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March 2013 Archives

Kentucky legislature considers medical tort reform

Kentucky's nursing homes are sued more often than those of any other state. While some blame a litigious atmosphere fostered by judgment-friendly juries, more often lawsuits are the result of real medical malpractice issues: failure to diagnose, mismanagement of care and even wrongful death caused by negligence on the part of healthcare workers.A recent bill proposed in the Senate would establish a three-physician Medical Review Panel that would examine malpractice cases before allowing them to proceed. The decision would be non-binding but admissible in court, possibly influencing juries on their verdicts. Currently, 16 states have some form of medical review panel to screen lawsuits before they reach the courtroom.

Prescription errors can lead to malpractice lawsuits

Mismanagement of patient records can lead to more than just health dangers to the patient; it can also lead to lawsuits. Plaintiffs are more frequently seeking judgments against physicians for a medication error resulting from the doctor's failure to note that a patient was already taking a drug that could be incompatible with the new prescription.In some cases, suicides have been pursued as wrongful death cases based solely on improper prescription practices. In one instance, a man threw himself down a flight of stairs after taking an antidepressant prescribed by his physician, who did not know that the man was already taking narcotics from his orthopedist. The family sued the doctor, citing negligence. The case was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount although the physician refused to admit any wrongdoing.

UTMC pays $499K for misdiagnosis

The University of Toledo Medical Center has reached an agreement in a lawsuit filed by a patient for medical malpractice. Specifically, the patient alleged that the hospital's failure to diagnose his brain bleed led to a stroke. The hospital has agreed to pay $499,900 to the patient to settle his claim. The settlement agreement has been approved by the courts.The plaintiff claimed he was a patient at the hospital in 2011 and cited several incidents of hospital error during his stay, including mismanagement of medications, failure to monitor his condition, and failure to follow up on or report the results of a CT scan. He claims that this mismanagement led to a stroke that caused traumatic brain injury and led to his permanent, partial disability. He stated that he lost vision in the left field of both eyes and lost some of his motor function.

Doctors cite overused procedures as costly and harmful

Ohio and Kentucky residents may have heard that a group of medical experts reported that almost 100 common procedures are overused and may be unnecessary. In some cases, these procedures can even be harmful and may lead to hospital errors or other complications that cause danger for patients. CT scans for head injuries, early C-sections and Pap smears are on the list of overused and possibly dangerous procedures and treatments.The list was compiled under the organization of the American Board of Internal Medicine and includes such prestigious groups as the American Academy of Neurology. Doctors are very concerned about the overuse of the identified procedures and the skyrocketing costs of healthcare. The United States currently spends over $2.5 trillion per year, or more than $8,000 per patient, on health care. This figure is 2.5 times the amount spent by other western nations. Part of this discrepancy is price-oriented, as American hospitals and doctors simply charge more than those in other countries. However, American doctors also order more tests and authorize far more elective procedures than their colleagues in other nations.

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