In November 1998, a coalition of state negotiators and five tobacco companies reached an agreement in which the cigarette makers would pay out the biggest financial settlement in history, $206 billion over the next 25 years to 46 states, to compensate for the medical treatment of patients suffering from tobacco-related health problems. Critics of the settlement say the tobacco companies are getting off the hook too easily, and that the deal's public health provisions are unacceptably riddled with loopholes. But the attorneys general who negotiated the settlement defended it as a good deal-but clearly not as a panacea. Ultimately, they feel, Congress should pass legislation to provide essential reforms, including full Food and Drug Administration authority over tobacco. (+info)
Clinical guidelines: proliferation and medicolegal significance.
Guidelines seeking to influence and regulate clinical activity are currently gaining a new cultural ascendancy on both sides of the Atlantic. Statutory agencies may be charged with developing clinical guidelines, and civil courts, in deciding actions in negligence, could be influenced by standards of care expressed in guideline statements. Clinical guidelines are not accorded unchallengeable status: they have been subject to careful scrutiny by British and American courts to establish their authenticity and relevance. In the United States, compliance with clinical guidelines cannot be used as a defence against liability if a physician's conduct is held to have been negligent, and third party organisations can be held liable if their clinical guidelines are found to be a contributory cause of patient harm. Guidelines have not usurped the role of the expert witness in court. The importance the law attaches to customary practice means that atypical or bizarre guidelines are unlikely to be accepted as embodying a legally required standard of clinical care. (+info)
Impact of litigation on senior clinicians: implications for risk management.
OBJECTIVES: To investigate the impact of litigation on consultants and senior registrars and to establish their views on methods of reducing adverse events and litigation. DESIGN: Postal survey. SETTING: Acute hospitals in the North Thames (West) Regional Health Authority. SUBJECTS: 1011 consultants and senior registrars in acute hospitals. MAIN MEASURES: Perceived causes and effects of adverse events; views on methods of reducing litigation and adverse events. RESULTS: 769 (76%) doctors responded. 288 (37%) had been involved in litigation at some point during their career; 213 surgeons (49%) and 75 (23%) doctors in the medical specialties. Anger, distress, and feeling personally attacked were common responses to litigation. Clinicians' views on reducing litigation emphasised the need for change at the clinical level. Supervision of junior staff, workload, and training in communication skills were to the fore. CONCLUSIONS: The high frequency of doctors who have experienced litigation and the emotional responses described indicate that clinicians require support at several levels. At a personal level, support can be offered to clinicians going through the litigation process or after an adverse event. Also, managerial support is needed by offering financial and practical help in correcting the factors that have been consistently identified as producing high risk situations to minimise the possibility of a reoccurrence. Accidents in medicine are, by their very nature, costly in human and financial terms and the root causes must be tackled. Recommendations are made for clinicians and risk management teams. (+info)
Medical liability risk avoidance: a case for adopting the International Normalized Ratio (INR) system.
Since bleeding is a common adverse effect associated with the oral anticoagulant warfarin, maximizing the therapeutic potential of this drug requires close laboratory monitoring. The International Normalized Ratio (INR) is a system that has been developed to improve and standardize the assessment of the intensity of oral anticoagulation therapy. Clinical information and medicolegal arguments supporting the adoption of this system are reviewed. The potential for improvement in patient outcomes and minimization of medical liability favors the adoption of the INR system. (+info)
Considerations in pharmaceutical conversion: focus on antihistamines.
The practice of pharmaceutical conversion, which encompasses three types of drug interchange (generic, brand, and therapeutic substitution), is increasing in managed care settings. Pharmaceutical conversion has numerous implications for managed care organizations, their healthcare providers, and their customers. Although drug cost may be a driving consideration in pharmaceutical conversion, a number of other considerations are of equal or greater importance in the decision-making process may affect the overall cost of patient care. Among these considerations are clinical, psychosocial, and safety issues; patient adherence; patient satisfaction; and legal implications of pharmaceutical conversion. Patient-centered care must always remain central to decisions about pharmaceutical conversion. This article discusses the issues related to, and implications of, pharmaceutical conversion utilizing the antihistamines class of drugs as the case situation. (+info)
Three countries' experience with Norplant introduction.
Despite international efforts to plan for Norplant introduction, the method has drawn the attention of critics of family planning programmes, and has raised several issues for debate since it was introduced into family planning programmes. The experiences of three countries with the introduction of Norplant highlight some of the unique features of the method that have affected its introduction. Indonesia, Bangladesh and the United States represent diverse cultural settings and systems of family planning provision. Experience in each country has highlighted the need to focus on quality of care for clients, most notably the need for good counselling and attention to removal as well as insertion. The cost of Norplant also has influenced its introduction in each country. Another issue includes the need to work with women's health advocacy groups, which is illustrated particularly in Bangladesh. Finally, the role of litigation in the United States, and its potential role in influencing Norplant introduction in other countries, is discussed. These three countries' experience illustrate the importance of understanding the programmatic context of contraceptive introduction. (+info)
Physicians' perceptions of managed care.
We wished to determine physicians' views and knowledge of managed care, particularly their beliefs about the provisions of managed care contracts in terms of legality and ethics. A questionnaire was sent to the 315 physicians of the medical staff of Norwalk Hospital in Connecticut regarding managed care and managed care contracts. Sixty-six responses were received within a 45-day period (20.9% return). Although only 1 of 11 contract provisions presented in one section of the questionnaire was illegal in Connecticut, a majority of physicians believed 7 of the 11 were illegal. On average, 50% of physicians polled thought each of the provisions was illegal, and a varying majority of physicians (53% to 95.4%) felt the various provisions were unethical. The majority of respondents (84.8% to 92.4%) believed that nondisclosure provisions were unethical. Ninety-seven percent thought managed care interferes with quality of care, and 72.7% of physicians felt that the managed care industry should be held legally responsible for ensuring quality of care. However, 92.4% of physicians considered themselves to be ethically responsible for ensuring quality of care. Physicians have a poor understanding of the legal aspects of managed care contracts but feel strongly that many provisions of these contracts are unethical. Physicians also believe that managed care is causing medicine to be practiced in a manner that is contrary to patients' interests and that legal recourse is needed to prevent this. (+info)
Surgeons find themselves on trial in forum featuring CMPA lawyers.
During a recent forum, Ontario surgeons learned that the courtroom requires a much different form of behaviour than the operating room. These lessons hit home during a mock trial featuring CMPA lawyers. (+info)