Doctors are scientists. At least most claim to be. That suggests that their practices are guided by standards that have been established by having gone through the rigors of scientific study and research.
But, as many medical professionals argue, health care is also something of an art. That’s convenient on one level. It means that standards of care and practice can vary among practitioners, and the fact is that they often do.
That does not mean they are shielded from accountability when mistakes are made.
It may make proving a claim more difficult, which is why victims of suspected hospital negligence or medical malpractice should be working with an attorney.
Variations in practice are something that many in the medical profession are working to resolve. A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention serves as one example. It warns that a lack of standards in how hospitals across the country prescribe antibiotics is helping feed the rise of drug-resistant bugs that cause infections.
The research, published earlier this month, offers the recommendation that in order to better protect patients, doctors, hospitals and local health departments have to do more to protect antibiotics by adopting consistent prescription practices.
Toward that end, the CDC presents a couple of strategies. One involves better tracking of how drug-resistant bugs are spreading and staff education on effective antibiotic usage. The other urges doctors to take more care that what they prescribe is appropriate and more closely observe patients in the course of therapies to be sure medications are working.
The American Hospital Association collaborated in the release of the CDC report and a spokesman for the group says it is committed to improving antibiotic prescribing practices as a means of reducing the spread of what can be deadly infections through hospitals in general.
Source: CNN, “CDC: Hospitals contributing to rise of superbugs,” Katy Mersmann, March 5, 2014.