Some people in Arizona may not know what a hospitalist exactly is. It is a relatively new medical specialty and is similar to being a general practitioner or family doctor, but it involves working in that capacity in a hospital. For the period of time that a person is hospitalized, a hospitalist may act as the primary care physician.
Like other medical professionals, a hospitalist may also commit medical malpractice. An insurance company that deals with medical malpractice, The Doctors Company, did a study and found that most errors by hospitalists happen due to a medication error, managing treatment improperly or a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis.
Hospitalists are held to the same standards as other physicians. Medical malpractice means that the standard of care delivered fell below that that would be offered by the average hospitalist and the patient was harmed or could have been harmed.
An example of a type of medical malpractice that might occur is that a person may be admitted to a hospital and be placed under the care of a hospitalist. The patient might have symptoms pointing to a disease that is unusual for the person’s demographic, and the hospitalist might immediately diagnose the patient with something else rather than running tests for the other disease. The person might then develop a worsened medical condition that requires a protracted hospital stay and extensive rehabilitation thereafter. In such an event, a medical malpractice attorney might seek to open settlement talks with the hospital’s insurance carrier prior to filing a lawsuit grounded on negligence.