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Failure to Convince Patient of Urgency of Follow Up Leads to Patient Death

March 26, 2021

Although every step in test result management is important and interrelated, patient notification errors tend to result in more adverse events.1 Communicating a critical or significantly abnormal test result requires more than simply distributing the result to the patient. The patient should understand the criticality of the result and how to follow up. Communicating the urgency of the circumstances may require an extra effort if the patient has low health literacy or cognition deficits.

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Filed under: Case Study, Patient Care

Failure to Communicate a Positive Biopsy Leads to Delayed Cancer Diagnosis

March 26, 2021

A diagnosis of cancer does not always need to be directly communicated. However, special care must be used to ensure receipt of the diagnosis by the clinician in the best position to coordinate or provide treatment to the patient. The following case highlights the importance of creating a “paper trail” that proves pathology diagnoses were sent to the intended clinicians.

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Filed under: Case Study, Patient Care

Failure to Communicate a Significant Diagnosis Change Leads to Worsened Prognosis

March 26, 2021

With the complexity of today’s healthcare environment, a pathologist may need to take a more active role in coordinating diagnosis communication than what may have been standard in the recent past. In the following case, the patient was never informed of a final diagnosis of malignancy after being informed the preliminary diagnosis was benign. Consider how the pathologists could have changed the outcome in this case.

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Filed under: Case Study, Patient Care

Consent for Treatment of an Adolescent: Third-Party Consent

June 25, 2020

Many states allow third parties (e.g., relatives and nannies) to consent to a minor’s medical treatment, as long as the parent’s/guardian’s authorization is already in place. Clinicians are sometimes tempted to bend the minor consent rules when the adolescent is older or when the patient comes in with a relative who appears to be a caretaker, even though that caretaker does not have legal standing to consent to the adolescent’s medical treatment. Consider the conflicting interests of the parties in the following case.

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Filed under: Case Study, Patient Care

False Advertising of a Medical Practice Leads to Allegations of Fraud

August 26, 2019

Physician advertising is controlled by state and federal laws and regulations. Violating these regulations can lead to medical board discipline and fines, can complicate the defense of liability claims, and may not be covered by medical liability insurance policies. State laws may also allow patients to sue the physician for damages if they were injured by the false or deceptive advertising.1

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Filed under: Case Study, Practice Manager, Marketing & Practice Building, Business of Medicine
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