It was recently announced that Google Health, a popular personal health record, will allow patients to store their advance directives. Emergency physician Graham Walker calls the initiative an "epic fail," and illustrates some real-life problems of the idea. While it is generally thought that making one's health information available electronically to medical personnel is a reasonable idea, doing so with advance directives may not be. Especially in the emergency department where ...

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Robert Ricketson is a spine surgeon who was involved in a high profile 2003 medical malpractice case in Hawaii where a surgical screwdriver was implanted into a patient's back. This is his account of the ordeal. by Robert Ricketson I am writing today out of frustration and anger, as I am frankly quite tired of passively going along as my name appears year after year in malicious "medical blogs" and ...

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Maybe. Joe Jurevicius is a former Cleveland Browns wide receiver who contracted an MRSA infection while playing for the team. He has had multiple procedures to clean out the infection, and this past March, the Browns terminated his contract. Jeffrey Parks, also known as Buckeye Surgeon, has been keeping a close eye on the case. He writes that the case isn't necessarily about negligence, but instead, "what it represents ...

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If you aren't following emergency physician WhiteCoat's account of his malpractice trial, you should. During one exchange with an expert witness, here's how he described what a radiologist routinely did at his hospital:

The radiologist that read the film had a habit of going to the surgeons the following day and asking them what they had found. He would open up a blank report so that it looked as if it was ...

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Much of the attention, rightly so, is on patients whenever a medical mistake is made. But the toll it takes on doctors can be significant. I've often referred to the statistic, for instance, that 10 percent of doctors who are sued for medical malpractice contemplate suicide. In a recent column in The New York Times, Pauline Chen examines how doctors fare after making a mistake. And the answer is, not ...

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Emergency physicians are forced by EMTALA  to treat everyone who comes through the ER doors. Should these cases be exempt from medical malpractice? The Happy Hospitalist argues that the standard of care within the community sets an unreasonable bar. Consider this situation, for instance:

The [problem] I see in today's malpractice environment is the irrational standard of care that has been established, not by science, but rather by the fear ...

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Finding a way to decompress crowded emergency departments is imperative. Over at Stanford Hospital, doctors there have come up with one novel tool: the so-called "drive-thru ER." Patients literally don't have to get out of their cars to receive medical care. This is especially relevant in the current era of pandemic flu, since patients can use their own cars to reduce the risk of contaminating others. So, how does ...

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As the numbers of hospitalists increase, more primary care doctors are no longer doing hospital rounds. Communication problems can arise from this, as discharge summaries and other hospital notes often are not transferred back to the outpatient physician in a timely manner, if at all. And indeed, some patients are unhappy with this trend, and prefer to choose doctors who both have an outpatient clinic and perform hospital duties. As ...

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The answer appears to be yes. MedPage Today reports a study suggesting that, "Most women surgeons would make the same career choice again if given the option," and, "women were somewhat more likely than men to say they would choose the surgical profession again." What's notable is the general high satisfaction rate among surgeons, as "most surgeons of both sexes would recommend their profession to others, indirectly suggesting a high rate ...

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One of the more frustrating hospital experiences is trying to reach either the doctor on call, or the covering physician, outside of business hours. And reaching the wrong doctor happens more often than you think. According to a recent study from the Archives of Internal Medicine, "14 percent of in-hospital pages were sent to the wrong physician when that physician was off duty and out of the hospital." That's a lot. Many ...

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