Also see the Satellite Edition of this week’s Update over at Medbloggers.org.
“Super losses” – malpractice verdicts totaling $50 million or more – are increasing. Verdicts from just seven cases in the past two years totaled more than $1 billion and the number of cases with verdicts of $5 million or more will quadruple between 2000 and 2014.
CDC win. Graphic anti-smoking ads cut rate of cigarette smoking. These ads ought to be all over YouTube and other video sites.
Clostridium difficile cases are at an all time high in this country. It causes horrible diarrhea, kills 14,000 patients each year, and costs more than $1 billion in extra health care costs. And the government’s CDC web site says that the number one way to reduce C. difficile infections is to “Prescribe and use antibiotics carefully. About 50% of all antibiotics given are not needed, unnecessarily raising the risk of C. difficile infections.”
Odd. The government’s “Hospital Compare” site says that anyone who is diagnosed with pneumonia must receive antibiotics within six hours of arrival in the emergency department or else the hospital is a “bad” hospital. This is despite the fact that more than 50% of pneumonias are viral and therefore antibiotics are unnecessary because they are useless in treating viral pneumonia.
So isn’t our government’s inane Hospital Compare site contributing to the uptick in Clostridium difficile infections that our same government wants us to eradicate?
Several very interesting statistics about medical malpractice payouts for 2011. Six states accounted for more than 50% of all malpractice payouts. One state accounted for about 20% of all money paid out in the entire US — and had more than 20 times the amount of money paid than in the lowest six states combined.
Some people sue because they don’t get the care they want. This guy sued because police forced him to go to the emergency department after a well-being check at his home. Talk about a shotgun suit – there are 34 defendants. Another example of why a loser pays system is needed in this country.
Another successful “we wish you’d never been born” lawsuit. Couple wins $2.9 million in wrongful birth case after child born with Down’s Syndrome. Nice. And I still think that parents who file such suits should be forced to put their “unwanted” children up for adoption. That way the children won’t be such a burden to their parents. Or at least an affirmative defense of “failure to mitigate damages” should be raised in pleadings.
What do cases like this teach medical providers? Never ever make predictions about a child that hasn’t been born.
New York woman settles malpractice suit for $17.9 million after going to emergency department, being diagnosed with kidney stone, being sent home, having “agonizing pain” the following day, calling 911 twice but being refused transport, then waiting until the following day before returning to the hospital. She developed sepsis, lapsed into a coma, and eventually required amputation of her hands and feet.
Pennsylvania jury awards $13 million to woman who vomited after surgery and occluded her airway, resulting in brain anoxia and a persistent vegetative state.
What did he drink? Man goes to the emergency department after drinking “dangerous chemical”, prompting closure and decontamination of the entire department. Man later dies.
“Triage out” policies are popping up all over the world. After noting an increase in patients who come to the emergency department with minor complaints or who want to have their appointments sooner, one of Malta’s hospitals is sending non-emergency patients to local clinics for care.
Bartow Regional Medical Center in Florida halts payments to obstetricians for on call duties. Now if patients have a gynecologic emergency like a complicated delivery, a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, or hemorrhage from their uterus, they’ll need to be transferred to another hospital. Instead of paying for obstetrical physicians $135,000 per year to be on call, Bartow spent more than $1 million on a daVinci surgical robotic system.