Home / Healthcare Updates / Healthcare Update — 11-14-2013

Healthcare Update — 11-14-2013

See more updates over at my other blog at EPMonthly.com

Jury finds cardiologist and hospital liable for performing unnecessary cardiac stenting in patient. Patient wanted $50 million in damages, jury can’t agree on damage award. Judge throws out case against cardiologist during jury deliberations leaving hospital as only defendant.

Veteran’s hospitals paying out record amounts in settlements and court judgments for medical malpractice claims. Some of the claims include
– a 20-year Marine Corps veteran paralyzed after a routine tooth extraction
– an Air Force veteran who died after a surgeon burned a hole in his heart with a laser
– an Army veteran who died after doctors repeatedly failed to diagnose and treat a cancerous growth that was present on the patient’s chest x-rays for more than three years

– another veteran who bled to death after being left in a room after a liver biopsy and never re-evaluated
The payments for VA negligence come from the Treasury budget … meaning from our pockets.
One State rep notes “We focus so much on sending our soldiers to war. But when they’re coming back, we don’t have the same focus on taking care of them.”
Another article in the Dayton Daily News gives more details about several of the cases.

Association or causation? After drug companies voluntarily withdrew many pediatric cold medications and recommended against using others until patients reach 4 years of age, the percentage of ED visits for adverse events from such medications decreased from 4% to 2.5%.

Dr. Melvyn Flye arrested for perjury when he made untrue statements as an expert witness at trial. How often do you see that happen? Actually, I think it should happen more. Arrest incidentally occurred in July, but the article just came across my newsfeed this week.

Patients gone wild. Patient upset because emergency physician won’t refill his Norco prescription leaves hospital emergency department and stabs emergency department greeter in the neck on his way out the door. The greeter is in serious condition. Godspeed to her. The patient is in the Greybar Motel. Hope he doesn’t even get Tylenol.
Another article on the incident courtesy of Scott DuCharme – thanks!

Popular Science calls this a “rare new bacterium.” Tersicoccus phoenicis is found in NASA “cleanrooms” and is resistant to chemical cleaning, ultraviolet rays, and other sterilization procedures. Interesting questions develop in my mind. First, I doubt that the bacterium is “new,” but suspect that it is just that no one has ever looked for or found it yet. Perhaps “newly discovered” would be a better term. Second, if chemicals and sterilization don’t kill it, then what does? If the only thing absent from clean rooms is bacteria, then likely the growth of other bacteria somehow hold the growth of this bacterium in check. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

Will the Unaffordable Insurance Act (if you were wondering, I refuse to call it the “Affordable Care Act” because it isn’t “affordable” and it doesn’t provide medical “care”) provide more reimbursement for emergency department patients? If Medicaid payments stay the same (which they won’t), then this study suggests that receipts for previously uninsured patients will increase by 17-39%.

Great save. Orlando emergency physicians perform needle cricothyrotomy on an infant with a pacifier tightly lodged in his throat. Patient went to surgery and an ENT surgeon had to remove the pacifier in pieces.
Why don’t newspapers ever publish the names of the doctors that do great things like this? Seems like almost all of the publicity is for malpractice and other allegations of badness.

Alicia Gallegos, former medical legal reporter extraordinaire for the now-shuttered American Medical News, brings up interesting point about how plaintiff attorneys are using federal quality metrics (such as high readmission rates) and federal reimbursement rules to persuade juries that hospitals or doctors are guilty of malpractice. Some states such as Georgia and Florida have laws banning such evidence from being used at malpractice trials.

Third grader injured so badly by bullies at school pulling her hair that her scalp ripped and she required emergency department treatment. Of course, if it was an adult who caused the same injury, the adult would be arrested and charged with aggravated assault. The bullies who caused the injury … one of them got an in-school suspension.
Such disparate punishment only encourages the bullies to continue acting in such a manner.

Diabetic patient goes to Canadian hospital emergency department to have cyst removed from his head, found dead in waiting room bathroom six hours later. Now the family wants answers. The family probably would have had its answers if  one of them had been in the emergency department with the patient during his visit.

Just because there are malpractice caps in your state doesn’t mean that your liability is capped at that amount if a lawsuit is filed. As this plaintiff attorney notes, premises liability claims, defective drug claims, negligent hiring claims, breach of contract, negligent supervision, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and statutory violations are only some of the other ways that plaintiff attorneys can circumvent medical malpractice damage caps.

One comment

  1. Regarding the baby that choked on the pacifier, it happened in Farmington Hills, MI, not Orlando. Here’s a link to the story containing the doctors’ and nurses’ names (not from a mainstream news source, but still…). Pretty amazing story.


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