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Because of the intense media swarm around Michael Jackson’s death, it might have seemed inevitable that the physician who administered the fatal dose of anesthesia to the pop singer would be charged with a crime.

But there’s a reason Dr. Conrad Murray was not formally accused of anything until nearly eight months after Jackson’s death. Doctors who screw up are rarely charged with crimes, unless they have committed insurance fraud.

Mostly, this makes sense.

William Heisel's picture

When the FDA seized 77 ozone generators from Applied Ozone Systems in Auburn, California recently, it was a reminder to health writers to ask tough questions about unproven medical techniques being touted as miracle cures.

Here are five musts for stories about ozone therapy and similar treatments.

William Heisel's picture

Could medical marijuana really become a government-approved treatment for workers injured on the job?

Now that a California court has left the door open for that possibility, some experts think it’s only a matter of time. Which raises the specter of all kinds of interesting dilemmas for workers and employers: what if an injured employee uses medical marijuana approved by his or her worker’s comp doctor – and then fails a drug test?

Barbara Feder Ostrov's picture

To most reporters, a recent lawsuit filed by California doctors to stop nurse specialists from administering unsupervised anesthesia looks like a yawn-worthy turf war over who gets to do what in medicine.

As far as I can tell, no mainstream California media outlet picked up the story. I can just see the thought bubbles (having been guilty of it myself in the past). That’s inside baseball. It’s not a local story, right?

Think again.

Barbara Feder Ostrov's picture

Scott Reuben, a Massachusetts anesthesiologist, had landed a job as the chief of acute pain at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. He also had published dozens of papers in academic journals touting the benefits of painkillers made by drug giants Pfizer and Merck.

William Heisel's picture

The Medical Board of California had been warned repeatedly about an obstetrician with a history of patient deaths and allegations of negligence, but, instead of taking action, the board appointed him to supervise a doctor who had been found negligent in the death of two children.

William Heisel's picture

There was a collective cry of alarm this week to news that the Medical Board of California had mishandled the case of a physician accused of negligence in the abortion-related death of a patient.

I wrote about the Dr. Andrew Rutland case on Tuesday, detailing how the medical board had appointed a doctor who had been disciplined by the board to oversee Rutland, in violation of the board’s own policies. Here is what happened next:

William Heisel's picture

A new Health Affairs interview with California HealthCare Foundation CEO Dr. Mark Smith caught my eye because if you read closely, you can find some intriguing new story ideas for journalists interested in health.

Barbara Feder Ostrov's picture

The Medical Board of California broke its own rules and appointed a doctor who had been disciplined by the board to oversee the practice of an obstetrician now accused of negligence in a patient death.

Antidote reviewed records from both the medical board investigation and the criminal investigation into the care that Dr. Andrew Rutland gave a Chinese immigrant who died in his office in October 2009. The records underscore lapses in physician discipline that persisted years after scores of government and media investigations.

William Heisel's picture

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