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$4.2M Maryland Medical Malpractice Verdict For Paralysis Caused By Negligent Post-Op Care October 31st, 2014

162017_132140396847214_292624_nOn October 22, 2014, a Baltimore medical malpractice jury took just two-and-a-half hours after a week-long trial to award a 64-year-old man and his wife $4.2 million ($3,743,388.30 in economic damages and $1 million in noneconomic damages) for their injuries and damages arising out of the alleged negligent post-operative care of the man that led to paralysis. The jury’s award of $1 million for the plaintiffs’ noneconomic damages, which included $500,000 for the plaintiffs’ loss of consortium claim, will be reduced to $710,000, pursuant to Maryland’s cap on noneconomic damages in effect at the time of the alleged medical negligence.

The Alleged Underlying Facts

The defendant neurosurgeon had successfully performed spinal cord surgery on the man on November 9, 2012. The man was supposed to be discharged from the hospital three days later to a rehabilitation facility. However, the defendant neurosurgeon allegedly restarted the man on his high blood pressure medication the day following the surgery, despite the man’s blood pressure being normal at that time.

The plaintiffs’ medical malpractice complaint filed in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City on May 29, 2013 alleged that the man fainted due to low blood pressure after he was administered anti-hypertension medication, which led to the man suffering a stroke that left him paralyzed below his mid-chest. The defendant neurosurgeon allegedly wrote in the man’s medical records that his stroke was caused by low blood pressure and he allegedly told the plaintiffs that the stroke may have been caused by the blood pressure medication the man had received. However, the defendant neurosurgeon reportedly distanced himself from his prior opinion regarding the cause of his patient’s stroke, and testified during trial that his patient’s stroke was caused by a blood clot.

Source

Richard Dallatezza, Sr., et al. v. St. Agnes Health Care, Inc., et al., Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Case No. 24C13003478.

No one expects to undergo successful spinal surgery but then to be injured as a result of negligent post-operative care. It is hard to imagine the emotional trauma suffered by the Maryland medical malpractice plaintiffs who must have been anxious before the surgery, relieved shortly after the successful surgery, but then devastated by negligent post-operative care that was avoidable.

The plaintiffs must have felt extreme betrayal when the defendant neurosurgeon testified during trial to his changed causation opinion that was contrary to what he had told them shortly after the injury as to the cause of the man’s stroke, especially since the medical records allegedly contradicted the defendant neurosurgeon’s testimony at trial.

If you, a family member, a loved one, or a friend may have been injured due to medical negligence in Maryland or in another U.S. state, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a Maryland medical malpractice attorney or a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice lawsuit, if appropriate.

Click here to visit our website to submit a secure form or telephone us on our toll-free line (800-295-3959) to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in Maryland or in your state who may assist you.

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New Jersey Supreme Court Considers Doctor’s Duty To Disclose Lack Of Medical Malpractice Insurance October 30th, 2014

162017_132140396847214_292624_nOn October 20, 2014, the New Jersey Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case that may decide if New Jersey physicians are under a duty to disclose to their patients that they do not have medical malpractice insurance coverage for the procedure being performed, and whether a surgical center where the uninsured physician performed the procedure can be held liable for failing to confirm that a physician using its facility has the proper medical malpractice insurance coverage.

The Underlying Facts

The plaintiff had a 20-year history of back pain that extended into his right leg for which he tried chiropractic care that was ineffective. He then consulted with the defendant anesthesiologist in September 2005, who diagnosed the plaintiff with a herniated disc in his lumbar spine, lumbar radiculopathy, and with discogenic back pain. The defendant anesthesiologist, whose medical malpractice insurance coverage expressly excluded coverage for spinal surgery, recommended that the plaintiff undergo surgical lumbar fusion at the L4-L5 and L5-S1 levels to be performed by him that involved implanting two mesh cages screwed into place.

Following the surgery, the plaintiff began experiencing pain in his left leg and had left foot drop. Other surgeons removed the mesh cages and screws that they determined were pinching a nerve in the man’s back. The man experienced improvement in his condition but still had left foot drop that apparently was due to injury to the nerve at the L4-L5 level.

New Jersey law requires that physicians practicing in New Jersey have at least $1 million in medical malpractice insurance coverage per occurrence and $3 million in medical malpractice insurance coverage per policy year. If medical malpractice insurance coverage is not available, New Jersey physicians can satisfy the statutory requirement by providing a $500,000 letter of credit. C.45:9-19.17.

Unbeknownst to the plaintiff, the defendant anesthesiologist did not have the required medical malpractice insurance coverage and he did not have a $500,000 letter of credit.

The plaintiff’s medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the defendant anesthesiologist concealed his lack of medical malpractice insurance for the spinal procedure and that such concealment amounted to deceit, misrepresentation, and outrageous conduct by the defendant. The plaintiff also alleged that the defendant anesthesiologist committed a battery because the defendant failed to obtain the informed consent of the plaintiff for the surgical procedure when the defendant anesthesiologist failed to disclose to the plaintiff that he was uninsured for the procedure.

The plaintiff further alleged in his medical malpractice lawsuit that the surgical center where the surgery was performed owed a duty to the plaintiff to make sure that the defendant anesthesiologist had the proper medical malpractice coverage for the procedure he performed at the defendant surgical center. Two lower courts determined that the plaintiff could not sue for deceit or battery.

A New Jersey medical malpractice jury awarded the plaintiff and his wife compensatory damages in the amount of $1.14 million, which the lower appellate court affirmed.

It is unknown when the New Jersey Supreme Court may issue its decision in this important case.

Source

If you or a family member have been harmed as a result of medical negligence in New Jersey or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a New Jersey medical malpractice lawyer, or find a medical malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.

Click here to visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-295-3959 to be connected with medical malpractice attorneys in New Jersey or in your state who may assist you.

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Medical Malpractice Payments In The U.S. Were At Continuing Record Low For 2013 October 29th, 2014

162017_132140396847214_292624_nEarlier this month, Public Citizen, the well-respected national non-profit organization that represents consumer interests with more than 300,000 members and supporters, issued its report entitled, “Medical Malpractice Payments Remained At Historic Low In 2013 Despite Slight Uptick,” that reported that the number and cumulative value of medical malpractice payments made on behalf of doctors in the United States increased slightly in 2013, which was the first increase in a decade, but the number and value of the medical malpractice payments remained at historic lows.

The number of payments made on behalf of doctors was 9,370 in 2012, and rose slightly to 9,677 in 2013 (62% of which were for a significant permanent injury, major permanent injury, quadriplegia, brain damage, the need for lifelong care, or death), based on Public Citizen’s analysis of data from the National Practitioner Data Bank (“NPDB”). The total amount of the medical malpractice payments made in 2013 was $3.3 billion (an increase of 3.7% from 2012), which was lower than in any year from 1999 to 2011.

Medical malpractice payments made in 2013 represented only 0.11% of health care costs in the United States in 2013.

Furthermore, medical malpractice insurance rates were found to have continued to decrease in 2013. For instance, The Doctors Company, which is the largest physician-owned medical malpractice insurer in the United States, reported that its medical malpractice insurance rates dropped by 35% between 2005 and 2012, and its rates for 2013 decreased between 2.8% and 45.7% in five U.S. states (Idaho, Illinois, Oregon, Mississippi, Oregon, and Washington).

Total medical liability insurance premiums paid by physicians and medical institutions (medical malpractice payments paid by or on behalf of institutions are not reported to the NPDB) decreased from $10 billion in 2012 to $9.8 billion in 2013, with cumulative payments for liability insurance premiums decreasing by 16.4% when compared to the cumulative payments paid in 2005.

Even with the decreasing medical malpractice insurance rates, medical malpractice insurers are continuing to enjoy record profits: the fourth-largest medical malpractice insurer in the United States, ProInsurance, had profit margins of 64.7% in 2013, 86% in 2012, and 91% in 2011.

Public Citizen notes that “the percentage of patients who receive payments is only a tiny fraction of those suffering avoidable injuries. This conclusion is evidenced by comparing the number of payments (fewer than 10,000 made on behalf of doctors in 2013) with the number whom experts say suffer avoidable injuries (as high as 8 million, according to the Journal of Patient Safety study …).”

After referencing a 2007 Harvard School of Health analysis of existing literature that found that only “2 to 3 percent of patients injured by negligence file malpractice claims and, of these, only about half recover compensation through the litigation process,” Public Citizen proffered, “An essential first step would be for the AMA and other leaders to commit the same level of energy to eradicating avoidable adverse events in hospitals as they have in pursuit of laws to limit doctors’ liability for those adverse events. In other words, the AMA and other peer groups should demonstrate that they are as concerned about the 98 to 99 percent of adverse events that do not result in liability payments as they are about the payments that do result from 1 to 2 percent of adverse events.”

Source

If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries (or worse) as a result of medical negligence in the United States, you should promptly consult with a local medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.

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$38M Settlement Approved Following $91.5M West Virginia Nursing Home Negligence Jury Verdict October 28th, 2014

162017_132140396847214_292624_nOn October 20, 2014, a West Virginia judge gave final approval to a settlement reached in a nursing home negligence case in which a jury had awarded $91.5 million to the plaintiffs in 2011. The judge approved the distribution of the $38 million settlement funds as follows: $20.5 to the family members of the 87-year-old nursing home resident who was severely injured and then died as a result of the nursing home neglect ($10.5 to the resident’s son, who filed the nursing home negligence case against a West Virginia nursing home and its operators and owners, and $10 million to the resident’s daughter); $17 million to the family’s attorneys for their fees; $300,000 as reimbursement to the plaintiffs’ attorneys for the litigation-related expenses incurred before trial, during trial, related to the appeal, and following the appeal; and, $50,000 to resolve medical liens.

Source

A West Virginia jury had awarded the family $91.5 million following trial in 2011. The trial judge subsequently reduced the verdict by $1 million because he held that a portion of the jury’s award was subject to West Virginia’s cap on noneconomic damages in certain cases. An appeal followed.

On June 18, 2014, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia (“Supreme Court”) upheld a substantial portion of the compensatory damages and the punitive damages awarded by the jury, stating in its written opinion, “In the face of numerous complaints of understaffing made by residents of Heartland Nursing Home, their families, and employees of Heartland, as well as negative results of surveys performed by the State of West Virginia, MC Companies refused to authorize the use of additional employees to ensure a staff sufficient to meet even the basic life-sustaining needs of its residents, who are among the most vulnerable and helpless citizens of West Virginia. MC Companies’ refusal to ensure that there was sufficient staff at Heartland Nursing Home to properly care for the needs of its residents, by either increasing staff or reducing the number of residents, implies that corporate profit was emphasized over the needs of residents.”

The Supreme Court further stated, “Instead of properly addressing the chronic understaffing of Heartland Nursing Home, MC Companies attempted to conceal the same by creating the appearance of adequate staff during times when the facility was being inspected, and by allowing its posted staffing data to incorrectly reflect higher levels of staff than were actually working. Specifically demonstrated by the facts of this case, MC Companies’ conduct inflicted egregious physical harm upon a weak and helpless woman who depended upon them for her care: egregious physical harm that ultimately cost this helpless woman her life. Furthermore, MC Companies’ wealth and the existence of $125 million in punitive damages insurance coverage demand a high punitive damages award to attract the attention of this corporate conglomerate, discourage future similar conduct, and encourage it to settle future cases for a reasonable amount when it is clear that a wrong has been committed.”

Nonetheless, the Supreme Court reduced the jury’s award of compensatory damages from $11.5 million to $4,594,615.22 and the jury’s award of punitive damages from $80 million to $31,978,521.93.

Source

Click here to visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to be connected with West Virginia nursing home claim lawyers (West Virginia medical malpractice lawyers) or nursing home lawyers/medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may assist you with a claim against a nursing home.

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New York Appellate Court Sets Standard For Bringing Legal Malpractice Claim After Unsuccessful Medical Malpractice Claim October 27th, 2014

162017_132140396847214_292624_nIn its October 21, 2014 decision, the Court of Appeals State of New York (“Court of Appeals”), New York’s highest appellate court, ruled that prior to commencing a legal malpractice action, a party who is “likely to succeed” on appeal of the underlying medical malpractice action should be required to press an appeal. However, if the party is not likely to succeed in the appeal, he or she may bring a legal malpractice action without first pursuing an appeal of the underlying action. In short, the failure to appeal bars the legal malpractice action only where the client was likely to have succeeded on appeal in the underlying action. This is known as the “likely to succeed” standard.

The Court of Appeals stated that the likely to succeed standard is the most efficient and fair for all parties because it will obviate premature legal malpractice actions by allowing the appellate courts to correct any trial court error and allow attorneys to avoid unnecessary malpractice lawsuits by being given the opportunity to rectify their clients’ unfavorable result. The Court of Appeals rejected the “nonfrivolous/meritorious appeal standard,” which would require a plaintiff to pursue a nonfrivolous or meritorious appeal that a reasonable lawyer would pursue in order to be allowed to pursue a legal malpractice action.

Know Who To Sue: A Warning To Medical Malpractice Lawyers Handling Claims Against VA Physicians

This appellate case highlights a serious pitfall facing medical malpractice lawyers when they are retained to bring medical malpractice claims on behalf of clients involving alleged medical negligence by a physician or other health care provider at a VA facility, because the physician involved may or may not be an employee of the VA.

The plaintiff in the New York case had retained a law firm to represent him in bringing an administrative proceeding against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) for medical malpractice due to its alleged failure to diagnose his eye condition and to follow up with him after the VA canceled a medical appointment and did not reschedule his appointment for about one year, at which time a serious eye condition was diagnosed that led to blindness in one eye that allegedly could have been avoided if diagnosed and treated earlier.

The original law firm recommended another law firm to pursue the medical malpractice claim in court. The second law firm filed a federal tort claim action against the United States for the VA’s alleged medical negligence in cancelling the plaintiff’s medical appointment and failing to timely reschedule it. The second law firm subsequently learned that the allegedly responsible VA physician was not employed by the VA but was employed by one of its clients, which posed a conflict that led to the original law firm resuming representation of the plaintiff.

The VA was allowed to bring a third-party action against the physician and the physician’s civilian employer. The physician and his civilian employer moved for summary judgment, alleging that the claims against them were not filed in time. The VA also moved for summary judgment, alleging that the physician was not its employee. The federal court granted both motions for summary judgment, finding that the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims against the physician and the physician’s civilian employer were time-barred, and that because the physician was not an employee of the VA, the VA was not liable for the plaintiff’s medical negligence claim against the physician. However, the plaintiff’s claim for the VA’s negligence for not timely rescheduling his appointment was not dismissed.

As a result of the federal court’s rulings, the original law firm advised the plaintiff that he was unlikely to succeed on the remaining claim against the VA, that a trial on that claim would be lengthy and costly, and therefore requested that the plaintiff discontinue the lawsuit, to which the plaintiff acquiesced.

The plaintiff thereafter retained a third law firm to sue the original and second law firms for legal malpractice in failing to timely sue the physician and the physician’s civilian employer. The original law firm responded that the plaintiff’s voluntary discontinuance of the federal lawsuit resulted in his forfeiture of a legal malpractice lawsuit, and that it was not responsible for the second law firm’s failure to timely sue the physician and the physician’s civilian employer. The second law firm responded to the legal malpractice lawsuit by alleging that the plaintiff was estopped from bringing the legal malpractice action because he failed to appeal the federal lawsuit and he failed to bring the legal malpractice action in a timely fashion.

Source John W. Grace, Respondent v. Michael R. Law, et al., Appellants. No. 165.

If you or a loved one may be the victim of medical negligence in New York or by the VA, you should promptly find a New York medical malpractice attorney (or find a VA medical malpractice attorney in your state) who may investigate your New York medical malpractice claim and/or your VA medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a New York/VA medical malpractice case, if appropriate.

Click here to visit our website or telephone us on our toll-free line (800-295-3959) to be connected with New York medical malpractice lawyers and/or VA medical malpractice lawyers who may assist you.

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Recent Study Of The Impact Of Medical Malpractice Caps On Average Malpractice Payment Size October 26th, 2014

162017_132140396847214_292624_nThe authors of a study published online on October 22, 2014 by HealthAffairs sought to investigate the impact of medical malpractice caps on noneconomic damages on the average size of medical malpractice payments for ten medical specialties as well as for physicians overall. The researchers found that caps on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases for the period between 1985 and 2010 reduced average payments by $42,980 overall when compared to claims that were not subject to caps, which represented a reduction of 15%.

The study further reported that a cap in the amount of $250,000 reduced the average medical malpractice payment by 20% ($59,331) while a cap in the amount of $500,000 was found to have no significant effect when compared to medical malpractice payments in states with no caps on noneconomic damages. Caps on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice claims had the largest effect on claims against pediatricians and the smallest effect on claims against ophthalmologists and surgical subspecialties. The medical specialties included in the study were: internal medicine (which included family practice), general surgery, surgical subspecialties, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, cardiology, anesthesiology, radiology, ophthalmology, and the combined category “other.”

The study’s authors used data from the Physician Insurers Association of America (PIAA) Data Sharing Project, which is the largest database of paid and unpaid medical malpractice claims from private insurers in the United States. PIAA is an organization consisting of 60 domestic and 12 international medical malpractice insurers and 46 affiliated members, which combined insure more than 325,000 medical practitioners. The database contains about one-fourth of the medical malpractice claims filed in the United States.

The study analyzed 220,653 medical malpractice claims. Of those claims, 33.7% (74,366) involved indemnity payments. The highest proportion of indemnity payments involved obstetrics and gynecology (39.4%), general surgery (38.8%), and anesthesiology (38.3%).

The study’s authors addressed several significant limitations in their study, including that “it is possible that stringent caps reduce malpractice claims and that the claims not made because of the caps have marginally weaker merits and lower average indemnity payments. In that case, our estimates of the reductions in average indemnity payments associated with stringent caps may underestimate the caps’ true effect.”

Source

Perhaps the medical malpractice tort reform experience in Texas, where the state imposed a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages in most medical malpractice cases in 2003, is a prime example of the devastating effect that caps on damages in medical malpractice cases have had on medical malpractice victims: it is nearly impossible to find a medical malpractice lawyer in Texas willing to help medical malpractice victims receive compensation for the harms they suffered unless their injuries were catastrophic – Texas medical malpractice victims who suffer lesser but no less impactful harms are left without a means of receiving compensation from their negligent medical providers who enjoy the economic incentive to continue to harm their patients.

If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries or complications due to possible medical negligence in the United States, you should promptly consult with a local medical malpractice attorney in your U.S. state who may investigate your situation for you and represent you in a medical malpractice claim, if appropriate.

Click here to visit our website to complete and submit a short, secure form or call us toll-free at 800-295-3959 to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may assist you.

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Medical Malpractice Reforms Protecting ED Physicians Have Had Little Effect On The Practice Of Medicine October 25th, 2014

162017_132140396847214_292624_nIn a research study published on October 16, 2014 in The New England Journal of Medicine, it was reported that in three U.S. states that had passed medical malpractice reform legislation to require a greater showing of medical negligence in order for patients injured by emergency room physicians to recover compensation for their injuries, emergency room physicians have changed little in the number of CT scans and the number of MRI scans they order, the per-visit charges for emergency department care have changed little, and the rate of admissions from the emergency department has experienced very little change.

The three U.S. states that raised the standard for establishing emergency room liability for medical negligence claims to gross negligence from simple negligence are Texas, which adopted the “reform” in 2003, Georgia, which made the change in 2005, and South Carolina, which raised the hurdle facing emergency room medical malpractice victims in 2005.

The argument advanced for increasing the protection enjoyed by emergency room physicians facing medical negligence claims was that ER physicians were practicing “defensive medicine” in which they ordered tests and other care that was unnecessary due to their fear of medical malpractice claims. The three states that made the change were eager to impose the medical malpractice reform measure that the states believed would result in substantial health care savings by eliminating defensive medicine costs.

The study investigated all visits to emergency departments from 1997 through 2011 in Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina, as well as in six neighboring states that had not imposed the gross negligence standard for emergency room physicians, using a 5% random sample of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries. The study compared the patient-level outcomes (i.e., the use of CT scans, the use of MRI scans, the charges for per-visit in the emergency department, and the rate of hospital admissions through the emergency department) in all nine states during the pre- and post-reform time periods.

The study determined that there was no “policy-attributable reduction in the intensity of care” in “eight of the nine state-outcome combinations tested” – there was no reduction in the rates of CT scans and MRI scans and there was no reduction in hospital admission rates in the three reform states. With regard to the charges for emergency department visits, there was no reduction in Texas or in South Carolina (Georgia experienced a 3.6% reduction).

Source

Based on the experiences in Texas, in Georgia, and in South Carolina after each imposed much more stringent requirements on medical malpractice victims in order for them to recover compensatory damages for their injuries suffered as a result of emergency room physician negligence, it would appear that the unsupported justification for added protection for negligent emergency room physicians was a false promise that has needlessly harmed patients.

If you or a loved one were injured due to the medical negligence of an emergency room physician in the United States, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a local medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your emergency room malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice claim against an emergency room physician, if appropriate.

Click here to visit our website to submit a short, secure form, or call us toll-free at 800-295-3959, to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may assist you.

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Maryland Medical Malpractice Summary Judgment For Defendant Reversed October 24th, 2014

162017_132140396847214_292624_nThe Court of Special Appeals of Maryland (“Appellate Court”), Maryland’s intermediate appellate court, has reversed a trial court’s granting summary judgment in favor of the defendant in a Maryland medical malpractice case. The trial judge had granted judgment for the defendant after finding that the plaintiff had failed to present evidence in support of his Maryland medical malpractice claim because his expert had been precluded from testifying on his behalf during trial. The Appellate Court ruled on October 16, 2014 that the trial judge had wrongly precluded the plaintiff’s expert from testifying in support of the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claim.

The trial judge had ordered on the fist day of trial that the plaintiff’s medical expert produce certain tax records for 2011 and 2012 by 4:00 p.m. that day or he would be precluded from testifying on behalf of the plaintiff (the expert was unable to comply with the judge’s order because he was treating patients all day and was unable to contact his accountant in order to produce the tax records by the deadline). When the expert failed to comply in time, the trial judge precluded his trial testimony.

The Appellate Court noted that the preclusion of an expert’s testimony on behalf of a party during trial is normally reserved for egregious violations of court orders where there is evidence of willful or contemptuous behavior by a party or the party’s attorney. While the plaintiff’s expert’s failure to produce his tax documents that were subpoenaed was a discovery violation, the Appellate Court noted that the expert had not defied a court order but rather had simply requested more time to comply with the request, and that the discovery failure was not such a persistent and deliberate violation to merit the exclusion of the expert’s testimony during trial.

The Alleged Underlying Facts

The plaintiff was having pain and hearing problems in his right ear for which he consulted with the defendant family practitioner twice during 2006 and 2007. The defendant allegedly failed to timely order appropriate tests that would have diagnosed the plaintiff’s brain tumor sooner than when it was diagnosed in 2010. As a result of the late diagnosis, the plaintiff had surgery to remove the brain tumor that resulted in permanent hearing loss, nerve damage, facial palsy, and disfigurement. The plaintiff’s expert would have testified during trial that the plaintiff’s brain tumor should have been diagnosed sooner, when it would have been easier to treat.

The Appellate Court held that the trial judge had abused her discretion by failing to impose an appropriate sanction based on the specific discovery violation: the trial judge had only one possible sanction in mind on the first day of trial – that the plaintiff’s expert’s testimony would be precluded if he failed to produce the requested tax documents that day.

Fitzpatrick v. Lee, et al., No. 0275, September Term 2013.

If you or a family member have been seriously injured as a result of medical negligence in Maryland or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer, or find a medical malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.

Click here to visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-295-3959 to be connected with medical malpractice attorneys in Maryland or in your state who may assist you.

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A Recent Study Of Closed Anesthesia Medical Malpractice Claims October 23rd, 2014

162017_132140396847214_292624_nIn a study published earlier this month in the Journal of Healthcare Risk Management that is entitled “Analysis of Patient Injury Based on Anesthesiology Closed Claims Data from a Major Malpractice Insurer,” the authors reviewed 607 anesthesia-related medical malpractice claims reported to The Doctors Company, which is the largest physician-owned medical malpractice insurer in the United States with a membership of 75,000 and reported assets in the amount of $4.3 billion.

The study found that the most frequent anesthesia-related injuries reported involved damage to teeth (20.8% of the anesthesia medical malpractice claims), followed by death of the patient (18.3%), damage to nerves (13.5%), organ damage (12.7%), pain (10.9%), and cardiopulmonary arrest (10.7%). The most frequently identified contributing factor that led to an anesthesia-related medical malpractice claim was the obesity of the patient.

There were fewer claims originating from smaller hospitals but the claims arising from the smaller hospitals had higher rates of nerve damage and mortality. Ambulatory surgery centers had the lowest death-to-claim rate, at 12%. Anesthesia medical malpractice claims had a higher average indemnity payment than the average indemnity payment for all physician specialties: $309,066 compared to $291,000.

The study found that nearly 80% of the anesthesia-related claims were the result of complications that had been explained to patients before the procedure, but those patients who filed anesthesia-related medical malpractice claims may have had insufficient clinical knowledge to be able to associate those risks with the injuries they sustained. In 15% of the anesthesia-related medical malpractice claims filed, inadequate preoperative assessments were identified by the researchers (obtaining a patient’s complete medical history that may help identify relevant conditions such as seizure activity, sleep apnea, prior difficult intubations, a history of reactions to anesthetics, and allergies, as well reviewing the results of laboratory tests, may help avoid anesthesia complications by determining a proper anesthesia treatment plan for the patient, thereby reducing anesthesia-related medical malpractice claims).

The study also found that alarms having been turned off or ignored were sometimes the reason for delayed responses to deteriorating vital signs intraoperatively.

One of the authors of the study suggested, “The results of this study show how important it is for physicians to communicate with patients about the outcomes of their care and to link informed consent discussions with the complication that they experienced. Patients may still be unhappy with the outcome, but they will have a better understanding of the cause of their injury and be less likely to incorrectly ascribe the injury to substandard care.”

Source

On the other hand, a bad outcome from anesthesia may be due to medical negligence rather than simple “bad luck” from a known risk of anesthesia.

If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries (or worse) as a result of anesthesia, you should promptly consult with a local medical malpractice attorney in your U.S. state who may investigate your anesthesia malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case against an anesthesiologist, if appropriate.

Click here to visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-295-3959 to be connected with anesthesia medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may assist you.

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Two Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Filed Against A Jail On The Same Day October 22nd, 2014

162017_132140396847214_292624_nOn October 13, 2014, two medical malpractice lawsuits were filed in federal court in Oregon on behalf of one inmate who died the day before he was to be released, allegedly due to medical malpractice that occurred in the jail, and the other filed on behalf of an inmate who lost a testicle that had swollen to the size of a baseball, allegedly due to medical malpractice.

The $5 million prisoner medical malpractice lawsuit filed on behalf of the 43-year-old inmate who died the day before his scheduled release from jail alleges that he was incarcerated for fourth-degree assault and possession of a controlled substance beginning on October 28, 2013, at which time he did not have any physical complaints. However, beginning on November 9, 2013, he began experiencing stomach pain. The prisoner was seen by the nurses at the jail on November 14, 2013, by which time he had vomited four times and had five episodes of diarrhea. Despite his symptoms and condition, he was returned back to his jail cell, with a prescription for Immodium, which was never filled.

On November 18, 2013, a deputy heard the man moaning and gave him Milk of Magnesia. He told an EMT at the jail that he thought that he had blood in his urine. The inmate was unable to get out of bed and was unable to eat. Despite his symptoms and condition, he was not sent to the local hospital until November 21, 2013. Less than six hours after he arrived at the hospital, he was dead from bleeding ulcers.

The $1.05 million inmate medical malpractice lawsuit filed on behalf of the prisoner who had a prior history of testicular swelling alleges that the man was serving a 40-day sentence for second-degree criminal mischief during November 2013, when his testicle became swollen, resulting in much pain and causing him to walk with a limp. He was not allowed to have surgery to address his condition until eight days later, after which he was immediately returned to jail. He spent the next five days in a great deal of pain during which he claims he was denied pain medication and his testicle was infected. He was returned to the hospital where surgery was performed to remove his testicle that allegedly had swollen to the size of a baseball.

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While inmates and prisoners may not expect to receive medical care within the same timeframe as noncustodial individuals may expect under nonemergency circumstances, they are still entitled to proper medical care while in custody. The failure to provide timely and appropriate medical care to prisoners may result in claims of medical negligence and cruel and unusual punishment. Except in the most egregious cases, it may be difficult for an inmate or former prisoner to find an attorney to assist him in filing a claim for injuries suffered as a result of medical negligence while incarcerated.

Nonetheless, if you or a loved one suffered serious injuries (or worse) while incarcerated in the United States, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a local medical malpractice attorney in your state who may be willing to investigate your prison medical negligence claim for you and represent you in a inmate medical malpractice case, if appropriate.

Click here to visit our website or telephone us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may handle prison medical malpractice claims.

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