December 15, 2006

Blogging About MedMal Blogs

Some random musings we found while perusing the wide world o' blogs

Aggravated DocSurg says: "Whenever I see an award in a malpractice case that is this high [he's talking about $8.25 million in Fort Myers], I remind myself to continuously express to patients one of the basic tenets of life: Bad things happen. Sometimes, they happen despite the best efforts of everyone involved. Surgery, like life, offers no guarantees."

Callous? The truth?

GruntDoc keyed us into this interesting legal move [via Overlawyered]. Seems the the former president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, Kim Presbrey, has started a new malpractice insurance company, Doctors Direct, focusing on neurosurgeons and heart surgeons.

Get in where the getting is good.

And lastly, we've been meaning to mention a site under the name, My Surgery Nightmare. Is the proof in the wide-eyes?


Have some favorite blogs? Drop us a line, here.

PS Check out the 2006 Medical Weblog Awards. Lots of links to cool med-related sites, from docs to patients and everything in between. You can even nominate ThisMakesMeSick for "Best Health Policies/Ethics Weblog." (Insert shameless plug)

August 01, 2006

Old Ladies and Delayed Lawsuits

Kevin M.D. drops a bevy of liability news in his recent posts, from a doc who speaks of an old lady selling stock to get his concierge medicine (we mentioned the concierge track here) to a patient who fails to come back after being advised to have a biopsy, but then sues the doc 10-weeks later for not following up on his Rx. Read

May 16, 2006

Still Sorry, No Liability and Whidbey Isle Loses

Liability Linkage
1) Our friend Doug Wojcieszak is right; it helps to say ‘I’m sorry.’ As many as 80 percent of malpractice claims arise from communication breakdowns, according to a recent article in Patient Safety and Quality Healthcare. Read [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

2) Through Project Access in West Palm Beach, low-income uninsured residents can get free medical care. Nice, we like it. But can’t we come up with a better solution other than Free Care=No Doc Liability? Read [Palm Beach Post] l

3) Hat tip to DB’s Medical Rants Blog, where the editor boldly proclaims that “our current malpractice system only works as a punitive system, it does nothing to improve health care.” The heated commentary flew from there. Check it out. There’s good stuff going on in that blog. Read

4) Whidbey Island is fine residential retreat near Seattle. The views. The water. But if you need a urologist, you might be out of luck. The last one remaining, Dr. Benjamin Hu, wants Whidbey Island Hospital District to keep him afloat. The reason: Since he opened up shop in 1991, Medicare reimbursements have plummeted and his malpractice insurance premium went from $564 to $23,941 per year. Oh, yeah, there used to be five urologists on the island. Read [Whidbey News Times]

April 21, 2006

Medical Liability Blog Roundup

RoundupDr. Charles extols his fellow dos and regular Joes alike to support the Senate plan to pass a cap on non-economic damages in med-mal cases. He asks: “Who's going to be left to perform brain surgery or deliver babies? Uncle Steve?” We told you the Senate is where the May action is. Read

These posts have been on the shelf awhile, but there are still some interesting personal responses to Reader’s Digest’s question: Do you trust your local hospital? Read

Whom do you trust? notes a woman who is suing a hospital for having a healthy baby girl. Turns she had an abortion, but neither her nor the doc knew she had been carrying twins. She wants the doc to pay for raising the kid. More medical stories here.

Enjoy the weekend.

April 13, 2006

Medical Malpractice Caps Affecting Healthcare?

Hat tip to for an interesting post comparing the latest rankings by HealthGrades on relative safety of hospitals across America versus states with caps on malpractice rewards. Simplified, yes, but interesting nonetheless. They also sum up the cap fight in a tidy way:

"Recall that reform opponents argue that caps reduce the quality of care because doctors no longer fear malpractice awards. Reformers argue that malpractice litigation is so random that it deters the practice of medicine without any real effect on quality of care, because good doctors are almost as likely as bad doctors to be sued."

The findings:


What does this prove?

April 05, 2006

Ambien-Taking Sleep Eaters and More

SlotA quick spin through blogland came up with plenty that should get the commentary flowing.

One Smooth Stone, which is written by the staff of the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association, is “dedicated to fighting the corporate takeover of our justice system one fact at a time.” We never thought med-mal issues could be intertwined with the recent Dubai Ports fiasco, but indeed they may be, as the blog notes a point made by Molly Ivins on the subject. “This move would place the foreign company out of reach of American courts and make it harder for businesses and consumers hurt by a mix up or mishap at a port from holding the company responsible." Interesting implications...

It seems the doctor’s med-mal lawsuit defense playbook was stolen by the plaintiff’s lawyer. Or that’s what an Atlanta personal injury lawyer writes in his wordy blog. And the five most common defense tactics:

(1) We didn't do it, but...

(2) If we did it, it was an acceptable risk,

(3) However, if we did it, and it wasn't an acceptable risk, then the patient wasn't hurt by it, but...

(4) If the patient was hurt, he wasn't hurt that badly, and finally,

(5) We didn't do it, but even if we did, the patient also contributed too.

Case closed? Can someone comment on this.

We landed at a DC-area malpractice attorney’s blog—it seems the lawblogs were calling us today—and there was mention there of the eerie side effects of Ambien. Since docs are prescribing the sleep-aid it like its candy. And patients are asking for it like its going out of style, we had to mention the reported cases of unconscious eating and cooking that’s being seen in some rare cases. Read Separate from this absurdity, we see a major lawsuit coming down the pike for the sleeping pill makers. Call the sports book in Vegas and check the odds. 3-1, tops.

April 03, 2006

Lawyers and Justices

CloudsAfter a nice sunny stretch this past weekend, the clouds take over. C’est la vie. Anyway, here are some interesting bits….

Finally, the cosmetic surgery explosion in Buffalo is getting some pub. The story isn’t really much to read, but a malpractice attorney Patrick Maloney offers something that caught our eye. He says it can be challenging to find a legal remedy when enhancements and tucks go awry. The reason: juries aren’t sympathetic to patients who've had problems with cosmetic procedures that are purely elective. Any truth to this? Read [Buffalo News]

... An add-on to plastic-suits question. A few women in Manhattan are furious over their cosmetic surgeries. "I wanted to be a 'b'" one woman noted of her alleged botched breast-enhancement surgery. Instead, she's now "A full 'c,' almost a 'd.'" The plaintiffs claim the doc was far from apologetic, too. He reportedly blamed one woman's discomfort on her body-type. Read [WABC-TV]

Our friend Donna Baver Rovito always spices up the comments section of ThisMakesMeSick. She also brings the editorial punch in her regular liability update. Some of her recent musings include: a 12-round pummeling of trial lawyers pumping cash to the Dems; a bit on Lindsay Arthur—a Minneapolis defense litigator— and his new thirller, The Litigators , that looks at a civil justice system fueled by greed and ego; and she exposes us to the Ohio Supreme Court ruling that patients can not sue for the costs of raising a disabled child born following flawed genetic tests. Good stuff, Donna. Check out her blog

March 27, 2006

Monday Fix

There’s a nice roundup of MDs thoughts on defensive medicine over on the Kevin MD blog.

Our friends at Common Good keep serving up news bits from across the U.S. that show how legal fear is killing healthcare.

Thanks W for this Bushism delivered in DC while discussing medical liability reform: "And so I'm for medical liability at the federal level.” Now that, cowboy, is taking responsibility! 

Rangel MD asks if a doc has “the right to refuse to treat patients (non-emergency) who continue to smoke when that smoking may hinder their recovery or threaten the intended goal of the surgery?”

Let us know about more med-mal and liability quips.

March 21, 2006

Indeed, We Are Family

Ss_we_are_family1There are something like 48 trillion blogs. And it seemed a perfect Tuesday exercise to see who else is yapping about the nation's medical liability crisis. Docs, lawyers, rabble-rousers....

While Dr. Andy wishes us "good luck" in cleaning up the system, he does "like the idea of approaching things from a variety of different angles." (Dr. Andy: We know it's a tall order, but we're still taking a few swings.) This allergist/immunologist at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh noted the piece by guest blogger Dr. Eric Novack on bogus lawsuits now being dismissed.

A tasty debate between a doc and a lawyer broke out over at CodeBlueBlog. It all began innocently enough when the blogger, a 24/7/365 inpatient radiologist in South Florida, coined the term "torter"--"you know, like tort lawyer and snapping turtle all rolled into one." Well, the gloves were off and a fellow doc--we presume--added "bottom dwelling scum suckers" to the list. (Side note: It's kind of fun to play tabloid as we usually keep things civil). Anyway, a lawyer finally hit back: "3.5% of the doctors licensed in this country cause 43% of the preventable medical errors." And he says it's prime time for three strikes and you're out for guilty docs. The conversation actually turns intelligent here and the real truth of the matter comes forth: the two schoolyard adversaries actually both know the system needs fixin'. Read

Kevin, M.D exposed us to an interesting directive from the AMA on avoiding  malpractice: "Family doctors and internists especially, when they are unsure, should refer patients to specialists, and cancer should be a first, not a last, consideration.'" AliveDefensive medicine is alive! One doc notes: "How are we ever going to solve the problem of escalating health care costs if we continue this spiral of constant defensive medicine." But another adds: "Just keeping ordering those tests and referrals, then you will be protected and the only one who is harmed is the patient with needless copays and tests." Defeatism lives. Sigh.

Send us your favorite medical and legal and liability and malpractice musing blogs. Spread the words. Thanks, the management.


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    • Fretted over rising malpractice premiums?

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You don't say...

  • "This election destroyed a popular Karl Rove myth. The truth is that trial attorneys are winning, attacks on trial attorneys are backfiring and opponents of the civil justice system are losing."

    The CEO of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America said.

  • "We have discovered that virtually all patients are willing to sign a contract in which they agree not to sue their doctors on frivolous grounds."

    Jeffrey Segal, M.D, a board-certified neurosurgeon and the founder and president of Medical Justice Services, Inc., said.

  • "Low-risk obstetrics has been done here for 60 years, but not anymore."

    Carl Hanson, chief operating officer of the county-run Minidoka Memorial Hospital in southern Idaho hospital's, explained as they get out of the baby business. Read

  • "I have children, and I don't know where they're at."

    Rosalinda Elison, a former patient at the UC Irvine Medical Center’s fertility clinic, said after learning that that her eggs and embryos had been stolen and implanted in another woman who then gave birth to twins.

    Read more You Don't Say, here.

Crisis by numbers:

  • $4.6 million

    New York state grants available to expand the use of electronic medical records. Such initiatives have been hailed nationally as a way to cut medication errors, save money and improve patient safety. LINK

  • $700,000

    Amount raised by Fairness and Accountability in Insurance Reform to oppose malpractice limits in Arizona. LINK

  • $450,000

    Amount the Arizona Medical Association says Arizonans for Access to Health Care has raised to decide whether to push for montetary limits on lawsuits. LINK

    Read more CRISIS BY NUMBERS, here.

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