Legal Advisor Archive

A case of misdiagnosed meningitis

A case of misdiagnosed meningitis

A student's headaches, lethargy, vomiting, and photophobia are misdiagnosed as migraine.

Chest pain in a woman

Chest pain in a woman

A woman has a myocardial infarction after her chest symptoms are misdiagnosed as acid reflux.

Outdated vaccine protocol

Outdated vaccine protocol

A child deals with the consequences of a lesser vaccine, because a medical practice did not update its immunization policies.

Undiagnosed cellulitis

Undiagnosed cellulitis

A patient is asked to follow up for care but does not, and severe cellulitis develop

Missed blood test results

Missed blood test results

A patient's positive hepatitis B results were overlooked for 7 years.

Unchecked MRI results

Unchecked MRI results

A clinician sends an 18-year-old patient for a same-day MRI but forgets to review the results with the same urgency.

A clinician and patient mistake

A clinician and patient mistake

It is well-accepted that healthcare practitioners have a duty to their patients, but do patients have a duty as well?

Another 
clinician's prescription

Another 
clinician's prescription

A communication failure 
when one clinician refills a prescription written by another has a dire result.

Accessing a relative's charts

Accessing a relative's charts

A medical center takes issue with a clinician who uses her employee access to view her ex-husband's medical records.

Collaborative practice agreements

Collaborative practice agreements

Duty of care owed to a nurse practitioner's patient by a collaborative practice partner comes into question.

Heart attack misdiagnosed as heartburn

Heart attack misdiagnosed as heartburn

A clinician turns away a man looking for assistance before a walk-in clinic is open for the day.

Violation 
of patient 
privacy

Violation 
of patient 
privacy

A nurse divulges a patient's sexually transmitted 
disease to his girlfriend, who happens to be the nurse's sister-in-law.

Undisclosed condition 
leads to death

Undisclosed condition 
leads to death

A patient's widow 
asserts that the clinician
 should have checked
 hospital records taken prior to admission.

Emergency ignored in an alcoholic

Emergency ignored in an alcoholic

Clinicians assume symptoms in a patient who regularly presents intoxicated are due to alcohol.

Complaints not taken 
seriously

Complaints not taken 
seriously

A clinician misdiagnoses thyroid cancer as acid reflux in a patient who often comes to the clinic.

A costly HIPAA 
violation

A costly HIPAA 
violation

After a major car accident, two providers disclose a patient's health information to his employer.

Treating one symptom proves fatal

Treating one symptom proves fatal

A patient dies after a 
clinician treats a patient 
for diarrhea and omits 
further examination.

Busy office 
setting leads to missed diagnosis

Busy office 
setting leads to missed diagnosis

A clinician misses a fatal pulmonary embolism in a patient known to make minor complaints.

Referral misses 
drug-seeking 
behavior

Referral misses 
drug-seeking 
behavior

A patient overdoses when communication breaks down between clinicians.

Outpatient care results in lawsuit

Outpatient care results in lawsuit

Serious complications 
follow a decision not to hospitalize a patient.

Late consult ends in brain damage

Late consult ends in brain damage

A clinician fails to urgently obtain a neurologic 
referral for a baby with developmental delays.

Providers applaud medical malpractice provision in the Sustainable Growth Repeal bill

Providers applaud medical malpractice provision in the Sustainable Growth Repeal bill

Providers have been concerned that quality metrics, such as those mandated by the Affordable Care Act, pose unintended legal risks for health-care practitioners.

Jury awards Colorado's largest medical malpractice verdict

Jury awards Colorado's largest medical malpractice verdict

The judgment, awarded by a jury against Children's Hospital Colorado is believed to be the biggest malpractice verdict in Colorado's history.

Why did Wisconsin's medical malpractice claims drop to a record low?

Why did Wisconsin's medical malpractice claims drop to a record low?

The state's Medical Mediation Panels also saw a significant drop. Only 118 complaints were filed last year, the lowest in the history of the panels.

Fatal error in admission orders leads to lawsuit

Fatal error in admission orders leads to lawsuit

A clinician is sued despite catching an overprescribed medication in a patient's admission orders.

Missed drug side effect turns toxic

Missed drug side effect turns toxic

One clinician misdiagnoses an adverse effect of a drug prescribed by another.

Mammogram referral
 results not conveyed

Mammogram referral
 results not conveyed

A patient was referred 
for a mammogram, but 
clinicians fail to follow up on the report.

Rectal exam tried as 
assault

Rectal exam tried as 
assault

Informed consent becomes muddled during an emergency to check 
for spinal injury.

Misdiagnosis leads to fatal emergency

Misdiagnosis leads to fatal emergency

A young man dies when 
an emergent condition 
is mistaken for a 
nonemergent one.

Untreated ischemia in limb leads to negligence lawsuit

Untreated ischemia in limb leads to negligence lawsuit

Clinicians missed several opportunities to advocate for their patient, leading to the loss of a leg.

Exam brings trouble for 
school nurse

Exam brings trouble for 
school nurse

A visual check of a 
student was deemed 
an "unreasonable 
search" under the 
Fourth Amendment.

Medical error arises from lack of awareness

Medical error arises from lack of awareness

A clinician who did not know a certain policy causes a chemotherapy problem.

Miscommunication delays breast cancer test results

Miscommunication delays breast cancer test results

Following up on test ­findings is a key part of delivering quality patient care and 
minimizing liability.

Know your Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act policies

Know your Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act policies

Emergency department staff was unaware of special guidelines for chest pain.

A mistake or medical malpractice?

A mistake or medical malpractice?

A case against a clinician raises the question 
of whether the error 
constitutes malpractice.

Comments in chart lead to a lawsuit

Comments in chart lead to a lawsuit

A clinician's opinions about a patient, noted in the patient's chart, become grounds for charges of defamation.

Missed signs of infection after injury

Missed signs of infection after injury

A young man dies after septic arthritis of the hip is misdiagnosed as a muscle strain or bursitis.

Brain injury caused by ear surgery

Brain injury caused by ear surgery

Intracranial bleeding and pressure after removal of an acoustic neuroma leads to permanent damage.

An infection
 leads to blindness

An infection
 leads to blindness

Significant facial edema and redness is misdiagnosed as an allergic reaction — with drastic consequences.

Hospitals take privacy seriously

Hospitals take privacy seriously

A clinician is terminated from her job for accessing patient information that was beyond her purview.

Negligence in the 
pharmacy

Negligence in the 
pharmacy

When a prescription is unclear, supporting clinicians 
engage in guesswork to decipher the dosage.

Unidentified sepsis leads to death

Unidentified sepsis leads to death

Emergency clinicians improperly attended to a bacterial infection in a patient with no spleen.

Clinician charged with battery after routine test

Clinician charged with battery after routine test

A young NP performs a routine procedure against the patient's express wishes and winds up in court.

Wrongful death case dismissed

Wrongful death case dismissed

Two clinicians fail to 
follow up after referring a patient with significant prostatic symptoms.

Facets of HIPAA 
compliance

Facets of HIPAA 
compliance

An inadvertent mistake in transferring a patient's records reveals his HIV status to his employer.

Questioning the doctor's orders

Questioning the doctor's orders

A strong dose of an opioid administered to a woman recovering from surgery causes permanent damage.

Teen suicide prompts an investigation

Teen suicide prompts an investigation

A clinician prescribes 
an antidepressant to a 
young woman without immediate follow-up.

Swine flu crisis stirs vaccine debate

Swine flu crisis stirs vaccine debate

In response to a federal initiative, a school clinician immunizes a child—but without parental consent.

Severe colon cancer goes undetected

Severe colon cancer goes undetected

A clinician finds herself culpable after agreeing to an unorthodox ­arrangement with a patient.

"Do not 
resuscitate" stops CPR

"Do not 
resuscitate" stops CPR

An elderly man opted for "no heroics" if things went wrong in surgery, but his family felt differently.

Fraudulent practices set off alarms

Fraudulent practices set off alarms

What do you do when patient charts have been changed after the fact and medication doses altered?

Dispensing the wrong medication

Dispensing the wrong medication

An eager, young clinician makes a serious mistake that causes a heart attack.

A critical mistake in the ED

A critical mistake in the ED

Who is at fault when an unattended patient is found cyanotic and unresponsive?

Incorrect 
triage caused critical delay

Incorrect 
triage caused critical delay

A woman in her early 60s presented with chest pain and was miscategorized in the emergency department.

Do HIPAA rules apply to family?

Do HIPAA rules apply to family?

One nurse found out the hard way that any breach of privacy is grounds for dismissal.

Fire in the operating room

Fire in the operating room

A lack of communication
 between a surgeon 
and an anesthetist has disastrous consequences.

Pancreatitis leads to foot amputation

Pancreatitis leads to foot amputation

Was a clinician negligent in the administration of a standard drug used for treating pancreatitis?

How do you handle the parents?

How do you handle the parents?

A steadfast clinician gets into trouble when she examines a minor without express verbal consent.

Lawsuit 
follows IV injection

Lawsuit 
follows IV injection

A patient undergoing 
myocardial perfusion 
imaging claims the IV 
led to nerve damage.

A clinician breaks the cardinal rule

A clinician breaks the cardinal rule

A serious accident during a patient's discharge leads to potentially life-threatening injuries and a lawsuit.

A patient ignores a suspicious breast lump

A patient ignores a suspicious breast lump

When a patient does 
not comply with medical 
recommendations, how 
do you protect yourself?

Navigating a negligence lawsuit

Navigating a negligence lawsuit

A nurse's careless mishandling of medical 
evidence jeopardizes a criminal rape case and causes undue emotional harm.

A urologist is sued after failure to take a complete history

A urologist is sued after failure to take a complete history

Post-surgical complications from a routine procedure and lack of follow-up land a clinician in court.

Use caution providing medical advice via telephone

Use caution providing medical advice via telephone

A young clinician working 
in a depressed urban area gives medical advice over the phone to a mother concerned about her child's abdominal pain, and then must pay the consequences.

Painful BP cuff leads to arm injury

Painful BP cuff leads to arm injury

Can a clinician be sued for battery if a patient objects to a medical treatment, even after giving consent?

A nurse oversteps clinic's privacy policy

A nurse oversteps clinic's privacy policy

An eager, young clinician learns the hard way that discretion is the first rule of law in medicine.

Oregon streamlines physician assistant licensure process

The new licensure process will be based on a practice agreement developed in conjunction with a supervising physician and filed with the Oregon Medical Board, eliminating archaic language that required that each PA's scope of practice and supervision requirements be determined by the state medical board.

North Carolina caps malpractice damages

House overrides governor's veto, limiting malpractice awards for noneconomic damages to $500,000.

Illinois passes 'Patients' Right to Know Act'

Patients will soon have access to detailed clinician histories online, including information on past malpractice lawsuits.

Coding and billing: keeping an eye on the bottom line

In an ideal world all we would have to think about is good medicine, but in the real world with the current healthcare system, keeping an eye on the bottom line is part of our job.

A misstep online: when a blog hurts

A misstep online: when a blog hurts

Navigating social media is especially tough for young professionals. Did a nursing student cross the line?

When tests are clearly necessary

When tests are clearly necessary

Two clinicians failed to refer a longstanding patient, even though they knew of a history of familial risk.

Signs clearly show cardiac concern

Signs clearly show cardiac concern

Tragedy strikes when a clinician signs an athlete's release form without waiting for test results.

Social media etiquette for health care providers

Working in the health care profession means that the white coat never comes off. Clinicians need to be aware of appropriate online etiquette when using social media websites.

Joining professional medical organizations

Being part of a state or national medical organization can help you advocate for your profession, promote access to care and improve the healthcare system, along with other perks.

Partial limb amputation causes suit

Partial limb amputation causes suit

Undetected vascular disease reaches its apex while a man is vacationing. Is the on-call clinician to blame?

Patient haunted by misdiagnosis

Patient haunted by misdiagnosis

A middle-aged man suffers a devastating stroke when his clinicians fail to pick up on his symptoms.

Referral to a specialist not in time

Referral to a specialist not in time

Did a patient die because her clinicians waited too long before referring her to a wound-care clinic?

Bruises on a young boy signal abuse

Bruises on a young boy signal abuse

A busy clinician sees a clear-cut case of harm, but will her clinical notes hold up in court?

Preventable medical errors still abound

Despite widespread programs and initiatives, medical errors still common.

Should patients be notified about exhausted surgeons?

Study finds that sleep deprivation can have as much of an impact as alcohol intoxication on psychomotor and clinical performance.

After four years of decline, malpractice suits increase in Ohio

After four years of decline, malpractice suits increase in Ohio

More than three quarters of medical malpractice cases in 2009 resulted in no indemnity payment.

A delusional patient looks for help

A delusional patient looks for help

Are family practitioners to blame when a clinically depressed patient succeeds in ending his life?

Dysuria is the first sign of trouble

Dysuria is the first sign of trouble

When a clinician fails to order a repeat PSA test for a patient with suspected prostatitis, legal issues arise.

Facilitating productive meetings

No one wants to hear staff groan and grumble that they're going to yet another useless meeting. Read these tips and learn how to make it run smoothly.

Complaints of patient dismissed

Complaints of patient dismissed

A thoughtless comment in a high-maintenance patient's file puts a clinician at a great disadvantage.

Writing for publication

Helpful tips and advice for getting your medical article published.

Pneumonia leads to organ failure

Pneumonia leads to organ failure

Should the clinicians be held responsible for failing to offer revaccination to a high-risk patient?

Teen athlete has a tragic accident

Teen athlete has a tragic accident

Was the school clinician to blame for not keeping him from playing after he suffered a head injury?

Developing strong professional networks

There are many advantages to developing a strong network of colleagues. That network should include nurse practitioners, physician assistants and physicians.

Lab worker stabbed with dirty needle

Lab worker stabbed with dirty needle

Was the staff at fault for not warning that the patient was HIV-positive and had hepatitis C?

Missed clues may have led to tragedy

Missed clues may have led to tragedy

A simple lab test could have detected the high levels of amitriptyline in the patient's blood.

Maintaining professionalism and courtesy online

Tips for communicating with e-mail

Clinician's assessment discounted

Clinician's assessment discounted

Cowed by her colleague's dismissive demeanor, an ED nurse fails to voice her concerns to a supervisor.

Signs of stroke were missed by all

Signs of stroke were missed by all

Who should be held liable when a patient who was referred to a specialist suffers a bad outcome?

Preseason examination questioned

Preseason examination questioned

A student-athlete dies when his family history of heart conditions is ignored by the school's staff.

Three tips balancing family and work

Many professionals struggle to find a balance between private life, career, family, and a sense of obligation to contribute to the health-care system as a volunteer.

A flirtatious physician goes too far

A flirtatious physician goes too far

Unwanted attention from a supervisor makes for an unpleasant work environment.

A common symptom turns deadly

A common symptom turns deadly

Was the clinician negligent for allowing a patient with recurrent diarrhea to delay his follow-up appointment?

Early signs of appendicitis are missed

Early signs of appendicitis are missed

The clinician did not recall treating the patient, and the medical record lacked a number of vital details.

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