Surgery

An Illinois neurosurgeon who advocates for caps gets hit with malpractice verdict

An Illinois neurosurgeon who advocates for caps gets hit with a $2M malpractice verdict

“Dr. Thomas Hurley, president-elect of the Illinois State Neurosurgical Society, told the Chicago Sun-Times his case illustrates the problem of allowing big awards that raise doctors’ insurance rates.

He said his annual malpractice insurance premium would probably increase from the current $245,000 to $300,000 or more.

The legal action was by Richard McCorry, …

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UCSF settles a case where a post-op patient was left in a vegetative state after being overmedicated

“The patient, Spencer Sullivan, entered UCSF Medical Center on Dec. 26, 2001, for routine elective neck surgery, which was successful, according to a June 20 legal brief summarizing the plaintiff’s case. Following the surgery, however, Sullivan “was grossly overmedicated and then grossly underobserved,” leading to irreversible brain damage, according to the brief, …

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A doctor in India broke the Guinness record for the removing the biggest bone tumor

“The rare surgical feat of removing a 16.5kg malignant bone tumour — so far the largest of its kind — from the right femur (thighbone) of a patient has earned for an Indian doctor a place in the latest edition of Guinness Book of world records.

Dr. B K S Sanjay, Director of …

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Headlines about perioperative beta blockers

A study about perioperative beta-blockers came out in the NEJM. Here are some articles showing divergent headlines:

Study: Beta Blockers Don’t Help All

Beta blockers don’t help people with low heart risk after surgery

Beta blockers and surgery not a good mix?

Cardio Drugs May Prevent Surgery-Linked Heart Attack

Here is the real conclusion:

Perioperative beta-blocker therapy is associated with a reduced …

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Why patients suffer after losing malpractice caps in Wisconsin

Patients lose again: The impact of losing caps in Wisconsin

“A big spike in insurance premiums could prompt some physicians in high-risk specialties such as obstetrics, neurosurgery or trauma care to stop accepting some patients or move to a state with lower malpractice premiums, health industry officials said.

Early physician retirements are another concern, as is ‘defensive medicine,’ which is the ordering of unnecessary medical tests to guard against …

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An analysis of Dick Cheney’s health and routine physical exam

Vice-president Dick Cheney completed his physical:

Cheney, 64, was at George Washington University Hospital for a colonoscopy, an upper endoscopy and a vascular screening. The procedures completed his yearly medical checkup.

In the first part of the exam last week, an annual heart checkup produced good news for Cheney, who has had four heart attacks, though none since he became vice president in 2001.

The latest tests …

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A Canadian-trained ophthalmologist is frustrated at the bureaucracy preventing him to operate

“I am licensed to practise in Ontario and provide service in multiple offices in the Toronto area. During an average week, I see up to 200 patients and refer four to 10 surgical cases to my colleagues with operating privileges. Those patients then have to travel a significant distance, be re-examined by another doctor and then wait weeks, …

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The NY Times details an elaborate insurance fraud scheme where medical clinics pay people for unnecessary procedures

“Uncovering a well-constructed fraud can be very difficult, because nobody has an incentive to blow the whistle – not the doctors, not the clinic owners, not the patients receiving kickbacks and, some critics say, not even insurers, who can simply raise premiums to cover their costs.”

A doctor is sued for overprescribing narcotics during an inpatient procedure

“Vinyard states in the suit her son was initially taken to W.W. Hastings Hospital on June 19, 2003. Dr. Dexter Scott accepted Vinyard for transfer to Tahlequah City Hospital for surgery to repair the fractures 3-1/2 hours after Kevin’s arrived at Hastings.

The suit states Kevin’s tibia and fibula, two bones in the lower leg that go from …

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An ectopic pregnancy case shows how defensive medicine hurts patients

The next part of this continuing series. A look at how defensive medicine hurts patients as well:

I am not a doctor, but a patient. But I thought I’d write to you about how my recent ectopic pregnancy has driven up the cost of treatment for every single patient at my IVF clinic, most of whom self-pay due to limited insurance coverage for infertility.

Last fall, I had …

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Some are facing difficult decisions about removing their recalled heart defibrillators

“Each assessment on surgery, doctors say, will be a personal one, based on a patient’s age and health, how dependent the patient is on the device and the patient’s attitudes toward risk.”

Why would a neurosurgeon quit brain surgery to do hair transplants?

A neurosurgeon quits brain surgery to do hair transplants

“‘Basically I was working over 100 hours a week just to pay a malpractice premium (of) about $135,000 a year,’ he says.

He was reimbursed between 25 and 40 percent of his surgical fees, and his income had already plummeted 60 percent.

Now, Dr. Ballon says he’s operating on the same place, but he just doesn’t go as deep. …

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Patients in Australia are canceling surgery from doctors with ethnic names amid a patient backlash over the “Dr Death” scandal
“As the scandal unfolds, the Australian Divisions of General Practice has received reports of mounting concern among patients about the quality and qualifications of overseas-trained doctors.

It has reached a point interstate where patients are cancelling surgery due to the ‘ethnic inflection’ of surgeons’ surnames, according to ADGP …

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“Everyone with a headache gets a non contrast head CT”

The third part of this continuing series. A reader writes:

Two big practice patterns have emerged over the past years (especially after I was sued in 2001). I order CT scans for almost any complaint and the level of my care is more intensive. Everyone with a headache gets a non contrast head CT. Everyone with any type of abdominal complaint gets a CT scan of the abdomen and …

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Why the Democrats caved on malpractice caps in Illinois

“It finally dawned on Democrat leaders that when people, even fellow Democrats back in the precincts, weigh the relative merits of doctors and lawyers, they come to rational conclusions. A lawyer can defend them in court, maybe win them some money in a lawsuit, but only if they’re alive. And it takes a doctor to fix a failing heart or do …

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Over 90 percent of physicians admit to practicing defensive medicine

“A total of 824 physicians (65%) completed the survey. Nearly all (93%) reported practicing defensive medicine. ‘Assurance behavior’ such as ordering tests, performing diagnostic procedures, and referring patients for consultation, was very common (92%). Among practitioners of defensive medicine who detailed their most recent defensive act, 43% reported using imaging technology in clinically unnecessary circumstances. Avoidance of procedures and …

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A doctor banned “Dr. Death” from operating on his patients

I’ve never quite heard of anything like the stories that are coming out down under: “Miach said that around June or July 2003 he decided to ensure that his patients never received surgery from Patel. He said he told Patel he was banned from operating on his patients. Nurses kept vigils over patients to ensure Patel performed no procedures on …

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A Canadian physician-lawyer’s quest to institute a parallel private health care system

“He argues that regulations that create long waiting times for surgery contradict the constitutional guarantees for individuals of “life, liberty and the security of the person,” and that the prohibition against private medical insurance and care is for sick patients an “infringement of the protection against cruel and unusual treatment.”

He believes that Canada is disallowing …

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A blade was left inside a patient during bypass surgery

The blade was not found until three months later when Victor Hutchison was X-rayed at another hospital after being admitted with gall bladder pain . . .

. . . Surgical staff realised one of the scalpel blades was missing and spent an hour searching for it following the operation.

Mr Hutchison was given an X-ray but …

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A man in Boston is acting as his own lawyer arguing a malpractice suit

“He has accused Brigham and Women’s Hospital physicians Dr. John Ready and Dr. Thomas Simopoulos of going ahead with hip surgery on his 62-year-old mother, Leona, after her blood pressure dropped to a dangerously low point on Jan. 14, 2000. Leona Trabucco died on the operating table after efforts to resuscitate her failed . . .

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