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Thursday, January 13, 2005

A Unique Insight on Malpractice

The below comes in from Peter Geilich, friend and colleague from Saudi Arabia days. As a sideline to his career in hospital administration, Peter has served as expert witness in malpractice cases involving hospitals. He reports that prior to 2000, his cases were about 70% defense and 30% plaintiff. Since St Paul left the field along with Med Mutual of NC it has been 100% plaintiff.
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Re malpractice involving hospitals, I handle about 6-7 cases a year and have done so for about 20 years now. So that is about 100-120 cases. What is surprising (or maybe not) is that about 40-50% of those cases have involved for-profit hospitals (HCA, Tenet etc). Usually the MD in question is either borderline incompetent or disruptive. Management knows all this but does little or nothing about it. Why? because the MD is often a big admitter.

I have found that some of what a hospital publishes about it's capabilities is over-stated (i.e.; 'up-to-date equipment' when it is not, 'state-of-the-art' when it is not, 'one of the nation's finest medical center's' (aimed at Latin Americans) when it is a 200 bed facility in a mid-sized city with another hospital about 300 beds.

Another issue that has happened more than 3-4 times in my experience is small print on ER records that says - your X-rays will be read by a radiologist and if there is a change in diagnosis from what the ER doctor told you - you will be notified..... only no notification is made.

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