Wednesday, 18 of July of 2018

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Doctors Who Perforated Man’s Colon Ordered to Pay Injured Patient $2M in Damages

A Philadelphia jury determined that during separate surgeries, the physicians made errors that caused the man's lower intestine to tear and rupture.

By John Cooper, Surgical Error Attorney in North Carolina

A Pennsylvania (PA) man who twice had his colon perforated because the doctors performing a colonoscopy and a reparative surgery made errors has won a jury verdict in his medical malpractice lawsuit against the physicians and is set to receive damage awards totaling $2 million.  In both instances, the doctors overinflated the victim’s lower intestine, increasing the internal pressure in the man’s bowels so much that the walls of the colon tore and burst.

A perforated colon or cut intestine can be a deadly surgical error. Bacteria and waste matter leaking from the wound can quickly cause an irreversible and fatal infection. Internal bleeding can also put a patient’s life at risk. In the case just concluded in Pennsylvania, the patient had to have 2 feet of his colon and intestine permanently removed.

The plaintiff’s lawyer, Roy DeCaro of Philadelphia, strengthened his case by calling medical and surgical experts to testify that the defendants had not met the standard of care they owed to the patient. As a medical malpractice and surgical error attorney myself, I know how important presenting medical evidence is in such cases. I congratulate DeCaro and hope the award to the injured patient will make his life easier.

EJL

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton is a law firm whose Virginia/Carolina attorneys focus on injury and accident law and have experience handling medical malpractice cases involving hospital and doctor mistakes and nursing home abuse and neglect. Check out our case results to see for yourself. Though not every case meets our criteria, we offer free initial consultations. Give us a call at (800) 752-0042. If you can’t get through due to high call volume, leave a message so we can return your call. Also be sure to check out our free special report Top 10 Tips From a Medical Malpractice Insider. Our primary office is in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA), but we also have offices in Hampton, VA, and Elizabeth City, North Carolina (NC). Our lawyers hold licenses in VA, NC, South Carolina (SC), West Virginia (WV), Kentucky (KY), Florida (FL) and Washington, DC. Rick Shapiro and James Lewis were included in the 2011 issue of Best Lawyers in America. They, along with fellow attorney John M. Cooper, were also named 2011 Virginia Super Lawyers for Personal Injury Law, an honor which fewer than 5 percent of outstanding lawyers receive. We also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube. Further, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard blogs as pro bono public information services.


1 in 8 Parents Go to the Net Before an ER

The Internet is becoming a first resort for finding information on kids' health.

By Shapiro, Lewis, Appleton and Favaloro, Virginia Medical Negligence Attorney

Researchers have found that 1 in 8 parents opt to visit a medical website before taking their child to an emergency room. My colleague Jim Lewis has written about this surprising trend and some positives and negatives of using the Internet for medical info. To learn more, click over to “Parents Head for Laptop Before Heading the Hospital.”

PA

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton is a law firm whose Virginia/Carolina attorneys focus on injury and accident law and have experience handling medical malpractice cases involving hospital and doctor mistakes and nursing home abuse and neglect. Check out our case results to see for yourself. Though not every case meets our criteria, we offer free initial consultations. Give us a call at (800) 752-0042. If you can’t get through due to high call volume, leave a message so we can return your call. Also be sure to check out our free special report Top 10 Tips From a Medical Malpractice Insider. Our primary office is in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA), but we also have offices in Hampton, VA, and Elizabeth City, North Carolina (NC). Our lawyers hold licenses in VA, NC, South Carolina (SC), West Virginia (WV), Kentucky (KY), Florida (FL) and Washington, DC. Rick Shapiro and James Lewis were included in the 2011 issue of Best Lawyers in America. They, along with fellow attorney John M. Cooper, were also named 2011 Virginia Super Lawyers for Personal Injury Law, an honor which fewer than 5 percent of outstanding lawyers receive. We also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube. Further, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard blogs as pro bono public information services.


Restrictions Placed on Public Access to Medical Malpractice Data Bank

The elimination of a public area of the National Practitioner Data Bank means it will be more difficult to find out if a doctor has been the subject to a medical malpractice lawsuit.

By Jim Lewis, Medical Malpractice Attorney

My colleague Shapiro, Lewis, Appleton and Favaloro has posted a new blog to our law firm’s Virginia personal injury attorneys’ website on new restrictions being placed on public access to a medical databank used for 25 years by insurers, medical boards and doctors. The elimination of a public area of the National Practitioner Data Bank means it will be more difficult for members of the public to find out if a doctor has been the subject to a medical malpractice lawsuit.

DM

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton is a law firm whose Virginia/Carolina attorneys focus on injury and accident law and have experience handling medical malpractice cases involving hospital and doctor mistakes and nursing home abuse and neglect. Check out our case results to see for yourself. Though not every case meets our criteria, we offer free initial consultations. Give us a call at (800) 752-0042. If you can’t get through due to high call volume, leave a message so we can return your call. Also be sure to check out our free special report Top 10 Tips From a Medical Malpractice Insider. Our primary office is in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA), but we also have offices in Hampton, VA, and Elizabeth City, North Carolina (NC). Our lawyers hold licenses in VA, NC, South Carolina (SC), West Virginia (WV), Kentucky (KY), Florida (FL) and Washington, DC. Rick Shapiro and James Lewis were included in the 2011 issue of Best Lawyers in America. They, along with fellow attorney John M. Cooper, were also named 2011 Virginia Super Lawyers for Personal Injury Law, an honor which fewer than 5 percent of outstanding lawyers receive. We also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube. Further, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard blogs as pro bono public information services.


Anesthesiologist, Weight Loss Surgery Ad Company Sued After Death of Lap-Band Patient

The doctors are being accused of failing to meet the standard of care required for patients. The firm 1-800-GET-THIN allegedly misrepresented the quality and safety of the services it promoted.

By John Cooper, Surgical Error Victim’s Attorney

A California health care advertising company called 1-800-GET-THIN is facing a wrongful death lawsuit in the wake of a surgical error that left a 52-year-old Lawndale, CA, woman dead. According to the Los Angeles Times, the woman had been steered by the company to an outpatient clinic where she was promised “‘a higher level of care’ by ‘top-rated surgical specialists.’” What actually happened was that an  anesthesiologist who was under suspension by the California Medical Board left her in the care of an unqualified nurse while she was under anesthesia, and the woman lost her life due to complications from the drugs and gases administered.

The anesthesiologist and surgeon with responsibility for ensuring the woman’s safety as she had the Lap-Band device implanted have also been named as defendants in the suit. The doctors are being accused of failing to meet the standard of care required for patients. The firm 1-800-GET-THIN allegedly misrepresented the quality and safety of the services it promoted.

Often considered a safer alternative to other forms of weight loss surgery such as gastric bypass, receiving a Lap-Band is far from a risk-free procedure. This video explains that Lap-Band surgery puts patients in danger for all the complications possible with other forms of abdominal surgery:

Obesity is without a doubt a significant health problem, and weight loss surgery is a viable option for many men and women who need to lose significant weight in order to reduce their risks for death from heart attacks, strokes, breathing problems, diabetes complications and even infections. However, as my fellow medical malpractice attorneys and I know firsthand, it only takes a seemingly minor act of negligence or inattention for a surgeon, anesthesiologist, surgical nurse or other member of the surgical team to injure or kill a patient on the operating table.

If the allegations made in the California Lap-Band wrongful death suit are true, the deceased woman was the victim of a particularly egregious and avoidable surgical error. The ad company misrepresented the level of care she would receive, and the anesthesiologist should not have been working with patients at all. No one can know how the case will play out, but the company, surgeon and anesthesiologist certainly have serious questions to answer.

EJL

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton is a law firm whose Virginia/Carolina attorneys focus on injury and accident law and have experience handling medical malpractice cases involving hospital and doctor mistakes and nursing home abuse and neglect. Check out our case results to see for yourself. Though not every case meets our criteria, we offer free initial consultations. Give us a call at (800) 752-0042. If you can’t get through due to high call volume, leave a message so we can return your call. Also be sure to check out our free special report Top 10 Tips From a Medical Malpractice Insider. Our primary office is in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA), but we also have offices in Hampton, VA, and Elizabeth City, North Carolina (NC). Our lawyers hold licenses in VA, NC, South Carolina (SC), West Virginia (WV), Kentucky (KY), Florida (FL) and Washington, DC. Rick Shapiro and James Lewis were included in the 2011 issue of Best Lawyers in America. They, along with fellow attorney John M. Cooper, were also named 2011 Virginia Super Lawyers for Personal Injury Law, an honor which fewer than 5 percent of outstanding lawyers receive. We also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube. Further, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard blogs as pro bono public information services.


Norfolk Man Died Due Poor Medical Care at Virginia Beach Jail, Suit Alleges

By Kevin Duffan, Virginia Medical Malpractice Attorney

My colleague Richard Shapiro reported recently on our firm’s website that a lawsuit filed by survivors alleges that  a man died when Virginia Beach jail medical staff ignored the signs of his life-threatening illness. Richard discussed medical malpractice as professional negligence and invited readers to learn about medical malpractice lawsuits by reviewing one of our case results.

LC

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton is a law firm whose Virginia/Carolina attorneys focus on injury and accident law and have experience handling medical malpractice cases involving hospital and doctor mistakes and nursing home abuse and neglect. Check out our case results to see for yourself. Though not every case meets our criteria, we offer free initial consultations. Give us a call at (800) 752-0042. If you can’t get through due to high call volume, leave a message so we can return your call. Also be sure to check out our free special report Top 10 Tips From a Medical Malpractice Insider. Our primary office is in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA), but we also have offices in Hampton, VA, and Elizabeth City, North Carolina (NC). Our lawyers hold licenses in VA, NC, South Carolina (SC), West Virginia (WV), Kentucky (KY), Florida (FL) and Washington, DC. Rick Shapiro and James Lewis were included in the 2011 issue of Best Lawyers in America. They, along with fellow attorney John M. Cooper, were also named 2011 Virginia Super Lawyers for Personal Injury Law, an honor which fewer than 5 percent of outstanding lawyers receive. We also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube. Further, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard blogs as pro bono public information services.


$5M Malpractice Jury Verdict in Norfolk Spinal Cord Injury Case Reduced to $1.85M Due to VA Damages Cap

The man needed surgery to correct a sunken breastbone condition. The doctor gave him a thoracic epidural catheter, and the procedure allegedly caused permanent damage to the man’s spinal cord.

By Jim Lewis, Norfolk Medical Malpractice Lawyer

A Norfolk, Virginia (VA), jury awarded $5 million to a 20-year-old man and his parents in their suit against an anesthesiologist and the Norfolk Children’s Specialty Group, according to court records and published news reports. The amount was reduced to $1.85 million because of an unfair and arbitrary cap imposed by Virginia law on medical malpractice lawsuits.

Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters, known for pediatric care, is located in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina.  Patients actually travel there from the Outer Banks, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Virginia Beach and beyond for special pediatric care.  The young man went to this Norfolk hospital for the surgery because of its strong reputation, only to suffer a needless spinal cord and paralysis due to anesthesiology malpractice.

According to the lawsuit, the man needed surgery to correct a sunken breastbone condition. The doctor gave him a thoracic epidural catheter, and the procedure allegedly caused permanent damage to the man’s spinal cord.

After the operation, the man could not move or feel his legs and feet due to paralysis. He regained his ability to walk but continued to have pain and difficulty controlling bodily functions.  The defense for the doctor and hospital claimed the doctor and Children’s Specialty Group did not deviate from the proper standards of medical care.  As Virginia Beach-Norfolk medical malpractice attorneys, we are saddened to see a reputable hospital make a negligent surgical mistake like this.  It’s also tragic that the doctor and hospital forced the victim to go through a public trial to get justice and we note it’s far in excess of the unfair VA medical malpractice “cap” which forced the judge to reduce the 5 Million dollar verdict the jury returned to only 1.85 Million.  Attorney for the victim Lisa O’Donnell did a tremendous job helping the victim and his family.

To learn more about Virginia medical malpractice and doctor mistakes, check out our Frequently Asked Questions devoted to the subject. Our VA medical malpractice lawyers wrote a free consumer report providing a list of tips for victims who were hurt by a doctor’s carelessness. Feel free to download it here.


Woman Who Can’t Close Her Eyes Launches Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Against Plastic Surgeon

By Rick Shapiro, Virginia Surgical Error Attorney

When plastic surgery goes wrong the consequences can be serious or even deadly.

But few medical malpractice cases that have led to lawsuits are stranger than that of a woman from New Jersey (NJ) who claims she cannot close her eyes even when she sleep. Now she is suing the plastic surgeon who operated on her, the Daily Mail reported.

Marilyn Leisz, from New Jersey (NJ), said she went to the doctor to have a procedure to correct bumps on her eyelids from a surgery performed by another doctor. She says she was left unable to close her eyes and has launched a medical malpractice lawsuit against the surgeon.

This distressing case illustrates what can happen when plastic surgery apparently goes badly wrong.

There is a misconception out there that plastic surgeons only work for supermodels and celebrities. That is not the case. Many plastic surgeons specialize in reconstructive surgery aimed at helping victims of car crashes, truck wrecks, ATV accidents and burn victims.

As plastic surgery becomes a more popular procedure the numbers of complaints and lawsuits have increased in recent years.

Take, for instance, the case of Dr. Paul Drago, who recently had his license to practice medicine in North Carolina (NC) revoked indefinitely after ten different medical malpractice claims were filed against him. Drago, who is trained to be a ear, nose, and throat doctor, had been performing plastic surgeries on patients, many of which involved permanently disabling surgical errors.

Sometimes a botched plastic surgery or side effects from it can have tragic consequences.  As experienced Virginia (VA) medical malpractice attorneys, we often see the downside of plastic surgery and how seemingly routine procedures can go badly wrong.

Last year we reported on a Virginia wrongful death lawsuit into how the mistreatment of a plastic surgery complication led to the death of a woman from Virginia Beach, VAThe family of the 36-year-old woman who died less than two days after undergoing outpatient cosmetic surgery recently received a wrongful death damage award of $1.95 million when a court in Virginia Beach determined that the surgeon and his clinic staff did not provide adequate follow-up care to the woman.

According to a report in the Virginian-Pilot, the mother of four underwent a breast lift and augmentation, liposuction and other routine plastic surgery procedures on July 30, 2008. She was dead in her home 40 hours later after the staff at Galumbeck Plastic Surgery failed to diagnose, treat or ensure hospital treatment for an adverse reaction or postsurgery infection that affected her breathing and rendered her feverish, dizzy and unable to concentrate.
Plastic surgery malpractice errors can lead to a wide range of serious injuries not to mention emotional damage. They can lead to scarring, infections, deformities, nerve damage, and even permanent disabilities or death. Increasingly they are leading to medical malpractice lawsuits in Virginia.

If you need help with an issue related to plastic surgery or another medical problems call our experienced medical malpractice attorneys.

DM

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton is a law firm whose attorneys focus on injury and accident law, and have experience handling medical malpractice cases involving hospital and doctor mistakes, nursing home abuse and neglect. Check out our case results to see for yourself. Though not every case meets our criteria, we offer free initial consultations. Give us a call at (800) 752-0042. If you can’t get through due to high call volume, leave a message o we can return your call. Also be sure to check out our free special report Top 10 Tips From a Medical Malpractice Insider. Our primary office is in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA), but we also have offices in Hampton, VA, and Elizabeth City, North Carolina (NC). Our lawyers hold licenses in NC, SC, WV, KY, FL and DC. We also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube. Furthermore, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard and Norfolk Injuryboard as pro bono public information services.


Overprescribing Narcotics May Cost Norfolk, VA Doctor His License

Beyond apparently ignoring evidence that one or more his patients was a pain pill addict, additional allegations show that Dr. Disamodha Amarasinghe was potentially negligent in taking care of any number of patients.

By Rick Shapiro, Virginia Medical Malpractice Lawyer

The Virginia Board of Medicine has suspended the prescribing privileges of a primary care doctor who, evidence shows, has dangerously and irresponsibly prescribed potentially deadly narcotic painkillers.

According to the March 17, 2011 Virginian-Pilot, investigations into complaints regarding a drug-seeking patient revealed that Dr. Disamodha Amarasinghe of Norfolk, Virginia (VA), continued to prescribe opioid pain patches to the person who had “filled prescriptions for 70 narcotic patches from eight different doctors.” One of the major reasons the physician is facing permanent loss of his license to practice in Virginia is because he made no use of the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program. The web-based database records each time a doctor prescribes, a pharmacist dispenses, and a patient picks up a prescription for a controlled substance such as Vicodin or fentanyl.

The long list of other prescribing malpractice Amarasinghe faces include:

  • Distributing narcotics originally dispensed to other patients to people for whom the medications were not intended.
  • Making diagnoses without doing enough tests.
  • Prescribing painkillers without coordinating treatment with patients’ other doctors.

Beyond apparently ignoring evidence that one or more his patients was a pain pill addict, these additional allegations show that Amarasinghe was potentially negligent in taking care of any number of patients.

Powerful painkillers can be a godsend for those with conditions like late-stage cancer, but those medications are rarely needed by most patients. This is especially true in the case of fentanyl patches, which deliver a drug 100 times more powerful than morphine. Overdosing with fentanyl patches is far too easy, and far too common.

While the Pilot report does not specifically mention fentanyl, it is no stretch of the imagination that the product falls under the rubric “narcotic patches.” I’ve argued for years that fentanyl should only be prescribed to patients who have no other means of pain relief. I cringe whenever I learn that the patches might have been used irresponsibly or indiscriminately.

If a full investigation of Amarasinghe proves that he did prescribe narcotics negligently, he should permanently lose his ability to practice medicine. That result would ensure he could not be in a position to put patients’ lives at risk.

EJL

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton is a law firm whose attorneys focus on injury and accident law, and we have experience handling medical malpractice cases involving hospital and doctor mistakes, nursing home abuse and neglect. Check out our case results to see for yourself. Though not every case meets our criteria, we offer free, initial consultations. Give us a call at (800) 752-0042. If you can’t get through due to high call volume, leave a message and we will return your call promptly. Also be sure to check out our free special report Top 10 Tips From a Medical Malpractice Insider. Our primary office is in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA), but we also have offices in Hampton, VA, and Elizabeth City, North Carolina (NC).  Our lawyers hold licenses in NC, SC, WV, KY, FL and DC. We also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube . Furthermore, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard and Norfolk Injuryboard as pro bono public information services.


Woman Launches Lawsuit Saying Painful Back Surgery Was Unnecessary

By Shapiro, Lewis, Appleton and Favaloro, Medical Malpractice Attorney

A woman from Texas (TX) has launched a lawsuit claiming she sustained severe infections and had to endure excruciating pain because of unnecessary surgery.

Janice McDaniel, and her husband, William, filed a lawsuit February 25 in Jefferson County District Court, Jefferson, Texas, this month. She claimed none of the pain the woman experienced would have been necessary had her doctor properly treated her, the South East Texas Record reported.

The suit claims McDaniel was admitted to Memorial Hermann Baptist Beaumont Hospital on December 19, 2008. Read more here.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton is a law firm whose attorneys focus on injury and accident law, and we have experience handling medical malpractice cases involving hospital and doctor mistakes, nursing home abuse and neglect. Check out our case results to see for yourself. Though not every case meets our criteria, we offer free, initial consultations. Give us a call at (800) 752-0042. If you can’t get through due to high call volume, leave a message and we will return your call promptly. Also be sure to check out our free special report Top 10 Tips From a Medical Malpractice Insider. Our primary office is in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA), but we also have offices in Hampton, VA, and Elizabeth City, North Carolina (NC).  Our lawyers hold licenses in NC, SC, WV, KY, FL and DC. We also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube . Furthermore, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard and Norfolk Injuryboard as pro bono public information services.


Medical Malpractice Damages Cap Considered in North Carolina (NC)

Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said GOP colleagues will file a bill this week to limit noneconomic damages in malpractice cases and divide such trials into two parts for questions of liability and monetary damages.

By Randy Appleton, North Carolina Medical Malpractice Attorney

North Carolina lawmakers are seeking to bring in a medical malpractice cap in the state like the one in Virginia. The new Republican majority is attempting to advance a policy that has been talked about for years in the state: Medical malpractice reform that they claim would bring down costs for doctors and other businesses, CNBC reported.

Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said GOP colleagues will file a bill this week to limit noneconomic damages in malpractice cases and divide such trials into two parts for questions of liability and monetary damages.

The NC Medical Society, which represents 12,000 licensed physicians, or about 70 percent of the state’s practicing doctors, praised the Legislature for being willing to take up medical liability issues.

But North Carolina Advocates for Justice, the state’s leading trial lawyer lobbying group, said malpractice premiums and lawsuits are down and caps have been found to be unlawful in some states. The Georgia Supreme Court ruled unanimously last year that a $350,000 cap on noneconomic damages was unconstitutional.

In contrast, Virginia (VA) has a medical malpractice cap that’s been frozen at $2 million for the last two years. Although the cap is likely to be raised by $50,000 a year beginning in 2012, our firm has argued it’s an arbitrary law that gives special treatment to healthcare companies at the expense of the victims.

In Virginia, if a physician or a nurse causes a permanent injury and your spouse can never work again as a result, for example, the most he or she can ever receive is $2 million dollars because of the cap, even if an economist estimates that over their work-life expectancy, your husband or wife would have made $5 million dollars.

Notwithstanding the limitations of the cap our attorneys are committed to fighting for the highest awards possible for those who have been injured by acts of medical malpractice. In 2007, one of our own attorneys, James Lewis was recognized by Virginia Lawyers Weekly for obtaining one of the state’s largest verdicts that year. Jim’s case involved a medical malpractice claim for injuries inflicted upon the plaintiff, an infant, during a difficulty delivery. The delivery resulted in permanent injury to the plaintiff’s shoulder and arm. A Virginia Beach Circuit Court jury awarded $1.75 million, the medical malpractice cap at the time of the injury to the plaintiff and an additional $137,224 to the plaintiff’s mother.

DM

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton is a law firm whose attorneys focus on injury and accident law, and we have experience handling medical malpractice cases involving hospital and doctor mistakes, nursing home abuse and neglect. Check out our case results to see for yourself. Though not every case meets our criteria, we offer free, initial consultations. Give us a call at (800) 752-0042. If you can’t get through due to high call volume, leave a message and we will return your call promptly. Also be sure to check out our free special report Top 10 Tips from a Medical Malpractice Insider. Our primary office is in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA), but we also have offices in Hampton, VA, and Elizabeth City, North Carolina (NC).  Our lawyers hold licenses in NC, SC, WV, KY, FL and DC. We also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube . Furthermore, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard and Norfolk Injuryboard as pro bono public information services.