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.”
Find article here.

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.”
Find article here.

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”.
Find article here.

Resolving Malpractice Claims after Tort Reform: Experience in a Self-Insured Texas Public Academic Health System

Health Services Research, 2016; doi: 10.1111/1475-6773.12609
Authors: Sage, W. M., Harding, M. C. and Thomas, E. J.
“Malpractice litigation risk diminished substantially for a public university health system in Texas following legal changes that reduced rights to sue and available damages. Health systems operating in a low-tort environment should work with policy makers, plaintiffs’ attorneys, and patient groups to assist unrepresented patients, facilitate early mediation, limit nondisclosure obligations following settlement, and expedite the resolution of Medicare liens.”
Find article here.

GP is struck off for a string of hurried and wrong diagnoses

BMJ 2016;355:i5676
Author: Clare Dyer
“A 72 year old locum GP who made a string of hurried and wrong diagnoses has been struck off the medical register after he refused to undertake a clinical audit of his work or provide any evidence that he had kept his skills up to date.”
Find article here.

Doctor in Germany sent to prison for raping and sexually assaulting patients and coworkers

BMJ 2016; 355: i5634
Author: Ned Stafford
“A leading vascular surgeon in Germany who heavily sedated patients and coworkers whom he then raped, sexually assaulted, and photographed was today sentenced to seven years and nine months in prison and banned from practising medicine for five years.”
Find article here.

One week to go to have your say on the use of chaperones

AHPRA, 27 September 2016
“The review will consider the appropriateness of using chaperones as an interim measure to protect patients when a doctor is facing allegations of sexual misconduct. ‘I am keen to hear from patients, community groups, especially from people who may have had experience of having a chaperone in the room when they went for a consultation, but I am also interested to hear from doctors and other health practitioners who may have faced allegations or may have worked in a situation where a chaperone condition has been imposed,’ Professor Paterson said.”
See media release here.