ED Legal Letter – January 1, 2019
January 1, 2019
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When Closed Claims for Pediatric ED Patients Resulted in Plaintiff Payout
Appendicitis, cardiac or cardiorespiratory arrest, and disorder of male genital organs were the most common medical conditions triggering malpractice lawsuits involving pediatric ED patients, according to the authors of a recent analysis.
Did ED Personnel Review EMS Findings? If Not, Expect Negligence Allegations
To avoid trouble, create and follow a clearly defined process for how EMS gives information to ED personnel. Ensure that ED personnel receive complete information from field EMS providers. Further, EPs should review any EMS records available and consult with others who received verbal reports.
Mitigate Legal Risks Before Angry Patient Calls Attorney
Effective communication practices can mitigate malpractice risk in ED settings. Keep patients updated on the ED course, ensure patients and family are well-informed prior to leaving the ED, and encourage patients and family to vent frustration and anger.
A Bad Outcome Does Not Necessarily Mean ED Gave Poor Care
One expert offers several suggestions for ED providers seeking to mitigate legal risks in real time.
High-low Agreement Can Reduce Risk for Both Plaintiff and Defense
Some malpractice lawsuits carry high potential for damages because the plaintiff is very sympathetic. Yet, the EP defense team and the insurance company still believe the case is defensible and want to proceed to trial. With a high-low agreement, both the plaintiff and defendant receive protection from an excessive verdict.
Many EPs Lack Due Process Rights; Legislation Offers Possible Protection
Without due process rights, EPs lose the ability to advocate for patients without fear of termination. Typically, contract holders form arrangements with hospitals to staff EDs; the contract holder hires EPs to perform the actual work. The hospital tells the contract holder what it wants from the EPs. Those EPs who do not comply can be fired without recourse since due process rights are waived routinely as a condition of employment.
Patients Link Errors to Negative Physician Interactions: Important Risk Implications for EDs
In a recent study, researchers analyzed a largely unexplored data source: What patients and families had to say about errors. Diagnostic error literature has, so far, focused mainly on clinician decision-making and healthcare system design.