Legal Advisor Archive

HIPAA Violation Derails NP's Career

A HIPAA violation harms the successful career of a healthcare provider and causes problems for her former and current employers.

A Case of Wrongful Termination?

A clinician quits her job but afterward sues for wrongful termination.

Patient Test Results Never Received

A clinician fails to follow up after ordering diagnostic tests for a patient.

Liability After a Missed Diagnosis

A patient dies after a clinician fails to act on signs of a potential case of deep vein thrombosis.

Voiding a Noncompete Clause

A clinician attempts to void a restrictive noncompete clause that she had signed before beginning her current job as an NP.

A Patient Is Mistakenly Told He Is Dying

A clinician shares a patient's incorrect diagnosis with another government agency.

Sexual Harassment at Work

A nurse in a VA facility files a complaint against a clinician, which ends with a criminal conviction.

A dosage change over the phone

A clinician makes a dosage change for a patient during a telephone call, which leads to a lawsuit.

Clinicians in a contract dispute

Two NPs in practice together end up in court after one loses her license.

A patient commits murder

A nurse practitioner is sued by her patient's children after their mother is murdered.

Fired after violating a patient's privacy

A nurse notifies other clinicians that a patient is positive for hepatitis C.

The importance of good notetaking

Taking good notes is one of the most important steps a clinician can take to reduce the risk of a lawsuit.

Birth control leads to a blood clot

A patient presents with chest pain 6 weeks after beginning use of a contraceptive device.

Fired for refusing vaccination

A clinician files a lawsuit against her employer after being fired for refusing Tdap immunization.

A nurse fired for falling asleep on the job

After a nurse is fired for falling asleep at her job at a hospital, she claims that it was in retaliation for taking time off under the FMLA.

Lab results never given to a patient

An NP does not inform her patient about his lab results, which showed extensive kidney damage. He collapsed 2 months later.

A suspicious mole

A clinician's failure to follow up on a patient's mole results in a delayed diagnosis of cancer.

When a referral goes wrong

A clinician misses a differential diagnosis when she refers a patient to a specialist for rectal bleeding.

The frivolous lawsuit

A healthcare provider is sued when a patient is determined to believe that she has more than a sore throat.

A case of misdiagnosed meningitis

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

Chest pain in a woman

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

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

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

Missed blood test results

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

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

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

clinician's prescription

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

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

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

Heart attack misdiagnosed as heartburn

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

of patient 

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

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

Emergency ignored in an alcoholic

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

Complaints not taken 

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

A costly HIPAA 

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

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

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

Referral misses 

A patient overdoses when communication breaks down between clinicians.

Outpatient care results in lawsuit

Serious complications 
follow a decision not to hospitalize a patient.

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 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

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?

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

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

Missed drug side effect turns toxic

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

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 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hospitals take privacy seriously

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

Negligence in the 

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

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

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

Wrongful death case dismissed

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

Facets of HIPAA 

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

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

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

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

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

"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

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

Dispensing the wrong medication

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

A critical mistake in the ED

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

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?

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

Fire in the operating room

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

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?

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

follows IV injection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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