Diabetes affects the lives of more than 23 million people in the United States – it is even one of the leading causes of death. When blood glucose levels go uncontrolled, it can lead to vascular damage, kidney problems and more. In fact, diabetes is one of the leading causes of adult blindness. Failure by physicians to diagnose, treat or educate their patients could be considered medical malpractice – and could lead to life-threatening, serious injuries.
There are preventative measures that physicians should take to protect their patients, such as annual eye examinations, foot exams, prescription medication and monitoring, etc. Outpatient treatments to seal off abnormal blood vessels in the eyes can also delay the onset of symptomatic diabetic retinopathy and blindness. Certain inhibitors can also lower blood pressure and prevent damage to the body’s filtering system, preserving the kidneys.
Four Ways Physicians Can Reduce Malpractice Risks
While no one can see into the future, there is a way to reduce liability and treat patients with diabetes more effectively. Physicians can employ several techniques that help them better monitor their patient’s condition, but also ensure that their patients are aware of how to manage their diabetes at home. These things include:
- Communication – Physicians should talk openly with diabetic patients about their condition and encourage them to remain active in deciding how to proceed with care. They should discuss patient fears and help to overcome those fears, and discuss associated risk factors – as well as those associated with diabetes treatments. They should also recognize any in-house communication barriers and correct them. Physicians need to also provide clear, written instructions and information about the adverse effects of prescription medications. All communication of this nature should be done at a literacy level that their patients are likely to understand.
- Education – Physicians need to educate their patients about self-management of their diabetes to increase their compliance with care instructions and reduce their risk for injuries. Diabetic patients should understand the importance of testing, medication, and especially diet and exercise.
- Managed Care – Physicians should do more than just prescribe and walk away. They should provide complete managed care for patients with diabetes. That includes follow-up appointments, methods for staying in touch with diabetic patients, constant reassessments of their condition and medication regimens, etc.
- Informed Consent – Before physicians perform any treatment or procedure on a diabetic patient, they should obtain informed consent. That means giving the patient all necessary information about their treatment plan and having that patient sign a consent form admitting that they understand all risks involved, as well as the overall process for the treatment or procedure.
Were You Injured Due to Improperly Managed Diabetes?
Some physicians prefer to prescribe and leave their patients to care for themselves. If you were injured due to lack of information or your physician failed to help you manage your diabetes properly, you could be entitled to compensation. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation. Call (203) 487-5716 or contact us online to get started.