December 11, 2006

Dr. Sketchy McSketchson

Etch Dr. King is turning into a great source of lawsuit madness. We talked about him keeping his past hidden and filing false applications over the last week.

Now comes some more news that you just can' t make up. Drum roll, please.

"The former Putnam General Hospital doctor at the center of more than 100 medical malpractice lawsuits testified Friday that he has no fixed address, has not worked since early November and lost his tax records when his accountant's office burned down.

Christopher Wallace Martin, the osteopath previously known as John A. King, also told Putnam County Circuit Judge Ed Eagloski that he has set up more than a dozen corporations, trusts and other legal entities since 1999. He then assigned them such assets as his Volvo autos and the $400,000 house he bought while at Putnam General."

Paging Dr. Sketchy McSketchson. There's more! Read [Herald Leader]

September 25, 2006

'Cock' Doc Underfire

Mascu Alright, the more appropriate term is "penis doctor." But it still galls us that some cardiologist read a how-to book and began performing delicate surgeries outside his discipline. In this case, "visions of grandeur" became "distorted organs." We'll leave it to the Chicagoist who said it, ah, best:

This morning's Sun-Times ran a story about Dr. Sheldon Burman, the founder of the MSD Clinic, an abattoir of masculinity located in our old Northwest Side childhood stomping grounds. "MSD", by the way, stands for "Male Sexual Dysfunction", although with the rash of malpractice claims filed against Burman (45 and counting), it could just as well stand for "my scary-looking ding-a-ling". Guaranteeing an increase of one-half inch in length and a fifty percent increase in penile thickness, Burman and his crack (smoking?) team essentially helped men change their penis size from "pudding snack cup" to "rusty, dented tuna can". The sheer number of malpractice claims against Burman were enough for state medical officials to start the process of revoking Burman's medical license. Burman still stands by the thouands of procedures he's done since 1981.

We digressed today. We know. We take responsibility. But it's still a liability mess.

FYI: Doc Burman said he had no formal training but taught himself the  knife tricks. Read [UPI]


September 06, 2006

Gridiron Battle

Goalposts A hard-hitting high school footballer near Milwaukee collapsed after butting heads in a game. Some volunteer docs from a sports med clinic–always on hand at the field—treated the kid, concluding he had a concussion. His dad said at the time that if they weren't there he would have died. A few weeks later, he was back in the game with the blessing of said docs. And then he suffered permanent brain damage. Now his family is suing the docs and the clinic. Stay tuned for griping testimony. Read [Lake County Reporter]

Who's to blame?

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

July 11, 2006

Voice of Maryland Docs Chimes In

Md_flag Q&A: T. Michael Preston, the executive director of MedChi, the state's medical society. He's stepping down after a ten-year run.

Excerpt: If a doc has had five paid claims in five years, but three of them are below $150,000, I may want to know that when I'm choosing a surgeon. Shouldn't that be public?

What's the threshold of reliability? If he's a resident that's been dragged into a suit, and somebody got $10,000, is he going to have to spend the rest of his life tagged with a claim payment, and explaining to patients about that? We agree there needs to be a better indicator of quality, and that's the problem and the challenge now.

Read [Baltimore Sun]

Compare these thoughts with those expressed in an interview with the president of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, here.

June 30, 2006

Friday Headlines

The size of the malpractice verdict was stunning: $28 million, one of the biggest in Central Florida history. Now, as the losing attorneys work to knock that down, they're also trying a rarely used and very aggressive tactic: attacking individual jurors and accusing the whole panel of prejudice. Yikes. Protect your kneecaps, kids. Read [Orlando Sentinel]

Better late than never: An Arkansas doctor is being investigated by the state's medical board after 10 of his patients died from lethal mixtures of drugs or overdoses of prescription medicines. Read [WIS-TV]

For the past 20 years Urban Ministries Open Door Clinic in Raleigh, North Carolina has provided free health care and other services to uninsured patients. Dr. Donald T. Lucey says his work there has rejuvenated his love of medicine. He sent out a letter to 230 retired and soon-to-retire physicians hoping they would join him to work at the clinic. The letter mentioned a $100 malpractice insurance option for volunteers in free clinics and the "exceptionally small" history of malpractice claims brought against them. So far, two doctors have responded. Maybe the replies got lost in the mail. Read [Raleigh News & Observer]

June 06, 2006

A Doc's Double VIsion

Vision According to prosecutors in a case in Arizona, Dr. Bradley Schwartz  grew to detest  Dr. David Brian Stidham, his former associate. The reason: Schwartz was forced into drug rehab by the Arizona Board of Medical Examiners in the fall of 2002 and he thought Stidham would keep their practice going while he was "gone." He didn't, and started his own practice leaving Schwartz in the cold. What happened next was a rational... he conspired to whack Stidham in October 2004. Recently, he was sentenced to life in prison for this.

So the stage is set for—you guessed it—a malpractice lawsuit. Seems a family is suing him, because he was allegedly flying on drugs when he performed surgery on their teenage son in November 2001. The kid's got double vision now. The doc tried to get the case moved or delayed because he's burned out. No dice. Read [The Arizona Daily Star]

April 24, 2006

What Scares Docs? Being a Patient. Seriously.

TimecoverHating the hand that feeds you? Not exactly. As you know, we're not docs. So we found this week’s TIME mag package especially interesting. Docs fear the health care system as much as the rest of us. Dig in. Here's a not to earth-shattering blurb:

“While there are bad doctors practicing bad medicine who go undetected, that's not what scares other physicians the most. Instead, they have watched the system become deformed over the years by fear of litigation, by insurance costs, by rising competition, by billowing bureaucracy and even by improvements in technology that introduce new risks even as they reduce old ones. So doctors resist having tests done if they aren't absolutely sure they are needed.”

TIME also tells us how to be good patients: be nice. Stop the presses!

Take a read and tell us how if the current climate clouds the liability situation.
Did they ask patients what they want in a doc?

Let us know what strikes you in the articles. Read [TIME]

April 06, 2006

Double Dipping Medical Directors

Guest blogger Jeffrey Segal, M.D., a board-certified neurosurgeon and the founder and president of Medical Justice Services, Inc., says a physician abuses the system—and his fellow doctors. Segal_1

I think that one thing is not negotiable:You shouldn’t be allowed to work “both sides” at the same time for personal gain.

Introducing ethics into the debate seems obvious enough. But it isn’t.

As long as there has been managed care, there have been medical directors of managed care organizations (MCO). These are physicians who review confidential medical records and, among other things, make determinations of “medical necessity.” This includes determining whether to pay for specific procedures, and if so, how much.

When such records are reviewed, the physician who sends the information to the MCO assumes that the information will remain confidential, and it will be reviewed solely on its own merits.

Imagine the surprise when a physician learned that the Medical Director for one of the larger MCOs in the Northeast was wearing two hats.

By day, he was reviewing confidential charts, as expected.

By night, he was serving as a plaintiff’s expert witness to medical malpractice attorneys.

Continue reading "Double Dipping Medical Directors" »

December 23, 2005

Calls for more doctor oversight

InvestigateOn the heels of a solid investigative series in the Baltimore Sun on masking malpractice cases, Maryland lawmakers are seeking tighter oversight of the state's doctors, including greater disclosure of malpractice claims histories and other information by the Board of Physicians. "'It's very disconcerting that a conservative state such as Virginia is far ahead of Maryland'" in publishing doctors' malpractice histories online, said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller. "'It's shocking to me that... the same information is not available to people who need to make life-and-death medical choices.'" The Sun series noted that the Board's monitoring system has a four year backlog of physician disciplinary cases for quality of care. Yikes! What's going on here? Read [Baltimore Sun]

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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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