Features Law

Patient's Special Arrangement With Physician Leads to Lawsuit After Death

By January 09, 2018

The physician only took the patient's blood pressure twice a year and did no other medical checks, following his requests. After the patient died of colon cancer, the patient's widow sued the physician.

When Does a Patient's Responsibility Rise to Contributory Negligence?

By December 05, 2017

A patient is misdiagnosed twice and doesn't get a doctor recommended blood test, the patient subsequently died. Was there contributory negligence on behalf of the patient?

Clinician Misses Medication Error After Signing Off on Unread Email

By November 02, 2017

In this case a doctor signs off on an e-mail prescription without reviewing leading to dire consequences.

Fatal Outcome After Clinician Prescribes Without Seeing Patient

By October 02, 2017

This month's case examines what could happen when a clinician diagnoses and prescribes based on complaints being relayed to her, without seeing, or even directly speaking to, the patient.

Third-Party Sues Clinician for Failing to Warn Patient Not to Drive

By September 11, 2017

Dr. K felt sorrow at the passing of his patient, Mr. P, and especially about the terrible circumstances that led up to it. However, it never occurred to him that he might be involved in any way. So, when he received papers notifying him that he was being sued by the family of the young boy who had been killed by Mr. P's car, he was stunned.

Time Pressure Leads to Serious Consequences for Clinician

By August 09, 2017

During his orientation at the clinic, Dr. P was told that clinicians should try to limit patient interactions to 10 minutes as they would be rated by how many patients they treated, and there was a minimum.

Doctor Hit with Defamation Suit After Advising Patient to Sue Colleague

By July 10, 2017

The two physicians worked together for a little over a year, until one of Dr. B's patients came to Dr. G with a problem.

Patient Permanently Injured When Clinician Fails to Ask About Rx History

By June 07, 2017

Unbeknownst to Dr. V, Mrs. B suffered a hemorrhagic stroke after taking the new medication prescribed by him.

Doctor Gets Jail Time for HIPAA Violation

By May 02, 2017

This case is particularly important (and unusual) because it illustrates two points: 1) a person can get jail time for a HIPAA violation (even a misdemeanor violation), and 2) ignorance of the law does not protect you.

Clinician Fails to Follow Up on Crucial Information

By March 02, 2017

This case examines a situation where a physician did not act on a bit of information that he should have taken quite seriously.

Controversial Kratom Growing in Popularity

January 31, 2017

Due to a huge public response, the DEA retracted its notice of intent to classify kratom as a schedule I drug, pending further review.

Two Physicians Sued When Test Results Are Ignored

By January 19, 2017

This case looks at a situation involving two physicians and multiple errors.

Can a Doctor Be Liable for Harm to a Patient He Has Never Seen?

By December 06, 2016

Does a physician who has a collaborative practice agreement with a nurse practitioner owe a duty of care to the NP's patients? And can the physician be held liable if something happens to one of the NP's patients?

Failure to Diagnose Toxic Drug Reaction by Numerous Clinicians Ends in Tragedy

By November 01, 2016

There were numerous times along this tragic path when disaster might have been averted.

Misread Scans Lead to a Fatal Diagnosis and a Court Case

By October 12, 2016

When her symptoms weren't alleviated by a course of antibiotics, the patient called the physician complaining.

After a Prescribing Error, Clinician Faces Big Decision

By September 13, 2016

When is it better to settle a case, and when is it better to go to trial?

Clinician's Clouded Judgement Leads to Patient Death

August 02, 2016

In this case, judgments about the patient interfered with helping her get the proper care.

Patient's Death Lands Clinician in Court for Advising Cessation of Aspirin Therapy

July 12, 2016

Despite the fact that the tests run at the hospital came back negative, concern had been expressed by the hospitalist.

To Err is Human: Apologizing to a Patient After an Error

June 07, 2016

The result of an error and how it is handled can make the difference in whether a practitioner is sued for medical malpractice.

Series of Errors Leads to Amputation for Patient, Lawsuit for Clinician

May 03, 2016

Other than the very first appointment when Ms. C informed the physician that she was asplenic, and he noted it in the file, the two never discussed the patient's lack of a spleen again.

Clinician Relies on Patient's Assumption, Overlooks Deadly Diagnosis

April 05, 2016

Dr. P was a 60-year old primary care physician with his own solo practice. He'd been in practice for himself for the past two decades, and had no shortage of patients.

Clinician Lands in Hot Water After Failing to Write Rx for Noncompliant Patient

February 29, 2016

The physician explained everything to his defense attorney, including the fact that the patient was noncompliant with his medications and his medical appointments, and that it seemed pointless to prescribe yet another medication that wouldn't be taken.

Aggressive Treatment Gone Wrong Lands Clinician in Court

February 09, 2016

A case which highlights some of the issues that surround practicing 'defensive medicine'; doctor's protecting themselves from a lawsuit by testing or treating aggressively.

Missing Notes or Just Neglect? Clinician's Misdiagnosis of Patient's Pain Leads to Death

January 12, 2016

Many cases succeed or fail based on how comprehensive a clinician's notes are. Your notes are your justification for why you decided on a certain diagnosis or treatment, and thus are essential.

Does Defensive Medicine Really Protect Against Malpractice Lawsuits?

December 23, 2015

Defensive medicine can be defined as "medical care provided to patients solely to reduce the threat of malpractice liability, rather than to further diagnosis or treatment." It can either refer to performing more tests or procedures than medically necessary (positive defensive medicine) or avoiding high-risk procedures or high-risk patients (negative defensive medicine).

Law 101: Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA)

December 01, 2015

Enacted in 1986, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, commonly known as EMTALA, is a Federal law that requires anyone coming to almost any emergency department to be stabilized and treated, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.

Neglecting to Review Protocol Leads to Terrible Error, Lawsuit for Physician

November 10, 2015

Had Dr. M simply reviewed the protocol prior to the procedure, this terrible error could have been avoided.

Law 101: The HIPAA Privacy Rule, Part 2: Avoiding Violations

October 13, 2015

In this installment, we'll look at what types of actions or failures result in violations, and how to avoid them.

Drug-Seeking Behavior Turns Deadly for Patient, Leads to Lawsuit for Provider

September 08, 2015

Pain management is a growing problem across the country, often forcing clinicians into the awkward position of trying to determine if a patient is legitimately seeking pain relief or just seeking drugs. This case focuses on a vital issue in making that determination - communication.

Law 101: The HIPAA Privacy Rule, Part 1

August 11, 2015

There are few things as well known yet as poorly understood as The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly known as "HIPAA." The portion that is most relevant to both practitioners and patients is HIPAA's privacy rule establishing national standards to protect medical records and other personal health information.