Change of heart: Illinois' House Speaker, once opposed, is now considering malpractice caps
Don't get too giddy: "Time-worn cynics like us figure Madigan’s surprise move is part of some contrived strategy to relieve public pressure on his legislators by feigning concern for doctors."

A local surgeon is pissed that New Hampshire insurance companies are denying coverage for bariatric surgery
"While we are not there yet, we have taken the first step toward tolerating discrimination with regard to medically necessary procedures."

60 to 80 percent of all medical malpractice claims are unrelated to the quality of care on the part of the physician
"According to Kelly, the vast majority of malpractice lawsuits are driven by administrative errors. He explains that a perfect example came from a doctor who failed to document his recommendations for an elective colon screening. The patient chose not to receive the screening, thereby not detecting the nascent ...

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Doctors' handwriting is as bad as ever
"*A doctor prescribed the Alzheimer's disease drug Reminyl. The pharmacist misread it as Amaryl, a diabetes drug. Consequently, the patient wound up in the hospital with dangerously low blood sugar.

*A patient was supposed to get the angina drug Isordil, but the pharmacist misread the prescription as Plendil, a drug for high blood pressure. The patient suffered a heart attack and died.

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There is 1 drug rep for every 7 doctors, triple the number a decade ago
The pharmaceuticals are starting to scale back: "New York-based Pfizer Inc., which has the nation's largest drug sales force at 11,000, said in April it will curtail the number of reps calling on doctors to two or three per product, down from what has been as high as five. Pfizer reps sell the cholesterol-lowering drug ...

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"My patient lived - so she sued me."
A frivolous lawsuit is filed after a physician suggested hospice care, but the patient lived. Although the majority of lawsuits that do go to trial are won by the physician, the mere act of being involved in a frivolous lawsuit is quite disruptive. Lawyers are paid to be in the courtroom - physicians are not. Every minute spent ...

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The fear of malpractice is one reason why fewer doctors are taking nursing home patients
"Doctors who treat nursing home patients also face the risk of a suit alleging 'elder abuse.' If the patient's in pain, for example, a doctor who's overly cautious or overly generous about prescribing pain medication could be charged with elder abuse. 'Every day,' says Reznick, 'we see newspaper or TV ads by plaintiffs' attorneys ...

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A doctor's compassion for pain gets him in trouble
"Dr. J. Howard Shegog is a 'simple man who got confused between compassion and value (of care), and it went haywire,' said a nurse who testified Thursday in the Newport News internist's hearing before the state Board of Medicine . . .

. . . Welsh said she worked with Shegog for six years and saw his clientele of 'drug-seeking' ...

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The rebel billionaire is now offering health care insurance
"Virgin Group announced it will team up with top American health benefits firm Humana, to purvey a Virgin-branded health insurance product. The insurance, targeted at some 45 million of Americans who may be physically unfit - and too poor to afford coverage. Richard Branson, the iconoclastic founder of the vast empire of music, airlines and wireless telecommunications, went on TV ...

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Less than 1 in 5 docs in Canada are accepting new patients
Medpundit thinks this will happen in the US soon. As medicine becomes more of a business and fee-for-service becomes the norm, I'd say this is a good problem to have. Better having too much business than too little.

Ideally, as demand for doctors grow, reimbursement and compensation should rise to recruit ...

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The importance of followup: A physician was successfully sued for not following a pancreatic mass that turned out to be cancer
"On June 9, 2003, Herman Darrell Storms and his wife, Shirley Storms, filed suit against Dr. Thomas J. Moore, Dr. Karl Heinss, and Baptist Regional Medical Center (BRMC) alleging that on April 4, 2000, Storms was admitted to the hospital under the care of Moore and Heinss, and that ...

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Tough talk: Washington DC outlines their tort reform plan
"Williams's proposal seeks to cut liability premiums by limiting lawsuits. It would require injured patients who wish to sue to obtain a "certificate of merit" from a practicing D.C. doctor who agreed that there was "a reasonable basis" for the suit. Patients who cleared that hurdle could sue, but their attorneys would be barred from collecting fees in excess of ...

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Wiseguys: Docs are giving Viagra to the mob for favors
"Three physicians are accused of supplying Viagra and other prescription drugs so frequently to members of the Gambino crime family that one doctor joked he was part of the family.

Physicians Arlen Fleisher, Stephen Klass and George Shapiro, all of Westchester County, were charged Thursday with illegally peddling pills in exchange for favors ranging from construction work to ...

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Using an "unreasonable workload" defense against malpractice
The physician removed the wrong breast did so under "crisis" conditions in an understaffed department: "If a doctor, through no fault of his own, is forced to work in a situation that may put patients at risk but brings to the attention of the relevant parties the nature of that risk the doctor cannot be held responsible if and when such a risk ...

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A doctor is in trouble for making up skin cancers
"Every biopsy Dr. Michael A. Rosin took was diagnosed as cancerous, they said. He even once performed skin cancer surgery after reviewing a slide that contained a piece of chewing gum, placed there by a laboratory technician who had lost the skin specimen, according to court records obtained Thursday . . .

. . . Rosin, 54, told his ...

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Scripted: There is a certain way that drug reps shake hands and eat around doctors
"Instructions were as detailed as how long to shake a physicianÂ’s hand - three seconds - and how to eat bread when dining with doctors - 'one small bitesize piece at a time.'"

Next time I'll shake their hand for 5 seconds and see if they start to get nervous.

The ultimate sacrifice: A doctor martyrs himself in the fight against frivolous lawsuits
"Dr. Ticktin spent five years defending himself in a baseless lawsuit. Serving patients was his life. When he began to see the legal system prevent him from doing what he loved and lived for, life was no longer worth living. Dr. Ticktin took his life hoping his death would incite change in the legal system."

A former doctor convicted of sexually assaulting female patients has a medical investigation business
"'Dr.' James Sears maintains he's doing absolutely nothing wrong. Sears says even bad publicity is good for business. And he boasts that his biggest problem is the fact he's got too many people contacting him.

'I have an easy way of getting rid of them when they e-mail me. I just hit on them and ...

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The doctor is on trial for first-degree murder after his patient dies from snorting the Oxycontin he prescribed
Another reason to refer pain management cases out to specialists.

The fascinating story of the South Pole doctor who treated herself for breast cancer
"With the help of a welder and a maintenance man, Nielsen performed her own biopsy, e-mailing photographs of slide samples of the tumor to doctors in the United States.

After an airdrop of medical equipment and supplies, she administered chemotherapy to herself. She even had the maintenance man and welder counting the individual drops of ...

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