A major lesson from this case is a successful avenue for physicians and care providers to challenge a patient’s inadequate claim: by undermining a patient’s expert. While the patient’s case against the physician defendant has yet to be decided, this ruling in favor of the hospital defendant provides an opportunity for defendants generally.
This case exemplifies the benefits of resolving medical malpractice litigation through negotiation and prior to an adverse verdict. There are many factors that can affect a mutual agreement between the parties and a settlement, but such efforts can be extremely beneficial to physicians and care providers to better control payment amounts in the event of liability and to reduce negative exposure and publicity.
In terms of malpractice, the main question is going to be: Did the emergency department (ED) patient receive treatment as fast as he or she should have, given the relevant circumstances? EDs in known COVID-19 hotspots with long waits for intensive care unit beds probably will be treated somewhat differently than smaller community EDs, where it was mostly business as usual.
This case raises important considerations about making appropriate choices in the selection of equipment and methods for treatment, as well as the importance of retaining a qualified and persuasive expert witness in the event of litigation.
At the UMass Memorial Medical Center ED in Worcester, analyzing medical malpractice data has become a vital patient safety tool. Leaders study adverse event data, root cause analysis, reportable events, and malpractice claims data.
Electronic health record (EHR) issues are coming up in malpractice lawsuits against ED providers. Seven such cases were included in a recent analysis of 216 closed claims occurring from 2010 to 2018 in which EHRs contributed to injury.
Plaintiff attorneys do not always need to prove that an EP’s negligence directly caused a patient’s bad outcome. Instead, they allege only that the plaintiff was deprived of the possibility of a better outcome. Often, these “loss of chance” claims involve missed or delayed diagnosis of stroke.
Emergency physicians (EPs) are the specialty most likely to be sued in acute stroke cases, according to a recent analysis. One-third of malpractice claims named EPs. In contrast, neurologists were named in just 17% of claims.