In September 2010, a seasoned pediatric intensive care unit nurse administered an accidental overdose to a critically ill baby, giving ten times the amount of calcium that was prescribed. Five days later, this baby, with an already tenuous heart condition, died. The nurse recognized her mistake immediately, informed her superior, and also told the family and physicians. She was, however, escorted out of the hospital, put on administrative leave, and ...

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A Kentucky appeals court ruled that a surgeon was not responsible for a burn caused by an instrument that had been removed from an autoclave and placed on an anesthetized patient's abdomen. According to an article in Outpatient Surgery, the surgeon was not in the room when the injury occurred and only discovered it when he was about to begin the procedure. An insufflator valve had been sterilized and was ...

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For decades, many physicians have been pushing for comprehensive tort reform on the national level. Malpractice claims in the U.S. are twice those of other developed countries such as England, Canada, and Germany. Payouts in a U.S. claim can easily reach 3 million dollars or more; in Germany most claims are around $30,000 or less. A survey conducted by RAND in 2011 estimates that 99 percent of American physicians in high-risk ...

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Did you hear about that recent, groundbreaking study on defensive medicine?  Probably not.  The sites where I regularly read health policy news -- Vox, the Incidental Economist, and the Upshot, for instance -- all failed to mention it.  (Correct me if I'm wrong.) Published in the British Medical Journal, researchers found that doctors who charged more, presumably by ordering more tests, were sued less often: "In six ... specialties, a greater use of ...

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Diagnostic tests such as CT scans are not perfect. A test can make two errors. It can call a diseased person healthy: a false negative. This is like acquitting a person guilty of a crime. Or a test can falsely call a healthy person disease: a false positive. This is like convicting an innocent person of a crime that she did not commit. There is a trade-off between false ...

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If you weren’t aware of the prevalence and severity of diagnostic errors, (misdiagnosis, missed diagnosis, delayed diagnosis) maybe you should be now. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a new report called, Improving Diagnosis in Health Care. The report cited that most people will experience one or more diagnostic errors over their lifetimes. It also revealed that diagnostic errors contribute to 10 percent of patient deaths and account for up ...

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It’s been over a year since my older sister Anna died, so I choke up less readily while speaking about it.  The raw anger is less, but the frustration of losing someone to a preventable medical mistake will always remain with me.   Anna was five years older than me, my only sister, and the one I often turned to for advice. We were close despite living 600+ miles apart.  She ...

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Have you been injured? Call us at this number! You may be entitled to a reward! We have all seen these advertisements on TV. Our society has become conditioned to expect perfection. If a patient suffers a known complication from a condition or dies, there is a feeling that someone must be held accountable -- even if everything was done perfectly from a medical standpoint. Medical malpractice litigation has exploded over ...

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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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