When it comes to health care, the more experience a professional has, the better. Unfortunately, you may be passed off to providers in New Mexico with less education and often less experience as more doctors allow physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners to see and treat patients. While this gives the doctor the ability to accept more patients, it also means you may receive a lower standard of care.
Medscape reports that several “midlevel providers,” or physician assistants and nurse practitioners, have made mistakes that have cost their patients their health or their lives. In fact, the United State’s second-largest malpractice award was given to a man who was diagnosed with sinusitis when he was actually having a cerebellar stroke. Courts gave him $217 million after finding out through the case that the PA who had mistakenly diagnosed him was not even a licensed provider. Medical groups had sought to save money and hired this man who had failed state license testing four times. In this case, the blame was shared between the overseeing doctor and the medical group.
There are several other examples of mistakes made by midlevel physicians that lead to major injuries for the patient. Despite these facts, it is more and more likely that your doctors may be reducing their load and increasing profits by delegating duties to less-experienced employees.
In general, your managing doctor is responsible for any mistakes that his or her midlevel providers make, although each case will be tried and determined individually. Studies have found that malpractice payments have been made by 37 percent of physicians, but only 3.1 percent of PAs. Since each incident is unique, this information should not be considered legal advice, but is meant to educate patients concerning their doctor’s responsibility in their case.