Risk Management Tools & Resources

 

Unraveling Diagnostic Errors in Otolaryngology Claims

A look at MedPro claims data for otolaryngology (ENT) shows that allegations related to diagnosis are not as prevalent as allegations involving surgical treatment. However, claims involving diagnosis-related allegations can be significant in terms of poor patient outcomes. These claims often involve cancer, and most of the allegations are related to a failure to order or delay in ordering diagnostic testing.

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CASE STUDY: Failure to Diagnose Nasopharynx Malignancy

A patient in his mid-sixties with a known history of exposure to asbestos and other chemicals several years prior presented to his ENT physician with complaints of nasal congestion, sinusitis, bronchitis, left ear pressure, recent hearing loss, and a history of nosebleeds with associated blood clots upon coughing.

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CASE STUDY: Improper Performance of Sinus Surgery

A patient in her mid-sixties presented to her ENT physician with complaints of chronic sinusitis and a 3-month history of headache with facial pain and swelling, as well as purulent nasal discharge. A CT scan revealed a deviated septum, and a subsequent fiber optic exam identified a right-sided sinus blockage.

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CASE STUDY: Failures in Communication and Management of Care Result in Poor Patient Outcome

The patient, a 66-year-old Hispanic male who did not speak English, was referred to a MedPro-insured ophthalmologist (Dr. A) by his regular optometrist (Dr. B) for evaluation of early cataracts. During the patient's appointment, Dr. A relied on her very limited Spanish proficiency to communicate with the patient instead of using an interpreter.

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When Patient Phobias Turn Into Medical Emergencies

Patient anxiety or fear related to medical or dental treatment can be problematic and concerning in various ways. These fears may manifest as noncompliance with treatment protocols or appointments schedules, behavioral issues, or — in extreme cases — medical emergencies.

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Ready, Set, Action — Managing a Medical Emergency When It Occurs

Preparing for medical emergencies requires time and resources, but the results can prove significant. When a medical emergency occurs, healthcare providers and staff members must be ready to quickly implement their emergency response plan.

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Managing Medical Emergencies: Equipment and Supplies

Preparation is an essential element of emergency preparedness for healthcare practices and facilities. One important aspect of preparing for medical emergencies is procuring and maintaining appropriate equipment and supplies (including medications). Medical and dental professional organizations and emergency preparedness literature generally recommend that office practices maintain at least basic emergency equipment and supplies.

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Three Essential Elements of Patient Care and Their Role in Medical Emergency Prevention

Medical emergencies — such as cardiac arrest, loss of consciousness, allergic reactions, and respiratory distress — can occur anywhere, including healthcare offices and facilities. Although some medical emergencies are inevitable, others can potentially be avoided through careful patient evaluation and assessment.

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