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Healthcare behaving badly: Legal headlines

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Abigail Nobel
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 414
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Legal Break is MedPage Today's weekly special report on healthcare lawsuits.

A great many healthcare laws and regulations are justified as supposedly preventing errors and/or lawsuits. 

Sometimes, though, going to court is the most direct way to achieve justice. (Or even the only way.) And it has the advantage of publicizing bad behavior, putting the public on notice, and perhaps deterring similar incidents.

A patient at National Park Medical Center in Hot Springs, Arkansas, was arrested after allegedly punching a nurse at the hospital. (Hot Springs Sentinel-Record)

Police are investigating at least one patient death at Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford, Oregon. Sources told a local news outlet that up to 10 patients died from infections after a nurse allegedly replaced fentanyl with tap water. (NBC 5)

The judge overseeing the trial pitting the Netflix-famous family of Maya Kowalski against Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital has ruled that the hospital can interview one juror about his conduct during the 8-week trial. Hospital attorneys questioned whether the juror shared information about the case with his wife; disobeyed instructions not to research the case; failed to disclose that he was previously involved in a child welfare case; and knew the Kowalski family's lawyer. The jury had awarded the family $261 million. (Tampa Bay Times)

Texas nurse Alexis McNeilly is back in custody after a judge increased her bond, citing concerns about community safety. McNeilly was charged with three counts of diversion of a controlled substance. Prosecutors say she was fired from her job at Houston Methodist after being caught on camera many times stealing opioids, including fentanyl and hydromorphone, and replacing them with saline. (KHOU 11)

A 22-year-old Wyoming woman who set fire to the state's only full-service abortion clinic will have to pay nearly $300,000 in restitution. Lorna Green is also serving 5 years in prison for burning Wellspring Health Access just weeks before it was set to open in 2022. (AP)

A federal appeals court seems to be skeptical of a New York doctor's attempt to take down the No Surprises Act. In 2021, surgeon Daniel Haller, MD, filed a lawsuit claiming the act violated his right to a trial by jury by preventing him from suing patients to recover unpaid bills, and that it represented a seizure of his property. While he initially lost that case in 2022, he appealed and argued that doctors had a common-law right to sue insurers in court, which the statute's dispute resolution process did away with. (Reuters)

Maryland physician Ron Elfenbein, MD, had his $15-million Medicare fraud conviction reversed. A federal judge ruled that because E/M CPT codes are designed to give doctors flexibility, Elfenbein's use of level-4 codes was reasonable, and did not reflect upcoding. (Becker's ASC Review)

Former Tennessee nurse aide Takesha Tucker was arrested for her alleged involvement in the death of a patient. Tucker reportedly failed to properly use a lift while trying to move the patient, who fell and was mortally injured. (WKRN)

A Texas woman accused of impersonating a nurse pleaded guilty to making false statements about healthcare matters, federal prosecutors announced. Nora Nely Avila reportedly used a nursing license belonging to someone else to get hired.

 

Kristina Fiore leads MedPage’s enterprise & investigative reporting team. She’s been a medical journalist for more than a decade and her work has been recognized by Barlett & Steele, AHCJ, SABEW, and others. 


   
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