As doctors and hospitals in Arizona look to maximize profits, they are turning more and more to “mid-level practitioners” to help see patients and bill. One such practitioner is a Physician Assistant, or “PA.” A PA can be sued and held responsible for your injury just like you could sue a doctor. A PA is a licensed professional who has less medical education and training than a doctor but can still diagnose, treat, and prescribe most medications. While PAs allow doctors to see more patients each day (and thus bill more), they often have difficulty knowing their limits. Because of this, they can cause serious, life-threatening injury, and even death. This blog addresses some of the common questions regarding physician assistant malpractice.
Do Physician Assistants Work on Their Own?
No. PAs are required to work under the supervision of a licensed medical doctor. In certain places, a licensed medical doctor doesn’t need to be physically present in the same building as the PA who is treating you. However, the PA must be in frequent contact with a supervising licensed medical doctor about how the PA is treating you and your symptoms.
What Type of Malpractice Can a Physician Assistant Commit?
Because they have less education, training, and (often) experience, physician assistants are more prone to make errors that a doctor would not have otherwise made. These types of negligence can include:
- Medical errors
- Failure to obtain an appropriate medical history
- Failure to diagnose a medical condition
- Delay in diagnosing a medical condition
- Providing the wrong diagnosis
- Failure to treat
- Prescribing medication they are not allowed to prescribe
Who Do I Need to Sue to Protect My Legal Rights When a PA Commits Medical Malpractice?
It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3.
- The PA who injured you.
- The licensed medical doctor who supervised the PA.
- The hospital, medical practice, or medical clinic that employed the PA and licensed medical doctor who supervised the PA.
The licensed medical doctor is subject to liability for injuries caused by a PA. That supervising licensed medical doctor is responsible for all aspects of the performance of a PA. If the PA injures you, the licensed medical doctor is liable for the acts of the PA too.
The hospital, medical practice, or medical clinic that employed the PA is also liable for the injuries the PA caused you because they vicariously liable for the PA. Under the laws of Arizona, if an employee (like a PA) causes an injury, the employer is responsible for the acts of the employee who is acting within the scope of their employment.
If you believe a PA has committed medical malpractice against you or a loved one you need to contact an experienced medical malpractice law firm. For a free consultation click this link to contact us, or call Snyder & Wenner at 602-224-0005.