Dr. Goldberg is Director of Skin Laser & Surgery Specialists of New York and New Jersey, Director of Mohs Surgery and laser research, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, and Adjunct Professor of Law, Fordham Law School.
Dr. John has a very busy medical and cosmetic practice. The growth of his practice, and its success, is a testament to the quality of services he provides. Recently, while surfing the Web, Dr. John notes that a recent patient said, “Dr. John was arrogant, insensitive and ran late. The diagnosis he gave me was wrong. And for that, I had to dish out $50 co-pay. Stay away — forever.” Dr. John is incensed. What can he do?
Dr. Skin is a nationally known academic researcher. Because of his expertise he is commonly asked for expert testimony in a large number of medical malpractice cases. He recently testified and was asked about his background. He stated that he was a well-known dermatologist who lectures all over the world. This was true.
Dr. Derm owns 15 dermatology practices. Dr. Skin owns 12 similar practices. Recently a venture capitalist bought all of these practices and merged them as one practice. All of the dermatologists were given a 20-mile, two-year restrictive covenant.
Dr. Laser has been doing laser procedures for more than a decade. He has a great reputation and thousands of happy patients. Two years ago he performed a laser procedure on a patient who unfortunately scarred afterward. The procedure was undertaken in the same manner as hundreds of other similar procedures performed by Dr. Laser. He also obtained a signed consent form from his patient warning her about the risk of scarring.
Dr. Derm has a large dermatology practice with eight employee dermatologists. Each employee physician has signed an agreement that stipulates his/her duties, salary and benefits. Each agreement also has a restrictive covenant that states that if the employee physician chooses to leave, he/she cannot practice within 10 miles for two years after the separation from Dr. Derm’s practice.
Dr. Derm logged into his office computer system, only to find a ransom note from a hacker, asking for money in exchange for the safe return of his patients’ records. While this might seem farfetched, this situation happened to a small medical practice outside Chicago, Surgeons of Lake County.
If three groups of researchers were to discover a melanoma gene, could it be patented? If so, who could stake claim to the patent? There is precedent for this scenario with the development of testing for the BRCA breast and ovarian genes.
Workplace violence not only compromises employee safety, it also has legal implications. In 1996, OSHA established federal guidelines for businesses implementing violence-prevention programs. The guidelines, although not mandatory, are often cited in workplace violence-related lawsuits.
A patient has melanoma in situ removed from her face and develops sepsis. She sues her doctor, claiming he should have explained that infection could lead to sepsis and death. Was his warning about the risk of infection enough? What is he required to disclose during his informed consent with his patient?
In an ethical attempt to limit the numbered of required patient visits, Dr. Smith often will treat 20 to 30 solar keratoses in one visit. Dr. Smith has taken courses on proper coding and codes in a recognized, honest and ethical manner. Unfortunately, several of his carriers inform him that only 15 actinic keratoses can be treated at each visit, and only four such visits are allowed during a year for each patient.