Saturday, July 25, 2015

Health Care Safety Index July 2015

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that people who consumed more fruits and vegetables had a 13% lower risk of heart disease.

The CDC reported that people with health insurance are up to three times more likely to obtain recommended preventative care. Preventive services are available for nine of the ten leading causes of death in the United States.

An article published in Neurology concluded that the risk of stroke in patients diagnosed with endocarditis is longer than previously thought. According to the authors of the study, the risk of stroke usually begins 4 months before a diagnosis of infective endocarditis, peaks in the month after the diagnosis, and then normalizes by 5 months afterward.

The FDA issued a safety communication regarding 45 patient deaths and other adverse events related to the use of SentreHEART devices used for left atrial appendage closure.

An article published in Osteoporosis International suggested a link between ischemic heart disease and osteoporosis. The authors concluded that bone health should be considered in patients diagnosed with ischemic heart disease.

The FDA amended the warnings related to NSAID use and the increased risk of strokes and heart attacks.   

The American Thoracic Society, European Respiratory Society, the Japanese Respiratory Society, and the Latin American Thoracic Association published new guidelines for the care of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.
Updated guidelines for the treatment of Hepatitis C were published in Hepatology by The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

An article published in Emerging Infectious Diseases (and approved by the CDC) revealed the continuing and significant expansion of Lyme disease. In counties throughout the United States between 1993 and 1997, there were 69 counties with high incidence of Lyme disease; this number climbed to 130 counties for the period from 1998 to 2002, 197 counties in 2003 to 2007 and 260 counties in 2008 to 2012. The news is bleaker for northeastern states who saw a 320% jump in counties with high incidence, from 43 counties in the first period to 182 in the last survey.

The CDC published a report indicating that the United States in in the midst of a heroin epidemic with usage rates climbing from 63% between 2002 and 2013. The biggest increases in use were seen in women and people with higher incomes.

Pauline Anderson, of MedScape News, reported on oral presentations at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference which demonstrated that physical activity reduces cognitive decline and improves neuropsychiatric symptoms in patients with dementia and may reduce Alzheimer's disease  biomarkers.     

A study appearing in Pediatrics raised the question of whether antibiotic use increased the risk of juvenile arthritis.

An article published in PLOS Medicine disclosed that Glitazones taken by patients for Type 2 Diabetes (including Avandia and Actos) might have the unintended but beneficial effect of decreasing the risk of Parkinson’s disease.                                                     

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Damages and how we Approach Valuing Medical Malpractice Cases

What is my Medical Malpractice Case Worth?

When a prospective client first calls to discuss whether he has a medical malpractice case I have to make a preliminary decision about the potential value of the case. Obviously, questions about the value of a malpractice case also come up at the tail end of a litigation, when we reach the resolution phase of a matter and begin negotiating. At the outset, when I estimate the potential value of a case I am simply guestimating whether a successful outcome will likely justify the time and expense investments required to prosecute the file. When estimating the value of the case at the end of a litigation for clients, I am trying to come to a reasoned assessment about a case’s true value.  I have the benefit of much more information at the end of a litigation than I do when a client first calls me on the telephone, so I am in a better position to reach conclusions and give clients more guidance about the value of a case at that point. Nevertheless, at best case valuation is a process that involves judgment and reasonable minds can differ about issues involving judgment. Also, different clients have different objectives, money means different things to different people and individuals differ in their tolerance for risk. All of these things have to be taken into consideration when discussing how best to resolve a malpractice case.