Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The idea of “never events” will lead to more lawsuits

Worse yet, suggests this WSJ article, it’ll take away the burden of proof! For common complications newly defined as “never events” by Medicare, such as infections, the new reasoning will be: this never happens; this happened; ergo the doctors and the hospital are to blame. That legal doctrine, Res ipsa loquitur, was once reserved for the rare instances of self evident negligence such as leaving an instrument in a patient. Now misguided policy wonks and public opinion leaders have opened it up to common complications which---yes, I’ll say it---are sometimes unavoidable. It may be the next malpractice crisis and it will probably accelerate the mass exodus of doctors from hospitals.

Via Kevin MD

More at Buckeye Surgeon and White Coat Rants.

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