ReSource ReCaps Wednesday February 16, 2011
Medical Professional Liability News
A weekly update of significant news articles from around the nation and the world relating to
medical professional liability insurance and reinsurance. This news recap is provided with our compliments
by ReSource Intermediaries, Inc.
Deep Digging Needed to Uncover Malpractice
Reform’s Common Ground
Inside this issue:
Insurance & Financial Advisor,
Hunt Valley, MD
Deep Digging Needed to Uncover Mal- 1
February 16, 2011 practice Reform’s Common Ground
President Obama signaled in his State of call to repeal the health care reform Many Bone Doctors Order Tests Out of 2
Fear of Lawsuits, Study Finds; Up to
the Union address that Democrats and measure passed by the Democrat- One-Fifth Unneeded
Republicans might find common ground dominated House and Senate last year.
on health care reform with the issue of (MA) Lubin & Meyer's Andrew C. Meyer, 2
In his State of the Union address, Jr. and Benjamin Novotny Secure $2.5
medical malpractice, but experts remain Million Settlement in the Overdose
Obama made a peace offering, saying,
far apart on how the Congress should Death of Toddler
“I’m willing to look at other ideas to bring
tackle the issue. Obama's Budget Includes $250M in 2
down (health care) costs, including one
Gene M. Ransom III, executive director Republicans suggested last year —
(MT) Republicans Pitch Malpractice 2
for the Maryland State Medical Society, medical malpractice reform to rein in
Reform in MT
remains optimistic. He says aisle- frivolous lawsuits.”
(MI) Teen Awarded $1.4M in Medical 3
crossing on medical malpractice would Malpractice Lawsuit
Ransom said he agrees with Republi-
better both sides.
cans who say that “defensive medicine” (TX) Texas Expands Medical Liability 3
“Hopefully, Democrats and Republicans drives up costs, and leads to higher mal- Protections for State-Employed Doctors
can work together on this issue,” Ran- practice insurance rates for physicians, (AL) Birmingham Man's Family Wins $3 3
som said. “It would mean a reduction in who pass them down to patients. Ending Million in Wrongful Death Suit
defensive medicine, which is something defensive medicine would mean signifi-
The Ten Most Expensive Medical Errors 3
that would help people across Maryland cant change for the medical liability sys-
from all demographics.” tem in Maryland — a state, he said, al- (IL) State Faces Doctor Shortage in 4
Coming Years, ISMS President Warns
ready burdened with having, “one of the
Defensive medicine refers to the practice
lowest (Medicaid) reimbursement rates
of medical professionals ordering extra
for doctors in the country.”
tests or procedures, that may be unnec-
essary, out of fear of being sued. http://ifawebnews.com/2011/02/16/deep-
Republicans took over control of the
House in November 2010, in part on a
Page 2 ReSource ReCaps
Many Bone Doctors Order Tests Out of Obama's Budget Includes $250M in Mal-
Fear of Lawsuits, Study Finds; Up to practice Grants
Med Page Today, Washington, DC
The Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL February 16, 2011
February 16, 2011
In a nod to those who have called for changes in the medical
CT scans, MRIs and other pricey imaging tests are often liability system, President Obama's 2012 budget proposal
more for the doctor's benefit than the patient's, new research includes $250 million in Justice Department grants for states
confirms. that want to try out some alternatives.
The aim of the grants -- which were quietly tucked into the
Roughly one-fifth of tests that bone and joint specialists or-
Justice Department budget and not even mentioned by the
der are because a doctor fears being sued, not because the
nation's top health officials -- is to help states try out an alter-
patient needs them, a first-of-its-kind study in Pennsylvania
native to the medical tort system that would fairly compen-
sate patients who are harmed by negligence, improve the
quality of healthcare, and reduce medical costs associated
The study comes a day after President Barack Obama be-
with defensive medicine, according to a Justice Department
gan a push to overhaul state medical malpractice laws as a
way to reduce unnecessary tests that drive up health care
costs. "These grants will help states reform their laws to pursue
innovative approaches that will improve the quality of health-
care, fairly compensate patients who are harmed by negli-
gence, reduce medical costs and liability, and protect patient
safety," said Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy
Lubin & Meyer's Andrew C. Meyer, Jr.
and Benjamin Novotny Secure $2.5 Mil-
lion Settlement in the Overdose Death
Insurance News Net, Camp Hill, PA Republicans Pitch Malpractice Reform
February 16, 2011 in MT
Well-known medical malpractice attorneys, Andrew C. The Washington Examiner, Washington, DC
Meyer, Jr. and Benjamin Novotny of Lubin & Meyer, PC, February 15, 2011
have settled the medical malpractice case (Suffolk Superior
Republicans said Tuesday that proposals to limit medical
Court, 08-3123-D) against Tufts University psychiatrist, Ka-
malpractice claims are among their ideas to lower health
yoko Kifuji, M.D. for $2.5 million for the tragic overdose
care costs as they try to undermine implementation of fed-
death of 4-year-old Rebecca Riley. Even before reaching
eral health care reform.
this groundbreaking settlement, Meyer’s case garnered na-
tional media attention on the hot-button-topic of the over- One proposed bill aims to give doctors more protection from
prescribing of powerful psychiatric medications to toddlers. lawsuits. Another would limit the amount survivors could
According to court documents, the girl was prescribed a psy- seek if a relative died due to medical malpractice.
chotropic drug cocktail including: Clonidine (a sedative), De-
Critics countered that the proposals would not reduce costs
pakote (a mood stabilizer), and Seroquel (an anti-psychotic).
and would only hurt injured patients seeking relief.
Page 3 ReSource ReCaps
Teen Awarded $1.4M in Medical Mal- Birmingham Man's Family Wins $3 Mil-
practice Lawsuit lion in Wrongful Death Suit
Lawyers and Settlements, Santa Cruz, CA AL.com, Birmingham, AL
February 15, 2011 February 13, 2011
An allergy specialist reached a $1.4 million settlement in a The family of a Birmingham man has won a $3 million jury
medical malpractice claim brought by a 13-year-old patient award from Baptist Princeton Hospital and a team of doc-
receiving a regularly-scheduled immunotherapy allergy in- tors, af-ter a two-week medical malprac-tice trial that ended
jection. The suit alleged that the teen developed an acute Friday.
anaphylaxis reaction in the form of respiratory distress and
The Jefferson County Circuit Court jury decided the wrongful
loss of consciousness. He was transferred by EMS to a hos-
death civil suit after about three hours of deliberation, said
pital, where he was successfully resuscitated.
Shay Samples, the lawyer for the Birmingham law firm Hare
Wynn Newell & Newton who rep-resented the family of
Thereafter, the teen was transferred to a tertiary care facility,
Laboyish Catlin. A Baptist Health spokes-man said the non-
but was comatose for several weeks. He regained con-
profit health care group extends condolences to the family
sciousness, but was severely brain-damaged and suffered
but disagrees with the ver-dict.
near-complete quadriplegia. The parties reached a
$1,400,000 settlement agreement shortly after discovery Catlin's family said in the law-suit the 37-year-old died in
commenced. Janu-ary 2006, a few days after surgery for a duodenal ul-
cer. The suit cited an autopsy report that said he bled to
teen-awarded-1-4m-in-medical-malpractice-lawsuit.html death. The suit claimed negli-gent and improper surgery and
other flawed medical care by the hospital and doctors. After
the surgery, the suit said, Catlin re-quired "multiple blood
Texas Expands Medical Liability Protec- http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2011/02/
tions for State-Employed Doctors
American Medical News, Chicago, IL
February 14, 2011 The Ten Most Expensive Medical Errors
Texas doctors employed by the state have gained an extra International Business Times, New York, NY
layer of protection against medical liability lawsuits after a February 11, 2011
recent decision by the Supreme Court of Texas.
Medical errors can injure patients as well as cost lives and
The majority of justices ruled that plaintiffs must sue the gov-
have a significant monetary cost to society. Another direct
ernment entity where an alleged medical error occurred --
impact of medical errors is on medical malpractice insurance
not the physician. In the past, doctors employed at state-run
rates. Dr. Bialek examines the ten costliest medical errors in
facilities faced the same susceptibility in lawsuits as their
the US, based on cost of health care and loss of income.
private practice counterparts.
Dr. Bialek uses snapshots of real patient cases to represent
The Jan. 21 ruling stems from several medical liability cases
each of the top ten most expensive medical errors. When it
before the state Supreme Court concerning doctors em-
comes to medical errors the lesson is that many of the most
ployed by government entities and their scope of liability im-
common ones could have been prevented.
munity. The court chose to examine one case as its lead to
condense its review of the similar issues. Article : http://www.covermd.com/Resources/Most-
State Faces Doctor Shortage in Coming Years, ISMS President
The Record, Edwardsville, IL practice. And, the existing workforce is aging with a high
February 11, 2011 percentage close to retirement age.
Illinois State Medical Society President Steve Malkin, M.D. "You don't have to be an economist," he said. "It doesn't
said that a shortage of doctors in the state needs to be ad- look good."
dressed now, not when there is a workforce crisis.
Starting a practice with loans of up to $150,000-$200,000,
Malkin was in Edwardsville Thursday morning talking about high malpractice insurance rates and low reimbursements
the organization's upcoming legislative agenda and other are discouraging new doctors from going into lower paying
statewide issues. He also was scheduled to speak at a fields, he said.
Madison County Medical Society meeting.
He said the state is looking at a looming workforce crisis
because very few new doctors are going into primary care
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