Home / Healthcare Updates / Healthcare Update — 06-04-2014

Healthcare Update — 06-04-2014

More health news stories from the web can be found on my other blog over at EPMonthly.com.

Maternal death rate in the US on the rise. We are currently ranked 31st in the world and our maternal death rate is nine times that in Finland and Sweeden. Is there some sinister reason for the discrepancy, is it just that we track statistics differently, is it that other countries are fudging their numbers, or is it a combination of the above?

Kansas legislature votes to increase the malpractice cap on non-economic damages from $250,000 to $350,000. Note that the medical societies in Kansas were in FAVOR of increasing the caps.

Patients gone wild. Athens, Alabama’s own Alicia Marie Laughlin arrested for hitting an emergency department nurse then fleeing the scene. Must not have been an emergency after all.

Investigation initiated by CMS after patient complained that emergency department did a “visual inspection” of his gangrenous foot then wrapped it up and sent him home. Three days later, the patient returned and needed emergency surgery for debridement. He lost two toes and skin from the top of his foot. Now he’s permanently disabled and it’s all the doctor’s fault.

Measles cases in US hit a 20 year high. 100 cases reported in Amish community in Ohio alone – where patients have not been vaccinated.
It’s ironic to me that patients avoid vaccinations for religious, personal, or philosophical reasons and then abandon those religious, personal or philosophical reasons and come running for medical assistance when they contract the very illnesses that they were opposed to preventing.
Should be automatic insurance denial and full liability for all treatment costs and damages occurred when those without vaccinations contract and/or spread the disease.

Texas lawyer “earns” $4.2 million verdict after patient was diagnosed with hydrocephalus in the emergency department, but
not properly treated for hydrocephalus by his family physician. Ooooh, and he got featured as litigator of the week in Texas Lawyer Magazine because of the verdict, too. Notice of how there’s no mention of how the money is going to help the client, only finger pointing about what was done wrong and bragging about the amount of money they earned by bringing the “wrongdoers” to justice?

Intoxicated patient sets fire to a treatment room in UK’s Monkland’s Hospital. Reportedly, the burning sheets were just a few yards from several full oxygen cylinders. Doubt that the cylinders would have ever exploded, but the situation makes for good headlines.

Patient rushed to emergency department with swollen leg. After getting there, mother becomes upset at the wait and begins to complain. Security guard tells mother to leave and then begins “pushing her out of the emergency room.” Son grabs security guard’s arm to try to defend his mother. Police arrest mother and son.

You have to admire the staff working in the ED at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx. It is one of 11 public hospitals in NY City but it handled 15% of all the public hospital emergency department visits. But the quotes from the patients underscore how our system is broken. Patients go to the emergency department not because they have emergencies, but because they “feel they care for me here” or because they want something “taken care of right away.” With no disincentive to obtain emergency medical care … except perhaps the time spent waiting for treatment … why would patients go anywhere else?

Australian physicians fighting a government mandated co-pay of $7 for doctor visits, lab tests, and x-rays. Feel it would undermine the principle of universal care and might send them down the path of the American system where people pay for emergency medical care. Pay for emergency medical care? That’s a bad thing?

Patient files complaint with government causing investigation of hospital ED for EMTALA violation when wound on his foot is cleansed out and wrapped without doing any further testing. Three days later, patient is rushed to surgery for gangrene in his foot. Claims gangrene never would have happened if the initial emergency physician “properly” treated his foot. Now he is disabled and his life is ruined.

Does a failure to have medical malpractice insurance constitute a “risk” to patients? Newspaper survey finds that 2,500
out of 30,000 Georgia physicians don’t have malpractice insurance, calling the lack of insurance a “risk” to patients. Out of the uninsured physicians, 113 have been sanctioned for issues such as sexual misconduct and drug use and one had a $900,000
settlement in a case. It would have been helpful to compare the statistics between insured and uninsured physicians. Without such a comparison, the reporting is misleading. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the percentage of sanctions and judgments were larger for the insured physicians?

Utah patient with chronic back pain goes to emergency department for “serious back problems” and whips out two guns.
Shot four times by two police officers who happened to be in the department with a parolee. Now patient is in critical condition with chest wounds … and low back pain.

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