Wednesday, 23 of August of 2017

Tag » mistake

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.

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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.

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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.


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.

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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.


Physician Burnout Could Lead to Higher Risk of Patient Injuries and Medical Mistakes

The Institute of Medicine performed a study which revealed preventable medical errors killed as many as 98,000 people every year in the United States. That is unacceptable, especially if some of those medical errors were due to a physician or doctor working long hours.

By John Coooper, Medical Malpractice Lawyer

According to a recent study, “physicians, and particularly residents (who usually carry larger workloads), were at higher risk of burnout than nurses and other personnel,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

In addition, research conducted at Northwestern found that roughly “half of the anesthesiologists surveyed, 55 doctors in all, were deemed to be suffering from “high burnout” or “moderately-high burnout.”

Dr. Tait Shanafelt, a Mayo Clinic hematologist, highlighted the troubling fact that “burnout is associated with malpractice suits.” This correlation makes sense. If a physician or doctor is tired, irritable, or drowsy they are more prone to make medical mistakes that could seriously injure patients.

The Institute of Medicine performed a study which revealed preventable medical errors killed as many as 98,000 people every year in the United States. That is unacceptable, especially if some of those medical errors were due to a physician or doctor working long hours.

All physicians and doctors must be responsible and take the necessary steps to prevent burnout. Why? Because is a doctor or physician seriously injures a patient and a medical malpractice claim is filed against them, the excuse of being tired probably will not prevail in court. In fact, this reason  for medical errors is the type of explanation that the best VA medical malpractice lawyers should look for to have a jury understand why a qualified and experienced physician or surgeon might make a glaring error resulting in permanent and catastrophic harm to a patient.

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.


Doctor Admits Making Medical Mistake During Hand Surgery

Records indicate that there were 137 preventable "wrong-site" surgical mistakes made in 2009, which is a jump from 93 reported "wrong-site" surgical errors in 2007. What is a "wrong-site" surgical error? It's when the doctor performs a procedure on the wrong body part.

By Jim Lewis, Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Virginia

A doctor made the mistake of performing a carpal-tunnel-release operation on a woman’s hand when she was admitted for a trigger-finger-release operation. This was a blatant medical mistake and it happens far too often in many hospitals across the country.

In fact, records indicate that there were 137 preventable “wrong-site” surgical mistakes made in 2009, which is a jump from 93 reported ”wrong-site” surgical errors in 2007. What is a “wrong-site” surgical error? It’s when the doctor performs a procedure on the wrong body part.

What makes this medical mistake case somewhat unique is that the doctor was contrite and readily admitted his error. He apologized to the patient and went so far as to detail the mistake in the New England Journal of Medicine, according to MSNBC. 

His story was illustrative of the conditions that routinely lead to a preventable medical error. For example, there was a sudden turnover of staff, the communication between hospital staff and the doctor was not clear, and a pre-surgery check was not conducted.

Unfortunately, in these types of medical negligence cases, the doctor tries to avoid admitting liability or even attempts to blame the mistake on someone else or just call the mistake a random accident that was out of the doctor’s control. It’s refreshing for a doctor to simply call the incident what is was – a preventable medical mistake. 

If a doctor apologizes for their medical mistake, should you consider not filing a medical malpractice claim? Of course not. I applaud any doctor who immediately admits their error, but that does not change the fact that you may have been seriously injured because of the mistake. A doctor’s apology does not equate to compensating a woman who had the wrong procedure done on her hand and may face a myriad of issues with her hand down the road.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton is a law firm which focuses on injury and accident law and our attorneys have experience handling medical malpractice cases, which includes hospital/doctor mistakes, and nursing home abuse and neglect. Check out our case results to see for yourself. In addition, check out our FREE special reports on the Top 10 Tips from a Medical Malpractice Insider and the top 5 surgical errors you must know about. Our primary office in based in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA) and we also have a North Carolina (NC) law office.  Our lawyers hold licenses in NC, SC, WV, KY and DC. We are ready to talk to you by phone right now—we provide free initial confidential injury case consultations, so call us toll free at 1-800-752-0042. Our injury attorneys also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube . Furthermore, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard and Norfolk Injuryboard as a pro bono public information service. PA


Study Highlights Continued Prevalence of Surgical Mistakes

Of the 27,370 incidents reported to them in the study, there were 107 operations performed on the wrong body part and 25 surgeries performed on the wrong patient.

By Jim Lewis, Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Virginia (VA)

A recent study entitled, “Wrong-Site and Wrong-Patient Procedures in the Universal Protocol Era” revealed surgeons continue to make an unacceptably high number of preventable mistakes.

Of the 27,370 incidents reported to them in the study, there were 107 operations performed on the wrong body part and 25 surgeries performed on the wrong patient. These numbers may appear small in the grand scheme of things, but keep in mind that these types of medical errors are considered “never events”. Clearly, 132 events that are never supposed to happen is far too high a number.

These numbers are even more disturbing given that safety measures were put in place back in 2004 known as “universal protocol.” These measures were meant to streamline certain surgical procedures so the chances of a blatant surgical error, like leaving surgical instruments inside a patient, were cut down.

It looks like much more work needs to be done.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton is a law firm which focuses on injury and accident law and our attorneys have experience handling medical malpractice cases, which includes hospital/doctor mistakes, and nursing home abuse and neglect. Check out our case results to see for yourself. In addition, check out our FREE special reports on the Top 10 Tips from a Medical Malpractice Insider and the top 5 surgical errors you must know about. Our primary office in based in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA) and we also have a North Carolina (NC) law office.  Our lawyers hold licenses in NC, SC, WV, KY and DC. We are ready to talk to you by phone right now—we provide free initial confidential injury case consultations, so call us toll free at 1-800-752-0042. Our injury attorneys also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube . Furthermore, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard and Norfolk Injuryboard as a pro bono public information service. PA


Cut/Perforated Ureter, Colon, or Bowel – A Preventable Surgical Mistake

My colleague Jim Lewis just published a new article about the serious risks associated with a cut/perforated ureter, colon, or bowel. This type of medical error can be life threatening. In fact, Jim is handling a case where a woman lost her life after having her bowel perforated by a surgeon. To learn more, read this article…

Routine Women’s Medical Procedures Carry Major Risks of Death and Life Threatening Sepsis From Cut/Perforated Ureters, Bowels, Colons


Surgeon Performs Brain Procedure on Wrong Side of Patient’s Head

The patient’s parents realized this type of medical negligence was unacceptable and filed a medical malpractice lawsuit. At trial, the hospital’s insurance company tried to pin the blame solely on the at-fault doctor while neglecting the fact that hospital nurses and administrators failed to inform the patient’s parents about the full extent of the damage until months after the horrific surgical error.

By Jim Lewis, Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Virginia

A 19-year-old patient suffering from a seizure disorder went in for surgery to have faulty brain tissue removed. Unfortunately, this procedure was just the beginning of his nightmare.

The surgeon who operated on the patient removed brain tissue from the wrong side of his head. Yes, you read that correctly – he cut open the patient’s head and removed tissue from the exact wrong side.

The surgeon realized his medical mistake and proceeded to operate on the other side, but the damage had been done.

After the surgery, the patient’s condition only got worse. Not only did he continue to suffer from seizures, but he started suffering from psychotic delusions and deteriorating intelligence, according to the Commercial Appeal.

The patient’s parents realized this type of medical negligence was unacceptable and filed a medical malpractice lawsuit. At trial, the hospital’s insurance company tried to pin the blame solely on the at-fault doctor while neglecting the fact that hospital nurses and administrators failed to inform the patient’s parents about the full extent of the damage until months after the horrific surgical error.

Fortunately, a jury realized the pain this poor patient had been put through through and awarded him $20 million for damages.

I’m glad the jury sided with the patient. Blatant medical mistakes like the one in this case are simply unacceptable.  

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton is a law firm which focuses on injury and accident law and our attorneys have experience handling medical malpractice cases, which includes hospital/doctor mistakes, and nursing home abuse and neglect. Check out our case results to see for yourself. In addition, check out our FREE special reports on the Top 10 Tips from a Medical Malpractice Insider and the top 5 surgical errors you must know about. Our primary office in based in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA) and we also have a North Carolina (NC) law office.  Our lawyers hold licenses in NC, SC, WV, KY and DC. We are ready to talk to you by phone right now—we provide free initial confidential injury case consultations, so call us toll free at 1-800-752-0042. Our injury attorneys also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube . Furthermore, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard and Norfolk Injuryboard as a pro bono public information service. PA


Defensive Medicine, Fact or Fiction?

 By Jim Lewis, Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Virginia

 

Another study has been published that seems to tout the rise of defensive medicine.  But what is the real issue here?

If doctors are overloading patients with unnecessary tests to avoid possible malpractice claims, and driving up the cost of medical care as a result, wouldn’t that be called insurance fraud, instead of defensive medicine?  The reality is that doctors are ordering sophisticated tests and procedures to diagnose complex illnesses, in which case, it is medically necessary and there is no “defensive medicine” at work.

Basically, some doctors may order unnecessary tests for many different reasons.  But, studies show that so-called “defensive medicine” is not a widespread incident. 

How can ordering a sophisticated test that validly avoids preventable diseases, be considered “defensive medicine?”  If your loved one was sick you would want as many tests done as possible until a diagnosis was made.  Defensive medicine is just another buzz word that doctors and insurance companies throw out there to convince the general public that tort reform, legal changes designed to make it more difficult for injured victims to sue those responsible, are needed.

So why would anyone want to limit the rights of a victim?  The people at fault do.  Negligent doctors and insurance companies have created the myth of defensive medicine as a way to convince the public and lawmakers that malpractice suits make health care costly and unaffordable. 

They then try to pass laws to limit the ability of patients who are victims of medical errors to hold doctors and hospitals accountable for their mistakes.  They expect people to believe that “defensive medicine” will go away, if they are not held responsible for their mistakes.  These changes would greatly affect Virginia medical malpractice lawyers, Virginia doctors, and those in Virginia who have suffered from medical malpractice and are seeking compensation.

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report released October 9, 2009, found that there is no evidence of defensive medicine in private managed care systems. 
The CBO report notes that “Imposing limits on [the right to sue for damages] might be expected to have a negative impact on health outcomes.” CBO cites a study that finds that restricting the right to seek compensation for malpractice would lead to a .2 percent increase in the nation’s overall death rate. That means an additional 48,000 Americans killed and more than 400,000 injured by medical malpractice over the next ten years.

The facts are clear. Limiting or severely restricting the ability to file a claim in court for medical malpractice denies justice to injured individuals while benefiting big corporations’ balance sheets.

CA

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton is a law firm which focuses on injury and accident law and our attorneys have experience handling medical malpractice cases, which includes hospital/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 so give us a call at 1-800-752-0042. If you can’t get through due to high call volume, please leave a message and we will return your call promptly. Also be sure to check out our free special reports on the Top 10 Tips from a Medical Malpractice Insider and the top 5 surgical errors you must know about. Our primary office in based in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA) and we also have a North Carolina (NC) law office.  Our lawyers hold licenses in NC, SC, WV, KY, FL and DC. Our injury attorneys also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube . Furthermore, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard and Norfolk Injuryboard as a pro bono public information service.