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March 12, 2020
The Weitz Firm, LLC

When it comes to your health, you expect any medical professional you encounter to behave in an ethical manner. However, that is not always what happens. At the Weitz Firm, we want to discuss what it means for a doctor to be unethical and whether you should file a complaint or not. Our Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys are familiar with unethical doctor behavior and are here to help when you have questions.

Understanding unethical doctor behavior

Understanding unethical doctor behavior can be complicated. Some ethical issues are fairly straightforward, but others can be perplexing, especially when determining whether a doctor’s unethical behavior is medical malpractice.

A recent Medscape survey found that physicians actually described various types of unethical behavior, including the following:

  • Withholding treatment to meet a budget or due to insurance policies
  • Accepting money from pharmaceutical or device manufacturers
  • Upcoding to get treatment covered for a patient
  • Covering up a mistake
  • Reporting an impaired colleague
  • Getting romantically involved with a patient or family member of a patient
  • Cherry-picking patients
  • Prescribing a placebo (outside of a clinical trial)
  • Breaching patient confidentiality
  • Joking about a patient with colleagues or while a patient is under anesthesia

When looking at these issues, and other potential unethical behaviors doctors, it can be tough to distinguish whether the line is crossed into medical malpractice. In these cases, it will need to be determined:

  • Whether there was a duty of care established between the patient and doctor
  • Whether there was a breach of that duty of care
  • Whether the breach caused actual harm to the patient

The last element there could be what keeps and unethical doctor from facing a malpractice claim. It could be hard to prove that unethical behavior by a doctor caused the patient actual harm. For example, if a doctor takes money from a pharmaceutical device manufacturer and then subsequently recommends that device to a patient who makes a full recovery, is there any harm on which a patient could file a lawsuit?

Similarly, if a doctor withholds treatment from a patient who makes a full recovery anyway, is there any evidence there that would support a malpractice claim?

These are just a few of the complications that can arise stemming from a doctor’s unethical behavior. If you think a doctor has caused you harm, you need to speak to a Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney immediately. You may be able to file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Department of State or it may be necessary to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

It is time to get to work on your claim

If you believe that a doctor has behaved unethically or committed malpractice, you need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. At the Weitz Firm, our knowledgeable and experienced team will get to work investigating your case. It may turn out that you are entitled to compensation for the following:

  • Coverage of your medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life damages
  • Possible punitive damages against the doctor or facility

Doctors should always maintain a high code of ethics and operate with an adequate standard of care for each patient. When you need a Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling 267-587-6240.

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