That’s a Bummer

Dr. Orlito Trias was sued for negligence. The lower court awarded $4 million in damages.   A summary of the case was presented on the Connecticut State Medical Society website.   The case claimed that during a preoperative consultation for the removal of fibroid tumors, Dr. Trias failed to “strongly advise” the plaintiff that her […]

Posted in Healthcare Reform | 20 Comments |

Notes from a Plaintiff’s Attorney: Medicolegal Issues in Treating Minors – Part 2

We continue with our series of general educational articles penned by one attorney, an MD, JD, giving you a view of the world through a malpractice plaintiff attorney’s eyes. This attorney is a seasoned veteran.  The series includes a number of pearls on how to stay out of harm’s way. While I do not necessarily […]

Posted in Healthcare Reform | 1 Comment |

Notes from a Plaintiff’s Attorney: Medicolegal Issues in Treating Minors – Part 1

We continue with our series of general educational articles penned by one attorney, an MD, JD, giving you a view of the world through a malpractice plaintiff attorney’s eyes. This attorney is a seasoned veteran.  The series includes a number of pearls on how to stay out of harm’s way. While I do not necessarily […]

Posted in Healthcare Reform | 1 Comment |

Notes From a Plaintiff’s Attorney: Medical Malpractice Versus Criminal Negligence

We continue with our series of general educational articles penned by one attorney, an MD, JD, giving you a view of the world through a malpractice plaintiff attorney’s eyes. This attorney is a seasoned veteran.  The series includes a number of pearls on how to stay out of harm’s way. While I do not necessarily […]

Posted in Healthcare Reform | 2 Comments |

Notes From a Plaintiff’s Attorney: Avoiding Liability Involving Autopsies

We continue with our series of articles penned by one attorney, an MD, JD, giving you a view of the world through a malpractice plaintiff attorney’s eyes. In this article, the author addresses “Avoiding liability involving autopsies.” This attorney is a seasoned veteran.  The series includes a number of pearls on how to stay out […]

Posted in Healthcare Reform | 5 Comments |

Notes From a Plaintiff’s Attorney: Legal Issues When Patients Offer You a Gift

We continue with our series of general educational articles penned by one attorney, an MD, JD, giving you a view of the world through a malpractice plaintiff attorney’s eyes. This attorney is a seasoned veteran. The series includes a number of pearls on how to stay out of harm’s way. While I do not necessarily […]

Posted in Healthcare Reform | 7 Comments |

Jim Morrison Had a Will When He Died. Do You?

The other night, I was channel surfing and started watching a documentary on Jim Morrison, the lead singer of The Doors. He died at the age of 27 in a Paris hotel room. No autopsy was performed. Morrison struggled with alcohol abuse. Many accounts noted he was snorting heroin close to the time of his […]

Posted in Healthcare Reform | 2 Comments |

Hepatitis C Drug Pricing – Let the Games Begin

Gilead Sciences had a banner year. Its blockbuster drug to cure hepatitis C, Sovaldi, had sales of $8.5 billion through third quarter this year. This is the most successful pharmaceutical launch ever. The retail cost for Sovaldi is $84,000 for a 12 week regimen – or about $1,000 per pill.

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Shotgun Law-Suits: Coming to California in 2015

California implemented substantive tort reform in the 1970s. The cap on non-economic damages (pain and suffering) has held firm at $250,000 since. And, compared to the rest of the country, professional liability premiums in California have remained “reasonable.”   Last year, enterprising lawyers spearheaded a referendum, Proposition 46, to overturn these caps. The Proposition was […]

Posted in Healthcare Reform | 9 Comments |

Health Sharing Ministries – An Alternative to Traditional Expensive Health Insurance

Many Americans purchase individual policies from health insurance carriers. Since the advent of the Affordable Care Act, the marketplace for such policies has changed. If you purchased an individual policy issued before 2010, and you maintained that policy in place, you are “grandfathered in.”  You can continue to purchase that policy – provided the carrier […]

Posted in Healthcare Reform | 6 Comments |

Senator (Dr.) Tom Coburn and Sham “Peer Review”

60 Minutes recently featured a story on Senator Tom Coburn. He’s an ob-gyn family physician from Oklahoma who also delivered babies. He vowed to serve only two terms. He intended to be a citizen-legislator and return to full-time medical practice upon retirement from the Senate.

Posted in Healthcare Reform | 18 Comments |

Can a Wife With Dementia Consent to Sex With Her Husband?

Consent is intertwined with all aspects of medical care. A patient must give consent before undergoing treatment by a physician. If the patient presents emergently (in the absence of an advance directive) and cannot signal consent, our laws presume consent – namely a reasonable person would want everything done to save his life. And, if […]

Posted in Healthcare Reform | 2 Comments |

Selective Breeding in Humans – A Slippery Slope? Nah.

October 26th, 60 Minutes featured a segment on selective breeding in humans. The story focused on Genesis Genetics, a company which developed the technology for identifying those embryos within a larger set which have defective genes. Once identified, the family can choose the other “disease-free” embryos to implant via standard in-vitro fertilization techniques. When born, […]

Posted in Healthcare Reform | 2 Comments |

Steamed About a $15 Copay For Medication. Try $400,000 For Some Drugs.

The genomics revolution is here. We are accumulating new information almost daily about how our genes cause various diseases. More importantly, the door is opening to new treatments. As we fine tune our diagnostic capabilities, we are discovering small groups of individuals who can be effectively treated, but at a very high cost. In that […]

Posted in Healthcare Reform | 4 Comments |

Definition of Disability. It Depends What the Meaning Of “Is” Is.

Ever heard of the name Gary Muhrcke? He won the first NYC marathon in 1970.   He was also a firefighter. He injured his back in a burning building and was retired with ¾ disability pension. In 1975, he started running again. He said he felt better while exercising compared to taking medication for the […]

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Refusing to Treat Patients – When You Want Distance From a Patient’s Infection, Morality, and Politics – Part 2

We return to our discussion of can you refuse to treat a patient. 2. Moral opposition to a treatment The analysis again starts with the contractual nature of the physician-patient relationship. The patient seeks care and the doctor agrees to provide it. In that idealized situation both parties remain in full agreement on the care. […]

Posted in Healthcare Reform | 3 Comments |

Word to the Wise. Not All Subpoenas to Doctors Are the Same.

Doctors receive subpoenas all the time. Lawyers send subpoenas for medical records when their client has been injured in a fender-bender; is seeking money from worker’s compensation; and when suing a doctor for negligence. In each of these cases, the lawyer is seeking the medical record to serve his client – (the patient).   What […]

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Refusing to Treat Patients – When You Want Distance From a Patient’s Infection, Morality, and Politics – Part 1

Can you refuse to treat a patient? The simple answer is “Yes – of course.” But, when it comes to the law, there are layers to that answer.

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How to Avoid Being Burned as an Employer

I’ve spoken with several doctors over the past couple of months. All were dragged into litigation related to their role as an employer. They were being sued by ex-employees. The allegations varied – sexual harassment; improper termination; discrimination.   In 2011, the Equal Employment Opportunity commission (EEOC) received over 100,000 charges of employment discrimination. The […]

Posted in Healthcare Reform | 4 Comments |

What Do You Do When Your Patient Is Sporting a Swastika Tattoo?

Any physician who has spent time taking care of trauma patients has been cursed at, spit at, and more. If you are a woman or member of racial or ethnic minority, some patients have belittled you. If you are from another country and speak with an accent, some patients have requested another doctor.

Posted in Healthcare Reform | 9 Comments |

Not Your Everyday Informed Consent Issues

It’s no secret that availability of organs for transplantation in the US pales in comparison to demand. Many die each year waiting for an organ. The systems that oversee transplantation define rules which allow one to “wait in line.” You get an organ based on the seriousness of your condition, your place in line, and […]

Posted in Healthcare Reform | 1 Comment |

What’s With the Epidemic of Whining?

Watching the news, you’d think that US hospitals are being crushed by the weight of an Ebola epidemic. While Ebola poses a non-negligible risk, it pales in comparison to the epidemic of whining.

Posted in Healthcare Reform | 1 Comment |

Ebola and Quarantine / Isolation Laws. What is the Government Allowed to Do?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes a webpage which gives excellent summary information on government powers to enforce isolation and quarantine.   First, the definitions.   Isolation separates sick people with contagious disease from people who are not sick. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people exposed to contagious disease to […]

Posted in Healthcare Reform | 1 Comment |

To “Or” or Not To “Or”; That Is the Question.

Dr. Carolyn Lobo received a metaphorical “rectal exam” from two Boards of Medicine – first California; then Ohio.   Here’s what triggered the kerfuffle.

Posted in Healthcare Reform | 5 Comments |

Ebola and HIPAA. Who, Me?

When Ebola became big news at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, the names of infected patients also become news. Many have scratched their heads wondering how these disclosures failed to trigger HIPAA concerns.

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Surgical Warranties – Here They Come

It’s common knowledge that the US healthcare system is the priciest in the world. Some healthcare systems are testing new financial models to see if they can squeeze more efficiencies beyond the status quo. Warranties.

Posted in Healthcare Reform | 1 Comment |

First Ebola Death in US. Is the First Ebola Lawsuit Far Behind?

Thomas Duncan returned from Liberia and presented to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital with fever and abdominal pain. He was released with symptomatic treatment and returned 3 days later. Sadly, he died of Ebola.   The family of the first Ebola victim in the U.S. will “probably” take legal action against the Dallas hospital, where he […]

Posted in Healthcare Reform | 13 Comments |

2,610 Hospitals Just Got Screwed by Medicare

Spare the rod and spoil the child.   Medicare fined 2,610 hospitals, a record, for too many re-admissions.   Interestingly, the national rate for readmissions is getting lower. Still, last year, 18% of Medicare patients were re-admitted within a month. Medicare believes these re-admissions costs them $26 billion; and that $17 billion comes from potentially […]

Posted in Healthcare Reform | 10 Comments |

Loss of Consortium in Med-Mal Cases for Same-Sex Couples

In a typical medical malpractice case, the patient is the plaintiff, seeking a remedy for the injury caused by the doctor’s negligence.   There’s a second type of claim – loss of consortium. Many laypeople narrowly interpret “loss of consortium” as an injury experienced by the patient’s spouse in not being able to enagage in […]

Posted in Healthcare Reform | 1 Comment |

Surgeon Charges $117,000 – and Receives – for Assistant Fee

A couple of weeks ago, my car’s battery died. It was dead-dead. Was never going to take a charge.   AAA has a service where they will put in a new battery – instead of just giving you a jump. While the price seemed high- $128- it did not seem unreasonable. I’d be done. I […]

Posted in Healthcare Reform | 4 Comments |

 

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