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Doctor Suing For Bad Ratings Online

Dr. Kimberly HenryI must say I think Dr. Kimberly Henry, cosmetic surgeon, has made a big professional mistake. She has filed a lawsuit to stop online reviewers from badmouthing her on the Internet. She is seeking injunctions against at least 12 reviewers from sites such as and Dr. Henry claims libel and defamation, invasion of privacy and interference with prospective economic advantage and is seeking $1million in general damages and $1million in special damages, etc.

Now I don’t know Dr. Henry nor do I know of her plastic surgery technique. I don’t know who the disgruntled patients are or if they are unfairly targeting her. What I do know is that the Internet is here to stay and there’s no place to hide if you don’t provide excellent customer service. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

Fear Of Medical Malpractice Turns Patients Into Hot Potatoes

I discussed my thoughts on risk and how all physicians theoretically carry the same risk, not because one field has more bad outcomes than another (which they obviously do) but because all physicians are trained to be experts in their field of training. This expert training should theoretically create no difference in risk between different subspecialties, as long as all physicians practice within their scope of practice.

In a follow up post, I discussed my experience with discharging patients from the emergency department and how this increased my risk exposure not because the science of the discharge is wrong, but rather because the perception of negligence is greater. I discussed the irrational standards of care that have been created out of a legal necessity to avoid litigation at all costs. An irrational standard that creates exponentially infinite costs that are bankrupting this country with little to no benefit to society as a whole. By expecting perfection on an individual basis, an expectation that will never be achieved, we are risking the implosion of affordable care for all. This is physician driven. Driven out of a fear of bad outcomes, which sets irrational standards, which creates negligence when those impossible standards cannot be achieved.

And a reader hit the nail on the head with this comment. I couldn’t have said it any better.

as a hospitalist, you are at the bottom of the funnel in the risk cascade.
If you continue to send pts home from the ER, by numbers alone, somebody is going to have a bad outcome and it’s all going to fall on you.
If you are willing to accept this, more power to you.

Problem X- undifferentiated, high risk, broad ddx type problem.
ie chest pain, dyspnea,abdominal pain,fever,headache, etc.
PMD busy in office, doesn’t want to deal with it.
sends pt to ER for “work-up”
-if something goes awry, “I knew he was sick, so I sent him to the ER”.
ER gets pt, checks a “pan-panel” and multiple imaging studies.
If anything turns up–admit to hospitalist.
If negative-”I don’t know what’s wrong, better admit.”
Hospitalist is now last one standing; if send pt home and adverse outcome= “Doc HH, you mean two physicians thought this pt was too sick to be at home, yet you sent them home?”

Safe move is to always admit–as you say, if adverse outcome in house, doesn’t seem as bad.
Now, you have a three way risk pie–and any specialists that were called to consult.

Not great medicine, but the risks are too high to hold it all by yourself

I can’t tell you how true this is. This is the basis of establishing irrational standards of care. The last bolded section says it all. You the patient, have become the legal hot potato in your journey through your illness. The rational being, if you put the responsibility of certain aspects of care on someone else, it is that someone else who will ultimately be responsible should a bad outcome occur.

The lawyers want you to believe this doesn’t exist. I can tell you categorically, 100%, without a doubt that patients are treated like hot potatoes, in one way or another, with just about every encounter they experience in American medicine.

I have a really hard time playing that game when I have experience and science on my side. At some point, physicians need to be held accountable for the irrational standards they have implemented out of fear and establish standards based on most likely plausible explanations, not the least likely explanation. Until we can do that for our profession, we are a big part of the problem for the financing of this country’s health care needs.

*This blog post was originally published at A Happy Hospitalist*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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