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Responsibilities of New Jersey health care professionals: Part I

New Jersey law recognizes health care services as a service that are subject to the provisions of various laws enacted by the state's Division of Consumer Affairs. In fact, many New Jersey attorneys believe that recognizing and upholding the consumer's rights as they apply to the health care system is the best defense against medical malpractice.

The medical profession is often considered noble and doctors placed on a pedestal for their choice of profession. But it has been observed all over the world that doctors, much like other human professionals, make mistakes. In some cases, the medical practitioner's mistake is due to negligence toward the patient, which can prove to be fatal.

The Health Care Professional Responsibility and Reporting Enhancement Act is part of the workings of the N.J. Division of Consumer Affairs to help protect victims of medical malpractice while not encouraging hysteria that can follow due to an honest error in judgment in a medical case.

Thus, the Act creates a checks-and-balance system between bereaved family members and a medical practitioner to determine if he or she has been truly negligent and violated the duty of care toward patients.

The division is notified in any allegation of medical malpractice. After such notification, a thorough investigation and a disciplinary hearing are conducted by the Occupational Licensing Board to look into the various specifics of the case along with assessing if the customary duty of care required of any medical professional in a similar case was upheld in this case.

In such disciplinary hearings, other health care professionals or medical facilities that assist the board in good faith and without any malicious intentions, to corroborate or refute the alleged medical malpractice allegations may also be granted immunity from any civil actions that may ensue after the hearing.

Source: New Jersey Consumer Affairs, "Health Care Professional Responsibility and Reporting Enhancement Act," Accessed on Aug. 7, 2015

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