Medical Malpractice News and Views

Latest from Medical Malpractice News and Views

Do you have a claim against the state of Arizona or a city or any other governmental entity or one of their employees? If you do, the Arizona state legislature has an unpleasant surprise in store for you. Rather than the two years that every other citizen of Arizona has in which to make a claim, you have only 180 days in which to file a notice of claim against the state, municipality, entity or employee. Miss that 180 day deadline and you lose your right to bring a claim. The state is the modern-day substitute for the king. In…
According to the medical experts, one of the possible consequences of the novel coronavirus infection is the formation of blood clots. That makes this a good time to discuss pulmonary embolism, one of the more frequent causes of death resulting from misdiagnosis. It is reliably reported, and consistent with what I have seen in over 40 years of trying medical malpractice cases, that misdiagnosis is one of the leading causes of medical malpractice. Two of the most common misdiagnoses involve myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) and pulmonary embolism. These are certainly the two most common I have seen in my work.…
As patients, we have an expectation that our medical records will remain confidential. After all, there are few records more personal than our medical records, which may describe the most intimate details of our personal lives. Confidentiality is important to the physician/patient relationship because, without it, patients may be understandably reluctant to be honest in describing to the provider their history and problems. Unfortunately, technology and human nature are conspiring to make the desired confidentiality an illusion. As much as we might want our personal data to be confidential, the ways in which it is distributed, the way health care…
According to an excellent piece which recently appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the coronavirus pandemic has upset the way in which hospitals have arranged their businesses. In hard hit areas, ICU’s have filled up and other departments in the hospital have been forced to adapt to care for patients sickened by the illness. Emergency departments have become jammed up with sick patients when there has been no place to put them. Non-Covid patients are staying away from emergency departments for fear of catching the disease. Elective procedures have been cancelled or postponed. All of this has seriously disrupted…
I had the opportunity recently to speak with a woman who believed she had been the victim of medical malpractice in connection with a repair of her hip. She had sent me a detailed description of what had happened to her, of her concerns about her treatment and of the limitations she was now experiencing as a result of the hip repair. I had reluctantly turned down her case and she wanted to know why. We had a good talk and, when we were done, she understood why I could not take her case. I thought it might be helpful…
If you are injured in an automobile accident, you may find yourself at the Emergency Department. Maybe your injuries are minor enough that you can be discharged to home. Maybe they are more serious and you need to be admitted to the hospital. Either way, thank goodness, you have health insurance to pay for the hospital bills. After you have been home for a while, a letter comes in the mail. It is from the hospital or someone representing the hospital. It says, “This is not a bill,” and it is not. It is a lien on any recovery you…
One of the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic is that our drug development model and drug supply chain are broken.  Our western capitalist system has served us well for many years.  It provided products at a low price, which allowed us to enjoy a good standard of living.  It does not do everything well, however.  The profit motive has produced a dysfunctional drug development model and has also produced less-than-robust supply chains that rely on foreign manufacturers to produce the drugs we need. Here are just some examples of drug development and supply dysfunction. Orphan Drugs.  Orphan drugs are drugs created…
Here is a piece that a friend of mine sent me.  It appeared in a healthcare blog.  It recounts a probably fictional event in which a doctor saw a briefing paper intended for a hospital executive but accidentally left behind by a consultant.  The briefing paper described the steps the hospital administration could take to increase its control over the decision making of its medical staff.  Although written over five years ago, the trends it describes are even more pronounced today than they were then. I have written about conflicts of interest for doctors brought about by the increasing consolidation…
The Covid-19 pandemic has upended many aspects of our individual lives and the economic life of our country as well. We will be adjusting to its effects for many years to come. Some businesses are looking to use the emergency created by the pandemic to get legislators at the state and national levels to give them something that is on their perennial wish list: immunity from suit. Nursing homes, hospitals and doctors want immunity from suit. Although they are claiming they need it because of the pandemic, they don’t want it to be limited to what happens because of the…
We all want to look like we are young and healthy, even those of us in our later years.  Beauty is big business and, wherever there is big business, you can be sure charlatans will follow.  This is true in medicine and particularly true in cosmetic surgery. Unlike many other areas of medicine in which a doctor’s compensation depends on insurance company reimbursement rates, most cosmetic surgery is paid for by the patient.  Most often cosmetic surgery is not covered by medical insurance so the cosmetic surgeon is free to charge what the market will bear.  In the case of…
Recently, I was reading some articles about added sugar in our diets.  Most added sugar comes from processed foods and is already in the box or the jar before we bring it home from the store.  Dieticians and nutritionists recommend we review product labels before purchase as an aid to reducing sugar intake.  When I actually read some of the nutrition labels, I was surprised to see how many showed sugar was a substantial addition to the product. I also discovered that fruit juices and even some fruits were significant sources of added sugar in the diet.  Grapes were a…
How would you like to be kept alive in a permanent vegetative state for a year just so your hospital can continue to make money?  That is what happened to at least one patient at a hospital in New Jersey and probably to others as well.  Their stories are horrible examples of doctors and hospitals gaming the system to keep the dollars flowing.  If you think this hospital and these doctors are the only ones doing this, you are incredibly naive. Darryl Young, 61, a veteran and former truck driver, needed a heart transplant.  After four years with a mechanical…
Pity the poor carbohydrate.  Carbohydrates, also known as saccharides or carbs, are sugars or starches. They are a major food source and a key form of energy for most organisms.  We need them to survive.  Unfortunately, like people, there are good carbs and bad carbs.  Also, just like hanging out with bad people can land you in jail, running with a bad crowd of carbs can cause you lots of trouble. Most of the foods pictured above are examples of good carbohydrates.  They are complex carbohydrates and have a low glycemic index.  That means that they slowly release their energy into…
One of the cases we see over and over again is that of a patient, usually a man, who presents to the emergency department or to an urgent care facility with what turns out to be a myocardial infarction (“MI”) but who is sent home without treatment.  Myocardial infarction is the medical name for a heart attack.  The cases we see almost always have a bad outcome.  Either the patient goes home and dies or goes home and suffers further heart damage due to inadequate flow of blood to the heart.  How does this happen over and over again, especially…
Given the terrible effects of the Coronavirus on patients and their families throughout the world and the damage done to our economy and that of the rest of the world, it is hard to imagine how much more damage it can cause.  But there is one additional damage that will become clear as we go forward in time.  The coronavirus is going to indirectly damage those who have been the victims of medical malpractice. You must live under a rock, if you don’t know what heroic work doctors and nurses on the front lines of treating coronavirus patients have been…
Last month, I blogged on the alarmingly high rate of preventable medical injuries occurring in hospitals.  The blog post was based on a well-designed study of randomly-selected Medicare patients discharged from hospitals over a one month period of time.  The study was done by the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services at the request of Congress.  The study used a team of doctors and nurses to identify injuries which were preventable.  The doctors found that almost 12% of all of the Medicare patients experienced a preventable medical injury.  Most of those injuries were serious and some…