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!

medicalrecords_163751742In an earlier blog post, I discussed the importance of time stamps and signatures in electronic medical records (EMRs). A potential pitfall in using EMRs is the prevalence of drop-down menus.

EMR software uses drop-down menus to make record keeping more efficient, rather than having the physician type in free text. Such drop-down menus are often available for the physician to identify the patient’s chief complaint or presenting problem. The drop-down menu can list hundreds of potential symptoms or problems that could plague a patient. The problem arises when the menu option does not fully or precisely align with the reason for the visit.

Continue Reading Drop-down Menus: The Pitfalls of Electronic Medical Records, Part II

Doctor-fromBack_TS-128930760Are courts becoming more liberal with the standards by which physicians are judged in failing to prevent suicides?

Traditionally, the professional judgment rule has been used by psychiatrists and other physicians as a defense against cases alleging a failure to predict and therefore prevent a patient from committing suicide. The premise is that if the defendant had acted within the standard of care in evaluating the patient and determined that there was no imminent danger of suicide, then he or she is not liable. Such reasoning is consistent with the understanding that a physician is expected to use his or her professional judgment in treating a patient. However, the fact that two physicians use different approaches to treat the same patient does not mean that one committed malpractice.
Continue Reading Is the Error of Judgment Defense Still Available in Suicide Cases?

Drepressed Man TalkingAt some point in their careers, most medical malpractice defense attorneys have defended a medical facility against a claim for negligence based on one patient being attacked by another. The negligence claim is premised on a failure to properly supervise and protect a patient from another who is known to have a propensity for violence. This scenario happens in psychiatric institutions, hospitals (psychiatric units or regular floors) and long-term care facilities.
Continue Reading Patient-on-Patient Violence: Does a Negligence Case Trump a Patient’s HIPAA Rights?

medical-health-records122481179TSRecently, I was preparing my physician-client for his deposition in a medical malpractice lawsuit. At the end of the meeting, he asked me: “How can I do better in the future?” My client was referring to his entries into the electronic medical record (EMR). With the transition to EMRs, this is one question that all medical providers should be asking. My initial blogs will discuss the problems with EMR and how they present in litigation.
Continue Reading “How can I do better?” The Pitfalls of Electronic Medical Records, Part I