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17 May, 2022

When DHHS Comes Calling

2022-05-17T13:21:05-05:00May 17th, 2022|Disciplinary Actions, LDM MedMal Forum, Litigation Tips, Risk Management|

Every licensed health care provider dreads receiving that certified letter with the return address, “Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Investigations Division.”  Opening the letter doesn’t help matters:  “Dear sir or madam, we are gathering information regarding a complaint that has been made against you.  The complaint alleges that you blah, blah, blah.  Please provide your written response to this office no later than 14 days after receipt of [...]

9 May, 2022

Iowa’s Certificate of Merit Statute Has Teeth

2022-05-09T10:56:23-05:00May 9th, 2022|LDM MedMal Forum, Litigation Tips, Medical Malpractice, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

In 2017, Iowa enacted a statute that aimed to dismiss meritless medical malpractice actions early in the case.  The statute, Iowa Code § 147.140, requires that a plaintiff provide a certificate of merit signed by an expert within 60 days of the defendants’ answer.  The certificate must address the standard of care and the defendant’s alleged breach of that standard.  If the plaintiff fails to provide such a certificate, the [...]

4 May, 2022

Five Do’s and Don’ts of Deposition Preparation

2022-05-04T10:56:42-05:00May 4th, 2022|LDM MedMal Forum, Litigation Tips, Medical Malpractice, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

Giving a deposition is a form of communication that is usually completely foreign to health care providers.  The surgeon who is in complete control of her operating suite may find herself utterly lost in a conference room surrounded by attorneys.  Some physicians become old hands at giving depositions, but for newcomers to the arena, emphasizing a few do’s and don’ts can make the process easier: DO Spend the time it [...]

2 May, 2022

The Criminal Prosecution of Medical Errors: Where Transparency Meets Self-Incrimination

2022-05-02T07:07:25-05:00May 2nd, 2022|LDM MedMal Forum|

They say the truth will set you free, but one nurse who told the truth about a medication error she committed in 2017 now faces up to 8 years in jail.  On March 25, 2022, following a 3-day trial, RaDonda Vaught, a former nurse at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), was found guilty of gross neglect and negligent homicide of 75-year-old Charlene Murphey.  Murphey died as the result of Vaught administering a [...]

25 Apr, 2022

Nebraska Supreme Court Puts the Brakes on the Continuous Treatment Doctrine

2022-04-25T08:56:19-05:00April 25th, 2022|LDM MedMal Forum|

The statute of limitations is a frequent defense in medical malpractice cases. Patients are often reluctant to sue a physician with whom they have an ongoing relationship. This has led to many cases being filed after the statute of limitations has expired. In the past, patients have relied upon the vague and confusing “continuous treatment doctrine” to avoid the statute of limitations. That will now be much more difficult to [...]

21 Apr, 2022

Whose Opinions Can You Share to Establish the Standard of Care

2022-04-21T09:18:03-05:00April 21st, 2022|LDM MedMal Forum|

In any medical malpractice case where a plaintiff claims your physician-client violated the applicable standard of care, one of the defense attorney’s first tasks is—or should be—to identify an expert to defend your client’s treatment.  At first glance, this task seems straightforward.  After all, the simple goal is to identify a person that can vouch for the care your client provided.  But states maintain distinct standards that sometimes differ as [...]

16 Feb, 2022

Is the Legislature Dictating the Standard of Care for Opioid Prescribing?

2022-02-24T16:11:40-06:00February 16th, 2022|LDM MedMal Forum|

Opioid abuse has grown into a crisis that has occupied the headlines in recent years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total "economic burden" of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement. The root of the problem is misuse of opioids prescribed for chronic pain. It is estimated [...]

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