How a malpractice story almost destroyed the life of an Illinois neurosurgeon.

Commenting on a successful countersuit of a frivolous malpractice lawsuit:

The real issue can be seen in the observation by Steve Downey, president of the Kentucky Academy of Trial Attorneys, that "Doctors now have a remedy for frivolous lawsuits . . . The system is working."

Thank goodness we in the medical community do not adopt this philosophy [of] treating only the symptoms instead of curing the disease.


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Interesting case with an unfortunate outcome:

Daniel Bettencourt was 49 when he suffered a fatal heart attack while working as a manual laborer at E.&J. Gallo Winery on Jan. 15, 2003.

An autopsy determined that the Modesto man had more than 90 percent blockage in an artery that supplies blood to the left side of the heart.

Last week, a jury found that Gould Medical Group doctors had ...

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Intelligent design

What an appropriate analogy:

Requiring public-school science teachers to teach specific religion-based alternatives to Darwin'Â’s theory of evolution is just as bad, in the words of political comedian Bill Maher, as requiring obstetricians to teach medical students the alternative theory that storks deliver babies.

Apparently, they look the same on x-rays:

A 67-year-old man who was warned he might have lung cancer had actually had a cashew nut stuck in his lung for a year and a half.

Doctors at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, Norfolk, were baffled by Derek Kirchen's collapses and bouts of pneumonia.

They warned him he might have lung cancer after taking x-rays.

A consultant ...

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Merck vs the grandmother:

Merck & Co. will be back in court in Atlantic City, New Jersey, next week as the next Vioxx liability trial gets under way with the drug maker facing a 68-year-old grandmother who blames the withdrawn pain drug for her 2004 heart attack.

Elaine Doherty says she used Vioxx daily for three years to treat pain from arthritis of the hands and knees, and even ...

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Some don't know when to give up:

"Patients don't like to give up," and neither do physicians, said Dr. Roy Herbst, a cancer specialist at the University of Texas' M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston who had no role in the study.

Overly aggressive treatment gives false hope and puts people through grueling and costly ordeals when there is no chance of a cure, cancer specialists said.


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Sometimes Dear Abby has some fascinating stories:

While I was waiting for my wife to awaken, I overheard a nurse talking to the wife of the patient next to us. She said, "You know, you can find out anything from them when they're coming out of anesthesia. They are completely incapable of lying." She said it in a lighthearted way - sort of giggling.

A few minutes later, I ...

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Now, this physician is pretty much finished after being accused of sexual assault:

"I know several of the women have already attorneyed-up to file suit," said Clare attorney Dwight R. Carpenter. "I pre-warned the doctor that people from every nook and cranny will jump on the bandwagon, and as far as we're concerned, that's exactly what's happening."
As an aside, I didn't know that "attorneyed-up" was a buzzword.

Apparently San Francisco is a hotbed:

The disease sounds like a nightmare. In fact, one Web site claims Morgellons was "invented" recently to help promote a summer horror movie. A search on the Internet reveals dozens of people who have posted magnified photos of their symptoms -- usually twisted, thread-like protrusions from the skin and sometimes hazy images that look like small bugs.

It doesn't help convince disbelieving doctors ...

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Next time, consult the physicians before making sweeping policy changes. It will save yourself significant embarrassment:

Doctors object to the way Regence is measuring their performance on those criteria. Its "silver standard" rating system relies on billing data rather than the industry "gold standard" of patient outcomes - information that Regence officials say isn'Â’t easily available . . .

. . . But insurance companies should at least ...

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Bizarre:

His statement of claim says Dr. Wisniowski failed to provide professional and competent therapy, that he breached the fiduciary doctor-patient duty by having a sexual relationship while providing marital therapy, that the doctor's actions were "intentional and malicious" and that he showed "careless disregard" for Mr. Baerken's well-being and his marriage.

How the overzealous persecution of pain doctors is harming patients:

Nearly all of the prior cases have followed a similar pattern. First, prosecutors blitz local media with reports of out-of-control prescription drug abuse problems and discuss the problem of "pill mills." Then, they swoop in with a SWAT team and arrest any doctor brave enough to actually treat chronic pain with doses of opioid medication large enough to work. They ...

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It's about time.

A sad commentary:

When these patients check into a hospital, they are increasingly likely to find themselves in a room with a wider doorway than the 42-inch standard, a bed that holds up to 1,000 pounds and a ceiling lift system to move them to the bathroom.

Toilets in such a room are extra-sturdy and mounted to the floor instead of a wall.

The NY Times spreads the panic. I wrote about this recently. Dr. Centor and Dr. RW chime in.

Bottom-line: this is a rare complication mostly found in IV bisphosphonates used to treat cancer. The benefits of Fosamax and other oral bisphosphonates continue to outweigh this rare risk.

As suspected, such a low dose of morphine was not responsible for a post-op death, discussed here recently. (via a reader tip)

Flea gets sued

Enlightening for those who have never been sued before. (via This Makes Me Sick)

The AAFP sent a letter to insurers stating that appropriate, high-level coding (99214/99215) is here to stay. EMRs are cited as one reason:

The overall aging of the general population coupled with an accompanying increase in chronic health conditions that are treated in the ambulatory care setting rather than in the hospital "result in patients needing more complex care than they did a generation ago," said Frank.

Other factors ...

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Anthem does the right thing and ends this extortionist policy:

In an abrupt about-face, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Ohio has announced it will discontinue its controversial blended-rate policy in southern Ohio. The announcement came just weeks after AAFP News Now reported that Anthem wouldn't budge on an issue that had the AAFP and other medical organizations crying foul.

Anthem will notify its contracted physicians by June 1 ...

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