November 15, 2006

Washington Special and Blowhards

Will Tort Reform Fade as New Priorities Emerge for Congress? Oh, and buh-bye hearings on gay marriage .  Read []

Thank the Lord! Insurance commish says med-mal crisis is over. Biz is lucrative again. Read [WTRF-TV]

Seems the GOP, the party of limited govt., was telling states how to deal with med-mal lawsuits. There's a shift happening in US politics, ya' hear? Read []

Dr. Jaimy Bensimon has been defending himself in one malpractice case FOR NINE YEARS! Read [Orlando Sun-Sentinel]

October 26, 2006

Sketchy Ethics 101

Cueto Circuit Judge Lloyd Cueto is running for office. So, he slaps together some flyers at Kinko's. (Karl Rove will tell ya' that ya' need photos with those slogans. ) So he plops in a shot of his old pal Joseph Schallert, M.D. Sounds like good ol' democracy in action. But noooooooooooo. It's dirty. Dr. Schallert happens to be facing a malpractice lawsuit in Cueto's court. Nice that Doc had time to ham it up for the camera in between getting squeezed on the stand.   Read [Madison Record]

Anyone want to share some other legal shenanigans? EMAIL US

October 03, 2006

It's the Virginia Dog and Pony Show

PajtStarring: Callous hospital execs

Co-Starring: State laws with no teeth

Plot: Politicos in Virginia set up law to compensate families of children who suffered from  lifelong physical and mental injuries from oxygen loss or spinal damage during birth. It was enacted to protect docs and hospitals from malpractice suits. The catch?  Families may never learn they're eligible. SWEET!

Killer Quotes:

"The bill doesn't include a notification provision, but what's the problem in finding these families and telling them that a benefit might be available?," a co-sponsor of the legislation asks.

Counter strike: "There's nothing in the law that says we are responsible for that," replies a board chair and current hospital exec.  Other board members had her back. 

Anyone have experience with this bureaucratic nonsense known as the Virginia Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Program?

Read [Times-Dispatch]

September 15, 2006

Liability Madness

Door-sized window found ajar, 84-year old hospital patient dead three stories down Read [Frederick News-Post

Arbitration Works: Suit settled over hospital's tainted steroids Read [The Pilot]

'Conservative' Lawyer Joins GOP Gov Ticket in Florida even though he broke with GOP on medical liability law. A trial lawyer and the GOP living in perfect harmony? Nice work Jim Baker on brokering this truce. Read [Palm Beach Post]

September 13, 2006

Revenge (?), Docs on Retainer, and CPR-safe

News_16 Plastic Surgery Goes Wrong. Patient dies 'accidentally'. Or was it revenge for high school tears? Read [Herald Today]

Salt Lake Docs Practicing on Retainer Read [KSL-TV]

Texas Medical Liability Trust Declares Big Dividend, Cuts Docs A Break
Read [Yahoo Finance]

Thank someone! American Heart Association says no "lay rescuer has ever been successfully sued for performing CPR." Glad that's cleared up. Read 

In Good Hands: Florida politco tackling med-mal issues also a tort claims attorney, married to a physician.
Read [Times and Democrat]

August 28, 2006

Med-Mal News Roundup

Critics of Med-Mal Caps Send Illinois Gov. A Message: "This cruel law ... hurts innocent Illinois citizens and has done nothing to reduce doctors’ insurance costs." Read [Chicago Business]

News_15 Watts Hospital Born From '60s Riots To Close? Led Cali In Malpractice Suits Read [Washington Post]

Pres. Bush Says 1,600 Counties Don't Have OB-GYNs Read [Philadelphia Inquirer]

Bush Flashback. For Kicks:
"Too many OB/GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country." Read [The Whitehouse]

August 01, 2006

Political Mud, Cheap Lawyers, and Lost Sponges

News_12 Ah, the politcal season is almost upon us: GOP claims Michigan Dem senator supports ambulance chasers. Read [CNS NEWS]

Pay Up Counsel: A panel of appellate judges in Jersey rebuffed attorneys' efforts to avoid paying a state-mandated $75 annual fee to help doctors pay for malpractice insurance. Read [Asbury Park Press]

No sponge left behind: A surgical staff's fear of forgetting an item in a patient may be over as a new scan could eliminate such gaffes. Read [LA Times]


July 21, 2006

Friday News Roundup

News_11 Language barriers plague hospitals Read [USA TODAY]

Georgia peaches don't have to give up privacy of their medical records when they sue Read [Access North Georgia]

Delivery Rooms Vanishing for Philadelphia Mothers Read [WPVI-TV]

Missouri state insurance director gets to veto medical mal rates that are excessive or "unfairly discriminatory." Read [Insurance Journal]

July 07, 2006

Doc Clears His Throat. And More.

News_10 Just before he resigned, Dr. Scott H. Plantz penned an 11-page resignation letter and sent it Winter Haven Hospital officials and other doctors. The jist: the hospital's ER is dangerously understaffed and neglected by the hospital administration. Read [The Ledger]

Update: Last week we told you about attorneys in Florida going after the jury to challenge a $28 million settlement that was handed down. Well, the tactics worked.  A judge overturned the verdict because three jurors deceived attorneys during jury selection. Two men, who had been sued several times, did not raise their hands during juror questioning when asked whether they had been involved in a lawsuit. A third person told lawyers about a medical malpractice suit that she had filed against her gynecologist but said nothing about nine suits that had been filed against her. Oath, schmoath. Read [Tampa Bay Online]

Election Time: Aspiring Congressman Bob Sullivan attacked U.S. Rep. Ernest Istook's record on lawsuit reform by putting a mask on a comedian. Istook says the masked man's mud—that he is against tort reform—is simply rubbish. And he's touting a record to prove it. It's a dogfight amongst the state's GOP. And medical liability is at the center of it all. Read [KOCO-TV]

July 06, 2006

Health Court Talk in The Senate

Cgood_2 Returning from the 4th of July holiday, we got an update on the  Senate's recent hearings on special health courts. Here's the word from Common Good:

On June 22, 2006, the U.S. Senate HELP Committee (Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions) held a hearing to consider bipartisan legislation that would create health court pilot projects.  The bill (S.1337) – the Fair and Reliable Medical Justice Act - has been introduced by Senators Michael Enzi (R-WY) and Max Baucus (D-MT). 

If passed, the bill would encourage states to experiment with alternatives to current medical injury litigation - including the creation of health courts.  Among those testifying at the hearing were Harvard School of Public Health Professor David Studdert, Columbia Law School Professor Bill Sage, and Common Good Founder/Chair Philip K. Howard. 

According to Studdert the current system does a reasonable job at directing compensation to the right people, but it fails in four critical areas: inefficiency, poor compensation to patients, encouraging defensive medicine, and impeding quality improvement.  Studdert suggested health court pilots to find a new and better approach. 

Sage, the lead investigator on The Project on Medical Liability in Pennsylvania, underscored that the liability system fails to support real improvements in patient safety and the quality of care. 

Common Good Chair Philip K. Howard proposed health courts – with trained judges, neutral experts, and scheduled non-economic damages – as the best way to correct failings in the current system.  Coordinated patient safety systems connected with health courts would help to prevent future errors from occurring.   

To learn more about health courts, visit www.cgood.orgClick here to access David Studdert’s testimony.  Click here to read Bill Sage’s testimony.  See Philip Howard’s testimony here.

About TMMS

  • 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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What makes you sick?

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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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