When someone is severely or fatally harmed due to medical errors the first concern should always be about the patient and their families. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case as many hospitals immediately engage in the "deny and defend" model. This approach just makes the experience that much more difficult for the victims of medical errors to find out what happened. In fact, most patients never learn that they have been injured due to a medical error. This is corroborated by a recent study that found that 77 percent of 300 primary-care doctors admitted they would not fully disclose to a patient when there had been a delayed breast cancer diagnosis.
Invokana belongs to a relatively new class of type 2 diabetes drugs called SGLT-2 inhibitors, which helps remove excess blood sugar through urine. The FDA just recently required Invokana to include a warning about a high risk of foot and leg amputations in diabetic patients. This change in the required warning is the result of two clinical trials that concluded that leg and foot amputations occurred about twice as often in patients with type 2 diabetes treated with Invokana, which puts a great many diabetic patients using Invokana at risk.
Did you know that a division of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does nothing but review reports regarding adverse events involving prescription, over-the-counter, and generic drugs? The Division of Medication Error Prevention and Analysis (DMEPA) works with other agencies and organizations in an attempt to ensure the safety of patients here in Ohio and elsewhere when it comes to medications. Health care professionals with DMEPA and the other organizations review reports of adverse events to determine what happened and compile the data so that recommendations can be made regarding how to avoid the same mistakes in the future. Despite their efforts, people continue to be seriously or fatally harmed.
On April 12, 2016, the Tenth District granted a new trial to Kay Lynn Pontius on claims of medical negligence relating to her deceased husband. The appellate court determined that Pontius' case was clearly prejudiced by the trial court excluding damaging testimony that the defendant-radiologist's former partner, named Joseph Schultz, M.D., had reviewed the CT scan at issue in the case, and made statements that there were blood clots on the CT scan, that the defendant "blew it," and that "Todd (Pontius) should still be alive today." The Tenth District ruled that these statements were "party admissions" and should have been presented to the jury.
On March 23, 2016, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that any patient data kept by a health care provider, regardless of location, is a medical record that must be released to patients and families. Earlier in the year, we wrote about the dangers of letting medical providers determine what is and is not a "medical record." You can also read an in depth analysis of the court's decision from former judge and University of Cincinnati College of Law professor emerita Marianna Bettman here.
Throughout much of the 20th century, most doctors acted as general practitioners instead of specializing in a particular area of medicine. This was considered to be a holistic approach to medicine that allowed one doctor to manage a patient's care and see them through from start to finish. Of course, this still allowed for a general practitioner to consult with a specialist if a particular issue was outside his "box," but the general practitioner was still the primary doctor and managed the overall care of the patient. In the 1970s and '80s, however, there was a shift in the medical industry where recent medical school graduates chose to pursue specializations instead of going into "general" medicine.