Telehealth and Medical Malpractice

Telehealth, also called telemedicine, is a rapidly-growing healthcare option in Florida and throughout the country. During the pandemic lockdowns, when it was difficult to see a doctor, telehealth seemed like an ideal answer to patients’ needs to receive medical attention. Indeed, for many people, it was very helpful; but for some, telehealth did not resolve their problems and led to a delay in appropriate treatment.

While telehealth may seem easy and convenient, many things can go wrong. Accurate diagnosis can be a challenge when the doctor and patient are in the same room, but it becomes significantly more difficult when the doctor is not able to examine the patient. 

What can go wrong

When the doctor is in one location and the patient is in another, there are many things that can go wrong. For instance:

  • The doctor may not fully read the patient questionnaire or the doctor does not ask the right questions, resulting in an incomplete and/or inaccurate understanding of the patient’s situation.
  • Since the patient is not present, the doctor could easily be distracted and not give the patient his full attention and therefore miss important information.
  •  The doctor may incorrectly diagnose or fail to diagnose the patient.
  • The doctor may order incorrect pharmaceuticals or tests.
  • The doctor may not recommend the patient see a physician in person, even if the doctor is not confident about the diagnosis. Or the doctor might not respond to the patient’s request for referral to an in-person doctor
  • The patient and doctor may be in different states, allowing for the chance that the doctor is not licensed to practice in the patient’s state
  • The patient’s privacy could be breached, either through mishandling of documentation or through unsecured video-conferencing or phones 

Proving malpractice

With any medical malpractice, you need to show that the medical practitioner has been negligent by demonstrating “the 4 D’s” – duty, dereliction, direct cause, and damages. These are defined as:

Duty: The medical provider had the duty to provide care, which is to say that there is an established patient-doctor relationship, not just a casual remark from a medical professional you happen to know

Dereliction of that duty: The physician or medical provider failed to follow standards of acceptable medical practice, such that another competent and prudent medical provider would follow

Direct or proximate cause: The injury can be directly or closely connected to the medical negligence

Damages: There is a clear injury for which the patient can seek compensation 

According to CRICO, a leading medical professional liability insurance provider, 66% of telemedicine-related claims between 2014 and 2018 were related to diagnosis. This demonstrates a definite risk of misdiagnosis with telemedicine. If you are a resident of Florida and you believe you have suffered an injury due to negligence involving telehealth services, contact me today at (954) 448-7288 from anywhere in Florida to schedule a free consultation.

As a native of Florida, I have dedicated my career and my life to helping people all over the state in the area of personal injury, including medical malpractice. I fight for the little guy against the big insurance companies and medical conglomerates who have teams of lawyers to fight for them. You can’t fight them alone. I have a track record of winning, the courts and the insurance companies know that, and I can help you receive compensation for your medical malpractice injuries. Call me today.

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