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Week in Review

by Kroger Burrus on October 8th, 2013

Kroger | Burrus Week in Review


Babin v. Haynie
The parents of a minor filed suit against his dentist alleging she had placed a crown that was too large and inappropriately removed enamel from another tooth. The defendant dentist moved for dismissal on the basis that the expert report did not adequately address the standard of care. The Houston appellate court found that although the expert report did not include the phrase “standard of care,” it adequately described the expert’s opinions regarding how the applicable standard was breached.

Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth v. Biggers
The parents of a minor who underwent an emergency craniectomy filed suit against the hospital, tissue bank and surgeon involved in his care alleging that improper storage of bone tissue necessitated the use of artificial implants that caused an infection. The Houston appellate court found that although the plaintiffs’ expert claimed familiarity with the storage of tissue at hospitals, his report did not establish that he was familiar with the standard of care for a hospital with regard to tissue storage and preservation. The report also included a single standard of care for all defendants and did not explain why the same standard of care would apply to the hospital, tissue bank, and surgeon.

Texas Board of Nursing v. Krenek
A nurse ordered by the Texas Board of Nursing to refrain from alcohol use for one year sought judicial review. The district court struck the stipulation, finding that there was no evidence that the nurse had abused alcohol and that the Texas Board of Nursing could not prohibit a nurse from using alcohol outside of the work environment except to prevent any effects on her work performance. The Board appealed the district court’s decision. The Austin appellate court dismissed the case as moot on the basis that the nurse had already complied with the stipulation by refraining from alcohol use for one year and submitting to random urinalysis.

Tilllman v. Memorial Hermann Hospital System
A radiology technician who alleges she injured her back while moving a 300-pound patient as a result of a nurse releasing the patient too early filed suit against the hospital. The hospital sought dismissal on the basis that the technician did not file an expert report and the technician argued in response that her complaint was not a health care liability claim. The Houston appellate court found that the claim related to “safety” and qualified as a health care liability claim. It also rejected the technician’s argument that the Texas Medical Liability Act, as applied to injured health care workers, violates the equal-protection guarantees of the Texas and United States constitutions.


Three-Year Medical Programs for Primary Care Considered
Three-year medical programs for primary care physicians are gaining traction, offering an opportunity for physicians to save on tuition and the possibility of helping to address a shortage of primary care practitioners. Opponents of fast-track programs caution that medicine is becoming more complicated and students graduating from a three-year program may be at a disadvantage when competing for residencies.

Antibiotics Unnecessarily Prescribed for Sore Throats, Bronchitis
Although antibiotics are not effective to treat the viruses that cause most sore throats and bronchitis infections, US doctors have continued to inappropriately order antibiotics in the majority of these cases.

‘Cycling’ Antibiotics Might Help Combat Resistance
A recent study has found that the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria may be preventable by cycling patients on to different drugs that have reciprocal sensitivities, potentially expanding the life span of several antibiotics.

Doctors Quick to Order Knee MRIs When They Own a Scanner, Study Finds
Doctors who own or have an interest in MRI scanners tend to refer more knee pain patient for imaging, according to a new study. Although federal law prohibits physicians accepting Medicare patients from owning a stake in an imaging center, an exception applies when the scanner is located in the doctor’s office. Some speculate that the convenience of having an on-site MRI machine has contributed to the higher referral rates.

Study Suggests Link Between Physician Pay and Performance
Results from two recent randomized trials suggest that paying physicians according to how well they do their job could improve patient outcomes. The studies involved incentives for providers who made improvements in areas such as controlling patients’ blood pressure levels.

Some Online Journals Will Publish Fake Science, For A Fee
A sting conducted by the magazine Science found that more than 150 online science journals were willing to publish a fake research article for a fee, despite the inclusion of glaring scientific errors. Many of these journals were designed to appear similar to reputable journals in order to profit off scientists eager to be published.

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