Medical device theft at SSM Health puts data on 836 patients at risk

Information Management, 30 May 2017
Author: Joseph Goedert
“A medical device that records physiological data was stolen on April 12 from SSM Health Orthopedics, which operates out of SSM Health-owned DePaul Hospital in St. Louis, potentially affecting the data of 836 patients. The organization said the medical device, which looks similar to a laptop computer, contained in its memory some physiological data as well as protected health information from patients who participated in a study between 2002 and 2017. The organization notified the patients that some of their protected health information has been compromised.”
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Malpractice should be investigated proactively and holistically to identify underlying causes

BMJ 2017; 357: j2510
Author: Simon R Peck
“I question what a public enquiry into the Paterson case will achieve. The facts are already in the public domain, and the theme of institutional failure to act effectively is familiar to us all. Much more useful, in my view, would be a review of how healthcare is regulated and how concerns might better be handled in future.”
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Offending in theatre: the case of Ian Paterson

BMJ 2017; 357: j2583
Author: Gwen Adshead
“This highly trained and experienced doctor seems to have deliberately conned people into having surgery that they did not need, and in doing so convinced them that they were seriously ill and he was saving their lives. The question has been raised as to what his motivation could be.”
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Blocked from public health system, drunk doctor finds job at private hospital

SMH, 7 April 2017
Author: Harriet Alexander
“An anaesthetist who abandoned his patient mid-operation and then passed out from intoxication has found new employment at Shellharbour Private Hospital. The doctor who had a history of drinking on the job, has not returned to work at Wollongong Hospital since the incident on its premises in May last year. But the NSW Medical Board allowed him to continue practising under certain conditions”
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Medical Liability Reform in a New Political Environment

JAMA. 2017; 317(13): 1311-1312.
Authors: Anand Parekh, William Hoagland
“Many physicians, patients, and other interested parties do not consider the current medical malpractice system to be optimal. For example, it has been estimated that only 2% to 3% of patients who experience a medical error file a malpractice claim (although it is unclear how serious those medical errors were and if they would result in an adjudicated malpractice claim), the mean time from claim initiation to closure is more than 5 years, and nearly 50% of all compensation awarded to patients is consumed by attorney fees and administrative charges. With respect to clinicians, the annual risk of having an open malpractice claim has been reported to be 7.4%, and, by age 65 years, most physicians will have been involved in a malpractice claim. In addition, the adversarial nature of the current system makes it difficult to improve patient safety and also creates stress for clinicians.”
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Medical Liability — Prospects for Federal Reform

NEJM, 29 March 2017
Author: Michelle M. Mello, Allen Kachalia, David M. Studdert
“Medical malpractice reform appears to be back on the federal policy agenda. The appointment of Tom Price, a long-time proponent of tort reform, as secretary of health and human services, in conjunction with Republican control of both houses of Congress, has created fertile conditions for several Republican proposals that have languished for years without the requisite support. Although it has been debated many times, a major federal foray into medical liability, a state-based area of law, would be unprecedented. The prospect raises several questions: Which reforms are on the table? Would they be effective? And is the time right?”
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Cross-sectional survey on defensive practices and defensive behaviours among Israeli psychiatrists

BMJ Open 2017; 7:e014153.
Authors: Reuveni I, Pelov I, Reuveni H, et al
“Psychiatry is a low-risk specialisation; however, there is a steady increase in malpractice claims against psychiatrists. Defensive psychiatry (DP) refers to any action undertaken by a psychiatrist to avoid malpractice liability that is not for the sole benefit of the patient’s mental health and well-being. The objectives of this study were to assess the scope of DP practised by psychiatrists and to understand whether awareness of DP correlated with defensive behaviours.”
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NSW hospital patients not told their medical records were found in public areas

ABC, 20 March 2017
Author: Nick Dole
“NSW hospital patients have had their confidential details compromised on multiple occasions, including medical records being found in a public carpark. In many cases, patients were never informed because the Health District said there was not a “serious risk of harm”. The Central Coast Local Health District recorded more than 30 privacy breaches in 2014/15, and in 2015/16 there were 16.”
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Should hospitals — and doctors — apologize for medical mistakes?

The Washington Post, 12 March 2017
Author: Sandra G. Boodman
“For patients and their families killed or maimed by medical errors, Crisp’s experience — in which doctors clam up and hospitals deny wrongdoing and aggressively defend their care — remains standard operating procedure in most institutions. But spurred by concerns about the “deny and defend” model — including its cost, lack of transparency and the perpetuation of errors — programs to circumvent litigation by offering prompt disclosure, apology and compensation for mistakes as an alternative to malpractice suits are becoming more popular.”
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