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April 1, 2011

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  • Medical-Legal Pitfalls in Managing Acetaminophen Toxicity

    Case: A 40-year-old man with a history of hepatitis C and alcoholism presents to the ED with dental caries. A brief history and unremarkable physical examination is documented. The patient is discharged and fills his prescription for hydrocodone 5 mg/acetaminophen 500 mg (1-2 tablets every 4-6 hours as needed, #25).
  • Will Camera Photos from Your ED Wind Up on the Web — or in Court?

    Given the fact that almost every patient, family member, and ED staff member is carrying a cell phone, it's not surprising that inappropriate photos or videos have been posted online which means increased legal risks for EDs.
  • ED Patient's Pic Posted? HIPAA Violation Possible

    Corey M. Slovis, MD, professor and chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, says to remember that requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) apply not only to words, but also to images.
  • Reduce Legal Risks of "No-Show" ED Consultants

    Did an ear, nose and throat consultant refuse to come in for a critical-airway patient, a neurosurgeon for an intracranial bleed, or a hand surgeon for a patient with a tendon rupture? "Any of these instances could lead to poor or unsafe patient care and strained future relationships," says Chad Kessler, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, section chief of emergency medicine at Jesse Brown VA Hospital in Chicago.
  • If a Consultant Doesn't Show, What Can You Prove in Court?

    Michael Blaivas, MD, RDMS, professor of emergency medicine in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Northside Hospital Forsyth in Cumming, GA, says he has reviewed multiple cases involving consultants refusing to come to the ED, with a bad outcome resulting. "Mostly, this means an unhappy patient, but in critically ill ones can mean a lawsuit," he says.