April 20, 2020
The Weitz Firm, LLC

Most people in this country interact with medical professionals on a regular basis. When they do so, they expect these professionals to behave in an ethical manner. Unfortunately, there are times when a healthcare professional’s behavior crosses the line into unethical territory. At the Weitz Firm, our qualified and experienced Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney wants to discuss what you can do if you encounter unethical behavior by a healthcare professional.

What does it mean for a doctor to be “unethical” in their practice?

Unethical behavior on the part of medical professionals can be difficult to understand. While we all have a sense of what ethics are, the lines between ethical and unethical are not always clear, particularly when determining whether or not a doctor’s behavior constitutes medical malpractice.

According to a Medscape study, doctors themselves described what they considered to be unethical behavior that can occur in their practice. This includes the following:

  • Withholding treatment to meet budgetary or insurance policy concerns
  • “Upcoding” to secure patient treatment from an insurer
  • Covering up a mistake
  • Taking money from medical device manufacturers or pharmaceutical companies
  • Failing to report an impaired colleague
  • Working while impaired by alcohol or drugs
  • Becoming romantically involved with patients or family members of a patient
  • Cherry-picking patients
  • Breaching patient confidentiality (violating HIPAA regulations)
  • Joking about patients or acting inappropriately while a patient is under anesthesia

When examining this list, and other potentially unethical behaviors, it could be difficult to determine whether or not medical malpractice has occurred. For a medical malpractice case to exist, there must have been a duty of care established between the doctor impatient. The duty of care then has to be breached in some way by the doctor, and this breach of duty must have caused harm to the patient.

Unethical behavior may or may not cause actual harm to a patient. For example, if a doctor takes money from a medical device manufacturer and subsequently uses that medical device on a patient, is this medical malpractice? If the patient has no adverse effects, and their condition improves, they have suffered no harm. However, if that medical device ends up being defective, there may be a case of medical malpractice against the doctor.

However, unethical behavior can still be reported. Patients can report unethical behavior to a doctor’s supervisor, or they could file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Department of State. If a patient is harmed due to a doctor’s unethical behavior, they may need to file a medical malpractice lawsuit to recover compensation.

Let us help you with this case today

If you or a loved one have experienced unethical behavior by a medical professional, you may need to seek legal assistance. At the Weitz Firm, we will investigate your case in order to determine whether or not a medical professional’s unethical behavior crossed the line into medical malpractice. If so, we will work to secure compensation for any medical bills you incurred as a result, as well as lost income and any pain and suffering damages. Let our Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys get to work investigating your case today. You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling 267-587-6240.

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