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. ...

Read more...

In anticipation of American Heart Month, an examination of the liability risks faced by cardiologists was recently undertaken by The Doctors Company, the nation’s largest physician-owned medical malpractice insurer. This analysis of 429 closed cardiology claims from 2007 to 2013 revealed that the most common patient allegations against cardiologists and other clinicians were diagnostic errors, followed closely by procedural or surgical mishaps. This data is of particular interest to cardiologists, ...

Read more...

With the endless appearance of medical malpractice solutions in the press, any reader would think we have the answers to the logjam -- but no will to implement them.  If you follow the topic, you know every proposal has flaws and limited applications as they relate to individual states or delivery systems. The worst offender seems to be safe harbor protections (i.e., “follow the guidelines and you won’t get sued”). Recently, however, I ...

Read more...

shutterstock_225356470 While the electronic medical record (EMR) has advantages, it also has introduced liability risks. EMRs can lead to lawsuits or result in a weak defense by casting the physician in an unfavorable light. For example, examine these exchanges in a recent malpractice trial:

  • Plaintiff attorney: Doctor, if the emergency renal consult was called in at 11:30, why did you wait until 6 p.m. ...

    Read more...

shutterstock_51888040 New York Post reporter Susan Edelman revealed the name of the unfortunate anesthesiologist allegedly present on August 28 at Yorkville Endoscopy, during the throat procedure that led to the death of comedian Joan Rivers. She is reported to be Renuka Reddy Bankulla, MD, 47, a board-certified anesthesiologist from New Rochelle, NY. Having her name made public will be a nightmare for Dr. Bankulla, as ...

Read more...

Dostoevsky's Brother's Karamazov cleverly spoofs the careless inexpertness of what often passes for expert legal testimony. Three medical experts are called to testify whether Dmitri Karamazov was sane or insane when committing the alleged murder of his father. Naturally, the experts all disagree, with each completely convinced of the incontrovertible truth of his own opinion. Expert 1 finds Dmitri insane because he looked to the left as he entered the courtroom. Expert ...

Read more...

shutterstock_119657461 "If doctors do no other good, they at least prepare their patients early for death, undermining little by little and cutting off their enjoyment of life." These words from Montaigne are 350 years old, but, sadly, too often they describe the results of modern medicine, particularly when it is mindlessly applied in a needlessly heroic way to the end of life. I spend ...

Read more...

The safety concerns that keep clinicians awake at night often aren't issues that you could fit onto a safety and quality dashboard. They aren't the kinds of things that feed metrics on the CMS Hospital Compare website or any of the other sources of publicly reported quality measures. They are intensely local, and no less important for being so. This reminder came to me recently during a quarterly meeting of Comprehensive Unit-based ...

Read more...

I was listening to the news on my way to work recently, and heard a story about the review conducted after the well-publicized security breach at the White House. Like many people, I was shocked when the story of the fence-jumper first broke. How was it possible that some guy with a knife managed to get over the fence, cross the lawn, enter the White House and get deep into the ...

Read more...

shutterstock_96224099 Part 3 of a series.  Read part 1 and part 2. The aspect of malpractice suits that lawyers seem congenitally unable to understand is how devastating it is. "Ho hum," says a lawyer who read my first two posts in this series. "Get out the violins." It's as if, because I make my living operating on ...

Read more...

130 Pages

Most Popular