Apologizing after medical errors is the moral and ethical thing to do, but this attorney says otherwise.

Saying sorry can deny malpractice coverage, says attorney Steven Kern, and from a legal perspective, "saying I'm sorry is an admission. An admission is an exception to the hearsay rule, so anyone who hears it can be called to testify against you, should legal action ensue."

What about the 35 states ...

Read more...

I've wrote an op-ed in the USA Today this past April about how defensive medicine wastes medical dollars.

Today, the editorial staff takes on the issue themselves, with a fierce piece decrying the current malpractice system as "arbitrary, inefficient and results in years of delay."

The recent Massachusetts Medical Society's study on defensive medicine was prominently included, as it was reported that "83% of its doctors practice ...

Read more...

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...

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 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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

"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...

Join 147,000+ subscribers

Get the best of KevinMD in your inbox

Sign me up! It's free. 
close-link
✓ Join 148,000+ subscribers 
✓ Get KevinMD's 5 most popular stories
Subscribe. It's free.
close-image