Arkansas is a beautiful state in which to live. Unfortunately, the healthcare system in the state could use some improvement. As with every profession, there are great doctors, and unfortunately some that aren’t. Arkansas consistently ranks at the bottom of national polls that take into account factors like availability of primary care physicians, doctor/patient ratios, and quality of care. Combine that with the overwhelming lack of resources (comparatively), shortage of nurses, overworked nurses, and it’s no wonder that the risk of being the victim of medical malpractice in Arkansas is so high.
In order to understand the potential danger of suffering medical malpractice at the hands of a trusted doctor in Arkansas, we have to look at multiple factors and estimate how each could potentially affect the quality of care that you receive every time you step through those hospital doors.
Arkansas’ Need for Qualified Physicians is Extremely High
The number of qualified doctors in Arkansas is not anywhere near as large as it should be. If you’ve tried to find a primary care physician or switch doctors because you don’t like your current one in the past five or ten years, you’ve no doubt experienced this issue of lack of medical professionals firsthand. But just how dire is the situation?
Every year The United Health Foundation collects statistics from all over the country and uses those numbers to create America’s Health Rankings®–a comprehensive list of each state’s ability to take care of its residents. The 2019 report shows that Arkansas is in sad shape compared to the rest of the country.
Indeed, there were just over 120 PCPs for every 100,000 people in Arkansas last year. That’s far lower than the national average of 156+ per 100,000 residents. That figure firmly places Arkansas eighth in the country for the need of doctors.
But the lack of qualified primary care physicians doesn’t paint the entire picture for us.
As a State, Residents Require a Broad Spectrum of Specialty Doctors
Objective statistics collected nationwide concerning health conditions like age, obesity, chronic illness (diabetes, heart disease, etc.), chemical dependency, and access to quality healthcare clearly show that as a state, Arkansas is relatively in need of a broad spectrum of medical specialists, from cardiologists, rheumatologists, dermatologists, oncologists, gastroenterologists, primary care physicians, to name a few. Indeed, according to one recent study, Arkansas ranks 47th in the nation for health and wellbeing—very close to the bottom.
So a majority of the population is unhealthy and in need of quality care in a state that has fewer doctors than almost any other. This creates a serious pinch point but, still doesn’t show us why the risk of suffering medical malpractice in Arkansas is so high.
The Quality of Healthcare We Receive is Sometimes Substandard
The study mentioned above also ranked states by the quality of the healthcare provided by the medical professionals who practiced there. The calculation was based on a number of factors including access to treatments, the outcome of those treatments, and how well chronic conditions were managed. Arkansas didn’t fare well in this respect either. Our state was ranked 46th for the quality of medical care that residents have access to.
The “Perfect Storm” of Symptoms Leads to Medical Malpractice in Arkansas
It’s not any one of these “symptoms” that creates such a high risk for medical malpractice. It’s a combination of them all.
- We live in a state that is in desperate need of qualified medical professionals.
- We are, comparatively, not as healthy as other states.
- The quality of care that we do have access to is below national standards.
In essence, you have doctors that are overworked with restricted access to some essential treatment options and an ever-growing clientele of aging and infirm individuals depending on them to deliver care.
Even if we eliminate the doctors who are consciously making bad choices for their patients (such as over-prescribing pain medications) that still leaves the door open for genuine mistakes brought on by the tremendous pressure our medical professionals are under. Combining the fact that we have a shortage of doctors who are being overworked and making life-altering decisions while being sleep deprived creates the increased risk of committing malpractice.
Regardless of how or why it happened, malpractice is not something that should be taken lightly. Doctors have sworn an oath to protect their patients and are legally obligated to do so. If you’ve been the victim of mistreatment or malpractice at the hands of a trusted doctor, you need the assistance of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Arkansas.
Contact the expert legal team at the Pfeifer Law Firm to get the help you need. Reach out online or call 501-374-4440. The consultation is free, and you don’t owe us anything until we cover for you.