Issues that you may encounter in your professional life as a medical practitioner can be very complex, especially if they involve colleagues you directly work with or other medical practitioners you encounter.
Imagine this, you have just become aware that an assault has taken place. You did not witness the assault. It did not occur in a work setting but in private.
The assault, if your information is even close to truth, is very serious. The facts are unclear and would need substantiating but you are reasonably confident as to the reliability of your information source.
To make matters worse you think you know the young victim. While you do not know the perpetrator personally, your colleagues do. You have come across her from time to time in the staff lounge and you recall your colleagues expressing concerns about her mental stability, mood swings and interactions both with patients and with staff.
The word in the wards is that supervisors turn a blind eye and have not addressed her shortcomings.
While concerned, you decide it may be best to mind your own business as it is not your problem. But, when you start your shift, you see a patient in distress being discharged; it’s the victim of the assault you had heard about, and your heart sinks.
What do you do now? Do you do anything?
Do you turn a blind eye? What are your responsibilities?
If you act then what do you do? What will it mean for you and what will your colleagues think? Could action or inaction damage your reputation and career?
Should you speak with your supervisor or alert hospital management?
What are your responsibilities to your employer, practice or hospital, and to regulation or other authorities? In this situation, do you have a mandatory obligation to report and, if not, what are the risks if you elect to make a voluntary notification?
Who can you turn to for advice?
Fortunately, you can – and should – rely on MIGA. The value of your membership with MIGA is that it enables you to access assistance provided by MIGA’s expert medico-legal team, to help you deal with these types of situations. In an emergency situation, help is available to you 24 hours a day. You never need to feel that you are alone. Advice and reassurance are only ever a phone call away. Importantly, we have your best interests at heart.
If you need assistance and support please contact our medico-legal team on 1800 839 280. If you would like to find out more about MIGA’s insurance cover for workplace type issues and complaints, please contact your Client Services Officer on 1800 777 156.