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Hospitalists are a fast-growing segment of the medical profession

North Carolina hospitals are staffed by professionals with various levels of training and licensing. Among them may be hospitalists, physicians who work in hospitals exclusively. Hospitalists are legally held to the same standards as other physicians; therefore, medical malpractice claims may be filed against them as well.

Hospital medicine is recent medical specialty, having existed for about 20 years. In the past 10 years, the number of practicing hospitalists in the United States has increased significantly. Board certification for hospitalists in the U.S. was first offered in 2009. In 2014, there were about 44,000 practicing hospitalists in the country, according to the Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Hospitalists sometimes have training in other specialties, and they usually have had residency training in internal medicine or family medicine, making their credentials similar to those of primary care physicians. The work of a hospitalist often involves coordinating the treatment of different specialists who may be assigned to a patient. In this sense, a hospitalist could be seen as a patient's primary care physician during the patient's hospital stay.

According to a recent study, most medical malpractice claims against hospitalists filed between 2007 and 2014 involved medication errors, incorrect or delayed diagnosis or improper treatment management. A smaller percentage of claims against hospitalists during the period were for inadequate patient assessment.

Mistakes made by hospitalists, nurses or other medical professionals in a hospital setting could result in a patient failing to recover. In fact, such mistakes could even cause a new injury or illness. When someone is injured, becomes sick or dies as the result of hospital negligence, the person could be entitled to financial compensation and may benefit from speaking with an attorney about possible options.

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Daniel Pleasant Holoman LLP

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