Altered Records and Medical Malpractice

legal nurse consultantsIn the U. S., doctors have the ability and obligation to maintain and edit medical records as needed. But what about alterations or omissions that are done to cover up a medical mistake or protect a medical professional from liability? 

Complete and accurate medical records are a critical part of healthcare services, as they help ensure quality of care and serve as official documentation within financial and legal contexts. Despite this, unauthorized or unnecessary medical record alterations do happen. This has become increasingly apparent with the rise of digital medical records and other electronic forms of tracking. These advances in medical record technology make it harder for physicians and other medical professionals to inappropriately doctor the books, as discrepancies are eventually discovered via audits, trails left behind by the alterations, and more.

Why do Healthcare Professionals Alter Medical Records?

When a medical malpractice suit is filed against doctors or other medical professionals, they might be compelled to make changes in order to try and protect themselves. This can include revisiting a chart and making tweaks to help fit a narrative, leaving key facts out of the report to hide mistakes, and more.

The electronic nature of modern medical records means that more discrepancies are caught than ever before. This is especially important to cases involving medical malpractice because when a medical professional is caught making unauthorized changes or deliberate mistakes on a medical record, this is almost always considered undeniable proof of an attempt to cover up malpractice or other mistakes.

Legal Nurse Consultants Help Attorneys Piece the Whole Story

Despite the shift to digital records, many physicians still rely on paper records. Like digital records, these are also often copied and transferred over to other professionals such as specialists. This means that evidence of alterations can still be uncovered, provided that the trail is followed closely.

Whether digital or paper, medical records can be difficult to parse. They require the attention of a medical expert, someone who can comb through every detail and clearly identify places where procedures weren’t followed, mistakes were covered up, and more. 

This is why attorneys often pair up with legal nurse consultants, experienced medical professionals who use their knowledge of the field to perform an array of services. This can include closely scrutinizing medical records, analyzing the specifics of a case, offering their findings in easy-to-read reports, and more. They can also act as a legal team’s liason when interacting with hospital staff, doctors, and other medical professionals. Their knowledge is key during discovery and preparation for court, especially when it comes to potential instances of altered medical records.

If you want to learn more about how medical nurse consultants work hand in hand with attorneys and other involved parties, we invite you to call us directly. Talk to one of our medical professionals at Legal Nurse Consultants USA, LLC today by calling 877.211.7562.