Tuesday, October 21, 2008

NJ Jury Awards $400,000 to Deaf Patient for Denial of Interpreter

From Law.com:
"A Hudson County jury's $400,000 verdict for a deaf patient whose doctor refused her an interpreter may be a wake-up call for all professionals -- including lawyers -- that they risk liability for disability discrimination.

Worse, malpractice liability insurance does not usually cover such liability, says plaintiff's attorney Clara Smit."

Read the entire article: Jury Awards $400,000 to Deaf Patient for Denial of Interpreter Services

Monday, October 13, 2008

In New Hampshire, Medical Errors Need Not Be Reported

Two articles in the Union Leader this week report on the fact that in New Hampshire, hospitals are not required to report medical errors, or as the article calls them, "never events."
"...unlike 27 other states, New Hampshire does not require hospitals to report serious, preventable medical errors to the state, to the patient or to the family left behind if the patient dies as a result of the mistake."
The issue has come to a head now that the federal government and NH's largest insurer have stopped paying hospitals for these medical errors. For more on state reporting of medical errors and reimbursements in NH, read the article: In-hospital errors kill thousands in U.S., but go unreported in New Hampshire.

A second article, NH hospitals not required to publicize mistakes, goes into more depth on the subject including considering state legislation to require reporting of medical errors. An advocacy group called Patient Voices is pushing for such a law to act as a system of checks and balances. New Hampshire is the only New England state without such a system.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Utah: VA Settles Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

The Salt Lake City Tribune carries the news of Feds settle medical malpractice lawsuit.
"The U.S. government has agreed to pay a former Lindon family nearly $1 million to settle a medical malpractice case" for a man who treated at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Salt Lake City. The report of the man who was being treated for leukemia died of an infection, when, according to his family, he was told to take Gas-X instead of being treated with antibiotics. See the full article for more details. The U.S. government maintains the hospital is not at fault.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Texas Lawsuit Challenges Constitutionality of Medical Malpractice Caps

From the Southeast Texas Record is this report of a woman filing a medical malpractice claim against against the surgeon who performed her cataract surgery which resulted in a detached retina. In the suit, she claims the doctor was negligent in failing to properly monitor her after surgery. The suit also claims "Texas' medical malpractice damages caps are unconstitutional."
See med mal article here.

Another article, SC stays on sidelines in Texas med-mal cap fight, has more information on the issue...
"Texas capped non-economic damages in medical malpractice suits at $250,000 and death suits at $1.6 million, one of the lowest caps in the country. Since the reform, Texas has seen a flood of new applications for physicians.

Since the act's enactment, hundreds of med-mal suits have been filed in the area, with many of them claiming that the caps are unconstitutional."