By Linda G. Rodrigue

In April, 2009, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decided in reviewing a Michigan case that the representative of a deceased woman could sue a hospital under EMTALA for allegedly releasing her husband after admission to the hospital, when he was then hallucinating, disoriented, and behaving in a threatening manner toward her when he was brought to the emergency department.  Five days after admission, it was decided that the husband should be transferred to a facility for the acutely mentally ill.  However, the transfer did not occur and he was, instead, released seven days after admission.  Ten days later, he murdered his wife.

Continue Reading Federal Court of Appeals Holds That Someone Other Than the Patient May Sue Under EMTALA

By Jennifer J. Thomas

The Louisiana Supreme Court has issued two decisions in the past year, Borel v. Young and Warren v. LAMMICO, which are favorable to Louisiana health care providers. In the Warren case, a potential plaintiff waited almost four years from the date of her father’s death to file a wrongful death and survival claim against the health care providers.  The plaintiff had not participated in the Medical Review Panel or filed a lawsuit within either the one and three year prescriptive periods (a.k.a. statute of limitations) required by La. R.S. 9:5628.  The plaintiff’s mother and sister had already filed a timely complaint with the Louisiana Patients’ Compensation Fund, proceeded with a Medical Review Panel, and subsequently filed a lawsuit.  The issue before the Court was whether the new plaintiff could file her own wrongful death and survival claim that would “relate back” to the original, timely claims of her mother and sister.

Continue Reading Louisiana Supreme Court Upholds Special Prescriptive Periods for Medical Malpractice Cases

By Vance A. Gibbs

In this day and age, everyone communicates by e-mail, on a laptop, desktop, Blackberry or other electronic device. But what about communication between a physician and a patient?  

Is this permissible? Acceptable under existing law and practice? Recommended?

Continue Reading Patients and Electronic Communication: Permissible? Acceptable? Recommended?

By Deborah Juneau

The Louisiana Supreme Court issued its new opinion after a rehearing in Borel v. Young, again affirming the Third Circuit’s ruling and dismissing the lawsuit against late-added physician defendants, but on different grounds. The supreme court’s decision on rehearing solved an apparent dilemma for the plaintiffs created by the original opinion: the plaintiffs were precluded from filing suit until after the medical review panel had rendered an opinion but, in any case, were required to file suit within three years of the alleged medical malpractice. Since the three year period could not be suspended during the pendency of the medical review panel, the plaintiffs faced the possibility that their claims would be barred by the three-year peremptive period before the panel convened to consider their claims.

Continue Reading Louisiana Supreme Court’s Rehearing of Borel v. Young

by Randy R. Cangelosi

On February 2, 2007, the Louisiana Supreme Court vacated [Footnote] two decisions out of the Louisiana Third Circuit (Lake Charles), Taylor v. Clement and Arrington v. Galen-Med., Inc. et al. Taylor/Arrington garnered much attention in September 2006 when the Third Circuit declared Louisiana’s medical malpractice cap, La. R.S. 40:1299.42(B) (a statute that has survived countless constitutional challenges since its enactment in the mid-1970s), unconstitutional. The Third Circuit reasoned that the $500,000 cap on damages did not provide the plaintiffs with "an adequate remedy" when considering the purported diminution of the cap over time due to inflation. The adequate remedy challenge to the constitutionality of a statute is derived from Article I, Section 22 of the Louisiana Constitution. Under current law, the $500,000 cap does not include future medical care costs and related expenses; it does, however, include pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages. 

Continue Reading Louisiana Supreme Court Vacates Third Circuit Decision Declaring Medical Malpractice Cap Unconstitutional

by Jason R. Cashio

As most are aware, the Third Circuit Court of Appeal in Lake Charles recently ruled the medical malpractice cap unconstitutional.  The decision will be reviewed by the Louisiana Supreme Court, a process that could take anywhere from three to twelve months.  In the meantime, the cap is still applicable.

By comparison, the majority of

By: Clay J. Countryman

          The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) recently issued an advisory opinion on November 6, 2006 regarding the physician recruitment exception in the federal physician self-referral law, commonly know as the Stark Law. CMS specifically addressed whether a physician who would spend up to 20% of their time practicing outside of the recruiting hospital’s geographic service area would meet the relocation requirement of the physician recruitment exception to the Stark Law.

          Under the proposed recruitment arrangement, the recruiting hospital would provide the following loans to the physician directly:

                     (1)      A loan for the payment of the physicians moving and relocation expenses, which would be forgiven after 1 year;

                     (2)      A loan equal to the physicians first year medical malpractice premium not to exceed $10,000.00, which would be forgivable over 3 years; and

                     (3)      A loan to repay the physicians medical school loans, which would be forgivable over a 3 year period.

          The recruiting hospital would provide no other compensation that either the practice to the physician is joining or to the physician in connection with the proposed recruitment arrangement. In addition, the forgiveness of the loans would be based on the physician meeting certain service and other commitments.


Continue Reading CMS Issues Advisory Opinion Regarding the Physician Recruitment Exception to the Stark Law