Malpractice

67% Believe COVID-19 Will Increase Malpractice Claims

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the economy and businesses. A recent McKinsey & Company survey of 200 organizations across industries found that “more than 90 percent of executives said they expect the fallout from COVID-19 to fundamentally change the way they do business over the next five years, with almost as many asserting that the crisis will have a lasting impact on their customers’ needs.“

To better understand how the COVID-19 pandemic may impact liability and malpractice claims, the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety conducted an online survey from October 8-15, 2020 with its followers.  

To read our full survey report, please click on the link below:

Patient Safety, Respiratory Compromise

New Initiative to Help COPD Patients During COVID-19 Crisis Launched by Physician-Patient Alliance for Health and Safety

The Physician-Patient Alliance for Health and Safety (PPAHS) today announced the launch of a new initiative to help Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) patients during COVID-19, empowering them to better understand their conditions and to not delay seeking medical attention. The Virtual Patient Care initiative is supported by grants from GlaxoSmithKline and 4DMedical.

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Patient Safety

Recovering from COVID-19

As new infections from COVID-19 hit record highs across the United States – totaling more than 140,000 in just one day on November 11, 2020, and deaths due to COVID exceeding 165,000, according to the John Hopkins University – hospitals are reaching their capacities.

According to the report of the Commonwealth Fund, the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected Americans and, in particular, Blacks and Latinos, concluding:

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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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Patient Safety

COVID-19 Keeps 44% of Patients From Seeking Care

By Elise M.V. Wong (Director of Communications & Research, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

44% of patients have delayed or avoided doctor’s visits because of COVID-19. This percentage is even higher among those diagnosed with cardiovascular disease or respiratory illness — two groups with an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and of facing serious complications if medical care is delayed. 

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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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Malpractice

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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Practices & Tips

Caregiving and Telehealth in the World of Coronavirus

By John Schall, CEO, Caregiver Action Network

Sophie’s dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer right as the pandemic shut down started.  There were a lot of doctor’s appointments and tests to keep track of, and Sophie really needed to be there for all of the appointments – there was no way that her 87-year-old dad could keep track of everything the doctors said. The in-person visits went well – the cancer center understood that she had to be there. But when the appointments became video appointments,  things got really complicated, really fast. Sophie got her father a webcam and taught him how to use it. But the first video appointment was set up as a FaceTime call – so Sophie had to teach her dad how to FaceTime. Then, there were a series of registration questions in some app that wouldn’t allow the text to appear large enough for her dad to read it, so Sophie took care of that, too. The next doctor wouldn’t let her join the video appointment unless she was in the same room as her dad. After several telehealth visits, it got easier and the benefits of not exposing her dad to COVID, outweighed the tech challenges. 

What is a video appointment? Is it the same as telehealth? Is this even a real doctor’s visit? Is it covered by insurance? What if my loved one doesn’t have a smart phone or a computer? 

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Patient Safety, Practices & Tips

Patients Have Delayed or Not Seen a Doctor Because of COVID-19

A survey conducted by the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety has found that patients have delayed or not seen a doctor because of COVID-19.

184 patients responded to the online survey conducted from August 25, 2020 to September 7, 2020.

Patients Are Concerned About Getting COVID-19

In response to the question, “How concerned are you of getting COVID-19?” approximately half of the respondents (45%) said that they were extremely concerned or moderately concerned about getting COVID-19, while one in five of the respondents (20%) were not concerned or only slightly concerned.

However, fear of getting COVID-19 is particularly high in patients with atrial fibrillation and other cardiovascular diseases – more than nine of ten (92%) of whom were extremely concerned or moderately concerned. According to the CDC, patients diagnosed with cardiovascular disease may be at a greater risk of getting COVID-19. The high percentage of survey respondents being concerned about getting COVID-19 may reflect this CDC warning.

In comparison, reflective of the sentiments of all of the respondents, less than half (47%) of respondents with COPD or other respiratory illnesses were extremely concerned or moderately concerned about getting COVID-19. 

Patients Have Delayed Seeing a Doctor during COVID-19

About half of the respondents (44%) said that they had delayed or not gone to see a doctor, dentist, or other healthcare providers during this COVID pandemic. Unfortunately, this percentage was higher in respondents with cardiovascular disease, COPD, or other respiratory illnesses:

  • More than half of the respondents with atrial fibrillation or cardiovascular disease reported that they had delayed or not gone to see a doctor during this COVID pandemic (53%). Studies have found that patients have delayed seeing a doctor, resulting in more at-home heart attacks and delayed ED visits during the COVID-19 pandemic. Such delays are particularly significant for patients with atrial fibrillation or other cardiovascular diseases because such patients are at a higher risk of a heart attack.
  • Similarly, more than half of the respondents with COPD or other respiratory illnesses also reported that they had delayed or not gone to see a doctor during this COVID pandemic (51%).

These survey results echo researchers’ findings that more than 40% of US adults skipped medical care since COVID-19.

Additionally, more than half of the respondents reported that their family members (52%) had delayed or not gone to see a doctor during the COVID pandemic and more than a third of the respondents reported that they knew someone who had delayed or not gone to see a doctor, dentist, or other healthcare providers (35%).

To view our complete report on the survey, please click here.