“Obviously if I said any of that, that would be an EMTALA violation.” (Nurse K, commenting, at All Bleeding Stops (Shadowfax), Oct. 14). Or is the risk not one of EMTALA but of malpractice liability, as a second commenter asserts?
- “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
Longtime reader C.G. Moore, a 3L at Tulane Law who lives in St. Tammany Parish outside New Orleans, writes in to say:
My wife, 4 mo. old son, and I survived [Hurricane Katrina] (we live in St. Tammany parish, about 10 miles from lake Pontchartrain). I noticed you had a link to WWL television’s plea for medical personnel to assist the victims. I was in a unique position during the storm and afterward: my wife is an ER doctor, and we sheltered at the hospital where she works.
The doctors and nurses were incredible. They worked non-stop, under incredibly stressful conditions. Many didn’t know where their loved ones were, or whether they had survived, and there was no way to contact the outside world. Many lost everything to the flood waters, tornadoes, and fallen trees. And still, they worked 12-hour shifts (sometimes longer).
But one of the first hurdles they had to contend with was the effects of EMTALA in a disaster situation. [EMTALA is a federal law under which hospitals can be sued if they turn away patients needing emergency medical treatment. -- ed.] Under EMTALA, ER physicians are cautious to the point of absurdity. But as the hospital quickly filled to capacity with seriously ill and injured patients, the ER was able to attend to life-or-death situations only. Strict triage procedures were needed to separate the “worried well” from the dying. Medical care really was a limited commodity. Although the magnitude of the catastrophe was clear to all, some patients and their families couldn’t understand that minor boo-boos didn’t merit immediate care (much less admission to the hospital, where it was air-conditioned and they could get a hot meal).
So, my concern is this: once the rubble is cleared and the power restored, the plaintiffs’ lawyers will ooze back into the scene — that this was a disaster situation won’t matter one iota — and they’ll use EMTALA to file lawsuit after lawsuit.
I really hope I’m wrong. But only time will tell.