Patients v Awaad
In a law suit filed by multiple parents against Dr. Yasser Awaad and his employer Oakwood Hospital and Medical Center in Dearborn, Michigan, the judge has asked the two sides to do more to reach a settlement. The suit has been going on for over two years. The physician, a pediatric neurologist, has been accused of intentionally diagnosing wrongly hundreds or thousands of children with epilepsy. This caused the children to be placed on medication they did not need. The question is how much the hospital knew and did they do anything to stop the physician who the attorneys state was doing it to increase his salary. The physician left the country in 2007 and is now practicing in Saudi Arabia. Awaad was the top paid physician at the hospital in 2005 where is base pay was $250,000 and his incentive pay for bringing patients to the hospital was an additional $350,000.
Jurevicius v Cleveland Clinic
Joe Jurevicius, a receiver for the Cleveland Browns, had knee surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. He developed a staph infection and needed multiple surgeries to get rid of the infection. His football career was over. He sued the Browns and the Clinic for unsterile techniques. Five other Browns also developed Staph infections but he was the only one allowed to proceed to trial. The settlement was for an undisclosed amount.
Patients v Harlem Hospital
This is the case of the 5000 echocardiograms which were never read by a physician. The techs made the decision which echoes were to be read and the rest were just filed. There was a problem with staffing as there was only one cardiologist on staff and he could not read all the echoes performed. The echoes have now been read by cardiologists and all but 14 were normal. Twelve of the 14 people have been contacted and are OK. The other two have not been able to be contacted to date. Top
Nurses v Tri-City Med Ctr
The Oceanside, California, hospital fired five nurses for their Facebook for potential HIPAA violations. The problem is their investigation has shown no personal information on any site. The Union is now fighting for the continued employment of these suspended nurses. The nurses have not had their required hearing as yet.
Patients v Palomar Pomerado Health
The two Southern California hospitals and an ASC has sent letters to 3400 patients that instruments used on them for arthroscopy may not have been properly sterilized. They recommend the patients have follow-up tests for potential infections. They left out some steps in the sterilization process that was recommended by the manufacturer of the instruments.
US v Health Alliance of Greater
The Alliance as well as Fort Hamilton Hospital, University Hospital and physician's group University Internal Medicine Associates settled with the feds for $2.6 million. This is the second settlement in a month for the Alliance as they were also involved in the Christ Hospital settlement of $108 million last month. The allegations are similar. The physician group agreed to perform their cardiology procedures at the hospitals because the hospitals needed to increase their procedures to become certified. This meant that patients were referred to the Associates instead of the cardiologists of their choice, a federal offense. The suit was a whistleblower cardiologist who will receive $468,000.
US v Minn. Rural Health
The group was accused of price fixing by the FTC. The physicians and the hospitals in the cooperative agreed to not use coercion in the negotiations with insurers. They internally agreed to prices they would agree to and then refused to deal with those who would not meet those prices. There are 25 hospitals and about 75 physicians in the cooperative. They must also renegotiate all current contracts. Top
Nigro v Va. Common. Univ Med
Dr. Nigro, a former Family Practice resident was dismissed from the program and sued for discrimination and retaliation. The court agreed with the Resident that some of the statements made may be defamatory. The other claims were dismissed. In particular the court stated that there is no constitutional protected claim to in pursuing a particular area of study. She did show that similarly situated males were allowed to continue.
Jablonsky v Sierra Kings Health
Dr. Jablonsky was terminated from the staff of the hospital and sued. The suit was not sufficient to state a claim and the court dismissed the suit after allowing time for a resubmission.
Singh v Pocono Med
In a blow to hospitals the federal district court stated that since Congress had left out a peer review document privilege from HCQIA the court would not insert one. Dr. Singh was hired by Pocono and found inappropriate cardiac procedures being preformed. He complained and then was retaliated against by the hospital. The usual way hospitals react when they may be losing money. Singh sued under the whistleblower protections and in discovery asked for documents. The hospital said they were protected under Pennsylvania law. This is a federal court and there is no federal peer review privilege.
Bryson v Haywood Regional Med Ctr.
The physician sued stating she had been fired due to patient care complaints she made to the hospital. She asked during discovery for internal documents on six cases as well as the communication between the hospital and an outside peer review company on the cases. The court stated the hospital must prove that the requested documents are part of a medical review committee's proceedings, were protected by the medical review committee or were considered by the medical review committee. The court stated that since the hospital did not reveal the identity of the recipient of the internal documents as members of a medical review committee they would not be protected. The hospital also did not present evidence that the outside company was a peer review organization or why they were authored they also were not protected.
Yatco v Nanticoke Memorial
The physician sued the hospital because his privileges to do carotid endarterectomy had been removed. The problem was not that the surgeon's privileges had been removed but that the procedure itself had been removed by the hospital's board. This is legitimate as a valid business decision. Top
Process Steel v NLRB
This is an important case in the medical field since all actions taken by the NLRB in the two years there were only two members have been declared null. The Court in a 5-4 decision decided Congress had not declared that only two people could make the decisions so all are void. Congress had said three make up a quorum.
Golden State Restaurant Assn V San
The Supreme Court did not accept the case for review allowing the lower court decision to stand. This means that the businesses of San Francisco will have to pay for the healthcare of the people who lacked health insurance. Again San Francisco has shown that it is an anti business community (See Recent News). The Court did not state why it would not take the case. The new health bill will not cover illegals but the San Francisco plan does. Top
Patients v Anthem Blue Cross
Over 200,000 Blue Cross customers in California were advised that their private information had been breached. It was a screw up by the company that allowed the viewing. They offered a free one year identity protection service. Most of those viewing the information were attorneys in a class action suit. The attorneys have returned the information to a custodian of the court.
Now parent Wellpoint has notified 470,000 people that their information may have been compromised. To date in the country over 256 million records have been compromised. Ain't tech wonderful. Top
Australia v Patel
Dr. Jayant Patel finally got his well deserved time in court. Dr. Patel was in medical school in India and then came to the US. He had a surgical residency in New York. New York fined him for doing surgery without a preliminary examination. He next showed up at Kaiser in Portland, Oregon. They did not remove him but took away his privileges in liver and pancreatic surgery. This was after 79 complaints. Kaiser moves slowly. The Oregon Medical Board then cited him for gross negligence. He fled to Australia where an investigation was started after he screwed up more surgeries. He again fled to Oregon and was extradited back to Australia to stand trial. He is now convicted of three counts of manslaughter and one of causing grievous bodily harm. He is now in custody and will be sentenced later. Top
DISCLAIMER: Although this article is updated periodically, it reflects the author's point of view at the time of publication. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. Readers should consult with their own legal counsel before acting on any of the information presented.