shutterstock_110533634 Imagine the scene: You’re in your busy office on a typical day when a letter arrives -- a letter of intent. A patient is suing you for malpractice. From the moment you receive that letter, everything changes. The malpractice claim begins to affect all aspects of your life. You don’t sleep well. You don’t interact well with family members, friends, or colleagues. You ...

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shutterstock_52832917 Daytime TV advertising is dominated by two players. Pharmaceutical companies with direct to consumer pitches and the so-called "toxic tort." How confusing it must be to the average person to see a new drug pushed by one commercial, to be immediately followed by another commercial from a lawyer trying to sue for the known side effects of the exact same drug. It ...

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Money-640x480 I’m a physician entrepreneur. In 1998, I opened my first clinic. My malpractice: $500 per year. Then I tried life as an employed physician. Hated it. So in 2005, I opened my ideal clinic. Best. Job. Ever. My malpractice: $1,230 per year. Want low premiums? Here’s how I did it. A quick tutorial. New malpractice policies mature over five years. So the first ...

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A patient undergoing a colonoscopy pressed "record" on his smartphone before being sedated, hoping to capture instructions from his physicians after the procedure.  What he heard instead was shocking: "In addition to their vicious commentary, the doctors discussed avoiding the man after the colonoscopy, instructing an assistant to lie to him, and then placed a false diagnosis on his chart." The incident cost his anesthesiologist $500,000 in the ensuing malpractice and defamation ...

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The best way to avoid being sued for malpractice is to make certain that all your patients are happy and all their outcomes are good. Reality is seldom so rosy. Patients aren’t necessarily happy even when their clinical outcomes are as good as they can get. In the event of an undesired outcome, an unhappy patient may easily become a litigious one. A 2011 study in the New England Journal ...

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shutterstock_116371780 The war on medical error was officially launched in 1999, when the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published its landmark report To Err is Human, alleging that up to 98,000 yearly deaths in US hospitals were due to human missteps. Despite significant ambiguities in the definition of a medical error, numerous militias known as patient safety organizations ...

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shutterstock_263483609 Emergency medicine physicians: Could these be your cases?

  • A 35-year-old presents with shortness of breath and numbness to the legs. CXR and EKG are normal. She is discharged to see her doctor in two days, but is found dead at home. Autopsy reveals a dissecting aortic aneurysm.
  • A 15-month-old is triaged to fast track and seen by a physician assistant for fever, lethargy, ...

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Several months ago, Physician's Weekly featured an article describing a bill that was introduced into the House of Representatives called H.R. 1406: The Saving Lives, Saving Costs Act. It would create a "safe harbor" for physicians who could show that they followed best practice guidelines when faced with a malpractice suit. At the end of the piece, a question was asked, "Do you think this bill will help safeguard physicians against ...

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shutterstock_186812807 Recently, a jury awarded a young California resident $28.2 million for a delayed diagnosis of a pelvic tumor. The jury found Kaiser Permanente (KP) negligent. Doctors in the system, touted to be one of the finest systems by the president, allegedly refused an immediate MRI for back pain in a 17 year old. The patient eventually received an MRI three months after ...

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Two problems loom large over the American medical care system. First, we spend outrageous amounts of money on health care, with too many patients receiving too many services at too high a price. Second, our malpractice system is an international embarrassment, with too many health care providers sued by too many patients for too little reason. Many experts have pointed out that these problems are two sides of the same coin. ...

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