Healthcare Update — 08-27-2012


And we think doctors have it bad … Woman sues Santa Monica City Hall for $1.7 BILLION because the town’s newly-installed parking meters and their wireless signals have caused her tinnitus, ear infections, and muscle tightness. Hat tip to Walter Olson at Overlawyeredfor the link.

New Orleans jury awards plaintiff $24 million after infusion pump malfunctions and gives 3 year old child overdose of epinephrine.

Former patient advocate at Chicago-area Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital fired, then tries to get even. Steals hospital stationery and takes three patient files, then sends letters to the patients on the hospital stationery telling them that their “electroshock treatments were insufficient” and “recommending frontal lobotomies.” Tried to embarrass hospital, but ends up in the Greybar Motel for forgery and can get up to 5 years in the Greybar Extended Stay Inn for each of three counts.

Pregnant patient awarded $117 million after being severely injured in ambulance crash when driver took eyes off road to pick up company-issued GPS tracking device.

Patients gone wild. Oregon man flips out in emergency department. Police arrive, try to use TASER without effect. Then there’s an apparent gap in the story. The police officer then “slapped” the patient to subdue him. Then the patient was admitted to the hospital in critical condition. Was it one of these Jackass “bam” slapsor what?

Is Great Britain’s National Health Service suffering from a “brain drain”? Can any of you docs from across the pond give us some insight?

Another article warning about the attack of the “superbugs.” One of the critical care docs at the NIH watched six patients die from untreatable infections last year. And it’s only going to get worse.
Big PHARMA isn’t interested in developing new drugs because medications for depression and erectile dysfunction are more profitable.
Oh, and the FDA is loathe to approve new antibiotics anyway due to “safety” concerns.
Yet some patients still clamor for those increasingly worthless ZeePacks to cure their coughs and the feds still require immediate treatment of any possible pneumonia on chest x-ray with antibiotics in the emergency department in order to meet “quality” standards on the government-run “Hospital Compare” site.
Our priorities are killing us.

Excellent article in USA Today about C difficile infections, how they affect otherwise healthy patients, why being in a hospital may not be the safest place for patients, and how antibiotic overuse contributes to this illness.

Wait times increase significantly after implementation of electronic health records. But think of all the great DATA that administrators can look at. Sad that medicine seems to increasingly be focused more upon the data than it is upon the patients.

The physician burnout epidemic and how it may affect health care in the future. But don’t worry – everyone will have INSURANCE!

More patients gone wild. Pennsylvania woman punched an ED nurse repeatedly, pulled her hair and slammed her head against the floor. Charged with aggravated assault, simple assault and harassment.


  1. “A Jefferson Parish jury has awarded a Webster Parish woman $24.2 million in damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit.”

    The paper got it wrong. It’s not a med mal case – it’s a products liability case. It is not a question of the professional judgment of a practitioner.

  2. We just finished an audit of our EMR system which shows a 28% increase in the time it takes to check in the patient and over 60% increase in time spent charting. I can’t wait to see what the numbers look like after all the new meaningful use stuff that is coming.

    • You are screwed if you already had a 60% increase in charting. I don’t know our exact numbers, but I know we essentially had to hire another scribe per doc when we were also doing meaningful use. I am trying to get Medicare to pay me by the amount of time I stare at the hourglass icon while my computer is “thinking”. We have turned off the meaningful use for now, but when it comes back the clinic flow is going to slow to a trickle.

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