Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

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0515-Jeb-Columba-300x200Susan Kalitan was undergoing carpal tunnel surgery in a Florida hospital when the anesthesia tube administered by her doctor punctured her esophagus. Susan awoke after the surgery and immediately told her doctors that she was experiencing severe pain in her back and chest, but they dismissed her complaints. The doctors gave Susan pain medication and sent her home.

The following day, a neighbor found Susan unconscious in her home. Susan was rushed to a nearby hospital, where she underwent emergency surgery and was put in a medically induced coma for several weeks. The treatment saved Susan’s life, but to this day she experiences significant pain and struggles to live a normal life.

Susan filed a lawsuit against the North Broward Hospital District and other liable parties in 2008. She was awarded $4 million in non-economic damages. However, when it came time for Susan to receive her compensation, it was reduced to a fraction of the original number.

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MCI-Doctors-Office-Medical-Ops-1-300x200New bills spearheaded by the GOP could make it harder for victims of medical negligence and medical malpractice to secure fair compensation for their injuries. As part of the House Republicans’ efforts to replace President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, these bills would place new limits on lawsuits that involve doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes, and would likely be most harmful to low-income and elderly victims.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer claims the bills will lessen “frivolous lawsuits that unnecessarily drive up health care costs.” This idea–that health care would be affordable if only the government could curb all of the “frivolous” lawsuits attacking good doctors hospitals–is not only false, it is also dangerous. GOP Republicans have made countless attempts to limit the rights of medical negligence victims, but have failed consistently because the rights of victims to seek justice in the court system is guaranteed in the US Constitution.
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Emergency-Room-300x169All of us depend on doctors and hospital workers for treatment when we are sick or injured. Many times they are successful, saving our lives or the lives of our loved ones. But hospitals are far from infallible. 195,000 people die each year in American hospitals due to potentially preventable medical errors. The following guide will give you the information you need to avoid being one of those statistics.

Before you Get to the Hospital:
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2AEE385400000578-3178432-Dame_Sally_has_called_before_for_the_development_of_new_antibiot-a-20_1438165403058-300x231If you only read Sharley McMullen’s death certificate, you would think she passed away as the result of respiratory failure and septic shock. The truth is much more alarming.

McMullen, a healthy 72-year old woman from California, was finishing up treatment for a benign stomach ulcer when she contracted an infectious bacterial disease in the hospital where she was being treated. Five weeks later, she was dead. In a morbid twist of fate, the hospital that was supposed to heal her caused her death.
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Nursing-home-resident-1-300x196Millions of nursing home residents have signed away their right to sue their nursing home, regardless of whether they were sexually assaulted, physically abused or suffered serious injuries as a result of their care. The worst part is: these residents may not even know it. Forced arbitration clauses, which are often hidden in nursing home contracts that families sign, effectively force patients to renounce their ability to go to court, forcing them into binding private arbitration.

Fortunately, thanks to the intervention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), nursing homes have been barred from inserting forced arbitration clauses as of November 28, 2016. This has significant ramifications that you need to know about.
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Surgery-300x200Bringing suit for compensation against a doctor who, through his or her own negligence, caused you or a loved one injury is a fundamental right guaranteed to all citizens. Unfortunately, this right has been under attack for years.

As a result, the road to recovery for patients in medical negligence cases is far more difficult and expensive than it once was. Well-documented barriers, such as the high costs of trying a medical malpractice case (injured victims must hire a medical expert before filing suit) and reduced attorney fees on recovery have effectively barred lesser but legitimate injury claims from ever seeing the inside of a courtroom. In addition, hiring a medical expert to testify is not always easy because physicians who testify against other physicians risk being shunned in their profession going forward.

Sadly, we now write about a new barrier to injured victims.
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AmyM-300x261Earlier this year, we covered an analysis published by the BMJ that identified preventable medical errors as the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S.

Recently, a study funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that nearly one third of patients admitted to rehab centers experience illness or injuries as a result of their medical care.

Dr. David Classen, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Utah School of Medicine who played a key role in the study, stresses the importance of taking immediate steps to curb medical errors. “If the first rule of health care is ‘Do no harm,’ then we’re failing,” Dr. Classen said.
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Dr. David H. Newman, accused of groping emergency room patients.

Dr. David H. Newman, accused of
groping emergency room patients.

Dr. David H. Newman, accused of groping emergency room patients.[/caption]In a speech to medical students at the University of Virginia, former clinical research head at Mount Sinai Hospital and ethics lecturer Dr. David Newman said, “[Patients] believe in us. They have faith in us, it’s almost religious. We need to use that privilege in a way that will better their care.”

In March, Dr. Newman was accused of sexually abusing four of his patients, one of whom claims the doctor ejaculated on her while she was sedated. He now faces up to 7 years in prison.

Dr. David Mata was named Oregon Family Doctor of the Year in 1995. He has since been accused of 140 counts of sexual abuse, 6 of which he has pleaded guilty to. Dr. Mata was charged with 5 years probation, which he served at home. He is now eligible to reapply for his medical license.
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cancer25n-2-web-300x200When an ultrasound exposed a fibroid tumor growing in her uterus, Elissa McMahon didn’t take any chances.

Though she is a Massachusetts resident, Elissa scheduled a surgery to remove the fibroid at Lennox Hill, a top hospital in New York, where she would be close to her family. The surgery was a success, and Elissa was relieved when the pathology tests came back negative. She was cancer free, so the hospital said. This was in January 2012.

Two years later, Elissa began to experience severe back pain. She checked into an emergency room, where doctors found a tumor on her spine and metastatic lesions in her liver. Elissa had stage-4 cancer in her uterus, back, and liver.
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ICU_IV_1-200x300Every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compiles a list of the most common causes of death among Americans. This list is significant—it helps raise public awareness about particular health risks and it steers national research priorities. It is also inaccurate.

The CDC bases its rankings on data derived from death certificates, which assign an International Classification of Disease code to each cause of death. However, to this day there is no ICD code that corresponds to medical errors.

This omission is no accident. Preventable medical errors have been known by the healthcare industry to be a leading cause of death since at least 1999, when the Institute of Medicine referred to the 98,000 annual deaths they estimated were due to errors as an “epidemic.”
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