We all are familiar with complex medical malpractice lawsuits against hospitals that include claims against the numerous professionals and staff members involved in the treatment of admitted patients. The list of parties and potential cross-claims against other parties can be extensive. Approximately 25 million surgical procedures, however, are performed every year at ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs), as opposed to at acute care hospitals. Given the nature of ASCs and their common business model − to treat patients safely in an economical and expeditious manner without the need for an overnight stay − there are certain theories of malpractice that predominate. The factual and legal issues that must be examined by a defense attorney when an ASC is first faced with a medical malpractice claim differ somewhat from those raised when there are other defendants that may have caused or contributed to the alleged injury. The number of parties and theories of liability may be limited but the defense must be equally vigorous.
Continue Reading Factual and Legal Issues of Malpractice in Ambulatory Surgical Centers

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

business-teamwork119559277TS3Every profession is facing the impact of baby boomers retiring – and trial lawyers are certainly no exception. At the PLUS Conference in April 2014, I was delighted to be part of a panel discussing a variety of topics impacting the medical malpractice community today, including the “changing of the guard” in defending these cases.

While I have tried several malpractice cases in my 20 years of practice, I don’t have nearly the number of verdicts under my belt as the senior trial attorneys did at my age. This reality is mostly the result of carriers and hospitals insisting on having the most experienced attorneys, those with whom they are familiar, try their cases. Such insistence is not always limited to high-exposure cases, and sometimes it occurs because the attorney is averse to  losing the client relationship.

Continue Reading Are Senior Trial Attorneys Passing the Baton?

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