As of 2016, hospital medicine as a specialty has existed for only two decades. Despite board certification for the discipline not occurring until 2009, New Mexico patients might be surprised that hospitalists have significantly grown in number across the country over the previous decade. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported about 44,000 hospitalists working in the country in 2014, according to data from the Society of Hospital Medicine.
Hospitalists are doctors who only work in a hospital environment and focus on hospital medicine. They are usually educated and trained in a similar manner as family or primary care physicians. Some of them, however, are trained in other specialties or undergo hospital-oriented training after their residency. In a hospital setting, they frequently manage patients who are suffering from acute illnesses. This often involves coordinating treatments among the various specialists participating in the care of their patients.
The law holds hospitalists to the exact same standards as other physicians, so they have to deliver the same degree of care that an average hospitalist would provide under equivalent circumstances. Hospitalists who do not do this are committing medical negligence and could be held liable to the patients whom they harm or increase the risk of harm.
Based on a study from The Doctors Company, 78 percent of medical malpractice suits against hospitalists from 2007 to 2014 were the result of delayed or misdiagnosis, improper management of treatment or medication mistakes. The research also found that 35 percent of malpractice suits involving hospitalists were because of insufficient patient examinations.
Whether hospital errors are the result of negligence on the part of hospitalists, nurses, other physicians or hospital facilities, the affected patients could see their conditions worsen. Those who have been harmed in such a manner may want the assistance of legal counsel in pursuing their available remedies.