Medical Professionals Often Bend The Rules In Favor Of Patient Care

When medical students begin the arduous process of earning their Medical Degree, they take an oath. The Hippocratic Oath is one of the world's oldest medical texts and, in its modern adaptation, it provides in part that a physician "will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required..."

A doctor is tasked with the duty of making the best decisions for his or her patients. There are times, however, when regulations and laws appear to get in the way of a patient's best treatment option. The practice of medicine is one of the most regulated professions in the United States, and as such, it should come as no surprise that occasionally a medical professional must make a decision to either follow the letter of the law or bend the rules and provide a patient with the care she or he has deemed necessary for the patient's care.

Examples of rule bending in the medical profession can vary widely. For example, a pharmacist may decide to give a patient a few extra pills to hold the patient over until his prescription is renewed. In the state of Georgia, a pharmacist is not allowed to write prescriptions. Or a medical doctor may bend the rules of a clinical trial to get his or her patient on the list, even though this is prohibited.

In the State of Georgia, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) are prohibited from providing many aspects of patient care unless a supervisory physician has delegated the task to them. For example, an APRN is not allowed to order certain types of testing without doctor approval. This restriction may at times cause the APRN to have to choose between ordering a test the nurse deems immediately necessary or waiting to first obtain appropriate permission.

Rule Bending Can Result in License Revocation Or Worse

Rules and laws are put into place not only to prevent harmful behavior, but also to develop a consistent standard of care among all professionals. Medical malpractice lawsuits often hinge upon whether or not a medical professional followed the accepted and appropriate standard of care when treating a patient.

The penalties for professionals who are found to have "bent the rules" can be severe. It is a criminal offense to provide an individual with a controlled substance if they do not have a valid prescription. You might be risking your license, or worse, you could end up in prison for something that you thought was in the best interest of a patient.


Levy Pruett Cullen specializes in the needs of licensed professionals in Georgia, aiding clients in balancing their practice with state and federal regulations. Many often think attorneys are there for you after you are the subject of an investigation, but legal counsel can be an invaluable tool at any time during your practice. Oftentimes medical professionals bend the rules because they misunderstand them or because they do not realize the penalties associated with deviating from the rules. If you are facing investigation, or if you are unsure whether or not your actions may result in disciplinary action, please call us today.