Doctors are considered to be potential lifesavers that people look up to in times of emergency. The medical profession is revered in India, and its high-income levels and a dignified aura makes it a favourite among people of all ages. But, as with everything, this profession is also driven by several negative forces that are growing with time.
Recent cases of charging doctors with medical negligence and ordering them to pay up huge amounts of money to the affected parties are just a slight reflection on the dark side of this profession. There are numerous cases filed against doctors and even though some of them prove to be a case of actual negligence, around 85% of these have innocent medical professionals fending for themselves in the court. With every profession, there is a scope of mistake that cannot be avoided. But, in the case of doctors, a small mistake can affect a third-party in the worst possible manner! Even though that mistake has not been made intentionally, a doctor can be sued for it. So, more and more aspiring doctors and medical practitioners including nursing staff are seeking to take up jobs in those hospitals that provide a protection cover to them in the form of a Professional Indemnity Insurance policy.
Let’s look at some of the cases in which a Professional Indemnity cover can help the medical professionals and in turn, enable hospitals to attract the best ones:
- Difficult Choice: A doctor advises a pregnant lady to undergo a caesarean section as the neck of the baby is entangled in the umbilical cord, and it might choke him. However, things do not go down well during the delivery procedure, and the baby does not survive. The patient claims that the doctor suggested caesarean in order to earn more and that there was still time for normal She files a court case against the doctor and the hospital, who are asked to pay compensation to the patient’s family.
Coverage: Professional Indemnity (PI) Insurance helps the doctor to save himself from paying up the compensation from his/her own pockets which can range from lakhs to crores of rupees. Such exorbitant amounts can drain the doctor of his entire savings and beyond if the hospital does not back them up through suitable insurance.
Verdict: No medical professional will like to be in such a situation. So, it has become necessary for hospitals to provide a cover to protect the doctors from any such situation arising due to the advice that they had given in their professional position without any ill-will towards the patient.
- Misunderstanding: A cardiologist handles a case of heart attack along with his supporting staff. He tries his best to save the patient but is unable to do so due to other problems like diabetes that the patient suffered from. However, the patient’s family is furious and blames the staff for being very slow in their approach. They file a court case that goes on for around six months, and the result is in favour of the staff.
Coverage: PI Policy will cover the fees related to lawyer and the court and had the staff been ordered to pay compensation, the insurance would’ve paid the affected party.
Verdict: The nursing staff of a hospital may be at a lower rung, but their job is incredible. Without them, a doctor cannot function efficiently. So, if these people are not covered by the hospital, they would not prefer to join such institution.
- Brand Image: A high-profile doctor joins a hospital and asks for a suitable PI policy in case of any unexpected problems.
Coverage: Professional Indemnity Insurance speeds up the process without laying the financial burden on the concerned professional or harming his reputation.
Verdict: The doctor has a good reputation in the medical industry and will always try to ward-off court cases, if any, as soon as possible to secure his position and name in the industry.
- Bad Accusations: A person meets with a road accident laying severe injuries on both of his limbs. While the doctors are able to save one of his limbs, they inform his family that the other limb will have to be replaced. The family members feel that the other limb could have been saved if they had worked more efficiently. They file a court case and ask for a compensation of Rs. 80 lakh.
Coverage: According to the PI policy, the compensation is estimated at Rs. 50 lakh and is reimbursed by the policy.
Verdict: PI policy helps to make a proper estimation of the compensation to be paid which avoids any unreasonable burden on the concerned professional.
- Retroactive Claims: A hospital avails a PI policy in January 2015. A patient who had been treated for blurred vision in October 2016 comes back with blurred eyesight and blames the doctor for not being successful in treating his eyes. The doctor who treated him has retired in December 2016. He files a court case claiming for suitable compensation in March 2017.
Coverage: A PI policy will cover the retroactive claims on the treatment that had been done in any earlier policy years. Also, former employees of the hospital will also be covered under the policy.
Verdict: All employees would want that they should be covered even after they have left the job to secure themselves from large claims.
A Doctor’s Professional Indemnity Insurance is recommended to all medical professionals including doctors and medical establishments, to protect them from financial losses arising out of negligence claims.
While you may be able to create the best environment and offer better employment and work benefits at your healthcare organisation, an indemnity policy to protect your establishment and those who work for you can be tedious. Online Insurance advisor SecureNow, can assist you in comparing and understanding the policy requirements for your facility and people.
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