Can a nurse report a doctor for negligence?

  1. 1
    If there is already a thread on this, please tell me. I didn't see one.

    I'm a new RN at a large LTC and am learning the ins and outs of communicating with doctors on second shift. We have one doctor who is excellent and we have a phone tree in place to communicate with him every evening when needed; he gets forwarded from unit to unit addressing his residents' issues. However, a few of our residents have other doctors that don't seem to care about their needs at all. They rarely actually visit the facility, we just have phone numbers to reach them when acute situations arise. About a month ago, we tried getting a hold of one of these doctors to report signs of infection and didn't get a call back for 3 days. *****

    Yesterday we tried calling for a different issue, different patient, and doc didn't pick up the phone, hadn't called back by end of shift. What kind of BS is that? Who are these doctors answerable to? At what point is this lack of response considered negligence? Granted, our protocol requires us to notify them for every incident and skin tear and maybe that gets annoying to the doctors, but sometimes we are calling for orders. Any advice?

    I already asked the head nurse if we can suggest that a certain family get their loved one a new doctor, and she said no way will the family hear of that; so-and-so has had Dr. What's-His-Name for a million years, they are never going to change doctors.
    Joe V likes this.
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  3. 9 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Can you call the family if you need orders?? Could get you in trouble with the doc, I suppose. Maybe suggest to
  5. 0
    [QUOTE="Psychcns"]Can you call the family if you need orders?? Could get you in trouble with the doc, I suppose. Maybe suggest that the head nurse call the family..and have family call the doc..
  6. 3
    you need to inform the medical director of his fellow dr. misdeeds, asap. and that is who you call when the ejiot won't call you back. If a patient suffers ill effects because YOU did't get indicated medical care in a timely fashion, the family nor the board are going to care why.
    al586, cienurse, and CrufflerJJ like this.
  7. 6
    Call the doctor again and document every time you call. Call the medical director if the doc doesn't call back by the end of the same shift. Let your DNS know. If there is a delay of treatment or a bad outcome, it's on you.
    al586, IowaKaren, cienurse, and 3 others like this.
  8. 0
    Quote from CapeCodMermaid
    Call the doctor again and document every time you call. Call the medical director if the doc doesn't call back by the end of the same shift. Let your DNS know. If there is a delay of treatment or a bad outcome, it's on you.
    This is the usual protocol in the LTC facilities I've been at. Usually the med director (or designee) will cover the situation when they know there is a problem. The only problem is when the med director (or his on-call) is the problem itself!!! And this does happen.

    The DON is apprised of the situation and documentation is in place. Pt may have to go out as necessary.

    This occurs freq on 11-7... like nothing ever happens on 11-7.
  9. 1
    This occurs freq on 11-7... like nothing ever happens on 11-7.
    Well of course not - they're all sound asleep in bed! Don't we wish!!
    amoLucia likes this.
  10. 1
    My staff are instructed to call the medical director when they have called a physician 3 times without a response. And I mean 3 times within a 3 hour period. Ftag 501 describes the responsibilities of the medical director in LTC, including overseeing the medical care given to each and every resident. When the medical directors gets sick and tired enough of getting called for this other physician's residents, action will be taken and the problem will get solved. Please be sure to document each and every attempt to call this physician. He will have no problem throwing you under the bus if there's an investigation or a state-cited deficiency for delay in treatment.
    al586 likes this.
  11. 0
    And to answer your question, ANYONE can report a physician for negligence. But you must be able to prove it beyond the shadow of a doubt. I wouldn't take on a physician alone without backing from the company. That's the company's legal and/or risk management departments to handle and for your DNS/Administrator to communicate to the appropriate disciplines.
  12. 0
    I wish!!! I'm dealing with this now with a hospice patient. I only hope that one day, those rotten doctors are placed in the same situation..desperately needing an order from their MD, and the doc can't be bothered to call in an order.


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