Medical Practice Guidelines as Malpractice Safe Harbors: Illusion or Deceit?
American medicine has long sought to control the standard of care that physicians are expected to provide to their patients. One effort to insulate the standard of care from external interference, called a "safe harbors" approach, would enable physicians to avoid liability for malpractice if they adhered to medical practice guidelines. The idea is to eliminate the "battle of experts" and reduce defensive medicine by requiring judges and juries to accept guidelines as conclusive evidence of the standard of care. Yet current efforts to improve the guideline development process, including the use of evidence-based guidelines, are unlikely to be able to overcome the shortcomings that led a similar safe harbors initiative to fail in the early 1990s. Moreover, there is no adequate justification for conferring this degree of self-regulatory power on the medical profession.
Available from: Ulrica Nilsson
- "Clinicians might be less enthusiastic about standard regimens, as no two patients are exactly alike. Among the most prominent reasons for not following guidelines is the lack of a peer-reviewed evidence-base . However, adherence to evidence-based airway guidelines is generally described as poor as well . "
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ABSTRACT: In Sweden, airway guidelines aimed toward improving patient safety have been recommended by the Swedish Society of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine. Adherence to evidence-based airway guidelines is known to be generally poor in Sweden. The aim of this study was to determine whether airway guidelines are present in Swedish anaesthesia departments.
A nationwide postal questionnaire inquiring about the presence of airway guidelines was sent out to directors of Swedish anaesthesia departments (n = 74). The structured questionnaire was based on a review of the Swedish Society of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care voluntary recommendations of guidelines for airway management. Mean, standard deviation, minimum/maximum, percentage (%) and number of general anaesthesia performed per year as frequency (n), were used to describe, each hospital type (university, county, private). For comparison between hospitals type and available written airway guidelines were cross tabulation used and analysed using Pearson's Chi-Square tests. A p- value of less than 0 .05 was judged significant.
In total 68 directors who were responsible for the anaesthesia departments returned the questionnaire, which give a response rate of 92% (n 68 of 74). The presence of guidelines showing an airway algorithm was reported by 68% of the departments; 52% reported having a written patient information card in case of a difficult airway and guidelines for difficult airways, respectively; 43% reported the presence of guidelines for preoperative assessment; 31% had guidelines for Rapid Sequence Intubation; 26% reported criteria for performing an awake intubation; and 21% reported guidelines for awake fibre-optic intubation. A prescription for the registered nurse anaesthetist for performing tracheal intubation was reported by 24%. The most frequently pre-printed preoperative elements in the anaesthesia record form were dental status and head and neck mobility.
Despite recommendations from the national anaesthesia society, the presence of airway guidelines in Swedish anaesthesia departments is low. From the perspective of safety for both patients and the anaesthesia staff, airway management guidelines should be considered a higher priority.
BMC Anesthesiology 04/2014; 14(1):25. DOI:10.1186/1471-2253-14-25 · 1.38 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This "Legal Briefing" column covers recent legal developments involving patient decision aids.This topic has been the subject of recent articles in JCE. It is included in the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. And it has received significant attention in the biomedical literature, including a new book, a thematic issue of Health Affairs, and a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine. Moreover, physicians and health systems across the United States are increasingly integrating decision aids into their clinical practice. Both federal and state laws play a significant role in promoting this expanded use. On the other hand, concerns about liability could stymie development and implementation. We categorize legal developments concerning patient decision aids into the following five sections: 1. Development of decision aids. 2. Effectiveness of decision aids. 3. Federal regulation of decision aids. 4. State regulation of decision aids. 5. Legal concerns regarding decision aids.
The Journal of clinical ethics 03/2013; 24(1):70-80. · 0.47 Impact Factor
Available from: Lisa Cosgrove
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ABSTRACT: The possibility that industry is exerting an undue influence on the culture of medicine has profound implications for the profession's public health mission. Policy analysts, investigative journalists, researchers, and clinicians have questioned whether academic-industry relationships have had a corrupting effect on evidence-based medicine. Psychiatry has been at the heart of this epistemic and ethical crisis in medicine. This article examines how commercial entities, such as pharmaceutical companies, influence psychiatric taxonomy and treatment guidelines. Using the conceptual framework of institutional corruption, we show that organized psychiatry's dependence on drug firms has led to a distortion of science. We describe the current dependency corruption and argue that transparency alone is not a solution. We conclude by taking the position that the corruption of the evidence base in diagnostic and practice guidelines has compromised the informed consent process, and we suggest strategies to address this problem.
The Journal of Law Medicine & Ethics 09/2013; 41(3):644-653. DOI:10.1111/jlme.12074 · 1.10 Impact Factor
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