This activity is intended for healthcare providers delivering care to women and their families.
After completing this activity, the participant should be better able to:
1. Define a tort
2. List the elements of a medical malpractice tort
Estimated time to complete activity: 0.25 hours
Susan J. Gross, MD, FRCSC, FACOG, FACMG
President and CEO, The ObG Project
Postgraduate Institute for Medicine (PIM) requires instructors, planners, managers and other individuals who are in a position to control the content of this activity to disclose any real or apparent conflict of interest (COI) they may have as related to the content of this activity. All identified COI are thoroughly vetted and resolved according to PIM policy. PIM is committed to providing its learners with high quality CME activities and related materials that promote improvements or quality in healthcare and not a specific proprietary business interest of a commercial interest.
Faculty: Susan J. Gross, MD, receives consulting fees from Cradle Genomics, and has financial interest in The ObG Project, Inc.
Planners and Managers: The PIM planners and managers, Trace Hutchison, PharmD, Samantha Mattiucci, PharmD, CHCP, Judi Smelker-Mitchek, MBA, MSN, RN, and Jan Schultz, MSN, RN, CHCP have nothing to disclose.
Fees for participating and receiving CME credit for this activity are as posted on The ObG Project website. During the period from Dec 31 2017 through Dec 31 2021, participants must read the learning objectives and faculty disclosures and study the educational activity.
If you wish to receive acknowledgment for completing this activity, please complete the post-test and evaluation. Upon registering and successfully completing the post-test with a score of 100% and the activity evaluation, your certificate will be made available immediately.
For Pharmacists: Upon successfully completing the post-test with a score of 100% and the activity evaluation form, transcript information will be sent to the NABP CPE Monitor Service within 4 weeks.
In support of improving patient care, this activity has been planned and implemented by the Postgraduate Institute for Medicine and The ObG Project. Postgraduate Institute for Medicine is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.
Postgraduate Institute for Medicine designates this enduring material for a maximum of 0.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Postgraduate Institute for Medicine designates this continuing education activity for 0.2 contact hour(s) (0.2 CEUs) of the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. (Universal Activity Number – 0809-9999-17-862-H03-P)
Type of Activity: Knowledge
The maximum number of hours awarded for this Continuing Nursing Education activity is 0.2 contact hours.
Picture this: A healthcare provider is having office hours. The next patient who enters the consultation room asks the healthcare provider “Are you Jane Doe?” to which the provider answers “yes”. The patient proceeds to present a large envelope to the provider and says “You’ve been served!” The healthcare provider groans mightily and collapses in shock. This scenario has been exaggerated and is more indicative of a movie set than real life, but every day healthcare providers and institutions across the nation are being served with summonses and complaints. In a private practice, it is likely going to be the doctor or front desk staff who is served. Physically handing the legal papers to the practitioner is not an absolute must. Leaving court papers at the practitioner’s office with a competent adult can be enough. Institutions might have a designated person to accept service on their behalf and their employees who are named in the suit.
Every case is different, but one can say with certainty that being served does not mean you were negligent or that you did not in fact provide excellent care. What it does mean is that you are now on notice that you are being sued for medical malpractice. Being ‘served’ is actually a technical process that confers jurisdiction (power or authority) over both parties so that the court may hear the case.
This is a multi-part series that will define common legal terms and give a general overview of the anatomy of medical malpractice litigation. The information will not be specific to any state laws unless otherwise indicated. At numerous points, there will be reminders that the following posts are informational only and that just like seeking out the right specialist for a surgical procedure, a competent medical malpractice defense lawyer is the best way to protect your reputation and interests. However, having some basic legal concepts in hand will help provide you with some element of control over the process.
To begin this educational series, let’s start with the most basic concept of all – ‘medical malpractice’ itself, which falls under the umbrella of tort law.
A tort is an act that injures someone in some way. It consists of four elements or requirements:
For a lawsuit to begin, the plaintiff or injured person files a complaint. The complaint identifies the defendants or parties who are alleged to have committed the medical harm. When any of the defendants are unknown, they are listed as John Doe or Jane Doe. The complaint also describes the injuries the plaintiff allegedly suffered. The plaintiff also asks for a judgment in her favor. A judgment can consist of a demand for compensation for pain and suffering, lost income, future lost income, shortened lifespan, and payment for future medical treatment among other things. In some states, a specific amount of money will be requested as damages.
How the defendant responds to the Complaint will be discussed in Part 2.
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OBG Project CME requires a modern web browser (Internet Explorer 10+, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge). Certain educational activities may require additional software to view multimedia, presentation, or printable versions of their content. These activities will be marked as such and will provide links to the required software. That software may be: Adobe Flash, Apple QuickTime, Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft PowerPoint, Windows Media Player, or Real Networks Real One Player.
This educational activity may contain discussion of published and/or investigational uses of agents that are not indicated by the FDA. The planners of this activity do not recommend the use of any agent outside of the labeled indications.
The opinions expressed in the educational activity are those of the faculty and do not necessarily represent the views of the planners. Please refer to the official prescribing information for each product for discussion of approved indications, contraindications, and warnings.
Participants have an implied responsibility to use the newly acquired information to enhance patient outcomes and their own professional development. The information
presented in this activity is not meant to serve as a guideline for patient management. Any procedures, medications, or other courses of diagnosis or treatment discussed or suggested in this activity should not be used by clinicians without evaluation of their patient’s conditions and possible contraindications and/or dangers in use, review of any applicable manufacturer’s product information, and comparison with recommendations of other authorities.
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