Sticky Notes Do Not Cost $1.6 Million

I was reading this article in the Clinician Review, April edition on Malpractice. They do these brief series on different malpractice cases and the results and I thought this particular case would be good to share.
Overview of the case:
19 yo patient comes in for a pre-sport physical exam. The physician noted a “slight systolic murmur” and documented it on the college physical exam form. Since this finding may be consistent with a heart condition that causes sudden cardiac death, the doc ordered a EKG and then signed the clearance form for the young man to play basketball. He also noted that the patient was in good condition and that he could participate without restriction. Almost 4 yrs later the patient collapse during a game and later died. The parents of the young man filed suit against the doc claiming neglect for signing the form and for not following up with the EKG. The physician argued that the patient never went for the EKG.
$1.6 million verdict was returned for the plaintiff.
Keep track of patients with potentially life threatening signs/symptoms/illnesses. It doesn’t really matter how you do it. Keep a running list on a sticky note or flag the charts for follow up in your system. The important thing is to find a system that works for you and stick to it. Start as a student so it’s a habit by the time the responsibility is all yours.

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