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Who is liable when a doctor using AI commits medical malpractice?

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2024 | Medical Malpractice

Artificial intelligence is swiftly altering the landscape of many American industries, including healthcare. The use of AI in medical settings is not a futuristic concept. It is a current reality in many hospitals and clinics in southern Georgia, where AI assists in diagnosing and treating patients. However, this integration of technology into human medical practice raises an important question: when a doctor using AI to diagnose a patient or determine a treatment plan makes a critical error and the patient is harmed, who is to blame? Is it the doctor, the AI developer or both?

There is currently little state or federal regulation regarding AI medical malpractice liability. The ambiguity in the current legal framework does not adequately address who bears responsibility when AI fails in a medical setting. Traditionally, medical malpractice discussions have revolved around whether negligent healthcare providers and medical facilities should have to pay the full extent of damage they caused or whether caps on damage awards and restricting patients’ access to the courtroom were better. However, with AI, the focus shifts to accountability and ensuring patient safety.

Legal perspectives on AI in healthcare

The legal landscape is still adapting to the inclusion of AI in healthcare. In scenarios where AI tools are regulated, such as some AI-powered medical devices approved by the FDA, manufacturers might be shielded from liability under certain doctrines. However, newer and unregulated AI technologies could expose healthcare providers to increased legal risks.

The primary concern among legal professionals and healthcare providers is how to balance the use of advanced AI tools while ensuring they do not compromise patient care. Perhaps unsurprisingly, some health tech leaders argue that the responsibility should lie with the physicians, likening AI tools in medicine to using GPS while driving — it assists but does not absolve the driver from responsibility.

The integration of AI in healthcare is undoubtedly enhancing the capabilities of medical professionals. However, it also introduces complex legal challenges, particularly in the realm of medical malpractice. The legal system must evolve to address these new challenges effectively, ensuring that patient safety remains a priority and that there is clear accountability when technology fails.

Fighting for fair compensation

This is a complex and evolving issue. Regardless of whether AI was involved in your situation, suffering due to medical malpractice can entitle you to significant compensation. Understanding your rights and the nuances of how AI impacts these rights is crucial in navigating these challenging waters. If you or a loved one has been affected, seeking legal advice is vital in understanding and asserting your rights.