Mediation has been cited as a way to lower the cost of litigation and compensate injured patients without going through the ordeal of a trial. In a post from the WSJ Health Blog, the problem is that few doctors are participating.
That’s a problem. A study from a law journal looked at 31 cases that went to mediation and found that,
of those cases, 16 were settled at mediation, 5 settled afterward and 10 weren’t settled. While defense attorneys were less likely to agree to mediation than plaintiff attorneys, lawyers who did participate reported satisfaction with the process, as did “plaintiffs, hospital representatives and insurers,” the study finds.
The authors write that in no cases did physicians participate in the mediation.
Many times, patients resort to suing their physicians simply to find out what happened. In a recent post here, attorney Brian Nash provided perspective from the legal standpoint, and in the comments (now 150+ strong), you can see the dissonance between the malpractice viewpoints of the physician, attorney, and patient. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at KevinMD.com*
Imagine having a medical device that is being tested in multiple centers, but one doctor thinks the device has problems. He says so at a national conference despite glowing reviews by others. Should the company sue the doctor for liable and remove him from their investigative panel?
Today, it seems that might not be such a good idea. This is, in fact, what NMT Medical did regarding comments made by Peter Wilmshurst, M.D. regarding NMT’s patent foramen ovale (PFO) closure device called Starflex:
NMT sued Dr. Wilmshurst for libel after he criticized its research at a US cardiology conference in 2007. The doctor vowed to take the case to trial in order to defend scientists’ rights to free academic debate.
The company threatened Dr. Wilmshurst with libel a second time for subsequent comments he made about the case on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*
Dr. Carl Elliott writes about ghostwriting in the December issue of The Atlantic magazine, “Playing Doctor: How to spin pharmaceutical research.” He profiles a young scientist (“David”) who became a ghostwriter about 10 years ago.
“Ghostwritten articles surface again and again in litigation (in cases concerning Vioxx, Fen-Phen, Zyprexa, Premarin, Neurontin, and Zoloft, to mention just a few). Years before the Avandia scandal, GlaxoSmithKline paid $2.5 million to the State of New York to settle a lawsuit alleging that it had concealed studies suggesting an increased risk of suicidal behavior in children and teenagers taking Paxil, most notoriously in an article “authored” by Dr. Martin Keller of Brown University. One 2003 study in The British Journal of Psychiatry found that ghostwriters working for a single medical-communications agency had produced more than half of all medical-journal articles published on Zoloft over a three-year period.
To many critics, the moral outrage of ghostwriting is like that of plagiarism: academic physicians are getting credit for articles they didn’t actually write. To David, letting someone else take the credit for his work is a minor humiliation. The real problem, of course, is much worse: spinning data perverts science. It also downplays risks that can lead to serious injuries, and deaths. As David puts it, “The moral crime I was being asked to commit was to do with truthfulness.” Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog*