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Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Upholds $63M Verdict Against Johnson & Johnson April 25th, 2015

162017_132140396847214_292624_nOn April 17, 2015, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (“Court”), which is Massachusetts’ highest appellate court, affirmed a $63 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson in a pharmaceutical case that claimed that a seven-year-old child developed toxic epidermal necrolysis (“TEN”), which is a rare but life-threatening skin disorder, after receiving multiple doses of Children’s Motrin in November 2003.

The active ingredient of Children’s Motrin, which is an over-the-counter (“OTC”) medication, is ibuprofen (a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (“NSAID”) used to treat minor aches and pains as well as fever). Children’s Motrin is manufactured and sold by Neil-PPC, Inc. (doing business as McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals (“McNeil”)), and Johnson & Johnson is McNeil’s parent company.

The Child’s Suffering And Injuries Due To TEN

TEN and SJS (Stevens-Johnson Syndrome) are severe disorders that attack the skin, resulting in a rash and a diffused eruption of blisters and significant damage to the mucosal membranes throughout the body, particularly the mouth, eyes, and genital and anal areas. SJS occurs where less than 10% of the body’s surface is affected by the disorder, while TEN occurs where more than 30% of the body’s surface is affected.

Both TEN and SJS can lead to scarring and infection. With TEN, the top layer of skin dies and the skin sloughs off, leaving raw areas that are predisposed to infection, a condition that can lead to death. SJS and TEN can cause blindness and significant damage to the respiratory and reproductive systems. SJS has a mortality rate of 5%, while TEN is fatal in some 30% of cases.

Ibuprofen, the active ingredient in Children’s Motrin, is associated with SJS and TEN.

According to the Court’s lengthy written opinion, the child was hospitalized and diagnosed with TEN. She needed to be placed in a medically induced coma for a full month to deal with the pain. Her symptoms and conditions included bloody secretions that affected approximately 95% of her body’s surface area; the top layer of her skin died and sloughed off; she suffered heart and liver failure; she had a stroke followed shortly afterwards by an aneurysm; she suffered a cranial hemorrhage that caused seizures, requiring brain surgery; she was left with only 20% of her lung capacity; her eyes were inflamed; she became addicted to pain medications used to ease her discomfort; she suffered visible withdrawal symptoms while she was weaned off the medications; by the time of her release from the hospital in May 2004, she weighed only 35 pounds; at home, she was required to eat through a feeding tube for two years; she required oxygen assistance at night for two years; her teacher had to carry her up and down stairs due to her small size; and, she needed to visit the school nurse every day to eat lunch through her feeding tube.

She was hospitalized several times with pneumonia and for trouble with her breathing, along with suffering multiple bouts of bronchitis. Her lungs were scarred (by 2011, her lungs had improved but they still functioned at less than half of their capacity and she could not engage in any athletic activities). As a result of her low lung capacity, she will not be able to maintain a pregnancy.

She has had more than twelve eye surgeries, including eye surgery shortly before trial during which a prosthesis was implanted to replace the lens of the cornea in her left eye.

She suffers cognitive limitations and her memory is not as sharp as it was before she developed TEN. She will never be able to drive a car and she remains dependent on others for assistance in her daily life. For the remainder of her life, she will be at increased risk for frequent hospitalizations, lung problems such as asthma and wheezing at a minimum, and further eye complications, such as glaucoma. She will always be at a great risk of illness and at a severe disadvantage in terms of fighting disease due to her pulmonary deficiencies and low body weight (she weighed only 82 pounds as a sixteen year old).

The Lawsuit And The Appeal

The child and her parents filed their lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and McNeil, alleging that the child developed TEN as a result of being exposed to ibuprofen in the Children’s Motrin that was administered to her, and that the warning label on the Children’s Motrin bottle rendered the product defective because it failed to warn consumers adequately about the serious risk of developing a life-threatening disease from it. The jury trial was held in January and February 2013, after which the jury awarded the child $50 million in compensatory damages and awarded the parents $6.5 million each, for their loss of consortium claims.

The defendants raised the following claims on appeal: (1) the defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law because the plaintiffs’ central claim of failure to warn is preempted by the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), 21 U.S.C. §§ 301 et seq., as administered by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA); (2) the defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law because the plaintiffs failed to prove causation as a matter of law, claiming that the plaintiffs’ causation witness was unqualified to render the opinions on causation that he did, his opinions were not scientifically reliable in any event, and there was no other competent evidence on which the necessary element of causation could be based; and, (3) the damages awarded to each of the plaintiffs were “grossly excessive” and unsupported by the record.

The Court rejected each of the defendants’ claims on appeal and therefore affirmed the jury’s verdict.

Source Reckis & another vs. Johnson & Johnson & another, SJC-11677.

If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries (or worse) due to a drug taken in the United States, you should promptly find a pharmaceutical malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate your drug claim for you and represent you in a claim against a pharmaceutical company, if appropriate.

Click here to visit our website to submit a short, secure form, or call us on our toll-free line in the United States (800-295-3959), to find drug claim lawyers in your state who may assist you with your drug claim.

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Maryland Medical Malpractice Defense Verdict In Orthopedic Case April 24th, 2015

162017_132140396847214_292624_nA Maryland medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in favor of an orthopedic surgeon and his medical practice on April 14, 2015, after a seven-day trial. The jury found that the defendants were not negligent in the treatment of a man who had orthopedic surgery on his left arm after which his wrist was permanently injured, according to the Maryland medical malpractice plaintiff’s lawsuit.

The Alleged Underlying Facts

On August 20, 2011, the plaintiff injured his left arm when he over-extended his elbow while trying to lift a gate. The man felt a pop and knew he had suffered some type of injury to his arm.

On August 26, 2011, the defendant orthopedic surgeon performed surgery on the man’s left arm to repair a ruptured biceps tendon. The man claimed that the defendant surgeon failed to inform him prior to surgery of the material risks of the proposed surgery.

The day after his surgery, the man alleged that he began to experience an intense, burning-like sensation that extended from his left hand through his left shoulder, along with marked numbness and tingling in his left hand and fingers.

The plaintiff returned to the defendant orthopedic surgeon five days after his surgery, at which time it was determined that he had wrist drop caused by nerve paralysis. The defendant orthopedic surgeon allegedly told the plaintiff that his condition may resolve on its own over time but also advised the plaintiff to continue with his occupational therapy, and that if the therapy did not result in improvement in a three to six week period, an EMG would be appropriate thereafter to diagnose the location and extent of the nerve injury.

The defendants alleged that the plaintiff showed improvement in his condition one week later but he failed to return for occupational therapy for five weeks. At the time the plaintiff advised the defendant orthopedic surgeon that he was changing doctors, he allegedly (according to the defendants) had shown signs of spontaneous recovery from his nerve injury, had good range of motion of his elbow, and was able to turn his hand over.

The plaintiff had an EMG performed in October 2011 at another medical practice that allegedly showed severe, chronic, and active nerve damage; a second EMG performed five months later showed only moderate improvement.

The plaintiff alleged that the defendants breached the standard of care by failing to order a neurosurgical consult and by failing to order an EMG within three to six weeks after the surgery.

The defendants alleged that the plaintiff’s failure to appear for in-office visits and the plaintiff’s transfer of care to another medical practice deprived the defendants of their ability to monitor and assess the plaintiff’s medical condition and his clinical progress, and assess the need for further diagnostic testing after September 14, 2011.

The defendants further claimed that the alleged nerve injury in the plaintiff’s left arm was far removed from the surgical site, and that the plaintiff had exploratory surgery in November 2014 that failed to find any injury to any nerve.

The plaintiff alleged that he continues to suffer excruciating pain along with the inability to use his left hand and left arm for even simple daily tasks.

Source Rose v. Maryland Orthopaedics P.A., et al., Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Case No. 386490V.

If you were injured in Maryland due to possible medical negligence, you should promptly find a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer who may investigate your Maryland medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a Maryland medical malpractice case, if appropriate.

Visit our website to submit a short, secure form, or call us toll-free at 800-295-3959, to find Maryland malpractice attorneys, or medical malpractice attorneys in your U.S. state, who may assist you.

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D.C. Medical Malpractice Verdicts In 2014 April 23rd, 2015

162017_132140396847214_292624_nThe Superior Court of the District of Columbia (“D.C. Superior Court”) is the trial court of general jurisdiction for the District of Columbia, which was established by the U.S. Congress in 1970. The D.C. Superior Court consists of a chief judge, 61 associate judges, and 24 magistrate judges as well as retired judges who have been recommended and approved as senior judges.

Source

The D.C. Superior Court released its data regarding medical malpractice cases that were tried to verdict between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014. Of the 8 D.C. medical malpractice cases tried to verdict during 2014, three were in favor of the plaintiff and five were defense verdicts. The highest plaintiff’s medical malpractice verdict was $463,725.76 (the other two plaintiff’s verdicts in D.C. medical malpractice cases during 2014 were in the amounts of $400,000.00 and $120,000.00, respectively).

All three D.C. medical malpractice verdicts in favor of the plaintiff exceeded the last offer by the defendant (there were no settlement offers made by the defendants in any of the eight medical malpractice cases tried to a verdict in D.C.). The was only one plaintiff medical malpractice verdict in D.C. that exceeded the plaintiff’s last settlement demand: the verdict in favor of the plaintiff was $463,725.76 and the last settlement demand by the plaintiff in that case was $200,000.00.

With regard to the D.C medical malpractice case that resulted in a plaintiff’s verdict in the amount of $400,000.00, the plaintiff’s last demand was $20,000,000.00.

With regard to the D.C medical malpractice case that resulted in a plaintiff’s verdict in the amount of $120,000.00, the plaintiff’s last demand was $5,000,000.00.

The last settlement demands by the plaintiffs in the medical malpractice cases that resulted in defense verdicts were $15,000,000.00, $3,159,194.00, $1,000,000.00 (in two cases), and $900,000.00.

The D.C. medical malpractice verdicts during 2014 occurred in January, February, March, May (two cases), June (two cases), and in October (the plaintiff’s verdicts occurred in January, March, and June 2014).

Three of the D.C. medical malpractice cases involved claims of misdiagnosis (two of the cases resulted in plaintiff’s verdicts), two of the cases involved claims of incompetent surgery (one resulted in a plaintiff’s verdict – the largest plaintiff’s verdict – and also included a claim for misdiagnosis), one involved a claim of lack of informed consent (along with a claim of incompetent surgery – defense verdict), one involved a claim of birth complication (defense verdict), two involved “other” claims (one resulted in a plaintiff’s verdict), and one did not specify the type of medical negligence claim alleged (defense verdict).

The injuries alleged were death (one case – defense verdict), one alleged no permanent injury (defense verdict), one alleged non-serious permanent injury (plaintiff’s verdict), and five alleged serious permanent injury (two were plaintiff’s verdicts and three were defense verdicts).

Source

If you or a loved one may be the victim of medical malpractice in the District of Columbia or elsewhere in the United States, you should promptly consult with a District of Columbia medical malpractice attorney or a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your medical negligence claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.

Visit our website to submit a short, secure form, or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959, to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in D.C. or in your U.S. state who may assist you.

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$7.4M Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Verdict For Stroke Victim April 22nd, 2015

162017_132140396847214_292624_nOn April 15, 2015, a Pennsylvania medical malpractice jury awarded a Pennsylvania man $7.4 million after less than five hours of deliberations, for the serious stroke and resulting permanent injuries he suffered, allegedly as a result of the medical negligence of his primary care physician in failing to timely and appropriately treat his high blood pressure.

The Alleged Underlying Facts

The plaintiff was 56-years-old when he went to his primary care physician on May 14, 2010, having experienced dizziness, confusion, and numbness shortly before the visit. At that time, the physician found that the man’s blood pressure was 200/80 (the physician had been the man’s primary care physician since 1995 – during a visit to the physician’s office in October 2008, the man’s blood pressure was recorded as 220/90; on April 16, 2010, his blood pressure was recorded as 184/94, at which time he was prescribed the blood pressure medication Lisinopril and was told to return to the physician’s office in four weeks).

Despite his high blood pressure reading during the May 14, 2010 visit, his recent symptoms, and his risk factors for stroke (his age, history of high cholesterol, history of diabetes, history of smoking, and his slight obesity), the physician sent the man home with a prescription for Lisinopril and Norvasc, and he was told to return to his physician four weeks later.

On May 16, 2010, the man was transported to the local hospital where his blood pressure was found to be 280/150. He was diagnosed with blocked cerebral arteries and suffered a serious stroke that has left him in a wheelchair and with upper extremity weakness for the rest of his life.

The man’s Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that his primary care physician breached the standard of care on May 14, 2010 by failing to conduct appropriate diagnostic testing in light of his blood pressure reading at that time and his known risk factors for a stroke, and by failing to immediately admit the man to the hospital for work-up of his symptoms and for appropriate treatment.

The defendant primary care physician argued that he appropriately treated the man’s high blood pressure with medication, that the man had not expressed to him the symptoms of confusion, dizziness, and numbness that he had experienced prior to the May 14, 2010 in-office visit, and that he had not deviated from the applicable standard of care in the treatment of his patient.

The Pennsylvania medical malpractice jury determined that both the physician and the patient were negligent, but assigned the defendant physician with 61% of the blame for the man’s stroke and permanent injuries. The jury’s award of compensatory damages included $350,000 for future loss of earnings, $2.6 million for future medical expenses, $3.5 million in other damages, and $950,000 for his late-wife’s loss of consortium claim.

Source

If you or a loved one were injured (or worse) due to medical negligence in Pennsylvania or elsewhere in the United States, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a local medical malpractice attorney in Pennsylvania or in your U.S. state who may investigate your medical negligence claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.

Visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-295-3959 to find medical malpractice lawyers in Pennsylvania or in your U.S. state who may assist you with your medical negligence claim.

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Florida Supreme Court Overturns Award Of Defendants’ Attorneys Fees In Medical Malpractice Case April 21st, 2015

162017_132140396847214_292624_nIn a written opinion dated April 16, 2015, the Supreme Court of Florida (“Florida Supreme Court”) overturned an award of attorneys fees and costs to the medical malpractice defendants, finding that the defendants had failed to strictly comply with the statutory requirements in order to be entitled to the attorneys fees and costs they incurred after making a settlement offer to the plaintiff in the amount of $10,000, which the plaintiff rejected and later the jury found in favor of the defendants.

Section 768.79, Florida Statutes

Section 768.79, Florida Statutes (2014) provides, in relevant part:

(1) In any civil action for damages filed in the courts of this state, if a defendant files an offer of judgment which is not accepted by the plaintiff within 30 days, the defendant shall be entitled to recover reasonable costs and attorney’s fees incurred by her or him or on the defendant’s behalf pursuant to a policy of liability insurance or other contract from the date of filing of the offer if the judgment is one of no liability or the judgment obtained by the plaintiff is at least 25 percent less than such offer, and the court shall set off such costs and attorney’s fees against the award. . . . If a plaintiff files a demand for judgment which is not accepted by the defendant within 30 days and the plaintiff recovers a judgment in an amount at least 25 percent greater than the offer, she or he shall be entitled to recover reasonable costs and attorney’s fees incurred from the date of the filing of the demand. . . .

(2) The making of an offer of settlement which is not accepted does not preclude the making of a subsequent offer. An offer must:

(a) Be in writing and state that it is being made pursuant to this section.

(b) Name the party making it and the party to whom it is being made.

(c) State with particularity the amount offered to settle a claim for punitive damages, if any.

(d) State its total amount.

The offer shall be construed as including all damages which may be awarded in a final judgment.

Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.442

Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.442 provides, in relevant part:

(c) Form and Content of Proposal for Settlement.

. . . .

(2) A proposal shall:

(A) name the party or parties making the proposal and the party or parties to whom the proposal is being made;

. . . .

(C) state with particularity any relevant conditions;

(D) state the total amount of the proposal and state with particularity all nonmonetary terms of the proposal;

. . . .

(3) A proposal may be made by or to any party or parties and by or to any combination of parties properly identified in the proposal. A joint proposal shall state the amount and terms attributable to each party.

The Florida Supreme Court’s Decision

The Florida Supreme Court stated that subdivision (c)(3) of rule 1.442, which requires a joint proposal to state the amount and terms attributable to each offeror or offeree (to be valid, an offer of judgment presented by multiple offerors must apportion the amount that is attributable to each offeror), must be strictly construed because it, as well as the offer of judgment statute, is in derogation of the common law rule that each party is responsible for its own fees (the purpose of the apportionment requirement in the rule is to allow each offeree to evaluate the terms and the amount of the offer as it pertains to him or her).

In the case it was deciding, the Florida Supreme Court determined that the settlement offer was a joint proposal by both medical malpractice defendants: the clear wording of the proposal showed that the two offerors presented the settlement offer. The Florida Supreme Court held that under section 768.79 and rule 1.442 the proposal was invalid because it failed to apportion the settlement amount between the two medical malpractice defendants.

Source Pratt vs. Weiss, D.O., et al., No. SC12-1783.

If you were injured as a result of medical care provided (or not provided) in Florida, you should promptly find a Florida medical malpractice lawyer who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a Florida medical malpractice case, if appropriate.

Click here to visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to find Florida malpractice attorneys who may assist you.

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Baltimore Orioles Outfielder Files Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Against Johns Hopkins April 20th, 2015

162017_132140396847214_292624_nBaltimore Orioles outfielder Nolan Reimold has a filed a medical malpractice claim against The Johns Hopkins Hospital, alleging that a Johns Hopkins spine surgeon negligently advised him that he could return to playing baseball without restrictions too soon after fusion surgery on his neck.

As a result of returning to playing baseball before his spine had fully fused, he missed the remainder of the 2013 baseball season (after playing 40 games) because he had to undergo a second surgery, according to the medical malpractice claim.

The Alleged Facts

Mr. Reimold had suffered a herniated disc in his neck for which he had spinal fusion surgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in June 2012. He was released by a neurosurgeon six months later to resume playing baseball without restrictions of any kind. Mr. Reimold released a statement in conjunction with the filing of his medical malpractice claim against Johns Hopkins in which he stated: “I was under the impression that everything was fused …  I did my best to get back on track. I had no idea that every game I played caused me further injury because my bones weren’t fused.”

It is reported that the 31-year-old outfielder played in almost 300 games for the Baltimore Orioles from 2009 to 2013. His best season with the Baltimore Orioles was in 2009, when his season batting average was .279, with 15 home runs hit in the 104 games in which he appeared. He is now with the Norfolk Tides (the Baltimore Orioles Triple A team) after spending last season with the Toronto Blue Jays and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Source

A Johns Hopkins Medicine Orthopaedic Surgery publication entitled, “The Road To Recovery After Cervical Spine Surgery” states, “The most important thing to remember is the sooner you return to being active – the sooner you will be on the road to recovery, ” and further states, “Naturally, you will feel tired and weak after surgery. You will begin to feel yourself after 2 to 3 weeks and improve over the following weeks. You should tell your employer you will be out of work for approximately 8 to 12 weeks but may be able to return earlier than that … Don’t forget about your restrictions for the first 6 weeks after surgery. You need to avoid twisting and bending. You also need to avoid lifting, pushing or pulling objects greater than 5 to 10 lbs. Lifting and activity restrictions will be gradually removed as the healing process takes place. Remember to keep your spine in the neutral position and maintain good posture throughout the day.” (bold type is in the original).

Source

A medical study published in 2011 entitled, “Outcomes of cervical and lumbar disk herniations in Major League Baseball pitchers” found that “The majority of pitchers with cervical disk herniation (8/11) returned to play at an average of 11.6 months” (the study involved 40 Major League Baseball pitchers from 1984 to 2009 with a cervical disk herniation or lumbar disk herniation – cervical disk herniation was identified in 11 pitchers, 8 of which were treated by surgery).

Source

If you or a family member have suffered injury (or worse) that may be due to medical negligence that occurred in Baltimore or elsewhere in Maryland, you should promptly find a Baltimore medical malpractice lawyer (a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer) who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a Baltimore medical malpractice case (Maryland medical malpractice case), if appropriate.

Visit our website to submit a short, secure form, or call us toll-free at 800-295-3959, to be connected with Baltimore malpractice attorneys who may assist you.

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Emergency Medicine Medical Malpractice Claims Statistics April 19th, 2015

162017_132140396847214_292624_nThe results of a recent study of medical malpractice claims involving emergency medicine that were closed between 2007 and 2013 by the largest physician-owned medical malpractice insurance company found that issues related to diagnosis are the main reason that emergency room physicians are sued for medical malpractice and is the top cause of injuries suffered by patients.

The study analyzed 332 emergency medicine claims that the medical malpractice insurance company closed during the relevant period (2007 to 2013). The study found that the medical conditions that were most often misdiagnosed in the emergency department were acute cerebral vascular accident, myocardial infarction, spinal epidural abscess, pulmonary embolism, necrotizing fasciitis, meningitis, torsion of the testis, subarachnoid hemorrhage, septicemia, lung cancer, fractures, and appendicitis.

The Four Most Common Patient Allegations In Emergency Medicine Claims

The study found that the most common claims (57%) were diagnosis-related, involving allegations of failure to diagnose, delay in diagnosis, or wrong diagnosis, and sometimes involved the failure to obtain a consult or discharge too soon from the emergency department.

The second most common patient allegation involving emergency medicine (13%) involved allegations of improper management of treatment, including the failure to stabilize a patient’s neck following an accident with trauma to the head and neck that resulted in paraplegia, and failure to explore a wound that was infected or found to contain foreign bodies.

The third most common patient allegation involving emergency medicine (5%) involved allegations of improper performance of a treatment or procedure, including intubation, suturing, x-rays or imaging procedures, and insertion of an IV or central line for medications.

The fourth most common patient allegation involving emergency medicine (3%) involved allegations of failure to order medication, including the failure to order antibiotics in cases of suspected pneumonia resulting in death, fever that resulted in sepsis and death, localized infections that spread, and the failure to initiate fibrinolytic therapy in acute MI or stroke patients.

The Six Top Factors Contributing To Patient Injury

The study found that 52% of the emergency medicine medical malpractice claims that contributed to patient injury involved patient assessment-related issues, involving the failure to establish a differential diagnosis, failure to order diagnostic tests, failure to address abnormal findings, and the failure to consider available clinical information.

The second top factor contributing to patient injury (21%) were patient factors, including physical characteristics (such as obesity) and patient behaviors (such as non-adherence with treatment plans or follow-up appointments).

The third top factor contributing to patient injury (17%) involved communication among providers, including the failure to communicate, the failure to review the medical records, and poor professional rapport.

The fourth top factor contributing to patient injury (14%) involved communication between the patient and/or family and providers, including poor rapport with the patient and communication issues involving inadequate patient education of follow-up instructions or language barriers.

The fifth top factor contributing to patient injury (13%) involved insufficient or lack of documentation, including inadequate documentation involving clinical findings, follow-up efforts, history, and telephone advice to patients.

The sixth top factor contributing to patient injury (12%) involved workflow and workload, which may occur at times of limited staffing and/or services, such as weekends, nights, and holidays, and may involve the level of activity and chaos in the emergency department.

Source

If you or a loved one suffered serious injury (or worse) as a result of emergency care (or the lack of adequate emergency care), you should promptly find a local medical malpractice lawyer in your U.S. state who may investigation your possible emergency room medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in an emergency medicine malpractice lawsuit, if appropriate.

Visit our website to submit a short, secure form, or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959, to be connected with medical malpractice attorneys in your U.S. state who may assist you.

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New Jersey $2.3M Dental Malpractice Verdict Upheld On Appeal April 18th, 2015

162017_132140396847214_292624_nBy its unpublished decision dated March 27, 2015, the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division upheld a $2,300,035.00 verdict in a New Jersey dental malpractice case, determining that the verdict was not excessive in light of the substantial permanent injuries sustained and the medical expenses incurred under the circumstances of the case, and also finding that the trial judge had not committed reversible error with regard to his pre-trial, trial, and post-trial evidentiary rulings.

The Underlying Facts

The plaintiff was 25-years-old when her family doctor suggested in 2007 that it might be the appropriate time to have her wisdom teeth extracted. The plaintiff first consulted with the defendant dentist on March 5, 2007. On April 13, 2007, the defendant dentist extracted the plaintiff’s four wisdom teeth, after which she woke up from anesthesia and immediately felt excruciating pain and began to scream (the plaintiff had no symptoms prior to her extractions).

During her post-extraction visit to the defendant dentist three days later, the plaintiff complained that she could not feel her tongue, the floor of her mouth, or her gum line, as well as having a shooting pain from the back of the right side of her mouth through her tongue. The numbness and her pain caused her to have problems swallowing, speaking, and drooling on the right side of her mouth.

The plaintiff consulted with several dentists and other medical professionals regarding her symptoms and subsequently had surgery performed on September 13, 2007 to repair damage done to her right lingual nerve during the original dental extraction surgery (the second surgery found a 1 cm gap between the proximal segment of the right lingual nerve and the distal segment of the right lingual nerve). Despite the surgery to repair and reconnect the lingual nerve, the plaintiff continued to experience the same difficulties she had before the surgery, including drooling and not being able to stop liquids from coming out of the right side of her mouth, pain in her gums and tongue, and not feeling sensations of cold or hot liquids. The plaintiff also had a painful neuroma that had grown in her mouth.

Over the course of several years, her symptoms, including her pain, became worse. By the time her dental malpractice case came to trial in October 2011, the plaintiff had decided to not have further surgery and was attempting to manage her pain and lifestyle limitations through medication. All of the parties’ expert physicians who examined and testified as to the plaintiff’s condition agreed that she will continue to have symptoms, including pain, throughout her life.

In light of the above, the Appellate Court stated, “Here, the trial judge found the jury’s award was “substantiated by the evidence.” He found plaintiff’s testimony credible and also noted the jurors both heard and accepted plaintiff’s account of how this injury negatively affected the quality of her life on a daily basis … We discern no legal basis to disturb the trial judge’s carefully considered analysis. Defendant’s remaining arguments lack sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion.” The Appellate Court therefore affirmed the jury’s verdict and the trial court’s decisions.

Source Sheets v. Siegler, D.D.S., et al., Docket No. A-0.

If you may be the victim of dental malpractice in the United States, you should promptly consult with a local dental malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your dental malpractice claim for you and represent you in a dental malpractice lawsuit, if appropriate.

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Florida Lawyer Paralyzed After Neck Surgery Files Medical Malpractice Lawsuit April 17th, 2015

162017_132140396847214_292624_nA Florida medical malpractice lawsuit was filed on March 30, 2015 in the Circuit Court of Palm Beach County, Florida on behalf of a 65-year-old lawyer who has been paralyzed since undergoing spinal surgery on her neck in 2013. The case is captioned Lynda J. Harris v. Palms West Hospital, et al., 502015CA003575XXXXMB.

The lawyer’s medical problems began years earlier when she suffered a fall. By 2013, her neck pain had increased and she was researching surgeons in the Boston area who would be appropriate to consult with regarding her worsening condition. However, a local Florida surgeon allegedly advised her that her condition was urgent and that she required immediate surgery on her cervical spine. Under the circumstances, the lawyer acquiesced and had surgery performed at a local Florida hospital in October 2013.

The surgery went horribly wrong. When  she awoke from surgery, she realized that she was paralyzed with minimal movement of her toes and fingers, and initially she was unable to speak. She was subsequently transferred to a well-known spinal cord injury rehabilitation center in Atlanta, Georgia but remained ventilator-dependent.

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The devastating injury suffered by the Florida lawyer is a prime example of how an unexpected or unanticipated result of a medical procedure can horribly change someone’s life in an instant. The Florida lawyer is a well-known and well-respected West Palm Beach real estate, land use, finance, and governmental approvals lawyer who has been involved in some of the largest real estate development projects in recent years, including large condominium towers and the Hyatt Place hotel. The lawyer has also been heavily involved in many community activities, including serving on the board of directors of Boys Town of South Florida and the West Palm Beach Library Foundation, and she was the past chairwoman of the Downtown Development Authority.

When medical negligence harms a blameless patient and disrupts the lives of medical malpractice victims and their families, the laws in each U.S. state provide the manner in which the innocent victims of medical malpractice may seek and obtain compensation for the harms and losses they suffered. The legal requirements regarding how and when medical malpractice claims are raised and resolved may be a trap for the unwary because failure to timely follow the appropriate state medical malpractice claim requirements may leave victims of medical malpractice without a remedy – many U.S. states have increasingly restrictive medical malpractice laws that increasingly protect those who commit medical malpractice at the expense of the patients whom they harm.

Because medical malpractice laws differ from state to state, it is important that victims of medical negligence promptly find local medical malpractice lawyers in their state who may investigate the facts of their particular situations and represent them in medical malpractice claims, if appropriate.

If you or a loved one may have suffered serious injuries or other significant harm as a result of a medical error, medical mistake, or medical negligence, you should promptly find a local medical malpractice lawyer in your U.S. state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.

Visit our website to submit a short, secure form, or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959, to find medical malpractice attorneys in your state who may assist you.

Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.

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$5.7M Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Verdict For Failure To Diagnose Liver Cancer April 16th, 2015

162017_132140396847214_292624_nOn April 9, 2015, a Pennsylvania medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in favor of the plaintiff in the amount of $5.7 million after three days of jury deliberations following the medical malpractice/wrongful death trial that began on March 30, 2015. The plaintiff was the husband of a 51-year-old woman who died on June 5, 2012; the jury determined that the woman’s death was due to the medical negligence of her treating physician, who failed to timely diagnose her liver cancer.

The Underlying Facts

The plaintiff’s wife was concerned about enlarged lymph nodes and the possibility that she had lymphoma. A CT scan performed in September 2007 showed a 1.9 centimeter lesion of her liver, for which she was referred to the defendant physician for diagnosis and treatment. The defendant physician did not order a liver biopsy during a follow-up visit on April 9, 2008 because he believed that a biopsy was unnecessary at that time. On August 28, 2009, the defendant physician recommended “watchful waiting” and if she did not have symptoms in the interim, another liver scan should be done in 2010. However, the second CT scan was never scheduled.

On May 3, 2011, the woman had a CT scan performed at the Mayo Clinic. That CT scan showed a grossly enlarged liver that had an 11 centimeter malignant tumor.

The plaintiff’s Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that had the woman’s liver cancer been diagnosed earlier, she would have made a full recovery after receiving timely, appropriate medical treatment.

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Liver Cancer Statistics

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2015, there will be about 35,660 new cases diagnosed (25,510 in men and 10,150 in women), and about 24,550 people (17,030 men and 7,520 women) will die from, primary liver cancer and intrahepatic bile duct cancer in the United States. The lifetime risk of an average man getting liver or intrahepatic bile duct cancer is about 1 in 81; for women, the risk is about 1 in 196.

Outside of the United States, liver cancer is much more common in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. In many of these countries, it is the most common type of cancer (more than 700,000 people are diagnosed with liver cancer every year worldwide and it is a leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide (more than 600,000 deaths each year)).

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Cancer Misdiagnosis Statistics

Studies have shown that cancer misdiagnosis occurs between 15% to 28% of the time – about 1 in 5 cancer patients. The common causes of cancer misdiagnosis are inadequate patient examination, failure to order an indicated test, technological error during a test, misinterpretation of a test, or the failure to act on an abnormal test result

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If you or a loved one were injured (or worse) due to the failure to timely diagnose cancer in Pennsylvania or elsewhere in the United States, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a local medical malpractice attorney in Pennsylvania or in your U.S. state who may investigate your medical negligence claim and/or cancer claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice/cancer case, if appropriate.

Visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-295-3959 to find medical malpractice lawyers in Pennsylvania or in your U.S. state who may assist you with your claim.

Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.

You can follow us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn as well.