Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Yet another reason for the Electronic Medical Record...

... To at the very least put an end to absurd, infuriating "I say he did, you say he didn't" arguments in court -- that incidentally reflect negatively on the medical profession and its ability to document patients' histories consistently...

Merck expert defends testimony, lawyer clashes again with judge
Associated Press

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - Defending his opinions during a spirited cross-examination, an expert cardiologist who says Vioxx wasn't to blame for a postal worker's 2001 heart attack acknowledged Wednesday he was unsure whether the man had a family history of heart disease. Testifying for Merck & Co., maker of the since-withdrawn painkiller, Dr. Theodore Tyberg returned to the stand in Frederick "Mike" Humeston's product liability case. Humeston attorney Moshe Horn showed jurors two medical records that said Humeston's family members had no history of cardiac ailments.

Tyberg said he based his testimony Tuesday on a 2002 medical record from Humeston's orthopedic doctor, which said the man's mother died of a heart attack. She was in her mid-70s.

Horn grilled Tyberg over why he didn't tell jurors about medical records, from 1981 and 2001, in which cardiologists said there was no such family history. The latter, from Humeston's hospital visit the night of his Sept. 18, 2001 heart attack, said his mother had cancer.

"That doesn't say she didn't have a heart attack," Tyberg said.

"They didn't say she did, either," said Horn.

... Horn also attempted to undermine Tyberg's assertions that stress, high blood pressure and obesity played a role in Humeston's heart attack, using bits of data from Humeston's medical records to support his viewpoints while Tyberg relied on other details to bolster his.

-- SS

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