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Week in Review

by Kroger Burrus on June 2nd, 2013

Kroger | Burrus Week in Review

CASES

Bailey v. Amaya Clinic
A weight-loss patient who fell from a vibrating exercise machine sued her treating physician and the weight loss clinic. The physician and clinic sought dismissal on the basis that her expert reports were inadequate. The trial court noted some deficiencies in these reports but refused to dismiss. The defendants argued on appeal that an orthopedic physician was not qualified as an expert because he had no experience with vibrating exercise machines. The Houston appellate court held that his experience with other rehabilitative exercise equipment qualified him. The Court held a dermatologist who did not have experience with weight loss treatment was not qualified. The experts’ description of how the defendants breached the standard of care by permitting a woman with ambulatory difficulty to dismount the equipment was held adequate.

University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston v. Qi
A patient who delivered a stillborn child filed suit complaining of a failed diagnosis of preeclampsia and a failure to admit her for elevated blood pressure. The defendant health science center sought dismissal on the basis of sovereign immunity. The patient argued that an exception to immunity applicable to cases involving the use of tangible property applied because of the employee’s use of blood pressure cuffs. The center argued the waiver to immunity did not apply because the patient’s complaint was not that the blood pressure cuffs were used improperly, but rather that the information produced by the equipment was not read properly. The Houston appellate court held that sovereign immunity was not waived because the claim did not involve misuse of tangible property; it involved medical judgment concerning information produced by property and information is not tangible property.

NEWS

Texas Medical Center Could See Increase in Nurse Practitioners
The Texas Legislature has passed a bill that would increase the number of nurse practitioners a physician may supervise from four to seven, which some expect will lead to the hiring of more nurse practitioners to help address a shortage of primary care doctors.

CHRISTUS Santa Rosa to Open Mental Health Facility for Elderly
CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital-Medical Center will open a new mental health facility for the elderly in San Antonio this week. The Senior Behavioral Health Center will provide short-term inpatient care for patients over 65 who have a primary psychiatric illness.

Methodist Hospital Plans 68,000-square-foot Expansion
Methodist Hospital has announced plans for a 68,000-square-foot expansion that will double the facility’s outpatient facilities and add 14 operating rooms at the Methodist Cancer Center. Methodist is also considering building a full-service inpatient hospital in the Woodlands/Spring corridor.

Doctors in Training Spending Less Time With Patients
Doctors in training spend an average of eight minutes with each patient, far less time than new physicians spent with patients in the past. The trend is attributed to limits placed on how many hours residents may work, as well as time constraints related to filling out electronic health records and other tasks.

Study Finds Over 40% of Patients Treated for COPD Did Not Have Disease
More than 40% of patients being treated for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at a federally funded clinic did not have the disease or any obstruction, while another 23% had a reversible obstruction more characteristic of asthma than COPD.

Do BSN Nurses Provide Better Care?
A paper published in March linked the number of baccalaureate degrees among nurses to lower rates of postsurgery mortality, concluding that hospitals in Pennsylvania that had 10% more nurses with BSN degrees had 2.12 fewer deaths per 1,000 post-op patients. Some have questioned whether these results might reflect that that nurses with BSN degrees are attracted to better hospitals and noted the need for more clinical experience during nursing school.

Administration Expects Robust Competition in Health Insurance Markets
Most people who enter the health law reform’s exchanges next year will have at least five insurance companies to choose from, according to the Obama administration, and competition among insurers is expected to help drive down prices and help offset some factors that tend to increase premiums.

Medicare Solvent Through 2026
Medicare’s hospital trust will not be exhausted until 2026, two years later than projected last year. Experts have attributed the improved financial outlook to a slowdown in health care spending, as well as on lower projected costs for popular insurance plans available for Medicare.

Study Finds Women Less Likely to Contract Bloodstream, Surgical Site Infections
A study from Columbia University School of Nursing found that the odds for a woman succumbing to a bloodstream infection or surgical-site infection were significantly lower than for men. One possible explanation for the disparity may be biological differences in the skin of men and women that results in greater bacterial colonization of the skin surrounding central venous catheters on men.

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