011 report in the Annals of Surgery suggests that the risk of death after an emergency surgery is higher in teaching hospitals.
Patients should also ensure a physician supervises any in-room care provided by a medical student or other trainee. Diagnoses and any recommended course of treatment should receive oversight from a more experienced, well-trained physician.
Even the timing of someone going into the hospital could be a factor in terms of risks. Many argue that July is particularly risky at teaching hospitals. A 2011 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that July has a higher rate of patient deaths in teaching hospitals.
Additionally, patients tend to be hospitalized longer during this time. July is when a wave of new medical students come into most teaching hospitals.
The following may be contributing factors to the increased risk of medical mistakes during this period:
- sleep deprivation; and
- long hours.
Still, physicians oversee the care that medical students and interns provide to patients at these hospitals. However, the New York Times has reported “teaching hospitals say they operate on very thin margins because they serve large proportions of patients who are receiving government insurance for the poor and the elderly.” This combination of low funding and large workload can also add to mistakes made by teaching hospital students.
Consulting With an Attorney When Injured at a Teaching Hospital
Although there are certainly risks to seeking care at a teaching hospital-or for that matter, any type of hospital-there may also be many benefits such as receiving the latest treatments.
If while receiving care or treatment at a teaching hospital, a patient is seriously or fatally injured it is critical to contact an attorney to discuss taking legal action. Patients may file a lawsuit if negligence at the hospital is related to their injuries.
Medical malpractice cases in themselves can be very complicated but there can be other challenging issues that arise when it involves a teaching hospital where a physician may be supervising a medical student. It’s important to seek help from legal counsel who is knowledgeable in this area of law.
The Becker Law Firm is primarily focused on medical malpractice cases. We understand the risks associated with teaching hospital care and how to determine if mistakes were preventable and constitute malpractice. If an injured victim or the family of a loved one who died as a result of medical negligence, contact our law office today to learn about one’s rights and legal options. Give us a call at (440) 252-4399.