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Legality and Medical Negligence

Legality and Medical Negligence Legality and Medical Negligence Cases of negligence in the healthcare field usually have the vulnerable and distrustful public up in arms due to the suspicious circumstances that surround such cases. Numerous cases have been reported, and countless more have gone unreported, but the sad truth is that this is an issue that needs to be addressed. Healthcare administrators have the uphill task of ensuring that their organizations do not make it to the public in bad light as this may make them susceptible to different legal and ethical issues. Medical residents are well-trained and bright candidates equipped with the responsibility of treating and caring for patients. The professional degrees they receive and the supervision assists in making them well-equipped to handle any and all situations that arise (Horwich, 1995). However, the medical degrees and training do not make up for the fact that problems swarm healthcare facilities, and question the sanctity of these institutions. This paper will examine one such case, and some of the reforms that came about to avert similar scenarios. In the case of Libby Zion, an eighteen year old (then), who died as a result of serotonin syndrome made the healthcare field in New York State face some of its most challenging times. The medical residents in the New York hospital that admitted Libby failed to recognize the crucial nature of her condition, and administered drugs that may have led to her death (Gordon, 2011). Serotonin syndrome is an adverse drug reaction, which may arise after a potential overdose of certain drugs or therapeutic drug use. This reaction may reflect a form of poisoning as it affects the central nervous system of an individual, leading to various reactions as the immune system struggles to battle the toxic levels in the body. Numerous issues are raised in such a case as to who might have been responsible for the death of Libby Zion. The legality and medical negligence of the medical residents in the case Negligence comes about in this case as the attending resident failed to visually see Libby Zion after her first observation. During her first observation, Libby was given a drug used in handling shaking movements. After becoming more agitated, the resident doctor ordered physical restraints for her. This might not have been the right call for a patient who might be agitated and depressed. She also insisted on giving Libby sedating medication. In this case, one might argue that the resident on-call might have been right in giving out these instructions. However, after being on rotation and catering to other patients, it might have been difficult for her to make the right call. This is mainly after she failed to go and see what was wrong with her patient (Gordon, 2011). The other doctor in training was across the street trying to get some sleep. It was customary for residents to do this due to the lengthy hours most residents are forced to work. The question that many may ask is why there might have only been two residents in the vicinity, especially with such a high number of patients recorded as having been admitted. It is reported that the attending physician never showed up to supervise the doctors in training and evaluate some of their actions (Gordon, 2011). This negligence is not addressed in most healthcare facilities as residents are thought of as being competent enough to handle all their situations. Changes in policy that came about as a result of Libby Zion’s case After the death of Libby Zion, it was tantamount to have reforms in the healthcare field. A grand jury created to indict the residents responsible came to the conclusion that the profession needed changes, and especially for residents in healthcare organizations. A state commission was created to look at the plight of the residents and come up with plausible solutions. In 1987, residents were dictated to work less than 80 hours in a week. They were also to receive on-site supervision from physicians and could also not work for more than 24 hours in a row. These recommendations were made mandatory for healthcare organizations in 2003 by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Recently, stricter working hours have been recommended for residents and even senior physicians (Kramer, 2010). In conclusion, Libby’s father, Sidney Zion, who had a dream of having changes in the healthcare field, may have his wish come true. This is as these reforms are becoming mandatory for any organization that is keen on staying in business. For many organizations that deal with lives, it is next to impossible to find members working for more than 24 hours straight. Even though the supervision is still inadequate from what is required, changes are forcing organizations to conform (Kramer, 2010). This makes it possible to have residents who are not sleep deprived, tired, and agitated and can work toward putting all their attention to what is required of them in the healthcare field. References Gordon, R. D. (2011). Rehumanizing law: A theory of law and democracy. New York: Macmillan Publishers. Horwich, A. (1995). Oncology: A multidisciplinary textbook. The New England Journal of Medicine, 334(3), 198-201. Kramer, M. (2010). Sleep loss in resident physicians: The cause of medical errors? Front Neurol. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3008836/#!po=0.925926

Legality and Medical Negligence