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Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice News

Unless you are in the health care profession or dealing with the health care profession, it is hard to appreciate the deference given to medical records. Doctors believe – correctly in most cases – that looking at a patient’s medical records can tell you exactly what should come next in the care and treatment of that patient.

In spite of this, the Indiana Supreme Court wants to impose liability on doctors and hospitals for losing medical records, rejecting the idea of a medical malpractice claimants’ tort for losing the records themselves.

This opinion was the result of a medical malpractice claim filed by a woman who had complications after her son’s emergency cesarean birth in 1999. The Plaintiff brought a separate damages claim against the hospital for losing the records, which made it difficult to bring a birth injury claim against her obstetrician.

  • A doctor who cut off part of a patient’s cancer-ridden penis while the patient was under anesthesia for a circumcision has prevailed in the medical malpractice suit against him. Link via the always-provocative Legal Blog Watch.
  • An Ohio assisted living home has to pay $1.93 million to the family of a woman who eventually died after the home administered medicine for a disease she didn’t have.
  • A California lawyer is fighting that state’s medical malpractice cap.

A doctor whose wife was tragically disfigured in an operating room fire has issued a press release and – incredibly – a television ad protesting North Carolina Senate Bill 33, which limits the caps on pain and suffering regardless of whether they resulted in disfigurement, mutilation, loss of limb, paralysis, pain, suffering, blindness or death.

In the ad, the doctor explains how his wife had gone in for a simple, outpatient procedure when a fire broke out in the operating room, causing severe disfigurement.

The crux of the doctor’s contention: “No one can put a ‘cap’ on my wife’s pain and disfigurement—so how can the legislature put a cap on what it’s worth? … Why do you think it’s fairer for legislators to decide, rather than juries?”

Peninsula Regional Medical Center will settle a number of unnecessary stent cases for $1.8. million, the U.S. Department of Justice announced last week.

Besides the unnecessary stents, Peninsula was also accused of failing to follow up on complaints by its own employees in the hospital’s cardiac catheterization laboratory about the “medically unnecessary nature of the procedures” by a cardiologist who has since been convicted of health care fraud.

I think St. Joe got the ball rolling on what will be the discovery of hundreds of schemes around the country to implant stents in patients who simply did not need a stent procedure in the first place.

Baltimore Washington Medical Center must pay a fine after giving a patient an improper dose of radiation last year. The Glen Burnie hospital was fined by the Maryland Department of Environment which, surprisingly, enforces radiation management regulations.

BWMC recently reached the $14,000 settlement agreement with the state for the improper dose of radiation. The patient was notified of the error, and officials also told the state about it through the required self-reporting system.

Good for Baltimore Washington Medical Center for confessing to the error. But this fine also underscores how important it is for state regulators to be on top of these types of infractions. No medical malpractice lawyer in Maryland will take the injured victim’s claim: it is just too small. Someone needs to stand up for people who suffered through this type of thing because they represent so many more that we (and maybe even they) never know about.

  • Kennerly argues that most med mal suits stem not from a mistake in judgment but from a lack of diligence.
  • Kaiser Health is suing a hospital chain for allegedly intentionally driving up patient care prices by keeping patients longer than needed.
  • A woman is suing a hospital and doctor for allegedly faxing her private medical documents to a machine shared by several of her coworkers.

  • Several patients of a New Mexico cardiac surgeon are suing him, alleging that he faked diagnoses and then implanted unnecessary pacemakers. Unnecessary cardiac surgery is becoming the new big thing. Maryland’s claim to fame: the unraveling may have started with us.
  • “A decision to let a nearly $1.7 million medical malpractice verdict stand against a local hospital came down to five words from the hospital’s lawyer at the end of trial: ‘Okay. Alright. Thank you.’” This was a 3-2 decision. On jury polling. Seriously? Has a civil case ever flipped on jury polling? Goodness, this is deep in the form over substance textbook.
  • The Pop Tort weighs in on federal medical malpractice legislation.

  • Medical Justice has a blog post about the wait at the doctor’s office. This Avvo Blog post calls Medical Justice a “widely reviled company.” I don’t like Medical Justice’s premise as I have articulated. But widely reviled? Good golly! Let’s use our indoor voices.
  • Decades after it became clear that overworked, fatigued medical residents tend to make mistakes (imagine that!), the medical community still hasn’t really addressed the problem.
  • D.C. Circuit decision on HIV misdiagnosis could expand doctors’ liability in emotional distress cases. Via Courthouse News.

  • A jury in Maine awarded her a 10-year-old disabled girl and her family $3 million in a medical malpractice case involving a midwife who assisted in the girl’s delivery (lack of oxygen during birth). Four years ago, this same midwife got hit with a $6.7 million verdict. I have nothing against midwives. No, wait, actually I do. You are going to deliver a baby. Get a board-certified OG/GYN. Seriously.
  • West Virginia’s malpractice caps continue to create controversy.
  • North Carolina malpractice victims narrowly dodged a similar fate. Governor Beverly Perdue vetoed a bill on Friday, pushed by the Republican majority at the North Carolina Legislature, that would have changed the rules governing medical malpractice cases by capping certain monetary awards for negligence victims.