Articles Posted in Doctor-Patient Relationship

Patients, politicians, and regulators may find it tough to believe, so they need sharp periodic reminders: While there are many terrific, dedicated doctors working today, there also are some truly terrible ones. And dealing with the harms of medical malpractice by the incompetent and abusive can require courage and vigilance.

  • Perhaps a new, streamed Hollywood serial — starring the likes of Alec Baldwin, Christian Slater, AnnaSophia Robb, and Joshua Jackson — can underscore for the public how grisly the results can be until a rare criminal prosecution derails the likes of Christopher Duntsch, a Dallas surgeon so grim he is nicknamed “Dr. Death?”

Coronavirus infections have increased in just a week by 70%, with hospitalizations increasing 36% and deaths rising by 26%.

Public health officials blame the Delta variant for fueling the latest surge in the coronavirus pandemic, the New York Times reported, noting:

aidpoor-300x200Cash is king. That truism may hold for thrifty savers and businesses and individuals buffeted by economic uncertainty. But this realistic view also may be turned on its head for poorer, uninsured patients trying to cope with bankrupting medical bills.

That’s because hospitals — a leading driver of health care costs — gouge with their premium prices those who pay with cash, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The newspaper, working with previously secret pricing data that institutions across the country must disclose now, has given consumers yet another eye-popping view of the elasticity of hospital charges and how they punish the poor:

jJlogo-300x139boyscouts-261x300juullogo-150x150No matter what the carping critics may claim about the shortcomings of the civil justice system, when Big Tobacco, Big Pharma, and big organizations exploit and harm the vulnerable, lawsuits and what follows may provide a  concrete, productive way for the wronged to see remedy and recompense for injuries inflicted on them.

Recent news articles provide more than a billion bits of evidence why, even in terse summaries of what has occurred in big, complex cases:

  • The Boy Scouts, for example, have agreed to an $850 million settlement to try to resolve thousands of suits seeking to hold the venerable youth organization responsible for failing to police its ranks to remove sexual predators and prevent the sexual abuse of minors. Lawyers connected with the cases say the agreements they have struck may result in one of the highest payouts in U.S. legal history for sexual abuse claims involving children — and it opens the way to further payouts from insurers that will only add to the whopping costs of the Scouts’ decades of ignoring or trying to cover up grownups’ gross and unacceptable misbehavior. The settlement offers a painful reminder of how many colleges and universities, as well as the Catholic Church have been ripped by costly, terrible scandals involving sexual abuse of the young.

billsmedical1-300x200Federal regulators have taken a welcome initial step to bar insurers and health care providers from holding patients hostage in their all-too-common fee fights, with draft rules out now to crush “surprise” medical bills.

The politically riven, do-nothing Congress shocked critics by ending 2020 with an actual new law, included in legislation dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, that gave patients new protection from nightmares created when insurers and big corporation sought to reduce their health care costs with so-called narrow networks of pre-approved health care providers.

This scheme allowed insurers and companies to negotiate with doctors, labs, hospitals, and others for preferential prices, and, effectively, guarantees of patient business, in exchange. Patients began howling when their long-time caregivers were excluded from insurer networks, which also often also excluded big-name practitioners as well as well-known academic medical centers and big hospitals.

devicemakerdocpay-300x225Billions of dollars have flown from medical device makers to specialists performing back, spine, knee, and hip surgeries, with unsavory cash and practices also accompanying that fiscal tide.

Industry officials and doctors defend the sizable and growing payment program, saying it results in better medical hardware that ultimately benefits patients, the independent, nonpartisan Kaiser Health News service reported. Data show the bulk of payments from medical-device makers to doctors were for royalties and licensing of products and consulting on them.

But investigative reporters Fred Schulte and Elizabeth Lucas have found that the enriching bonanza concerns regulators, ethicists, and patient advocates:

usawaterpolo-150x150It may be time to rewrite that country western tune and advise mommas maybe to not let their babies grow up to be athletes,  because of the rising chance that they may be sexually mistreated at high amateur levels, even with the complicity of legendary coaches now stained by ugly legacies of abuse.

The disturbing and increasing problems affecting young female and male athletes were only fueled further by a $14 million settlement reached by women in California over five years’ of wrongdoing in a program approved by the sport’s governing body USA Water Polo.

boschembechler-150x150The nightmarish accusations involving an abusive health service doctor and men in the athletic programs at the University of Michigan, meantime, took a grimmer turn with further tawdry revelations about football coach Bo Schembechler by his adopted son and his onetime players.

cnnhoustonvaxprotest-300x169In the crunch to quell the coronavirus pandemic and to do so by getting as many people as possible their protective shots, public health officials consistently have stressed a big V in the national vaccination campaign: Voluntary.

But as hundreds of millions of people around the globe have willingly gotten them and the vaccines have shown to be overwhelmingly safe and effective, the unvaccinated may get leaned on with more than pleas, nudges, and incentives.

They may notice this quiet push in the workplace, especially if they hold health-related jobs, and at schools. The result may be to resurface the fiery and counter-factual anti-vaccination extremism in the country.

javaid-300x169A 70-year-old obstetrician-gynecologist likely will spend the rest of his life in jail. A federal judge sentenced Dr. Javaid Perwaiz to 59 years’ imprisonment for a decade-long spree of enriching himself by practicing costly, unneeded, and harmful medicine on women in the Hampton Roads, Virginia, area.

As the Washington Post reported of the heinous acts that prosecutors proved at trial that Perwaiz committed:

“Several of [his] former patients testified that he performed procedures and surgeries they did not need — and that in some cases left them with permanent physical damage — so that he could collect their insurance money. Prosecutors said he gave his patients unnecessary, irreversible hysterectomies; improper sterilizations; and other procedures, including regular dilation and curettages that he called ‘annual cleanouts’ …  The doctor would perform diagnostic procedures with broken equipment, prosecutors said, and scare patients into surgery by telling them they had cancer when they did not.”

michigan-300x158Big Blue has hundreds of reasons to be red-faced about a 240-page, independent inquiry that offers disturbing, black-and-white evidence that ought to be heeded by higher educational institutions nationwide: Young men can be sexually preyed upon by doctors, too.

The University of Michigan, in fact, ignored four decades of exploitative and abusive conduct by Robert Anderson, a team doctor, member of the medical school faculty, and senior physician in the student health service, the investigators reported.

He performed hundreds of invasive, unnecessary, and outright perverse exams on UM students, most of them male. Many were athletes on the school’s nationally known teams or who disclosed to the doctor that they were gay.

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