Special Edition Legal Case Study
Healthcare Professionals and Medical Malpractice: A Case Study with Risk Management Strategies
Medical malpractice claims can be asserted against any healthcare provider. Although there may be a perception that physicians are held responsible for the majority of lawsuits, the reality is that healthcare professionals, including physical therapists, pharmacists and counselors are more frequently finding themselves defending the care they provide.
Case Study: Improper Performance Using Therapeutic Exercise
The patient (plaintiff) was a nine year old child with cerebral palsy who had undergone extensive surgery for correction of bilateral ankle contractures. He was referred back to physical therapy following removal of the casts from both legs. In addition to his surgery, the patient had a history of balance problems, as well as pain and weakness on his right side. He was well known to the physical therapist (defendant) who had provided his strengthening and balance therapy prior to surgery. Read the Full Case with Risk Management Recommendations
Read Previous Issues of the HPSO Special Edition Legal Case Study: Physical Therapist Edition
Case Study: Alleged dispensing of wrong drug resulting in the premature delivery of a 23 week old fetus with subsequent brain damage
The patient (plaintiff) was a 23-year old female who was 23weeks pregnant and had been experiencing slight vaginal bleeding with a suspected inadequate cervix. She was admitted to the inpatient obstetrical unit for observation and bed rest. Her physician ordered a progesterone suppository to stop the bleeding. Read the Full Case with Risk Management Recommendations
Read Previous Issues of the HPSO Special Edition Legal Case Study: Pharmacist Edition
Case Study: Alleged incorrect diagnosis, breach of confidentiality and improper recommendation to the client's wife that she seek family protective services
The defendant counselor deemed the husband to be at risk for injuring himself and further believed he was at significant risk for injuring his wife and his children. The defendant counselor recommended that the wife obtain assistance from family protective services and the wife did so. Upon the advice of the family protective services counselor, the wife moved with the children to a location several hundred miles away from the husband and subsequently filed for divorce. Read the Full Case with Risk Management Recommendations
Read Previous Issues of the HPSO Special Edition Legal Case Study: Counselors Edition
April 2012 Legal Case Study
|Failure to Properly Follow-Up on Breech Position of Fetus at Thirty-Eight Weeks Gestation - Discharge when Contractions Felt - Baby Partially Delivered at Home Less Than an Hour After Discharge - Stillbirth|
The plaintiff mother saw the defendant obstetrician regularly throughout her pregnancy with her fourth child. In late September 2006 the plaintiff, at thirty-eight weeks and two days, came to the defendant’s office. The practice was for the physician to see all obstetric patients who were past thirty-six weeks gestation. On this day the doctor was at the hospital and the mother was given the option of being examined by the defendant physician assistant or rescheduling to see the physician. The plaintiff chose to be seen by the physician assistant.
While performing a digital exam, the physician assistant did not feel the baby’s head, so a sonogram was performed and the baby’s head was not down. The physician’s assistant told the mother to return in one week for the physician to re-check the fetal position. A notation was made in the chart that the baby was breech.
The plaintiff was given detailed instructions on what to do if she believed she was in labor. The plaintiff’s cervix was closed at this visit. Although the physician’s practice was for the physician’s assistant to report any problems to the physician regarding patients which were seen by the physician’s assistant, this visit was not mentioned to the doctor and the doctor did not review the chart.
On the day prior to the scheduled visit, at nearly midnight, the mother went to the hospital with contractions. She was examined and treated by a labor and delivery nurse, who fond the cervix fingertip dilated and the fetal heart rate reassuring. The nurse reported the results of her exam and discharge was authorized.
Less than an hour after discharge the mother partially delivered her baby at home. Her husband called 911 and EMTs found the mother in the doorway of her home with a partially delivered breech baby. The EMTs noted that the limbs and body were blue. The plaintiff was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where the stillborn baby was delivered.
The plaintiff had significant post-partum bleeding which necessitated a hysterectomy. The plaintiff had multiple surgeries and blood transfusions and was in ICU and in a coma for eleven days.
According to a published account a defense verdict was returned.
With permission from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts; Lewis Laska, Editor, 901 Church St., Nashville, TN 37203-3411, 1-800-298-6288.
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