October 05, 2006

Med Expert Gone Bad

We've been getting some tasty med mal-related email of late. One note came in from the crew at SickOfLawsuits.org.

Drum roll, please: It's the 54th annual—alright maybe the first—“Bad Science Investigation” (BSI) Awards. The best junk science from the nation's finest "expert" witnesses.

Harron200 The BSI for Best “Film Editing” goes to: Dr. Ray Harron

That's right. Dr. Harron of West Virginia was hired by personal injury lawyers to read x-rays for their asbestos lawsuits – and then he was hired to read the same x-rays for silica lawsuits. In a result that was surprising to the scientific community and a federal judge, Dr. Harron improbably diagnosed the same people as being sick from both conditions! Dr. Harron may not be able to accept his award, however. After U.S. District Judge Janis Jack questioned his diagnoses of thousands of patients as having two diseases, he sought a lawyer for himself and abruptly closed his medical practice that was dedicated exclusively to reading x-rays.

Read up on the Dr. X-Ray, here.

Have some expert witness tales of your own? EMAIL US.

More awards next week.

June 21, 2006

Don't You Go Testifying And ER Blues

Images2_1 Judge issues a restraining order against a national medical association who a doc says has been smearing him, because he served as an expert witness in a $40 million med-mal case. Read [The Advocate]

Logjams in ERs strain hospitals: Why? Dr. Thomas R. Russell, executive director of the American College of Surgeons, says its research shows that surgeons are becoming more reluctant to perform on-call emergency services and are given discounts on liability coverage if they limit or stop performing them altogether. Read [Baltimore Sun]

Doctors Told to Stop Shaving Surgical Sites AND ... More Talk About The ER Crisis and Declining Care. "There were 113.9 [Emergency Department (ED)] visits in 2003, for example, up from 90.3 million a decade earlier. At the same time, the number of facilities available to deal with these visits has been declining. Between 1993 and 2003, the total number of hospitals in the United States decreased by 703, the number of hospital beds dropped by 198,000, and the number of EDs fell by 425." Read [Poynter Online]

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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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