Medical liability roundup

by Walter Olson on July 21, 2008

  • “The accusatory legal document begins with several remarks defaming the skills, education, ability, integrity, and honesty of the physician being charged.” [Donald May, State Policy Blog] But hey, don’t take it personally, lawyers say [Mark Crane, Medical Economics] Good luck with that [Chiaramonte/Examiner, KevinMD, more]
  • Law throwing open Florida doctors’ peer review to lawyers was bad enough, but now state high court has applied it retroactively to records created before law was enacted [KevinMD guest post; background at PoL here, here, and here]
  • Even the New York Times hails as “sensible” laws encouraging medical apologies by making them inadmissible as evidence of wrongdoing [editorial]; but see counterexample to the usual reportage [Berlin/Am. Journal of Roentgenology via Buckeye Surgeon]
  • A med-mal defense attorney says plaintiffs would win more often in proposed “health courts” than they do in the cases he handles [Medical Economics, more, and similarly]
  • More evidence, this time from study of orthopedists, that docs rated as cold or callous attract far more than their proportionate share of suits [Orthopedics Today]
  • EMTALA, the law forcing emergency rooms to take all comers, “has created the very conditions it sought to avoid” [Edwin Leap, M.D.O.D.] Watch for “free-standing” ERs that dodge mandate by refusing federal dollars [Scalpel or Sword?, Health Care BS] Semi-defense of law [Over My Med Body]
  • Besieged state of dispersed emergency rooms and specialists is one reason for use of those risky helicopters that fly patients to the big city [Williams/Health Business Blog, M.D.O.D.]
  • Docs should stand up to family members demanding futile or inappropriate end-of-life care [Musings of a Dinosaur] Relatedly, daughter on dying father: “if you give him any more morphine, I will sue you.” [Fat Doctor]

(Most links via the highly recommended one-stop shop for medical blogging, KevinMD, e.g. this post and this one on EMTALA.)

{ 4 comments }

1 L.C. Burgundy 07.21.08 at 12:40 pm

re: opening of peer review medical records

That’s really unfortunate and a sure-fire way to decrease total safety as such reviews will now just because “everything’s a-ok” reports for fear of fomenting litigation. This phenomenon of sanitization of public information has been especially noted in aviation reports where the confidential/anonymous reports are generally far more informative.

2 David Wisniewski 07.21.08 at 9:27 pm

Re: “The accusatory legal document begins with several remarks defaming the skills, education, ability, integrity, and honesty of the physician being charged.”

I don’t know about other states, but here in PA, you can have “scandalous or impertinent matter” stricken from a pleading under Pa.R.C.P. 1028(a)(2).

3 Mike Feehan 07.22.08 at 7:20 am

I don’t know where else to post this –

I’m looking for recent information on the Nataline Sarkisyan case. The media reported the death of the unfortunate teenager in November 2007 as a wrongful death and Mark Geragos announced he had been retained by the family and would file suit against CIGNA. I can’t find a scrap of information about this matter that is later than January 2008. Geragos’ website contains only a copy of a newspaper article from December 2007. Is the case moving forward? Has there been a settlement or a dismissal or a never mind? Anyone know? Thanks.

4 OBQuiet 07.22.08 at 7:52 am

I couldn’t help think of the article on Lawyers admitting mistakes to superiors orally rather than in writing to the item here on making what were confidential review board discussions public.

Nice to be able to make different rules for oneself.

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