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]

May 17, 2006

Calling All Retired Docs in Wisconsin

Fear not next time disaster hits and you want to jump to the rescue: a new law lets retired health professionals who held a license or certification in the past 10 years to provide treatment in an emergency, with liability and workers compensation coverage provided by the state. Bravo! Read [LaCrosse Tribune]

May 01, 2006

Liability Reform Ad Battle Hits and Other News

1)We cannot push for medical reforms without working for better patient safety. And patient safety involves working to eliminate judgment errors and system errors. Then, doctors, private hospitals and consumer activists have to come together to present a persuasive argument for liability reform”
So says Shastri Swaminathan, a psychiatrist who will take over as Chicago Medical Society president in June. Well said, doc. Read [India News]

2) Any truth to this?
Every year half of all neurosurgeons in the U.S. can expect to be sued. Seventy-six percent of all obstetrician/gynecologists have been sued at least once, 57 percent have been sued twice, and nearly 42 percent have been sued three times or more. About one-third of doctors in my own specialty -- orthopedics -- as well as one-third of trauma surgeons, emergency room doctors, and plastic and reconstructive surgeons can expect to be the target of a lawsuit in any given year. Either we've got the worst medical system in the world, or our legal system is out of whack. The facts suggest the latter, as only 1 percent of claims -- 1 in every 100 -- result in a verdict for the plaintiff.” Interesting numbers being thrown out by Doctors for Medical Liability Reform. FYI: they want the Senate to enact caps on lawsuits. The 100 begin chatting this topic up on May 2. Read [Washington Times]

3) A new bill passed by the House in Arizona would require a higher legal burden of proof for medical malpractice lawsuits against health care personnel in emergency health care situations. Thoughts? Read [Insurance Journal]

4) It’s the "Please Don't Feed the Trial Lawyers" ads versus the "Haven't the Big Corporate CEO's Taken Enough?" ones. Guess whose behind which of these full-page ads appearing nationwide here and here and read up on the whole nasty battle ensuing over medial liability reform, here.

April 25, 2006

No My Left Foot, So Sorry, and More Liability News

News_2_1_1_1_1_11) While surgery on the wrong patient or wrong body part often makes headlines, a new study that looked at 20 years of data from a malpractice insurance provider found that cases of "wrong-site surgery" are rare. Read [Forbes]

2) British Columbia is considering "The Apology Act," which could become the greatest Canadian export since hockey. Read [Press Telegram]

3) A doc with a new book about a 'Broken Medical System' says she laments having "to order an MRI just to prove they don’t have a brain tumor, even though we know they don’t." Read [Beverly Citizen]

4) Philipsburg Area Hospital in Pennsylvania battled to stay in business. But difficulties in recruiting doctors hurt and the rising cost of malpractice insurance "hit like a lead balloon." Read [Centre Daily Times]

5) Conservative estimates say doctors and lawyers will invest over $1 million in this year's races for the Tennessee General Assembly. One writer noted an interesting sight at the state capital: "hallways filled with physicians, clad in white coats, earnestly confronting lawmakers." We're sure lawyers in bespoke suits were lurking, as well. Sigh. Read [The Tennessean]

April 19, 2006

Disciplining Docs, Lawyers Get By and An Uninsured Farmworker

News_2_1_1_1_1Washington’s Governor thinks the state’s system for disciplining bad docs needs serious help. “There is a consensus, I think, among all of us that it’s broken, and it needs — not tinkering — it needs reform,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said after signing the new medical malpractice bill into law. Read about some smart proposed changes. [The Olympian]

The number of malpractice cases has been dropping steadily the last few years in Ohio’s Montgomery County. Tort reform and the expense of medical malpractice litigation—think experts—seem to have played a role in this. But local lawyers aren't hurting-- they’re specializing in the field—taking serious cases—or moving on to more profitable pastures. Read [Dayton Business Journal]

Question: if caps are enacted and taking on a case is no longer financially sensible, does this end up hurting a patient’s options for justice?

After a February car accident shattered his right eye, Jorge Alvarez was taken by helicopter to the trauma unit at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach. He was unconscious for several days and needed to have the dangling eye removed. But the 19-year-old uninsured farm worker from Fort Pierce was not treated for a week because an eye specialist could not be found to remove the eye. Dr. Steve Spector, a West Palm Beach ophthalmologist who operated on Alvarez after taking his turn on the trauma unit, contends other, more experienced doctors turned down the case because the patient was uninsured. Read [Palm Beach Post]

March 16, 2006

Reigning in Malpractice Insurance Rates

PassengerThe Illinois Division of Insurance has ordered ISMIE Mutual Insurance Co. to keep their malpractice insurance rates flat next year. Rates have risen sharply in recent years. In addition, ISMIE is to give more money back to doctors through dividends and education programs and to provide more information about how it devises its rates. The state's muscle flex comes after regulators held public hearings and pored over mountains of paperwork to see if ISMIE could justify the rates it charges thousands of Illinois doctors.

"The order sets unwise precedent by allowing state regulators to intrude in a company's day-to-day operational policies, separate and distinct from premium rates," ISMIE Chairman Harold Jensen said.

Read [Chicago Business]


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?

  • We want to hear your thoughts and personal stories.

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    • Fretted over rising malpractice premiums?

    • Signed a truly unbelievable medical liability waiver?

    • Faced a frivolous lawsuit?

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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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