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MedLaw News

December 3, 2011

University of Pittsburgh plans to appeal $12.5 million verdict after 24 year old accountant died when his brain abscess was misdiagnosed as brain cancer.

Western New Yorkers made more than 200,000 “avoidable” trips to the emergency department for minor medical problems each year according to a study by Univera Healthcare. Almost half of all emergency department visits allegedly either did not need care within 12 hours or could have been treated in a primary care setting.
Of course, all of these data are retrospective. After a patient with back pain has been examined and determined that the pain is not a ruptured aneurysm, a cord compression, a kidney stone, mesenteric ischemia, a compression fracture, or a plethora of other emergencies, then the researchers point to the case and say “that patient should never have gone to the emergency department.”  The retrospective bias in the study is overwhelming.
Also, I wonder if the study included the number of patients who called their primary care physicians and were told to go to the emergency department … or if the study included patients who were unable to get an appointment at their primary care physician’s office for several weeks … or if the study included patients who tried to find a primary care physician to see them but no doctors in the area were taking new patients.

$10 million negligent credentialing/medical malpractice award thrown out when Iowa court holds that physician credentialing files are confidential and inadmissible as evidence.

Dentist charges patient $100/day for every day that patient’s negative review remains on Yelp. Patient reportedly violated a “Mutual Agreement to Maintain Privacy.”

Missouri hospital begins policy of withholding prescriptions until patients pay for care. Although all patients will still be evaluated, those patients stable for discharge won’t receive their prescriptions until they make a $40 payment toward their bill or until they pay a co-pay if they have insurance. While the hospital may give out a “short supply” of medications, this policy could be a legal problem if patients need long-term prescriptions and can’t get them. For example, a patient with cellulitis may need ten days of antibiotics. Two days of antibiotics won’t cure the infection and when the medications run out, the infection will likely spread. Same principle goes for blood pressure medications, heart medications, and breathing medications.

Jury awards $25 million to child and father after child presented to hospital with broken arm, old rib fracture seen on chest x-ray after surgery, and hospital did not report suspected child abuse to authorities. Three months after the child’s broken arm, he was found unconscious, suffering from a depressed skull fracture and anoxic brain injury. The attorney alleges that if the potential abuse was reported earlier, the child wouldn’t have been beaten. Hat tip to Overlawyered.com for the link.

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