Dan, a medical assistant in a busy clinic, is a sympathetic and understanding employee. Therefore, when an elderly patient complains to him that she “feels terrible most of the time,” he replies compassionately to her. He says, “Don’t worry, Mrs. Jones, Dr. Smith will make you feel better in no time.”
- How might Dan’s comment create an implied contract with Mrs. Jones?
- How might you respond to Mrs. Jones?
Please answer the following questions.
1. Why must a physician give a patient ample notice when withdrawing from a case?
2. Why are medical staff by-laws often considered a contract?
3. What problems can you see with Mrs. Thomas, who has dementia and has just signed a consent form for a procedure to be performed in the morning?
Expert Solution Preview
1. Dan’s comment can create the impression of an implied contract with Mrs. Jones because he assures her that Dr. Smith will make her feel better. By making such a statement, Dan implies that there is an agreement between Mrs. Jones and Dr. Smith where the doctor is responsible for improving her condition. This could potentially raise Mrs. Jones’ expectations and create a sense of obligation on the part of Dr. Smith to provide positive outcomes.
2. In response to Mrs. Jones, it would be more appropriate for Dan to express empathy while also managing her expectations. For example, he could acknowledge her feelings and assure her that Dr. Smith will do his best to address her concerns. Additionally, Dan should encourage Mrs. Jones to discuss her symptoms and concerns directly with Dr. Smith during her appointment, as he is the healthcare professional responsible for diagnosing and treating her condition.
1. A physician must give a patient ample notice when withdrawing from a case to ensure continuity of care. It is essential for patients to have sufficient time to find a new healthcare provider and transfer their medical records to ensure uninterrupted treatment. Without proper notice, patients may experience delays or gaps in their medical care, which can have serious consequences for their health and well-being.
2. Medical staff by-laws are often considered a contract because they outline the rights and responsibilities of both the medical staff and the healthcare facility. These by-laws establish the expectations for behavior, professional standards, and rules governing the relationship between the medical staff and the organization. By accepting employment at a healthcare facility, medical staff members are typically expected to abide by these by-laws, creating a mutually binding agreement.
3. In the case of Mrs. Thomas, who has dementia and has just signed a consent form for a procedure to be performed in the morning, there are several problems that can arise. Firstly, her ability to fully comprehend the nature and risks of the procedure may be impaired due to her dementia. This raises concerns about her capacity to provide informed consent. Secondly, her decision-making abilities may fluctuate, and it is unclear whether she fully understood the implications of signing the consent form. In such situations, it is crucial to ensure that there is a comprehensive assessment of Mrs. Thomas’ decision-making capacity and consider involving her family or legal guardians in the decision-making process to ensure her best interests are protected.