November 28, 2006

Back in Black

Greetings to all. We took a much needed break in the sun. But we didn't forget you.

To get back in the  swing, a post-Thanksgiving batch o' tales of the absurd, the fantastic, and the downright obscene. Enjoy, as always.

Ohio Payday? Only 1% of Med-Mal Lawsuits Net $1 million or more; 80% Get The Big Doughnut Read [Beacon Journal]

A $20 million verdict to a blind boy in Pennsylvania didn't catch our attention. But we caught one interesting detail where a nurse bravely took the stand and said the hospital didn't follow its own safety net rules. One online reader caught showed her some love: "As a fellow nurse, I applaud the nurse for testifying that procedures were routinely not followed. She will probably be ostracized for the rest of her days for speaking." Viva los whistleblowers!

Grandma Pops Sleeping Pills Instead of Pain Killers; Crashes Corvette; Sues Pharmacy Read [Anchorage Daily News]

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 18, 2006

Celebrities Aren't Immune To Medical Malpractice

We’ve seen tons of examples where medical malpractice has had disasterous consequences for patients. Now we read that a number of celebs have faced these screw-ups. Here are some famous and, unfortunately, some fatal cases.

NOTE: Some readers are mistakenly thinking that being aware of medical malpractice means one doesn't want to reform the system. Quite the contrary. Mistakes DO happen. But the current system benefits everyone except MOST patients, it hurts docs and it cripples healthcare. Thank you, the management.

John Ritter
RitterIn March 2006, the wife and four children of the late actor who died in 2003 at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California, reached a settlement with the hospital for his death. Ritter's family alleged that doctors misdiagnosed his condition as a heart attack and failed to provide proper treatment for the tear in his aorta, which led to his death.

Dick Schaap
SchaapThe legendary sportswriter and broadcaster went in for a routine hip replacement surgery at the prestigious Lenox Hill hospital in New York in 2001. Schaap contracted an infection at the hospital and died three months later at the age of 67. After Schaap’s death, his widow Trish said, “I'm so angry because Dick did his--any job that he did, he did very well. He did them to the best of his ability. He didn't leave stones unturned. And all those doctors had to do--they didn't have to be brilliant or geniuses. All they had to do was do their job the way Dick always did his. It's devastating that this is the way he had to die.” The Schaap family filed a lawsuit and the jury found the doctors negligent in their care for Schaap and awarded the family $1.9.

Dana Carvey
CarveyThe comedian sued his heart surgeon for operating on the wrong artery when he underwent a double bypass in 1998. The doctor settled for an undisclosed amount, which Carvey donated to charity. Carvey said, “This lawsuit, from the beginning, was about accountability and doing everything I could to make sure that it wouldn't happen to someone else.”

Julie Andrews
AndrewsShe underwent surgery in 1997 to remove non-cancerous nodules in her throat. The surgery ended her singing career. She filed a lawsuit claiming she had not been told “the operation carried the risk of permanent hoarseness, ‘irreversible loss of vocal quality’ or other complications that might leave her unable to sing.” It also accused the doctor of operating on both sides of her vocal cord when there was no reason to do anything to the right side. The case was settled in 2000.

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  • ThisMakesMeSick answers renowned medical inventor Dr. Robert Fischell's wish to spread awareness (and outrage!) about the medical liability crisis that's ruining our healthcare system.

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    • Fretted over rising malpractice premiums?

    • Signed a truly unbelievable medical liability waiver?

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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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