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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Florida dermatologist who falsely diagnosed hundreds of cancer cases gets $18m fine

BMJ 2017;356:j853
Author: Owen Dyer
“A Florida dermatologist who falsely told hundreds of his patients that they had skin cancer so he could bill for unnecessary treatments, including radiation, must pay $18m (£14.5m; Ä17m) to settle fraud claims made against him by the US government and a whistleblowing local doctor.”
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Stronger malpractice laws may not prevent surgical complications

Reuters, 13 January 2017
Author: Lisa Rapaport
“More aggressive malpractice climates don’t necessarily protect patients from surgical complications, a new study suggests. “It doesn’t really work – malpractice environment doesn’t influence doctors to provide better care,” Bilimoria said by email. “Rather, it may lead to defensive medicine practices where more tests and treatments are ordered unnecessarily just to try to minimize malpractice risk.”
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Shadow of the law in cases of avoidable harm

BMJ 2016; 355:i6268
Author: Liam J Donaldson
“Jail time for a medical error.” This was the headline of Bob Wachter’s patient safety blog about the Ohio pharmacist Eric Cropp. When Cropp’s professional colleagues saw him clad in an orange jumpsuit in a prison visiting room, they knew it could have been them. A pharmacy technician mistakenly mixed chemotherapy drugs with 23% saline, not 0.9%. A child died. It was a rushed, understaffed day, with computer failures. Cropp’s supervisory check failed to spot the error. He was convicted of manslaughter in 2009.”
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Complaints about health practitioner board decisions double in the past year

SMH, 6 November 2016
Author: Daniel Burdon
“That doubling of complaints triggered the small National Health Practitioner Ombudsman and Privacy Commissioner’s office to appoint a new “complaints liaison officer” to help address “the increasing complaint and inquiry workload”.
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