What is evidence? How do we gather evidence of patient harm? More importantly, what is the evidence that counts? A research paper dating back to 2004 suggests that besides research evidence, clinical and patient experiences, as well as contextual information also constitute evidence. However, the only currency of science is data collected through systematic and rigorous research. But when it comes to the business of medical error,
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Several years ago, a colleague of mine did a procedure on my daughter. What was supposed to be routine has become a nightmare for her.  When he saw her post-op, he told her she was fine.  Because of this obfuscation, years went by before she really understood how damaged she was. By then, the statute of limitations had lapsed and she had no recourse. Still seeking closure on this disaster, my daughter ...

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The vast majority of births and deliveries are joyful ones. Families celebrate the wonder of the new addition to their families, and clinicians go home at the end of the day with a sense of pride, deriving meaning from their professional lives. This is one of the reasons that many of us chose obstetrics in the first place. But unfortunately, that is not always the case. As an obstetrician, I know firsthand ...

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Nothing troubles physicians more than an unforeseen outcome and a malpractice lawsuit. It cracks open self-doubts and assumptions about medicine and may be life-changing. It commonly fuels burnout, loss of confidence, PTSD and early retirement. And there are links to depression and physician suicide. There's another side to this story, though. Like all of life's great challenges, a patient's unexpected loss, and professional litigation present us with huge opportunities for growth. I am ...

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A single error oft inters the good that doctors do. The case of Dr. Hadiza Bawa-Garba, a trainee pediatrician in the NHS convicted for homicide for the death of a child from sepsis and hounded by the General Medical Council is every junior doctor’s primal fear. A boy in shock Friday, February 18th, 2011 was not a typically unusual day in a British hospital. Dr. Bawa-Garba had recently returned from a 13-month ...

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Dr. Pramela Ganji had just finished her lunch when she was told that the appellate court had reversed and vacated her conviction.  At first, she didn’t believe it.    After all, this whole experience had been surreal.  Dr. Ganji, a 68-year-old well-respected medical doctor and married mother of 3 children, had practiced medicine for 40 years without incident.  Her patients loved her, and she had dedicated her life to helping others. ...

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There are a lot of TV commercials for structured settlement companies these days. You know, the companies that say if you are cash-strapped but have a structured settlement they will be happy to buy your settlement and give you "cash now." Some of the commercials are quite clever and catchy featuring everything from operettas to boy bands. After seeing so many of these, one has to conclude that there has ...

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From the earliest days on the clinical wards, everyone probably worked with a senior physician who knew how to game the system. It might be doing a rigid sigmoidoscopy on admission for every patient who had a rectum — something not the standard of care forty years ago. Or maybe it was accepting a pharmaceutical company subsidized tax-deductible junket under the guise of CME at a place with sparkling white ...

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I was a chubby kid, but my parents still introduced me to lots of sports. Soccer, swimming, tennis, basketball; so many sports, when all I wanted to do was read and eat Doritos.  I wasn’t particularly good at any of them, but some of my teams were better than good. We were champs. My swim team won the Cape Cod Summer League, my soccer team won its division one year, ...

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Long ago, I represented a doctor who was … difficult. He was a phenomenal surgeon, world famous in his field, but he was not warm and fuzzy — not even close. Cold and hard were more his speed. We spent two weeks together, on trial in city hall. It takes about two years from the time a case is filed to the time the case goes to court. During that ...

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