Healthcare Update — 08-08-2011


You didn’t cure my kid’s vomiting over the phone and I had to take him to the emergency department two days later when the vomiting came back.
Now give me my co-payments back.
If services provided don’t perfectly meet expectations, those services should be free?
Sorry, but life doesn’t work that way, ma’am.
You didn’t please enough customers at work today. Now your boss wants back the wages he paid to you.
Doesn’t sound so reasonable now, does it?

Speaking about some peoples’ demand for perfect medical care … suppose that after undergoing surgery, your heart stopped beating. Multiple people rush to help you. They attempt to put a breathing tube down your throat to save you, but your airway is difficult and they can’t get the tube in place. Your life is slipping away. An anesthesiologist rushes to the scene and uses a special tool to get the tube in place, literally saving your life.
You wake up and discover that one of your teeth was chipped while the medical staff was trying to save you.
Do you file a lawsuit?
What’s better? A missing tooth when you wake up to see your smiling family or perfect smile at your funeral?

We were thinking of putting a window there, anyway. Man discharged from Massachusetts emergency department, goes to parking lot, puts car in gear and accidentally drives through emergency department wall into radiology suite. I’m thinking a few radiology techs needed to change their uniforms after that event.
In other news, plaintiff attorneys from Louisiana plan to sue hospital for not anticipating such an event and for failing to put air bags up along the sides of the hospital.

Government denies cancer treatment for patient … solely because he is a male. Congress reportedly thinks that only women need treatment of breast cancer. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services stated that “In order to change the eligibility requirements, Congress would need to change the law.”
A perfect example of how insurance doesn’t do you much good when you can’t get coverage.
By the time that Congress changes this law, Raymond Johnson will probably have died from his disease.


Emotional testimony from emergency nurses at trial of man who shot up nursing home with shotgun, killing eight.

Emergency physician dies from “overwork” in China. Wow.

One expensive taxi ride. Connecticut EMS services estimates that 25-30% of ambulance calls are not medical emergencies. Bill to patient for a 1 mile ambulance ride: $800. What should be done?

Sometimes little things make a big difference in an emergency department nurse’s day. Getting cookies from an anonymous patient you saved 5 years ago qualifies as one of those little things.

US Government pays $7.5 million to spouse of Air Force serviceman after numbness in groin and legs misdiagnosed on Anderson Air Force Base in Guam and leaves patient with permanent nerve damage. The Feres Doctrine only applies to enlistees, not to their families.

Expert neurosurgeon in malpractice case tells attorney “You could make this diagnosis and you haven’t gone to medical school.” According to other testimony in the case, the “diagnosis” wasn’t so clear cut, though.

Farmer awarded $1.5 million in malpractice suit for delay of 3 hours in treating meningococcal meningitis. Experts testify that if antibiotics were started earlier, the patient would have lost only toes and would have required some skin grafts. Instead, the patient required amputation of parts of both legs and one arm.

Hospital defense attorney fails to preserve medical malpractice trial issue for appeal. Five words during discussion with trial judge may have cost client $1.7 million.
Attorneys outraged at the potential for a multimillion dollar malpractice lawsuit over such an innocuous mistake? Welcome to a doctor’s daily life.



  1. midwest woman on

    A new “never event”…not chipping teeth during intubation complete with a 15 page checklist to prevent such an egresious error.
    I am so glad I am taking a break from this insanity.

  2. I can remember the Special Forces medics telling during their advanced training about intubating. They had to learn on each other…complete with anesthesia. The biggest thing that was understood was to save the life…and not to worry about the potential for chipping a tooth. They all laughed about not having chipped theirs while in training only because it would be fixed by the US Army.
    People are really stupid if they must choose vanity over breath.

  3. The Feres Doctrine should be open to all the troops who must deal with negligence. I think the reason the law has not been changed is because there is too much room to include things that might naturally occur as a result of what is considered job hazards. Unfortunately sad, but true.

    Obtaining disability is certainly different from having to prove one is disabled because of medical negligence and then being responsible for the bills that are associated with it. It’s a crappy law, but the spouse was entitled to it.

  4. The meningitis case from Canada is a reminder of why board certification in EM is important. I respect my family medicine colleagues and I’m sure that they can deal wtih 90% of what comes through the door just as well as I can…but it’s that 10% that you train for when you do an EM residency.

    Now I know that there are many uber qualified doctors who were grandfathered in and that we can’t staff every ED in the US with board certified EM physicians. Its just a reminder that all residency training is not created equal when it comes to treating patients in the ED.

    • As a Family Doc I am rather offended by the belief that I wouldn’t know that a peticheal rash, HA, and neck stiffness is of potential grave concern and requires empiric antibiotics if the LP cannot be done immediately.

      There are many ER things that I would not be very good at, including that LP actually. And I don’t do ER work. Didn’t even moonlight as a resident. But recognizing stuff you’re taught in EMT/Paramedic training aren’t really among them.

  5. Pingback: You saved my life but you broke my tooth

  6. Pingback: September 21 roundup

Leave A Reply