M.D.s Who Mind Their P's and Q's Shouldn't Misplace Their Modifiers
Wall Street Journal, 1999
Doctors may want to try a little harder to dot their i's and cross their t's.
That's the advice from Details in Professional Liability, a newsletter published by Frontier Healthcare, which insures about 12,000 physicians. The winter issue includes some curious patient-chart notes written by health-care providers at several major hospitals. They were provided by Frank Weinstock, a Canton, Ohio, ophthalmologist and Frontier consultant, who got the list from another insurer.
Gary P. Machnowski, Frontier's senior risk manager, says "standing alone" such entries "wouldn't get more than a chuckle from a jury. But if a plaintiff's attorney could show a pattern -- that the doctor is sloppy in his chart notes and he is sloppy in his work -- then it might be a problem."
Here's the list:
"The lab test indicated abnormal lover function."
"The baby was delivered, the cord clamped and cut, and handed to the pediatrician, who breathed and cried immediately."
"Exam of genitalia reveals that he is circus sized."
"The skin was moist and dry."
"The patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch."
"She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life until 1989 when she got a divorce."
"The patient was in his usual state of good health until his airplane ran out of gas and crashed."
"I saw your patient today, who is still under our car for physical therapy."
"The patient lives at home with his mother, father, and pet turtle, who is presently enrolled in day care three times a week."
"Bleeding started in the rectal area and continued all the way to Los Angeles."
"Both breasts are equal and reactive to light and accommodation."
"She is numb from her toes down."
"Exam of genitalia was completely negative except for the right foot."
"While in the emergency room, she was examined, X-rated and sent home."
"The patient was to have a bowel resection. However, he took a job as stockbroker instead."
"Coming from Detroit, this man has no children."
"When she fainted, her eyes rolled around the room."
"Examination reveals a well-developed male lying in bed with his family in no distress."