Thursday, January 31, 2008

Operating Room Fall Causes Lawsuit in Massachusetts

A Massachusetts family has filed a lawsuit after a women falls off an operating table following hip surgery. According to an article in the Boston Globe, the woman "fell, buttocks first, through a gap in an orthopedic surgical table on Oct. 6 after a nurse removed a safety strap around her torso as medical staff prepared to transfer her to a hospital bed, according to an investigative report by the state Department of Public Health."

The paper said that the women who was "under anesthesia and had a breathing tube in her mouth, struck her head on the floor, fracturing her skull and causing internal bleeding.... She died Oct. 13 despite a second operation that removed part of her skull to relieve pressure from the bleeding."

According to the article, Boston plaintiff attorney Andrew Meyer, a medical malpractice lawyer for 30 years who has won some of Massachusetts's biggest judgments, said "he has never encountered a case of a patient dying as a result of a fall from an operating table."

See the full Globe article: Family sues in operating room fall.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Insurance Department Issues Second Annual Ohio Medical Liability Closed Claim Report

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Insurance has issued its second annual Ohio Medical Liability Closed Claim Report, shows a total of 4,004 medical malpractice claims were closed in 2006. The average paid per claim was $288,080.

Some key findings in the report include:
  • Total Claims: 4,006 claims reported for 2006 by 93 entities.
  • Indemnity Payments: Almost 80 percent of medical malpractice claims resulted in no payment to a claimant. A total of 3,210 claims had no indemnity payments while 794, or 20 percent, closed with an indemnity payment.
  • Claim Expenses: While most medical malpractice claims closed with no payments to claimants, almost all claims generated expenses for investigation and defense. These expenses totaled $88,131,139, an average of $25,672 per claim.
For more information on medical malpractice claims paid by state, see

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Friday, January 4, 2008

State Roundup on Medical Malpractice Developments from

More from Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report's State Watch:
"Indiana: The rates that physicians pay to participate in the state Patient's Compensation Fund will decrease by 19.1% next year, and the rates that hospitals pay will decrease by 1.3%, according to the Indiana Department of Insurance, the Indianapolis Star reports. Read more...

Maryland: The Medical Mutual Liability Insurance Society of Maryland, the largest malpractice insurer in the state, last week announced plans to use an almost $100 million dividend to reduce malpractice insurance premiums for physicians by 8%, pay physicians $13.8 million in credits against premiums for 2008 and return $84 million to the state for emergency subsidies, the Baltimore Sun reports... Read more...

New Jersey: The state Medical Malpractice Liability Insurance Premium Assistance fund plans to pay $16.4 million in subsidies to help physicians in the highest-risk specialties cover the cost of malpractice insurance, state Banking and Insurance Commissioner Steven Goldman announced last week, the Newark Star-Ledger reports. Read more...

New York: The 475 physicians in the state who participate in the state Medical Malpractice Insurance Plan, which provides malpractice insurance to those who cannot obtain coverage in the private market, might have to pay significantly higher premiums because the fund has a $525 million deficit, Long Island Newsday reports." Read more...

Defibrillation Shock Comes Too Late for Some in Hospitals

In Hospitals Do Not Deliver Defibrillation Shock Within Recommended Two Minutes in 30% of Cardiac Arrests, Study Finds, Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report today describes a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showing that...
"70% of participants received defibrillation to restart their hearts within the recommended time of less than two minutes after their cardiac arrest, with a survival rate of 39%. About 17% of participants received defibrillation between three and five minutes after their cardiac arrest, with a survival rate of 28%..."
Also, the study showed a likelihood for delays in defibrillation increased by...
  • "23% for black participants"
  • "18% when cardiac arrests occurred on nights or weekends"
  • "27% when cardiac arrests occurred in hospitals with fewer than 250 beds"
More research is needed to determine if delays in defibrillation for black participants resulted because of "geographical differences in access." View full article.

More on Medical Error Mea Culpas

This New York Times article written by Sandeep Jauhar, MD, is a personal account of a case trying to diagnose a man's chest pains. In the end he misses the diagnosis, but the patient keeps him as his cardiologist for his personal attention. It presents the physician's side of the medical error situation. Read Explain a Medical Error? Sure. Apologize Too? and if you want more of this personal story, look for the book — Sandeep Jauhar's memoir, “Intern: A Doctor’s Initiation,” goes on sale this month from Farrar, Straus & Giroux.