It's not a secret that emergency departments are becoming more crowded by the day. Especially if universal health coverage is enacted without appropriate primary care doctors to see the newly-insured, expect the problem only to worsen. So, it comes as no surprise that those who wait longer, especially for symptoms that could be cardiac in nature, potentially can have worse outcomes. As reported in MedPage Today, a study shows that, "emergency ...

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Emergency physician WhiteCoat has been blogging a detailed account of his recently concluded malpractice trial at Emergency Physicians Monthly. In 2007, pediatrician known as Flea live-blogged his malpractice trial. He shared his thoughts on the defense strategy and frank, unflattering opinions of the opponent's legal counsel. The plaintiff's attorney discovered the blog, confronted him during cross examination, and the case was settled the next day. In these litigious times, there’s been ...

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Emergency physician WhiteCoat continues the chronicles of his concluded malpractice trial. A recent episode focused on the deposition at the plaintiff attorney's office. Along the way, there are observations on whether doctors with thick foreign accents make good witnesses (according to WhiteCoat's lawyer, "juries are not very forgiving of foreign doctors"), or if the bathrooms were bugged. Cloak and dagger stuff. But importantly, with the deposition focused on whether WhiteCoat ...

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Read it to believe it. It's not often that this blog links to Cracked, but here it is, The 6 Most Terrifying Medical Malpractice Cases Ever. (via WhiteCoat) Among them is a psychiatric case where the doctor gave a patient, who unfortunately eventually committed suicide, "several thousand pages of sadomasochistic fantasies [in] an extensive effort to brainwash him into believing he was a child and that the doctor was his mother." But ...

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A pharmacist in Ohio is being criminally prosecuted in a medical mistake that resulted in a death of a two-year old child. Is that going too far? Indeed, if the criminal prosecution of this pharmacist is successful, it may lead to a dangerous precedent. Indeed, "he wasn’t drunk or impaired. He wasn’t even the one who prepared the mixture. He was inattentive and lazy and careless, and now he faces the ...

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How are American doctors fighting medical tourism trend? Cardiologist DrRich's latest post details the concern the American College of Surgeons have for the burgeoning medical tourism industry, and how they are using malpractice as a reason not to travel overseas for your procedure. "Indeed, the potential difficulty in suing foreign doctors appears to be the chief differentiator, and the primary argument in favor of good-old-American-surgery," DrRich writes. "The surgeons, in essence, are ...

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Reporting bad doctors seems like a pretty simple task. Why then, is physician peer review seemingly inept? Bob Wachter comes up with some theories, including the fear of litigation. Although doctors who perform peer review are supposed to be legally immune, many hospitals have little faith in these protections. As Dr. Wachter concludes from an analysis of the National Practitioner Data Bank, "these protections must be unambiguously robust," but in ...

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Is it ever ok for a hospitalist to be the primary physician in post-op cases? The answer is no, but as The Happy Hospitalist reports, it's happening in some cases. He details an instance where a hospitalist program is being asked by an orthopedic surgeon to provide care for his post-op cases, with the surgeon only coming in for a visit on the day of discharge. As Dr. Happy correctly states, it's "one ...

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An emergency physician recently concluded his malpractice trial, and is blogging about it. Sound familiar? Well, this isn't the first time it happened. In 2007, pediatrician Flea live-blogged his malpractice trial, which wasn't a good idea for him, and indeed, became a media circus. Prominent emergency physician blogger WhiteCoat is diving into the same waters, albeit with a disclaimer saying that the trial has already ended, and also, ...

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There's a movement afoot to make physician apologies inadmissible in court for cases of adverse patient outcomes. Hospitalist Chris Rangel notes the absurdity of the situation, and says that expressing sympathy shouldn't always imply causation in the first place. After all, saying sorry and expressing sympathy is the right thing to do in these difficult circumstances. But not everyone supports such a move. For instance, Massachusetts is considering such a ...

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