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How the healthcare system may cause harm – Part II

Healthcare providers in New York City may enjoy a high level of esteem and prestige simply based off of the service that they provide. Yet some may argue that this proverbial “benefit of the doubt” could potentially empower doctors to feel as though they are justified in deviating from an accepted course of treatment. While in clinicians’ minds, such departures from the norm may be based off of their own professional opinions, others may view them as sloppy practices.

For many, applying the term “sloppy practices” to health care should only be done in situations where an egregious error has been committed, such as a wrong site surgery or leaving a surgical supply or instrument inside of a patient. Yet one may also be able to make a strong argument that any care given that doesn’t follow the standard course of treatment could be considered negligent or haphazard. Looking at it from this perspective, the potential for receiving sloppy care may be greater one may think, given that research information shared by the AARP Bulletin showed that patients did not receive their recommended care in 45 percent of the cases studied.

The question of whether the choice of a doctor to deviate from generally accepted treatments was sloppy work or a genuine attempt to deliver improved care through new methods may be best resolved by examining the accepted definition of the general standard of care. The National Institute of Health cites legal rulings that define this as “that which a minimally competent physician in the same field would do under similar circumstances.” Thus, if a question of competence is at all in play in a case, one may not be far off in labeling his or her care as sloppy.  

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