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Doctor Errors Archives

Burnout can lead to physician error

Medical professionals often work long hours due to staff shortages and increased demands on quality healthcare. As a result, many doctors can suffer from "burnout." Physician burnout is caused by chronic stress and can lead to doctor's errors and patient injury. In the United States, medical errors are now the third leading cause of death, with close to 250,000 deaths every year.

Distracted surgery can result in medical errors

Most of us have heard of distracted driving. But what about distracted surgery? One of the most common forms of distraction for Maryland physicians is their cellphones. Doctors who make phone calls, send texts or look at the internet during surgery may be more likely to make mistakes during a surgery, resulting in medical malpractice. However, there are also some benefits to having access to a phone while treating patients.

Study finds mistakes with handwritten opioid prescriptions

When a doctor makes a mistake when treating a patient, the consequences can be devastating. Some of the most common doctor errors occur when a doctor makes a mistake while writing the patient's prescription. A recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins found that handwritten prescriptions for opioids in particular are much less reliable than those that are done electronically.

Better communication may be key to reducing medical errors

Many medical errors seem inexplicable. How did the doctor miss the tumor? Why was the patient discharged too soon? A recent study by members of the faculties at Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality in Maryland has identified an often-ignored source of doctors' errors: lack of effective communication between members of a patient's health care team.

Efforts to cap medical malpractice damages are faltering

Conservative politicians in Maryland and elsewhere have, for years, attempted to limit damages in medical malpractice cases. Hiding these efforts under the vague title of "tort reform," Republicans in both state legislatures and the United States Congress have proposed - and occasionally enacted - laws that limit recovery for non-economic damages to $250,000. Two recent developments show that these efforts to limit damages in medical malpractice suits may be faltering.

A doctor's duty to obtain patient's informed consent to treatment

Most people in Maryland think that medical malpractice involves a doctor's mistake in diagnosing a medical condition or in prescribing treatment or making a mistake in the administration of treatment. Another kind of doctor error is the failure to obtain the patient's informed consent to treatment. Defining the term informed consent is not as simple as it may at first appear.

Malpractice plaintiff gets new trial after appeal

Most medical malpractice plaintiffs profoundly believe that their doctor made a professional mistake during the course of treatment. Losing such a case that alleges physician error often feels like a prize fighter's body blow. An appeal can be taken but, unfortunately, appeals from jury verdicts in medical malpractice cases in Maryland and elsewhere are rarely successful. A happy exception to this general rule recently occurred when an appellate court in a neighboring state reversed the jury's verdict in favor of the defendant doctor and ordered a new trial.

Court rules doctor's error was mere negligence, not malpractice

Healthcare providers are held to a very high standard of care in treating their patients. Any deviation from this standard is usually called medical malpractice. But doctors can also be held liable for failing to adhere to the standard of care that governs lay persons. In Maryland, everyone is required to use reasonable care in driving their car, keeping their sidewalks clear of debris and in virtually every other aspect of their daily lives. An appellate court has recently decided that a physician's operating room error was merely ordinary negligence, not medical malpractice.

Court reinstates verdict of malpractice against psychiatrist

The field of psychiatry is unique among medical specialties in that it rarely produces objective results, such as a blood test, x-ray, MRI scan and the like. Practitioners instead rely upon the patient's subjective statements and their observations of the patient's behavior and demeanor. Nevertheless, the field has established standards of care that can provide the basis for a finding of medical malpractice. In a recent decision, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals reversed the finding of a trial court that set aside the jury's verdict that a psychiatrist erred in discharging a psychiatric patient who was in acute danger of committing suicide.

Boxer's family sues doctor and fight promoters for $50 million

Sporting events rarely give rise to medical malpractice claims, but a unique exception is the boxing match that occurred on October 17, 2015 between Prichard Colon and Terrell Williams. In a lawsuit recently filed in the District of Columbia, the physician who supervised the fight has been sued for medical malpractice by Colon's family for failing to stop the fight.

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