From my interview with Andrew Thompson the other day, the issue of a medical malpractice crisis was raised.  Mr. Thompson averred that such a concept is pure myth, a spook story older docs tell young interns around the campfire at night.  And he may be right. In a paper from the Journal of Healthcare Quality, researchers at Johns Hopkins demonstrated, using data from the National Practitioner Data ...

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My interview series continues, this time with local litigation attorney Andrew Thompson, Esq. The topic this time is medical malpractice. I asked him a bunch of questions. He answered. See what you think. 1. In your opinion, is there a medical malpractice crisis in this country? No. This is not even a close issue. The concept of a “crisis” or dramatic increase in the number of medical malpractice cases is ...

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How diminishing returns may render the surgical timeout ineffective Wrong site surgery is never acceptable.  A surgeon ought never to find himself in a situation where he has to inform the family that he just operated on the wrong body part.  It is embarrassing, unprofessional, and an egregious violation of the patient/physician covenant. That being said, we have allowed this issue to be defined entirely in terms of "systems management".  And hence the ...

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Is Chris Christie too obese to run for president? Former White House physician Connie Mariano, MD, set off a firestorm recently by stating the patently obvious fact that New Jersey governor Chris Christie ought to address his morbid obesity prior to entertaining thoughts of running for the presidency in 2016.

“It’s almost like a time bomb waiting to happen unless he addresses those issues before he runs for office,” Mariano ...

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How Obamacare penalizes safety net hospitals The weakest aspect to Obamacare is in its cost control strategies, or lack thereof.  The predicted savings from converting to electronic medical records (EMR) have failed to materialize.  And the Rube Goldberg-esque plan to save money by penalizing hospitals and doctors for having poor HCAHPS scores has reaped its own set of unforeseen complications. HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) is the Press-Ganey ...

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From the Economist in October 2012 was an article on physician assisted suicide.  In the United States, terminally ill patients can apply for permission to end their lives with the guidance of a doctor in Oregon and Washington state.  Several safeguards are in place to prevent this from becoming the default death pathway (only 0.2% of total Oregonian deaths).  Also, I had no idea that Holland, Switzerland, and Belgium allow assisted suicide ...

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The American Journal of Surgery had a nice little (38 patient cohort) study from the VA database that tried to determine the process by which patients make informed decisions on elective surgery.  The results were rather surprising, at first glance.

Sixty-nine percent of patients decided to have surgery before meeting their surgeon, and 47% stated that the surgeon did not influence their decision. Although the surgeon was an important source of information ...

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Why Im saying goodbye to football Junior Seau had CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease known to afflict individuals who have sustained repeated head injuries over time. Junior Seau played football his whole life and was never officially diagnosed with a concussion.  Last May he sat down one day and shot himself in the heart.  Dave Duerson, the former Bears safety, did this too, as a way to ...

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A buddy of mine sent along an interesting link by a physician named Ben Brown that makes an argument that doctors actually aren't all that well off.   Salaries are down.  Education costs can exceed $300,000 over the course of college, medical school, and residency.  By the time you take that first job, you're on the wrong side of 30 and Wells Fargo is demanding $1800 a month for all your student loans.  It's ...

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Whos responsible for Newtown? We all are, to some degree The events in Newtown, Connecticut will hopefully jump start a national conversation.  That's about the only solace I can take from the senseless murder of 20 schoolchildren in a classroom. This conversation ought to transcend minutiae like the specifics of gun laws and gun show loopholes (although there will be a time for redressing these inanities).  I don't want to hear about ...

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