Home / Healthcare Updates / Healthcare Update — 02-06-2012

Healthcare Update — 02-06-2012

See more news stories at this week’s Satellite Edition over at ER Stories.net.

Pfizer may be in legal trouble after some lots of its oral contraceptives had the wrong medications. Now women who took the mislabeled medications have an increased chance of becoming pregnant.
Plaintiff attorneys wonder whether there will be class action lawsuits with hordes of women with unwanted pregnancies demanding justice.
The simple solution is that every person who files a lawsuit but who has not made arrangements to give their child up for adoption immediately upon birth should have their lawsuit dismissed. Adoption fees can go to the hospital to cover delivery costs. None of this horsepuckey about how Pfizer should pay every pregnant patient the costs of raising their children until the children turn 18. Either the women want the children or they don’t.

Then, according to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, if your child doesn’t come out right and the doctor misreads an ultrasound, physicians can now be sued for a patient’s emotional distress.
In other words, “sorry, honey, but we would have aborted you if we had known what emotional distress your birth defects would have caused us.”

Patients gone wild. Michigan man going to trial after beating ED secretary on the head with a computer keyboard. According to this article, the accused “doesn’t recall anything.”
I have to wonder why this guy decided to go to trial. He doesn’t remember anything, but he’s going to get a jury to believe he didn’t do it? Were the imprints from the computer keys caused from some other source?

Plaintiff wins nothing at trial in a $1 million dollar lawsuit alleging that physician caused a patient’s death from drug resistant staph.
Keep taking your ZeePacks for coughs and runny noses, then demanding Levaquin when, for some odd reason, the ZeePacks don’t work. You could be the next one who dies from MRSA.

Blogger suggests repealing the unfunded mandate EMTALA as a means to cut health care costs, then gets blasted in the comments as a “moral degenerate” for doing so. Ouch. Give those commenters the best health care that someone else can pay for and give it to them now.

Study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry shows that most adolescents who come to the emergency department with self-harm don’t get mental health evaluations.
Do non-suicidal patients who cut themselves really need a mental health evaluation in the emergency department? Our job in the emergency department is to determine which patients are a threat to themselves or others. We can’t hold every patient who scratches their forearm with a sharp object for hours or days in the emergency department until a psychiatrist can see them.
If the AACAP has a problem with that, maybe it should tell its members to be more available for patient evaluations rather than trying to impose its will on other specialties.

What is the most common cause of infection outbreaks in US hospitals? Hospitals and cruise ships have a lot in common.
Also of note is that 35% of hospitals responding to the survey had at least one infection outbreak in the prior two years. Often these organisms are drug resistant. Those who want to be admitted to the hospital “just to be safe” may not be as safe as they think.
Also see this report about all the dangerous organisms present in pediatric ICUs.

What is the emergency department in China like? Everyone pays up front for the visit, for x-rays, and for medications or they don’t get care, x-rays, or medications. Then again, the doctor gets paid $13 for the visit and the total cost for reducing a dislocated shoulder was $150.

Cyberchondria. It’s catching. And it’s another reason that a free market and deregulation will cut down on medical expenses. You think your chronic back pain is a blown disk? Go to the walk-in MRI center, plunk down $3000 for an MRI and reading and prove yourself right … or wrong. When you’ve wasted many thousands of dollars in testing, then you can seek medical help to recommend other tests you can go purchase in order to quell your anxiety.

Moving to a different hospital is not quite the same as moving to a different a home. It involves police to man the routes between hospitals, 15 fully staffed ambulances dedicated just to the move, and a heck of a lot of crates.

Recent study by Deloitte (.pdf file) shows that most US physicians believe that health reform will increase costs, increase wait times in the emergency department, and change incentives to medical providers. Physicians believe that their incomes will decrease and that the increased demand for services by the newly “insured” will likely cause the scope of practice of midlevel providers to increase.
60% of physicians gave our healthcare system a “C” or “D” rating. Physicians were split on whether the Affordable Care Act is a step in the right direction. 78% of physicians would be comfortable with medical courts and binding arbitration as opposed to the current medical malpractice system.
Finally, most physicians are pessimistic about the future of medicine. 69% believe that bright students are being turned off to medicine, 57% think the practice of medicine is in jeopardy, and only 18% feel excited about the future of medicine.
Now of course the data are probably flawed because Deloitte didn’t survey any plaintiff’s attorneys, but, if you drink the Press Ganey Kool-Aid, data is valid regardless of the source, the bias, or the numbers.


  1. That blogger is dealing with some serious ignorance. It appears they don’t understand economics.

  2. My daughter teaches in Malaysia. Pay upfront for services and wait for reimbursement there.

  3. Funny thing about that last blurb is that while physicians have all kinds of complaints, as a group they’ve barely lifted a finger to change any of it.

    • Gee Matt, you must be the pot calling the kettle, black,hmm? Do you believe in tort reform?
      What have you done to tell some of your friends of the juris persuasion that they shouldn’t be ambulance chasers because shi* happens and that’s just life? What have you done? Because as far as I am concerned it’s no better on your end. I also don’t see that there are as many regulatory restrictions on what you do versus the physician who cannot even examine a patient without a chaperone because of what they can be accused.

      • Tort reform is for insurers. We’ve had it for decades, and physicians in California which has had it the longest are just as unhappy there as they are everywhere else. Stop crying about “ambulance chasers”. The vast majority of malpractice never even sees a claim file, much less a lawsuit. If we immediately gave you immunity from all your negligence today, you’d still be getting universal health care (which in many ways will address your fear of litigation – it’ll just be replaced by bureaucratic panels which investigate your every misstep ad nauseum).

        I’m talking about physicians, and how you deliver your services and how you get paid. Because all of you bitch but none of you do anything about it, you are going to be fully owned government employees soon. Or even worse, you’ll get all your money at government whim, but you won’t get the federal benefits package.

        You stood idly by while that happened. You march and throw your money at tort reform to benefit insurers and drug cos., all the while the federal government takes more control over your lives, and you become ever more separated from the control over your practice.

        It’s ridiculous, and you only have yourselves to blame.

      • Matt, the vast majority of bullets never kill a human, and yet we have laws about murder.

      • Keep me posted on the irrelevant comparisons. Meanwhile, you just keep giving the practice of medicine over to the feds.

  4. “Either the women want the children or they don’t.”

    Are you sure you’re a doctor?

  5. Here’s something lawyers and physicians can agree on:


    “There can be no doubt but that the statutes and provisions in question, involving the financing of Medicare and Medicaid, are among the most completely impenetrable texts within human experience. Indeed, one approaches them at the level of specificity herein demanded with dread, for not only are they dense reading of the most tortuous kind, but Congress also revisits the area frequently, generously cutting and pruning in the process and making any solid grasp of the matters addressed merely a passing phase.”

    (that’s a pretty laborious sentence itself)

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