The Dangers of Rafting Down River...Without a Map
Robert M. Blumm, MA, PA-C Emeritus, DFAAPA
Last July, my wife and I took our most beautiful trip together to explore one of the last natural habitats, Alaska. Here it was: natural wilderness, the Inner Passage, whales, eagles, lynx, brown bears and grizzly bears, huge salmon, king crab, moose, antelope, even a wolverine. Our minds took photographs as we were too caught up in the moment to try to capture everything on film and miss the adventure. On our wilderness journey to Denali, we saw young hikers and the rivers demonstrated a yield of rafters who wanted a real adventure. Some of those rafters had only a generic map; they were not aware of where these small rivers enlarged and became waterfalls. It takes more than skill and good fortune to survive that danger, which would occur simply because they lacked the proper map.
When I encounter life's experiences, I try to segue into how this can be an illustration of medical practice and the risks that we take. Our programs warn of us certain types of patients who, like a sudden waterfall, can destroy us or our practice. But by nature, we feel that everyone we treat will be gracious and thankful. Unfortunately, by talking to some of our colleagues, we learn that there are patients that retain malpractice attorneys when they feel that you have injured them by your treatment or lack of treatment or, even, lack of diagnostic skill to appreciate their symptoms. A family who has lost a child or a mother or father are not the forgiving type, even though we have told them the truth.
PA schools and NP schools speak very little about insurance programs and how we can prepare for these eventualities; we need to map out our practices and be prepared. It is not what happens to us, but what we do in preparation that makes the difference. Preparing our liability contingencies is far more than being innovative; it is more than an event in time or a tool to be used: it is an overall environment of preparedness and safety. There are many factors that need to be considered when selecting an insurance company, such as the age of the company, their Best Rating, their types of coverage, claims made or occurrence, as well as their ability to protect you as you gravitate from job to job or desire to moonlight. They are cheaper the first year and the best manner in which to choose a policy is to contact your national organization. The AAPA has chosen CM&F because they have a seventy-year history of protecting nurses, and from their inception, the PA and NP professions. They have stood the test of time and are your map of protection and readiness, through their personal liability insurance policy with your name on the front sheet. Call CM&F!