I’m struggling — truly struggling. This year has been beyond hard. I honestly never thought this time last year that I would be in this predicament. Things were good, I had a great job, and I was working on our fixing up our dream retirement home. We had great vacations every year. Yes, the home remodel wasn’t quite on track, but we were making progress. But then, my world fell ...

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The medicine I practiced between 1974 to 1992 is gone. Evidence is the coin of the realm in the courts of modern medicine. The rule “first, do no harm” demands a corollary — be paranoid. We receive extensive training and licensure to “touch” patients. Any person who is not a physician who cuts into another person commits a very serious crime. The same is true for merely talking with a person, ...

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I do not feel that I truly survived my lawsuit. Sure, I am alive, but the emotional toll it took on me during the four years that we co-existed was tremendous. That being said, I do feel that it taught me several things that may be helpful to others. My lawsuit occurred very early in my career. The series of events that led up to it happened when I was a ...

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In July, 2009, the family of Massachusetts teenager Yarushka Rivera went to their local Walgreens to pick up Topomax, an anti-seizure drug that had been keeping her epilepsy in check for years. Rivera had insurance coverage through MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid insurance program for low-income children, and never ran into obstacles obtaining this life-saving medication. But in July of 2009, she turned 19, and when, shortly after her birthday, her family ...

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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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