Monday, July 18, 2011

New Jersey: Largest Medical Malpractice Verdict in Orange County

According to a report in the Times-Herald Record, an Orange County, New Jersey jury has reached a verdict in the case of a critical-care physician and nurse at Bon Secours Community Hospital accused of a medical error causing a woman to suffer a brain injury and became severely disabled. The jury's damage award includes $19.5 million for future medical and rehabilitation services for the patient and $5 million for her husband. Read the full news item here. (Note, the newspaper lists the verdict at $34 million, while the amounts published do not match the amount claimed in the headline. The difference may be interest on the verdict, however, no other information was attainable at the time of this post.)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

McDonald Hopkins Files Federal Lawsuit Challenging Constitutionality of Illinois Law

CHICAGO, IL — Hospital-based pathology groups and physicians in Illinois have filed a federal lawsuit seeking to invalidate, on constitutional grounds, Illinois legislation designed to shift the burden of absorbing certain patient-related costs from insurers to practitioners of only a few specifically-enumerated medical specialties. The Statute is Illinois Public Act 96-1523, and you can read the full alert here: Hospital-based physicians seek to invalidate law

Friday, July 8, 2011

Outpatient Electronic Prescribing Systems Don’t Cut Out Common Mistakes

Outpatient electronic prescribing systems don’t cut out the common mistakes made in manual systems, suggests research published online in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA).

And not all systems are the same: some perform worse than others, the study shows.

The rapid adoption of electronic prescribing systems has in part been fuelled by the belief that they would reduce the sorts of errors commonly made in manual prescribing systems, the authors say.
The authors base their findings on an analysis of just under 4,000 computer generated prescriptions received by a commercial pharmacy chain in three different US states over a period of four weeks in 2008.

They looked at the number of mistakes made and their potential to cause harm, as well as the frequency of particular mistakes and whether these were associated with one type of system.
Of the 3,850 prescriptions assessed, more than one in 10 (452; just under 12%) contained a total of 466 errors.

Of these, a third (163; 35%) were deemed to be potentially harmful.

Mistakes were classified as: “significant,” but posing little serious threat to life, such as rash, headache, or diarrhoea; serious but not life threatening, such as low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia), reduced heart rate (bradycardia), and fainting (syncope); and life threatening if not treated, such as heart attack and respiratory failure.

Among the 163 potentially harmful errors, over half (58%) were significant and the remainder (42%) were serious. None was life threatening. To read the full press release, see: E-Prescriptions.