TeleHealth News


February 2, 2017




Among the stack of mail on my desk is a letter from NM Medical Review Commission asking me to serve on a hearing of an alleged malpractice case.
The Commission was established by our legislature to provide hearings for potential malpractice cases against healthcare providers before they go to court. It consists of three providers and three attorneys sitting on the hearing where a patient and his or her lawyer are accusing a provider of negligent, wrongdoing or malpractice that has allegedly caused harm to that patient. On the other side, the provider and his or her attorney present their case, defending themselves. The majority of the cases arise from simple misunderstandings.
This experience along with my time served on the Medical Board has taught me much on the intricacies of the legal aspects of providing healthcare. Although there are a few bad apples among us, I have found that overall my colleagues do an admirable.
Although most hearings are straight forward, some are interesting for being utterly preposterous. Others maybe classified as down right stupid and some, hilarious.
There was a case a few years ago, where a patient had surgery by a very reputable surgeon. The outcome was not perfect due to the fact that the patient - an alcoholic -repeatedly damaged the surgical site. The surgeon and staff at that practice attended to that patient many more times than was needed to assure success of the case and they were successful in doing so despite the patient's total lack of concern. An attorney brought suite against the doctor claiming the doctor should have done a better job as the patient's result was not optimal. But could not show what 'optimal' in such a case was nor did he even knew anything about the case. The patient was not helpful either as it was obvious that it was past drink time.
On another case a patient, while visiting friends in a nearby town, shot himself in the leg by accident and was seen at the ER and cared for. On return home, did not seek follow up as he was suppose to. Few days later he developed chest pain and went to see his primary care provider (PCP) but did not mention the accidental gunshot wound to his leg. Many laboratory test did not reveal what the history could have told the PCP. Lack of history and normal lab tests lead the PCP to treat him for a possible bronchial infection. The next day when his condition worsened, he refused hospitalization and still did not reveal the gunshot wound to his leg. The following day an embolism killed him. His wife suede for negligence and malpractice. At the hearing we asked the wife if she was present at the visits and she said yes. “Did your husband tell your PCP about the gunshot wound?” No! was the answer. “Did you tell the PCP about it?” again no was the answer.
“We didn't think that the two were related and my husband was embarrassed for shooting himself in the leg.”
Then it was the time when a young female attorney, new to the job, came to the hearing dressed to kill – low top, short skirt and all. Expecting to address a bunch of old retired guys. Only to find herself facing a group of very serious female professionals. She didn't do well.
Right or wrong, our society allows for lawsuits, frivolous or not. However, I feel that Telehealth, Telemedicine, and Tele-education are the tools that could avert these kind of suites. The PCP in the small town clinic could have used it to get help in the diagnosis and perhaps the records from the ER. As political atmosphere in our country turns, the chaos it creates could cause confusion that may lead to misunderstandings. Such misconceptions lead to lawsuits. Telehealth and telecommunication could help us stay clear of confusions. [ R. G. ]


In the News:

"Access to Dental Care Act" introduced in NM  
HB 264

Recognizing & Reporting Abuse, Neglect & Exploitation
Provider Training

American Telemedicine Association seeks 
comment on three new practice guideline

Telemedicine in Schools Helps Keep Kids in the Classroom  
The Pew Charitable Trusts

Diseases most likely to cause public health emergencies  

Doctors Dig for More Data About Patients  

Single GME Accreditation System Update  

  Good outcomes with 'telepsychiatry' in medical 
treatment of opioid use disorder
Medical Press

HAART may contribute to profound escalation in syphilis  
Internal Medicine News

For more relevant news checkout our website.


Of Interest:

    Jan 27, 1860 was the birthday of playwright Anton Chekhov, born in Taganrog, Ukraine. Before he became a playwright and writer, he was a doctor. In a letter, he wrote, "Besides medicine, my wife, I have also literature - my mistress."
     In 1892, he decided to write full time, although he still gave free medical care to the peasants.
     In his writings, he didn't pass judgment on his characters or teach any moral lessons. He said, "A writer should be as objective as a chemist."
     Around the turn of the 20th century, Chekhov began to focus less on stories and more on plays. But never stopped his medical practice.
     In his last play, The Cherry Orchard (1904), Chekhov wrote about an aristocratic family that is about to lose its land to pay off their debts. Although he was seriously ill with tuberculosis, he traveled to Moscow and supervised the production of the play. The Cherry Orchard premiered at the Moscow Art Theater on January 17, 1904, and it was a great success. He was considered second only to Tolstoy as a literary celebrity.
     A few months later, Chekhov went to Germany to take a spa treatment for his TB. While in Badenweiler, he suffered a series of heart attacks and died.


How can TeleHealth help your Practice:

Many celebrated and famous
physicians became so, by helping the
poor, under-served and the
destitute.  You too can help our
needy. Consider expanding your
practice to the rural and
under-served areas of our state
through TeleHealth.

Ask us how.

Many state laws, including NM,
require insurance companies to
pay for TeleHealth consultation. 



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Useful links:

American Telemedicine Association
Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine
Con Alma Health Foundation
Directory of State Medical Boards
Federation of State Medical Boards
Interstate Medical Licensure Compact
National Rural Health Association
New Mexico Broadband Program
New Mexico Department of Health
NM Health Resources
NM legislature
Upcoming NM Legislative meetings
NM Medical Board
NM Rural Hospital Network
UNM Center for Telehealth
UNM Project ECHO
World Health Organization (WHO)


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