Medical Students

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Liability Coverage for Medical Students

Because fully licensed physicians closely supervise medical students, the medical liability risks for these new doctors are theoretically less than those of the mentors coordinating their training in a medical or surgical specialty. Under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior, or “let the master answer,” the institution conducting the residency program is ultimately considered responsible for the medical services provided by its residents. It is the resident’s trainee status and lack of financial assets that generally eliminates them from being targeted in a malpractice claim. Medical students generally fall under similar precepts.

While uncommon, from time to time, residents and medical students do get named in medical malpractice lawsuits. According to statistics made available by the National Practitioner Databank, 1,530 medical malpractice reports were made against medical students and residents between 1990 and 2004. If these doctors in training are named in a claim that occurred at the place of their residency, the institution generally covers their liability and pays for their legal defense. Where these residents would not be covered is when they are doing an advanced study externship or fellowship at another hospital that is not associated with the institution where they are a full-time resident.

In today’s healthcare environment where there is an emphasis on hyper-specialization, doing a fellowship or rotation outside one’s residency program is becoming more and more common. In this scenario, it is likely the institution offering additional instruction will require the resident purchase a short-term medical liability insurance policy. These policies will indemnify the resident during the few weeks to several months that he or she is training at the institution.

Cunningham Group has helped thousands of residents and medical students find affordable coverage for their externships, advanced training and fellowships. Let us help you acquire the best short-term medical liability insurance policy at the best possible price.

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This write-up on Medical Students was put together by Michael Matray, the Editor of the Medical Liability Monitor