A New York resident who spends time in the hospital is likely to be treated by a hospitalist at some point. Although this specialty has only been around for approximately 20 years, the role of the hospitalist is prominent in patient care. This party typically acts much like a primary care physician in overseeing and coordinating the involvement of other specialists during a patient's stay.

In 2014, the number of hospitalists practicing in the United States was estimated at 44,000. Medical professionals were first able to obtain certification in this area in 2009. Like other medical professionals, a hospitalist is expected to meed the standard of care that is appropriate for the specialty. If care falls below this standard, a patient who suffers adversely could have grounds for filing a medical malpractice claim. From 2007 to 2014, medical malpractice statistics for hospitalists indicated that nearly 80 percent of the malpractice cases involved medication mistakes, diagnostic errors or and incorrect management of patients' treatment.

One of the major challenges that could result in doctor errors is that there can be a heavy workload for hospitalists. Additionally, the need to coordinate with other doctors could lead to problems if the recommendations of different specialists differ significantly. It also may be difficult to manage the comprehensive medical needs of a patient without a long-term relationship. However, training for hospitalists should prepare them for the demands and difficulties in this area of practice.

A patient who has received an incorrect medication while in the hospital could have grounds for a malpractice case if the administration of that substance has caused injury or possibly worsened the condition. Various health professionals can be involved in the medication process, including prescribing doctors, respiratory therapists and nursing staff. An attorney can often determine who should bear responsibility through a review of the patient's medical records and other evidence.


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