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Week in Review

by Kroger Burrus on February 11th, 2014

Kroger | Burrus Week in Review


Chadha v. Rothert
A patient filed suit against the physician who treated her for hand, hip, and neck pain and a hospital, alleging she lost her vision due to a missed diagnosis of temporal arteritis. The Austin appellate court affirmed the trial court’s denial of the hospital’s motion to dismiss, finding that the patient’s expert adequately described his opinion that the treating physician should have recognized that an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate was a major abnormality indicating temporal arteritis.

Northeast Methodist Hospital v. Dewey
A hospital visitor alleging he was injured by a sliding electric door filed a premises liability claim without filing a Chapter 74 expert report. The San Antonio appellate court joined recent appellate court decisions in Beaumont, Corpus Christi, Texarkana, and Dallas, distinguishing the Texas Supreme Court’s decision in Texas West Oaks and ruling that because the claim was not even indirectly related to health care it was not a health care liability claim subject to Chapter 74’s provisions.

CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health Care Corporation v. Vasquez
A patient’s family filed suit against a hospital and issued a Chapter 74 expert report prior to the 120 day deadline. The hospital filed objections and a motion to dismiss on the basis that the expert and his report were inadequate. The San Antonio appellate court affirmed the trial court’s denial of the motion to dismiss, noting that although the hospital had to file its objections within 21 days, the trial court could not grant or deny a motion to dismiss until the 120 day deadline to file an expert report had passed.


Study Suggests Some Interventions for Prolonged Childbirths Unnecessary
A recent study suggests that epidural anesthesia can lengthen the second stage of labor longer that generally recognized, and some women may be subject to unnecessary interventions by physicians concerned that labor has become prolonged. The findings indicate clinicians may need to wait longer before intervening with oxytocin, forceps, vacuum, or a cesarean.

 Severe Flu Season May be Responsible for Saline Shortage
Hospitals across the nation are facing a shortage of intravenous saline, which may be attributable to a spike in flue cases in recent weeks. Frustration over the shortage has prompted at least one hospital to ask the government to release saline from its emergency stockpiles.

Medical Identity Theft on the Rise
Medical-related identity theft accounted for 43% of all identity thefts reported in the United States in 2013. Victims have reported having their identity’s stolen by thieves seeking medical treatment and prescription drugs, and in one instance by a psychiatrist who created false diagnoses of drug addiction and depression to submit fraudulent medical insurance claims.

Legislators Reach Deal on Medicare Payment Overhaul
Lawmakers in Washington have reached a bipartisan agreement that would replace the current Medicare system for paying physicians that would increase payments by 0.5% each year over the next five years. Legislators must still agree on a method to pay for the proposed fix, which could cost as much as $150 billion.

Insurers Report Losses, But Gain Younger Members Under 40
Humana has reported that it lost money in the fourth quarter of 2013 and a drop in membership, but has also had younger than expected enrollees sign up for insurance after federal health law reforms took effect. Cigna has also reported a fourth-quarter profit dip. Aetna has announced it expects to lose money on its business in the health-law marketplace this year, with the demographics of enrollees skewing more than expected toward people likely to generate higher costs.

Study Finds Home Births Tied to Higher Infant Death Rate
The potential for neonatal death was about four times higher for children delivered at home by a midwife compared to children delivered by a midwife at a hospital, according to a recent study. According to experts, home births lack the advantage of readily available access to critical care for when complications arise. Between 2004 and 2009, the number of home births in the United States has increased by 29%.

Older Nurses Favored Over Recent Graduates
Nurses licensed in 2010 or 2011 were less likely to work in hospitals than nurses licensed in 2004 or 2005, according to a survey of 34 states. Nurses who were expected to retire and open up positions at hospitals have not done so, likely because of the economy, according to the study’s authors.

TV Series ‘House’ Helps Solve Real Medical Mystery
A German physician recently diagnosed a case of cobalt poisoning caused by a patient’s artificial hip after recognizing that his symptoms mirrored those of a patient in an episode of the medical drama ‘House.’

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