Healthcare Update — 04-23-2013


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Diagnostic errors account for most paid claims in medical malpractice cases. Errors in diagnosis were the most common type of claim and also amounted to the highest proportion of total payments. The total inflation-adjusted amount of diagnosis-related payouts was $38.8 billion over 25 years.
Remember, these statistics represent just the payouts. On average, two of three medical malpractice lawsuits end in no payment to the plaintiff.
And we still wonder why doctors do so many “unnecessary” diagnostic tests?

Missing bamblance. University of Virginia is on the lookout for a stolen ambulance after the driver left the ambulance unlocked with the engine running.

Another missing bamblance. This one was from University of Alabama Birmingham ED ramp. The ambulance company executive said that it “wasn’t clear how or why someone took the vehicle.”
How – The driver obviously left the keys in it.
I agree with him on the “why” part.

Ex-boyfriend kidnaps patient from hospital room. Waited until she was called back to the treatment area from the waiting room, then stuck a gun in her ribs and made her leave.
I can’t make this stuff up.

Another application of federal EMTALA law. Everyone coming to the emergency department must be evaluated and treated — even if they just bombed the Boston Marathon.
Cases like this come up every once in a while and it is very difficult for the emergency department staff to set aside their feelings.
Another story on the topic here

Surgical complications good for a hospital’s bottom line. With insured patients, hospitals made an extra $39,000 per patient who had post-surgical complications. Medicare patients with post surgical complications earned the hospital about $1750 more. Hospitals lost money on Medicaid and private pay patients with post-op complications.
Don’t believe people who try to draw the conclusion that “errors” and “complications” are the same thing – they aren’t.


  1. In regards to the bomber, I don’t think it would be hard to be the ED nurse just patching him up, but to be the ICU or floor nurse dealing with him day in/ day out, doing dressing changes, helping him to the bathroom, etc would be really hard.

  2. With the EMTALA/Boston thing, I thought the article would be about people still showing up for Rx refills/sniffles/toothaches and staff having to treat them even as they’re trying to treat bombing victims. That’s an interesting topic to me as well.

    I agree with Meghan…being the ED nurse would be okay. You’re not thinking about who it is if the trauma is bad enough; you’re just thinking about the next task you have to do to keep them alive. Once they’re stable and you’re caring for them day in and day out…that’s different. Ugh.

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