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Medical malpractice verdict against concierge medicine practice

Some New Mexico residents may be familiar with concierge medicine practices. These organizations contract doctors to provide care. Under the scheme, the doctors pay a fee per patient for advertising, marketing and other services, and patients pay a membership fee that allows them a number of benefits and access to what the companies say is superior medical care, including same-day appointments.

However, in Florida in 2008, a woman's leg was amputated after a doctor at the country's largest concierge medicine practice, MDVIP, failed to correctly diagnose the circulation problem that caused her leg pain. The woman died of leukemia four years later, but the jury awarded the woman's husband $8.5 million on Feb. 10 in Palm Beach County. In addition to finding the company responsible, the jury also found that MDVIP was not accurate in its advertising of the available quality of care offered.

MDVIP had argued that it was only a broker, but the jury did not accept this characterization of the relationship between the doctor and the company. The doctor settled with the family before the trial. However, the company plans to appeal the decision.

Many experts predict that this jury decision will result in concierge medicine practices checking their doctors more carefully and changing their advertising practices.

Medical malpractice may happen due to physician error, a missed diagnosis or some other negligent action on the part of medical professionals. When medical professionals do not observe what would be considered a reasonable degree of care in carrying out their duties, this may constitute negligence. A lawsuit may help pay for additional expenses incurred as a result of malpractice.

Source: Physicians News Digest, "MDVIP becomes first concierge medicine practice to lose medical malpractice case", Phil Galewitz, Feb. 13, 2015

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