Medical roundup

  • Outcry among British doctors after trainee pediatrician convicted of negligent homicide in death of patient following systemic errors at understaffed hospital [Telegraph, Saurabh Jha, Medscape, General Medical Council]
  • “There’s no particular reason to think that smokers will be happier with denatured tobacco than drinkers have been with weak beer.” [J.D. Tuccille on FDA plans to reduce nicotine level in cigarettes]
  • “Why Doesn’t the Surgeon General Seek FDA Reclassification of Naloxone to OTC?” [Jeffrey Singer, Cato]
  • “1 in 3 physicians has been sued; by age 55, 1 in 2 hit with suit” [Kevin B. O’Reilly, AMA Wire] “Best and worst states for doctors” [John S Kiernan, WalletHub]
  • “Soon came a ‘routine’ urine drug test, ostensibly to ensure she didn’t abuse the powerful drug. A year later, she got the bill for that test. It was $17,850.” [Beth Mole, ArsTechnica]
  • Milkshakes could be next as sugar-tax Tories in Britain pursue the logic of joylessness [Andrew Stuttaford, National Review]


  • If a doctor sees 12 patients per day for 4.5 days a week and works 40 weeks per year, this would mean 2160 encounters per year. By age 55, the doctor has been in practice twenty years for 43,200 encounters. If one out of two doctors has been sued, this means that it takes more than 80,000 encounters to generate one suit. We are lucky to have a corps of such nearly perfect doctors.

  • With regard to the expensive urine drug test, since this test appears to be for the benefit of the physician, hospital, or government, and not for the benefit of the patient, what basis is there for billing it to the patient? If she did not request it and it is not for her benefit, it is not her problem.

  • The outrageous price of the urine test is something the doctor, the hospital, and their insurers should sort out. As far as more affordable tests are concerned, however, those may be a byproduct of our new War on Pain Treatment. Doctors can cite the tests when threatened by DEA zealots. And if the patient does not want to consent to an intrusive and/or still somewhat expensive testing regime, then they can expect to endure pain untreated– acceptable collateral damage.

  • The British manslaughter conviction for malpractice. The tenor of comments on the “Telegraph” article sounded hostile to the doctor. Perhaps the public need to be educated by a work-to-rule– repeated cancellations of appointments whenever conditions are at all below book standard.