A Connecticut patient who is admitted to the hospital for an illness or injury is very likely to come in contact with a doctor called a ‘hospitalist.” This relatively new type of physician is a specialist in hospital medicine who works exclusively in a hospital setting. Doctors have only been able to obtain board certification in hospital medicine since 2009, and there were around 44,000 hospitalists practicing in U.S. facilities in 2014.
These doctors are responsible for diagnosing and treating patients while the patients are in the hospital. Because of the setting where they practice medicine, hospitalists are often in charge of providing care to patients with acute illnesses. A hospitalist may be responsible for managing a hospitalized patient’s care by delegating tasks to several different specialists.
As is the case with all other physicians, hospitalists who do not provide the accepted standard of care to their patients run the risk of being sued for medical malpractice. The accepted standard of care for a hospitalist is the level of care that an average hospitalist would provide in the same situation. According to an analysis of medical malpractice claims filed between 2007 and 2014, 78 percent of claims against hospitalists involved diagnostic errors, medication errors or improper treatment management.
Testimony from a medical expert is usually needed to prove that a hospitalist did not provide the accepted standard of care during a patient’s hospitalization. An attorney will often arrange such testimony when preparing and filing a medical malpractice claim seeking compensation from the practitioner as well as the facility for the harm that the patient has incurred.