It is a documented fact that frivolous malpractice lawsuits like the one described in the March 2011 Legal Advisor (“Partial limb amputation causes suit”) are as a driving force behind rising health-care costs. It has been found that within malpractice suits brought by patients, “approximately one third of claims were without merit in the sense that the alleged adverse outcomes were not attributable to error.” (N Engl J Med. 2006;354:2024-2033)

Had the patient in the case noted in the case simply mentioned all of his symptoms, the crisis may have likely been averted. I am hopeful that future advances in health-care and communication technologies will eliminate these types of mistakes. Until then, we must remain confident that clinicians are using their medical education and knowledge to help patients in and out of acute care. — KATHERINE LEE, RN, NNP, PNP, Phoenix (152-14)