Malpractice, Patient Safety, Physician-Patient Relationship

Informed Consent: An Essential Element of a Good Physician-Patient Relationship

Editor’s note: In this guest opinion article, Dr. Sina Haeri discusses why obtaining informed consent is an essential element for a good physician-patient relationship.

By Sina Haeri, MD, MHSA (Chief Medical Officer, Confirmed Consent)

When speaking to clinicians, odds are that obtaining an informed consent as part of their daily practice is not a top-of-mind item, and in many cases, it’s viewed as a nuisance due to the redundant nature of the task. In fact, that redundancy in itself leads to complacency, where many pass the task to their staff including a nurse or a medical assistant. Furthermore, given that the time spent counseling the patient is baked into the procedure reimbursement, some providers view this redundant task as one that keeps them from generating revenue. Further compounding the issue is that with decreasing reimbursements clinicians are supposed to see more patients in less time, which again acts as a dissatisfier for the process.

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Malpractice, Patient Safety, Respiratory Compromise

New Survey Finds Lung Function Testing Has Decreased During COVID-19

By Michael Wong, JD (Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other respiratory illnesses are more at risk of getting COVID-19.  Lung function tests, such as spirometry and plethysmography, are often used to determine how well the lungs are working. These tests measure lung volume, capacity, rates of flow, and gas exchange. Information from these tests is helpful to clinicians to diagnose and determine the appropriate treatment for patients suffering from lung disorders.

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Blood Clots, Malpractice

A Misdiagnosis of Blood Clots Can Be Costly – Particularly During COVID-19

By Michael Wong, JD (Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

In the early months of the COVID-19 epidemic, abnormal clotting was found in COVID-19 patients. As Bin Cao, MD, who is with the National Clinical Research Center for Respiratory Diseases in Beijing, described wide-spread clots in COVID-19 patients in a March 19, 2020 webinar cosponsored by the Chinese Cardiovascular Association and the American College of Cardiology – he found “clots in the small vessels of all organs, not only the lungs but also including the heart, the liver, and the kidney.” 

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Who is Legally Liable for COVID-19?

By Michael Wong, JD (Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

Who is Legally Liable for COVID-19?

Here’s my question to you – “Who is Legally Liable for COVID-19?”

Some say China is liable – according to a Pew Research Center survey, more than 3 out of 4 Americans (78%) “place a great deal or fair amount of the blame for the global spread of the coronavirus on the Chinese government’s initial handling of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan.”

And, while some may debate whether a nation like China or any other country can be held legally liable, the difficulty of overcoming sovereign immunity makes such considerations a rather pointless mind exercise – or, as is often said in law school, a moot point.

Rather, I ask this question at a far more micro level – is the nurse, doctor, or even the emergency responder liable to a patient who contracts, has an adverse event, or dies from COVID-19 when undergoing their care and treatment?

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Malpractice, Opioid Safety, Patient Safety, Respiratory Compromise

Was the Death of Erik Nelson Preventable?

By Michael Wong, JD (Founder and Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

According to the Bozeman Daily Chroncle’s article, “Wrongful death lawsuit filed against Bozeman surgeon,” Erik Nelson underwent surgery to correct his chronic nasal obstruction and severe obstructive sleep apnea. Discharged the day after surgery, Mr, Nelson was sent home with a prescription of Oxycodone to manage his pain. Oxycodone is a semisynthetic opioid, which is prescribed for moderate to severe pain.

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Malpractice, Opioid Safety, Respiratory Compromise

Continuous Monitoring Could Have Saved Lorrie McComb’s Life

$3.2 million in a malpractice suit was awarded against Kennestone Hospital and WellStar Medical Group for the 2012 death Lorrie McComb. Continuous monitoring could have saved her life.

By Michael Wong, JD (Founder and Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

“Had Lorrie McComb been monitored with pulse oximetry and capnography, she might be alive today” – this was my first thought when I recently read the article, “Widower gets $3.2 million in hospital suit against WellStar”.

A jury awarded Lorrie McComb’s husband more than $3.2 million in a malpractice suit brought against Kennestone Hospital and WellStar Medical Group for the 2012 death of his wife, Lorrie McComb.

The ruling and the reward of more than $3.2 million should be a reminder to all hospital executives and risk managers of the perils of not following adequate patient monitoring practices.

To read the complete article on TheDoctorWeighsIn, please click here.


Hospital Acquired Conditions, Malpractice, Patient Safety

Obstetric Malpractice Shapes The Way Doctors Practice – But It Can Be Prevented

The following is an excerpt of an article on obstetric malpractice co-authored by Angela W. Russell, Partner, Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP and Michael Wong, JD, Executive Director of Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS). It first appeared on Healthcare Business Today on July 28, 2017. Read the full article here.

Accidents can happen.

In the case of hospital care, the stakes are high, with errors potentially resulting in serious adverse events or even death. In the field of obstetrics & gynecology, these incidences can have a deeply personal impact, affecting the lives of mother, baby, family, and attending clinicians. It’s not surprising, then, that in the most catastrophic cases, the costs of obstetric malpractice suits can be astronomical. Read More

Hospital Acquired Conditions, Malpractice, Patient Safety

Reducing Obstetric Malpractice Claims Starts With Training, Communication, and Culture

Medical malpractice claims, usually related to death or major injury, represent 69.6% of inpatient claims and 63.7% of outpatient claims. To help reduce medical malpractice, here are 5 key steps to minimizing exposure to medical malpractice litigation and improving patient safety & health outcomes

By Michael Wong, JD (Founder and Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety).

Can “perfect care” exist in the clinical setting? This is one of the questions that was asked at a recent conference that I spoke at with Bruce Pastner, MD, JD (Vice-Chair, Patient Safety & Quality, Inova Fairfax Women’s Hospital).

It’s a utopic vision for patient safety that we all strive for. But the unfortunate reality of healthcare today is that bad outcomes can happen; this is sadly true in practices regarded as higher-risk, such as obstetrics. Not all terrible events leading to death or major injury are predictable, preventable, or even treatable. What clinicians can do, however, is to focus on identifying the most preventable incidents and prepare for them. Read More

Hospital Acquired Conditions, Malpractice, Opioid Safety, Respiratory Compromise

Anesthesiology Standards Shouldn’t be Different in Hospital and Outpatient Settings

Written by Lynn Razzano RN, MSN, ONC-C (Clinical Nurse Consultant, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety).

When preventable medical errors occur, one of the very first questions asked by patients, families, the legal system, the press, and the public is: “were appropriate care standards met?”. As a professional Registered Nurse, I look at this question from a quality and patient safety perspective to ask what could have been done differently? What are the best practice medical standards, and why are they not applied across the US health care systems? How applicable should the medical standard of care be? And how do we, as clinicians and patient advocates, define the best practice standard of care?

The reality is that the definition of best practice and standard of care differs between acute care hospital settings and outpatient surgery centers. And, even then, the standard of care being applied by the ambulatory surgical center, anesthesiologist and the gastroenterologist may not be the same. Read More