Physician

Texas malpractice reforms are working too well

The malpractice cap that Texas instituted in 2003 is leading to an influx of doctors.

That’s good for patients who benefit from the access provided by the new physicians. However, the Texas Medical Board can’t keep up with the pace of new registrations, despite increasing their staff by 28 percent over the last six years.

This is leading to a delay when dealing with patient complaints, which …

Read more…

How malpractice attorneys decide which cases to accept

Plaintiff attorneys receive contingency fees only in a successful outcome, or if the suit is settled out of court.

That’s why it’s important for lawyers to be discerning as to which cases to accept. “Big ticket” cases like “bad babies, paraplegia, and death of a wage-earner” often have influence.

Here are other factors that attorneys consider, including “the sympathy value of the plaintiff, the credibility of …

Read more…

Defensive medicine wastes money and hurts patients

Defensive medicine has always been highly controversial, but there is mounting evidence confirming its major contribution to health care spending.

The Massachusetts Medical Society released a pivotal study today quantifying some of the costs of defensive medicine (via White Coat Notes). For background, I refer you to previous discussions on the issue, as well as last year’s piece on the CBS Evening News that I …

Read more…

“Uniquely American tort laws” contributing to health costs

Prominent economist Uwe Reinhardt explains why health care costs are rising. Here’s how he defines defensive medicine, which is among his four identified major cost drivers:

. . . higher treatment costs triggered by our uniquely American tort laws, which in the context of medicine can lead to “defensive medicine” “” that is, the application of tests and procedures mainly as a defense against possible malpractice litigation, rather than …

Read more…

How doctors should deal with an aggressive prosecutor

Not an uncommon situation for the unfortunate physician on the stand. One recommendation is to “protest such inappropriate behavior yourself,” and “never allow an attorney who is questioning you to raise his voice or speak to you sarcastically or rudely.”

Attorney Ronald Miller says that’s terrible advice:

The playing field is tilted in favor of the doctor. The very best way for a doctor to blow that lead is tell …

Read more…

Medical malpractice in Saudi Arabia

Think doctors here have it tough? More details are emerging from last week’s story of the Egyptian doctor who prescribed narcotics to a Saudi princess:

Raouf Amin el-Arabi, a doctor who has been serving the Saudi royal family for about 20 years, was convicted last year of giving a patient the wrong medication. Egyptian newspapers reported that he was accused of driving a Saudi princess “to addiction.”

He initially was …

Read more…

Hospital takes a shot at a malpractice jury

The head of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute responds to the $13.5 million verdict awarded to a family during a malpractice trial:

We all know that cancer is a terrible disease that still claims far too many lives. Unfortunately, even as we work intensely to develop newer, more effective treatments, we aren’t always successful and complications can arise. That does not mean that we did anything wrong, something that juries less …

Read more…

Misreporting lab results leads to malpractice

“See your primary care doctor” isn’t good enough advice anymore, since not all patients have one, or will follow-up on their own.

A workers’ compensation physician noted a markedly elevated ferritin level, and was successfully sued for missing hemochromatosis. He had told the patient to follow up with his primary care doctor.

The same scenario could easily happen in the emergency or specialist setting. Actually making …

Read more…

Sued for failing to provide an interpreter

A solo rheumatologist was not willing to pay the $150 to $200 per visit fee an American Sign Language interpreter would have cost to treat a deaf patient, especially in the setting where Medicare paid only $49 per visit.

He was sued as the patient didn’t understand the side effects of the medications he was prescribing for her lupus:

But the patient claimed she never really understood the side-effects …

Read more…

Single payer to fix malpractice?

Advocates are saying that a single payer system man be an answer to solve malpractice woes:

She noted that if health care was guaranteed through government funding there would be no need for malpractice suits and settlements to take into account the future health care costs of plaintiffs. This is particularly important in obstetrical cases given the future medical interventions and life expectancy of these babies.

For physicians to …

Read more…

Op-ed: Wasted medical dollars

The following op-ed was published on April 23rd, 2008 in the USA Today.

A recent analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers concluded that more than half the dollars in our $2.2 trillion health care system are wasted.

Medical errors, inefficient use of information technology and poorly managed chronic diseases were all cited as factors. Dwarfing these reasons is a phenomenon in which doctors order tests to avoid the threat of a …

Read more…

The candidates on tort reform

The whole issue of tort reform is pretty much DOA now. If it couldn’t be done in the past 8 years, it’s certainly not going to happen with the next administration. That being said, here’s are McCain and Obama’s take on the issue.

Rather than caps, physicians should be pushing for more expedient compensation to injured patients. No-fault malpractice would be an ideal solution, providing quicker …

Read more…

Baseless lawsuits

Why is Shadowfax’s physician group settling baseless lawsuits?

What can we do? When you are at Yellowstone, they tell you not to feed the bears because it just encourages them. But that metaphor doesn’t work when the alternative is to let the bear maul you and hope that he won’t get all of your food.

What is more concerning is the lengthy process of the proceedings. Patients who are …

Read more…

No-fault malpractice

The patient comes out ahead in many cases: “All patients who suffer a treatment injury caused by medical care are eligible for no-fault, government funded, compensation (with no need to prove negligence). Claims are usually decided within a matter of days, and the package of care includes financial compensation as well as free treatment, rehabilitation, home help, childcare, and so on.”

Contrast that to what happens here, where …

Read more…

464
pages

✓ Join 150,000+ subscribers
✓ Get KevinMD's most popular stories