Medical Malpractice News and Views

Latest from Medical Malpractice News and Views

A Utah plastic surgeon has been charged by the United States with health care fraud and conspiracy arising out of a year-long scheme to sell fake Covid vaccination cards.  The cards were sold for $50 each.  It is unclear exactly how many cards were sold.

In addition to selling the fake cards, the doctor and members of his office staff also destroyed over doses of vaccine that they received that were worth over $28,000.  They pretended to administer these destroyed doses, but did not.  In some cases, children were injected with saline rather than actual vaccine.  The saline injections were
Continue Reading Covid and the Bad Doctor

Hospitals are where the germs are.  Hospitals are also where the worst germs are.  Sick people are constantly coming to the hospital and bringing their viruses and bacteria with them.  In spite of the best efforts, and sometimes less than the best efforts, of the nurses and staff, bacteria and viruses get passed from one patient to another.  This is the story of one of those less than best efforts that left three newborns dead and one badly brain damaged.

The deaths and injuries occurred in a good-sized hospital in central Pennsylvania.  It had an excellent reputation in the community
Continue Reading A Case of Hospital Malpractice

It is no secret that the cost of medical care is rising and rising at a rate faster than inflation.  This wave of rising costs is being led by an even larger rise in the cost of hospital care.  Hospitals receive $1 out of every $3 spent on health care in this country.  How can hospitals get away with this?  The answer is found in our old Monopoly game.  Remember how the more of a property you owned, the higher the rent you charged?  As hospital chains grow larger, they reduce competition in their areas and reduced competition almost invariably
Continue Reading When Thinking About Hospital Bills, Remember Your Old Monopoly Game.

One thing you can say about Electronic Medical Records:  They are a mixed blessing.  In my practice, I read a lot of medical records.  In the old days, they were all written by hand and I had to struggle with illegible handwriting.  I still struggle with handwriting when I review office records but all the hospital records are electronic now.  The good news is that I no longer struggle with poor handwriting when reviewing hospital records.  The bad news is that the records are ridiculously voluminous and do not do a good job of conveying information about the patient.  Sometimes
Continue Reading Electronic Medical Records Are A Problem.

Cancer is a terrible set of diseases.  Some are relatively treatable, if detected in time, while others are aggressive and nearly always fatal.  Medical malpractice does not cause cancer but medical malpractice can turn a treatable cancer into a death sentence.

The cancer cases that I see almost always involve the same issue:  delay.  There was a delay in discovering the cancer or a delay in recognizing the cancer, or a delay in beginning treatment.  It is why people come to see me.  In order for the delay to be the basis for a case that I can take and
Continue Reading Cancer Malpractice Litigation.

This may come as a shock to you but there are a lot of mistakes made in the emergency department that kill and seriously injure people.  If you do what I do for a living, you already know this.  If you are just a regular member of the public, this may be big news to you.  Importantly, this is not just me saying there is a lot of medical malpractice in the emergency department.  This is the federal government talking after a review of what has happened in ER’s over the last twenty years.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and
Continue Reading Going To The Emergency Department Can Be Hazardous To Your Health

Willie Sutton, the Depression era bankrobber, when asked why he robbed banks, famously responded, “That’s where the money is.”  Today, the money is in illegal drugs and the Medicare program.  Foreign drug cartels make huge profits smuggling illegal drugs into the United States.  Even larger amounts of money flow through the Medicare program.  Health care professionals see these money flows and often cannot resist the urge to cash in.  Here are some recent examples.

A long-time Philadelphia pharmacist has admitted committing a whole range of crimes relating to the distribution of oxycodone and fraud.  In addition to filling prescriptions that
Continue Reading Health Care Professionals Are Not Immune to Greed

This is not a statement a doctor is very likely to make, even though there is an ethical obligation to be honest with patients and to make sure medical records are accurate.  Sadly, the way our system operates, there are strong incentives for doctors to keep quiet and strong disincentives for doctors to speak up.  The fact that most malpractice is deliberately hidden has profound consequences for the health care system as a whole and for the patients who are the victims of malpractice.

There are very few good reasons for a doctor to admit to a mistake.  There are
Continue Reading “I Made A Mistake Which Injured You.”

If you follow this blog or read much about health care spending, you know that we in the United States spend twice as much per person on health care as any other nation on earth.  We pay way more for medicines than anyone else.  Our doctors and hospitals make more than doctors and hospitals anywhere else in the world.  Why can’t we get the same deals as the rest of the world when it comes to health care spending?  It turns out that everyone else uses our high prices to save themselves money.  Without our sky high spending, health care
Continue Reading Our Health Care Spending Subsidizes the Rest of the World

If there was ever a situation of more uneven bargaining power than being asked to fill out hospital forms while lying on a gurney in the emergency department, I cannot think what it could be.  And yet that is precisely when the hospital asks you to fill out pages and pages of forms with closely spaced legal mumbo jumbo that can have huge legal and economic consequences down the road.  You are in no position to get up and leave.  You are in no position to refuse to sign.  So you do what you must; you sign, usually without even
Continue Reading Just Fill Out These Forms – Hospital Edition.

Next time you are visiting someone at the hospital and have a few minutes to spare, take a drive through the doctor’s parking lot.  If you live in a major metropolitan area, you will see luxury car after luxury car.  In areas more remote from the big cities, there will be nice cars, but probably not as many really expensive ones.  What does this have to do with our broken health care delivery system?  Well, pretty much everything.

In order to afford those fancy cars, doctors must make a lot of money and many of them do, particularly the specialists. 
Continue Reading Our Broken Health Care Delivery System.

Over the years, I have handled a number of cases in which the patient successfully underwent surgery only to become paralyzed in the hours and days after leaving the operating room.  In each of these cases, the patient should not have been paralyzed.  In each of these cases, the nurses or the surgeons or sometimes both of them failed to do their jobs and the patient was left with a lifetime of paraplegia or quadriplegia.

The spinal cord is like a superhighway through the body.  Like a superhighway, it is a critical piece of infrastructure.  It carries messages from the
Continue Reading Medical Malpractice and Quadriplegia.

It is only early November and I am already sick to death of the advertisements trying to get me to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan and I still have a month go before the open enrollment period ends.  Every celebrity in an advertisement these days tells me I need to get what I deserve.  Grumpy Marge needs to be persuaded to call the number on the screen.  These ad campaigns must be working as the number of Medicare eligible Americans enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans keeps increasing every year.  As of 2022, almost half of the eligible Medicare beneficiaries
Continue Reading Some Helpful Medicare Enrollment Information.

Of course, the scammers and fraudsters are out every night.  It pays to be careful so you don’t end up as one of their victims.  Scammers are always refining their scams so you may see new tricks.  Here are some of the things you can do to protect yourself.

If you didn’t initiate a conversation on line or on the phone, assume that the “person” on the other end is a scammer and act accordingly.
No matter how attractive you may think you are, handsome men and beautiful women are not sitting at their computers just waiting to fall in
Continue Reading BOO! It’s Halloween and the Scammers and Fraudsters Are Out.

Medical diagnosis and its evil twin, misdiagnosis, are profoundly influenced by the physician’s ability to effectively listen to the patient.  There are great diagnosticians and some doctors who are not so great diagnosticians.  The great ones almost always say the same thing, “If you listen to the patient, she will tell you all you need to know.”

There are many trends in medicine which discourage physicians from listening to their patients.  Probably the most important of these is the press of time.  Doctors are being pushed by economics to spend less time on each patient visit.  The less time there
Continue Reading You’re Not Listening To Me.

I recently wrote a post about how our health insurance system is making the delivery of health care worse than it should be.  Here is another horror story for your files.

There are two variables in health insurance plans that can greatly impact what you pay for medical care.  They are the deductible and the co-pay.  The deductible is the amount of medical bills that you must personally pay each year before your health insurance plan will even begin to pay.  A plan with a low monthly premium but a large deductible may prove to be very expensive in the
Continue Reading Our Hospital Pricing System Is Insane.