ED Legal Letter – May 1, 2021
May 1, 2021
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EDs Face Legal Trouble if Patient’s Advance Directive Not Followed
Emergency physicians worry about litigation because they did not save a patient’s life. However, few realize there are considerable legal risks if aggressive end-of-life care is provided against the patient’s wishes. Several recent million-dollar settlements have involved ED patients who were resuscitated or intubated against the documented wishes in their advance directives.
‘Total Breakdown in Communication’ Led to Settlement of Advance Directive Case
EDs can learn a lot from this particular case about how to avoid litigation for disregarding advance directives.
When Urgent Care Center Refers Patient to ED, Reasons Might Be Unclear
Ensure all ED patients experience the best attainable outcomes, and devote extra thought to scenarios in which mistakes are less likely to be forgiven. For patients sent by urgent care centers, be sure to fully understand why the patient is there.
Communication and Resolution Programs Are Alternative to Malpractice Claims
Considering signs of financial uncertainty in liability insurance markets, it is an excellent time for EDs to study communication and resolution programs as an alternative to malpractice litigation, the authors of a recent paper argued.
Template Charting on Nursing Notes Complicates Med/Mal Defense
Instead of making blanket statements about review of nursing notes, the emergency physician should document accurately. If the physician did not actually review the nursing notes, stay silent on it.
State Malpractice Claim Rate Tied to Low-Risk Syncope Admissions
The frequency of malpractice claims is associated with higher rates of hospital admission for ED patients with lower-risk syncope, according to the results of a recent study.