Case Study

Hospital Medicine

Practitioners of hospital medicine, generally referred to as hospitalists, are physicians who specializes in the care of patients in the hospital.  They are usually board certified in internal medicine, occasionally in family medicine, or (in the case of pediatric hospitalists) in pediatrics. 

A common basis for a malpractice lawsuit against a hospitalist is failure to properly monitor a patient, resulting in a more severe illness or injury or even death.  For example, a Rhode Island plaintiff’s attorney sent us the following case summary:  “The plaintiff developed swelling in the mouth and throat after urological surgery.  He coded four or five hours post-op, and although he was resuscitated, he suffered hypoxic brain injury, resulting in severe, permanent neurological deficits.  The issue is whether the hospitalist team responded appropriately to the oropharyngeal swelling, and if not, whether proper treatment would have prevented respiratory arrest.”  We referred, and the attorney engaged, a hospitalist to opine on both standard of care and causation.  He found the case meritorious, and the attorney filed suit.

The hospital medicine specialist we referred in this case is an assistant professor at a top midwestern university medical school and is the director of clinical affairs for the university hospital’s division of hospital medicine.  We have referred him to many attorneys, both plaintiff and defense, and have gotten nothing but praise for his work as a reviewer, report writer, and testifying expert.

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