February 1, 2005 News




New Newsletter, same hospital.  Drew/King in LA continues to make news.  The Board of Supes of LA County has endorsed the idea of looking into a independent Board to oversee all the six County hospitals, including Drew/King. They are having a study performed to see how other areas have done with their separate boards.  The big improvement would be the lack of  civil service to make the firing of negligent staff easier.  

The few supporters of Drew/King blame the LA Times for their reporting as the cause of their problems.  They are wrong.  Their problems are them.  They are not willing to look at themselves in a critical light and correct the problems.  Since they are not willing to do the hard issues, an outside committee must.

It is amazing what it takes to make a hospital get off its a--, and spend money.  LA County Supervisors have finally voted to spend $7.2 million to hire enough psychiatric personnel to do the things in that unit correctly.  What made them finally get off their duff.  MONEY.  They are in danger of losing over $200 million in federal funding and must show some good faith if they have any hope of keeping their funding.

St. Louis University, the trauma center across the river from southern Illinois, has reported a large increase in Illinois residents being transported there for treatment.  The reason is there are very few hospitals in southern Illinois with the capability to treat all trauma victims due to the malpractice crisis.  The people are being transferred with less severe trauma than previously.

At St. Louis Park Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota, there is significant friction between the ousted ED physicians and the replacements from Texas.   The hospital has sued the ousted physicians claiming they threatened the replacements with bodily harm and urged other physician to boycott the hospital. The ultimate loser in this will be the hospital, as they usually are when they do things without the consensus of the medical staff.  This will be the Midwest version of the Community Hospital fiasco in Ventura, California.  That one cost the Medical Director and the CEO their jobs and the hospital big bucks in legal costs and lost profits. It also was the catalyst for the new law that mandates all medical staffs are separate entities and are allowed to have their own attorney, no matter the policy of the owners of the hospital.  The State Attorney General is also looking into the use of a for profit corporation that has the new ED physicians.  These are illegal in Minnesota. 

After two weeks with the Texas based ED physicians, Methodist received a surprise inspection from the Joint.  This resulted in Methodist and the Texas group rescinding their agreement and the hospital re-hiring their old ED physicians back on staff. It is surprising what the power of the medical staff and nurses can do the plans of hospital when the staff is not consulted.  Methodist is now one embarrassed puppy.

 The Medical College of Georgia has done a smart thing.  They found out after the fact that a patient operated on there had possible Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease. They then closed down all their operating rooms and did a special sterilization of all their instruments to prevent any transmission of the disease to others.  The also informed over 500 people that they may have been exposed to the disease.  

St. Mary's Hospital in Palm beach, Florida, has lost its last cardiologists.  This is bad for any hospital but for a trauma center it means closing its trauma doors.  St. Mary's has a large number of indigent patients which has forced 12 cardiologists to leave the  hospital in the past year.  the hospital won't pay the cardiologists as they did their neurosurgeons so they will loose the remaining eight.  The hospital has not yet notified the state of the change in their cardiology program .  The cardiologists have stopped accepting new patients from the hospital and have given a ninety day notice.    Top


The Kaiser Family Foundation, not related to Kaiser Health Systems, has conducted a new survey as to what the public believes is the major problems in the med mal arena.  About 1/3 believe it is frivolous law suits.  Another 15 % believe it is the insurers wanting higher profits and another 15% believe it is unwarranted claims.  Only 11% believe it is too many medical mistakes.  The public would by an overwhelming majority of 72% would favor expert opinion prior to filing and almost 2/3 would limit the amount that could be awarded.        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.