3D printing headAdvances in medical technology have made it possible to interpret x-rays from half way around the world, perform surgery through robots and diagnose dermatological conditions via Skype. Today we are on the cusp of further developments that will allow medical technicians to use 3D printers to generate medical devices, prosthetic limbs, and body parts and organs. While the technology is moving forward rapidly, the societal, ethical and legal debates are only beginning and will need to catch up quickly.

Additives manufacturing or process, a.k.a. 3D printing, provides a method for an object designed on a computer to be “printed” in plastic in a three-dimensional form. I read about this technology in a New York Times story about a new way to manufacture guns to get them past airport security. While this concept is certainly scary, there are obvious potential benefits from this technology in many fields, including the possibility of one of the greatest impacts on the medical community in history.

Continue Reading 3D Printing in Medicine – Now?

Close up of doctor writing on a medical chartIt the fast-paced world of health care, it is easy to forget the simple things – like notifying your state licensing board about address changes. It seems trivial, but there may be consequences for a physician who fails to update her physician profile.

State medical boards have the responsibility and obligation to protect consumers of health care by ensuring that all licensed physicians comply with the laws and regulations related to the practice of medicine. These boards have a process for the public to submit formal complaints, and, once a complaint is made, the board conducts an investigation that includes contacting the physician for a response. But what happens when the physician does not respond?

Continue Reading Licensing Boards Can Fine You – Even If They Can’t Find You

MedicalPolicy_nursinghomes_ProfLiab504736759In response to increasing runaway verdicts with large awards for punitive damages, many nursing homes are including arbitration clauses in their admission agreements. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Marmet Health Care Center v. Brown, 132 S.Ct. 1201 (Feb. 2012), held that these agreements are enforceable because the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempts both state laws and judicially established public policies that prohibit contracts that require arbitration to resolve personal injury lawsuits. The only exceptions are if the party seeking to enforce the agreement took advantage of the other or the terms are so one-sided that the clause is “unconscionable.”

The issue of enforceability of the contract, however, is deferred to the state courts to apply their own contract principles and laws to determine if the contract between the nursing home and the patient is so unconscionable it cannot be enforced under the FAA.
Continue Reading Arbitration Agreements in Nursing Home Admission Agreements

sb10063567v-001Traditionally, parents encouraged the next generation to seek careers as doctors or lawyers – not only the most prestigious but also, at that time, the most lucrative. However, in today’s world, particularly from the perspective of this medical malpractice attorney, I have not encouraged the same goals for my children. College is expensive enough; I can’t imagine my daughters having to navigate the loans associated with medical or law school.

Continue Reading The Doctor May NOT Be In!