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Medical Malpractice Cases Against Hospitalists

By Jack H. FarnbauchOctober 30, 2017

If you are hospitalized for any length of time in a larger hospital, there's a very good chance that you will receive care from a "hospitalist." A “hospitalist” is a physician who works exclusively in a hospital setting and specializes in hospital-based medicine. Most commonly, hospitalists undergo residency training in Internal Medicine or Family Medicine and, therefore, have education and training similar to doctors practicing as primary care physicians or family doctors.

However, some hospitalists have training in other medical specialties. Some hospitalists do undergo hospital-focused post-residency training, such as a fellowship in Hospital Medicine. Because they work in hospital settings, hospitalists frequently have to manage acutely ill and hospitalized patients. Often their role involves coordinating the treatment of the various physician specialists involved in a patient’s care while they are hospitalized. A hospitalist, in a sense, can serve as a patient’s primary care physician while the patient is in the hospital.

Under the law, a hospitalist is held to the same standard as any other physician: they must comply with the standard of medical care, which is the same level of care that a reasonably prudent and careful hospitalist would have provided under the same or similar circumstances. A recent study conducted by The Doctors Company, a medical professional liability insurance carrier, analyzed medical malpractice claims filed against hospitalists between 2007 and 2014. The study revealed that 78% of all medical malpractice claims against hospitalists during that period fell into three categories: delayed or incorrect diagnosis, improper treatment management, and medication error. The results of the study also suggested that 35% of medical malpractice claims against hospitalists involved inadequate patient assessments.

You can read more here.