William McDougald et al. v. St. Francis North Hospital Inc. No. 48,955 (La. App. 2nd Cir. April 9, 2014) 137 So.3d 1233 writ denied 2014-0815 (La. 6/3/14), 140 So.3d 1191.

In this medical malpractice wrongful death action, the plaintiffs contended that the defendant physician breached the standard of care in temporarily discontinuing the patient’s Plavix

The effect of a physician’s decision to deviate from the pharmaceutical company’s dosage instructions contained in a drug’s FDA approved package insert has been a recurring issue in medical malpractice litigation with many claimants contending that any deviation from the manufacturer’s instructions constitutes malpractice. In a recent case the Louisiana Fourth Circuit has now specifically

The Louisiana Supreme Court has, once again, affirmed the constitutionality of the statutory cap for damages in Medical Malpractice cases.  On March 13, 2012, the Court reiterated its prior holding that the cap is constitutional and applicable to all qualified healthcare providers under the Medical Malpractice Act, including nurse practitioners.  The statutory cap on damages

Act 337 of the Regular Session of the 2011 Louisiana Legislature enacted an amendment to Louisiana R.S. 37:1285(A) to add new subsection (A)(32), which provides an additional ground for physicians to be disciplined by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners (the “LSBME”). The new ground relates to a physician holding herself/himself out to the

In Oliver v. Magnolia Clinic, 2010-2785 (La. 3/25/11), 57 So. 3d 308, the Louisiana Supreme Court vacated a Third Circuit ruling that nurse practitioners were not covered by the Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act and did not benefit from the cap on damages. The Supreme Court remanded the case to the Third Circuit for an en banc consideration in order to obtain a majority opinion on the issues presented.

Upon original hearing, two judges of a five judge panel of the Third Circuit ruled the Medical Malpractice Act’s inclusion of nurse practitioners within its ambit violated the equal protection guarantees of the Louisiana Constitution and La. R. S. 40:1299.41(A)(1) and was, therefore, unconstitutional. Two judges on the panel ruled that the inclusion of nurse practitioners as health care providers entitled to the protection of the Medical Malpractice Act did not go into effect until the amendment of the statute in 2009. Because the alleged malpractice of the nurse practitioner occurred in 2000-2001, the statute did not cover the defendant nurse practitioner, and she was not entitled to a cap on the damages awarded at trial.Continue Reading Unsettled Question of Medical Malpractice Act Coverage For Nurse Practitioners in Louisiana

The United States Supreme Court on March 21, 2011 denied a writ application by a physician who was appealing the lower Federal court’s decision dismissing the physician’s civil rights action against the University of Illinois where the physician alleged numerous violations of his constitutional rights. See Abcarian v. McDonald, 617 F.3d 931 (7th Cir. 2010), writ denied, No. 10-913 (2011). The physician had been the head of the Department of Surgery at the University when he was notified that a lawsuit was being contemplated against him due to the death of a former patient. The physician alleged that when the University learned of the potential lawsuit it conspired with other defendants to discredit the physician’s reputation and executed a settlement agreement with the deceased’s family. The physician further alleged that the settlement agreement was a step in a conspiracy to destroy his reputation because the settlement agreement was entered merely so the defendants could report the settlement of the medical malpractice claim to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and the National Practitioner Databank. The physician filed suit alleging free speech, equal protection and procedural due process claims against the defendants.
Continue Reading Court Says No Violation of Physician’s Constitutional Rights When Hospital Settles Medical Malpractice Case

On March 21, 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives on almost a straight party-line vote passed two final healthcare reform bills late Sunday night. Initially, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3950, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, by a vote of 219 to 212.

Following the passage of H.R. 3950, the House of

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

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

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?