For many families, the COVID-19 pandemic will present ethical and moral dilemmas relative to the health, safety and well-being of our elderly parents and grandparents, made more vulnerable because of chronic medical conditions and weakened immune systems. Continue Reading Negative Impacts of Social Distancing and Shelter in Place on the Elderly in the Context of Their Safety: Tough Decisions That Must Be Made
With increased reliance on telemedicine, many physicians question whether the elimination of in-office, face-to-face patient encounters increases their potential medical practice liability risks. Approximately 90% of health care organizations use or plan to implement telehealth platforms. In states permitting telehealth, 95% of large employers offered telehealth to employees for minor, non-urgent services in 2018.
Physicians typically recall, with stunning clarity, the moment a patient’s treatment went wrong. Following an adverse event, physicians often are tormented by competing desires to apologize and instincts to forge ahead without acknowledgement. A patient’s decision to file a malpractice action may be triggered by the physician’s response to a problem − or lack thereof.
The Washington Post highlighted contrasting tales of medical errors in which two patients suffered devastating consequences during surgery. Frustrated by a “white wall of silence” preventing her health care providers from articulating more than “’things didn’t go well,’” the first patient desperately committed to finding truth at all costs. In stark contrast, following his surgeon’s immediate explanation and apology for an error that rendered the second patient quadriplegic, the patient engaged in productive discussions with risk managers. The patient’s needs were met and his attorneys negotiated a confidential settlement without litigation.
I vividly recall attending the Bronx Bar Association Dinner last fall when it was announced that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) would ban pre-dispute arbitration provisions in nursing home admission agreements as of November 28, 2016. This news was relayed to me by a Bronx Supreme Court judge who had denied my very first motion to compel arbitration under such a provision. That denial ultimately was reversed on appeal.
Continue Reading Ding Dong the Arbitration Ban Is Dead!
Attorneys are accustomed to being called “ambulance chasers” or “sharks,” always interested in increasing their fees. Even if a lawyer reduces a bill for an unhappy client, that conduct may backfire if the client isn’t satisfied with the reduction. The attorney cannot later renege on the gratuitous fee discount or reduction, no matter what the reason. In a March 3, 2017, ruling, the Massachusetts Appeals Court − the commonwealth’s intermediate appellate court − held that a voluntary “professional courtesy credit” issued unconditionally to a client cannot be rescinded by a law firm when the client fails to timely pay its reduced bill. It just wouldn’t be “fair.”
Continue Reading Nice Attorneys Sometimes Finish Last