May 22, 2013

How a Doctor’s Apology Can Affect a Kentucky Medical Malpractice Claim

Overall, human beings are sympathetic to someone who has been injured, especially if we have a relationship with the person, whether personal or professional. However, in a patient/medical professional relationship, if the patient has been injured during a medical procedure, this sympathy may not be expressed by the medical provider out of fear of appearing to take responsibility for the injury. This withholding of compassion may seem out of character for someone who has supposedly dedicated his life to helping others, and it is in most cases. But many insurance companies and attorneys who represent medical providers discourage them from saying anything to avoid a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Many states have enacted laws, sometimes called “I’m sorry laws,” to help remedy this situation. In these states, any type of expression of sympathy or admission of responsibility from a medical professional cannot be admitted as evidence in a medical malpractice case. Ohio enacted one such law in 2004, and it was recently tested by a case that went all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court. The case involved a woman who went for a gall bladder procedure in 2001 and ended up in the hospital again three weeks later with a cut bile duct. Her doctor allegedly told her he took “full responsibility” for her injuries as she was being transferred to another facility. The victim and her husband filed a medical malpractice claim in 2007. The judge originally found in favor of the doctor, then and Appeals Court overturned the judge’s decision, saying the doctor’s statements should be admissible. But when the case went to the Ohio Supreme Court, justices overturned the Appeals Court decision, saying the doctor’s words of sympathy couldn’t be included as evidence because the law was enacted in 2004 and the couple didn’t file suit until 2007.

Continue reading "How a Doctor’s Apology Can Affect a Kentucky Medical Malpractice Claim" »

April 30, 2013

Highest Percentage of Medical Malpractice Payouts Result from Misdiagnosis

According to a recent study, as many as 160,000 medical malpractice claims are made each year because of misdiagnosis. As a result, they have accounted for the largest percentage of payouts of all medical malpractice claims over the last quarter of a century. While the majority of misdiagnoses occur in outpatient facilities, these cases are less likely to lead to wrongful death than the smaller percentage of misdiagnoses that occur while patients are in a hospital.

The study lumped together three types of diagnostic errors in their findings: failing to diagnose the problem altogether, giving the incorrect diagnosis, and diagnosing the issue too late. All three of these situations can lead to serious issues or even death. When a medical professional does not find anything wrong with an ailing patient and sends them on their way with no treatment, that is a failure to diagnose. Incorrect diagnosis occurs when a patient is told he has the wrong illness and is given the wrong treatment. This situation can be especially dangerous because not only is the real condition not being treated, but the patient may also be prescribed medication that he does not need. A delayed diagnosis also puts a patient at risk particularly if they have a disease that progresses rapidly, such as certain types of aggressive cancer.

What can patients do to help keep themselves from becoming victims of misdiagnosis? Ask questions, lots of them, including what else the problem might be if the doctor gives you a diagnosis. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. The first doctor may not always be right. Always provide any medical professional with your complete medical history, including any previous issues you have had and past and current medications. This information may give clues to what your current problem may be, and it may also keep you from receiving treatment that would negatively interact with current medications. In some medical malpractice cases, the victims have been held partially responsible because they did not divulge their complete medical history. Always keep in touch with your doctors and go to follow-up visits, even if you don’t want to. Finally, if you are being treated based on a certain diagnosis, but you are either not getting any better or are getting worse, tell your doctor and discuss the possibility that the original diagnosis was incorrect and needs to be re-examined.

Continue reading "Highest Percentage of Medical Malpractice Payouts Result from Misdiagnosis" »

April 3, 2013

Are Your Surgical Procedures Being Determined by Salespeople?

When consulting a surgeon about an upcoming procedure, you assume that he is making decisions with your best health in mind. The method of surgery to be used should be the safest, most effective one available. However, according to a recent medical malpractice lawsuit, this may not be the case.

In Washington, a 67-year-old man went to a medical center for a prostatectomy and was told he would be having the latest and greatest robotic surgery. He ended up with a surgery that took more than twice as long as it should have and numerous complications, including incontinence, damage to his kidney and lung, and a blood infection. It wasn’t because the surgeon opted not to use the new technology. It was because the surgeon had never used the new technology by himself. The widow of the patient, who died four years later, has sued the company that made the robotic surgical device for her husband’s injuries, and apparently she is not the first one.

Just like all other for-profit companies, the goal of medical device manufacturers is to make money. The difference is that their products can injure or kill people if they are sold to those who don’t know how to use them. And that seems to be what happened in this case. Sales representatives are commission-based, so the more devices they sell, the more money they make. Therefore their interest lies in making the sale rather than making sure the doctors are properly trained on how to use the devices. Emails from the manufacturer’s sales staff seem to point to this fact. In one email, a sales manager wrote “Don’t let proctoring or credentialing get in our way,” which means he wants his staff to keep selling the products and not worry about training the surgeons who would be using them. While the responsibility of making sure surgeons can perform their duties ultimately lies with the hospital that employs them, it seems that sales representatives have more influence on the amount of training given than they really should.

Continue reading "Are Your Surgical Procedures Being Determined by Salespeople?" »

March 17, 2013

Are Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Really Ruining Health Care?

There are few other debates relating to health care that are more heated than those involving medical malpractice. Medical professionals, insurers, and others blame medical malpractice litigation for the sad state of health care today. But in a recent article in Chest, a medical journal, David Hyman, MD, JD, and Charles Silver, JD, reviewed research on the subject and concluded that five charges regarding medical malpractice are untrue.

The first topic they discuss is the presumption that large increases in malpractice lawsuits and the resulting payouts are the reason there is a supposed medical malpractice crisis. Doctors often point to incredibly large awards given to victims by juries as evidence. But in actuality, these large awards constitute a very small percentage of payouts to victims, and most of the victims never receive the entire payout. In reviewing a study based on the National Practitioner Databank, Hyman and Silver determined that the number of medical malpractice claims and the amounts eventually given through settlements or juries have actually been declining. Since 1992, the number of claims actually paid per doctor has decline more than 50%, and the amount paid per claim is almost 50% less.

The myth that uninjured patients are awarded huge amounts of compensation and that tort reform is the only answer is the second topic of the article. Using data from Texas, the authors show that a very small fraction of the population actually files medical malpractice lawsuits and that adopting tort reform in 2003 has not had a large effect on the amount of money awarded to plaintiffs. Their findings showed that the payouts to victims were relative to the seriousness of their injuries, up until death, because victims of wrongful death were awarded less than those who survived with permanent debilitating injuries. Their research showed that even those who suffered serious permanent injuries received an average payout of $1 million.

Doctors often say that medical malpractice claims are putting them out of business and those who support tort reform believe this causes them to move to states that have damages caps. These two beliefs are also wrong, according to the research in the article. Of the small percentage of claims that are filed, only 2% actually go to trial, and three-fourths of those verdicts are in favor of the medical professionals. The huge verdicts reported in the news make the headlines because they are so rare, not because they happen so frequently. And even those larger awards that are not drastically reduced by the court are covered by insurance companies, not the doctors themselves. The theory that tort reform helps to maintain physicians in a certain state was also debunked by data from Texas that showed there was no increase in the number of physicians after the reform was instituted in 2003. Other researchers found a small increase in the number of doctors in rural counties in states with tort reform, but another researcher found no difference in the number of doctors overall.

Continue reading "Are Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Really Ruining Health Care?" »

February 28, 2013

Supreme Court Hearing May Affect Kentucky Medical Malpractice Awards

A 12-year-old North Carolina girl who allegedly was seriously injured during birth was the subject of a Supreme Court hearing earlier this year that could affect medical malpractice award recipients across the country. The girl’s family was recently awarded almost $3 million in a medical malpractice settlement that claimed the doctor who delivered her caused her to be blind, deaf, and unable to walk, sit up, or care for herself. Shortly after the victim’s birth, the doctor, who was known to abuse drugs, voluntarily surrendered his license. A lawsuit was filed by the girl’s family in 2003 and was settled in 2006.

As allowed under current North Carolina law, the state laid claim to over $900,000 of the settlement, or one-third of the total amount, to cover a portion of what Medicaid had paid in medical expenses for the girl. But the family is disputing the state’s claim, saying it is illegal under federal law, which trumps state law. According to federal law, Medicaid generally cannot put a lien on personal property, and a medical malpractice award is considered personal property. However, Medicaid can put a lien on whatever portion of an award or settlement was given to cover medical expenses. In theory, this would make sense – if Medicaid has been paying the medical bills, they could be reimbursed for that amount from the awarded.

However, in many cases, like the current one in North Carolina, settlements or awards are given in a lump sum, they are not divided into categories such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc. So how much a state could claim to cover payments made by Medicaid is unclear. That is why states like North Carolina have assigned an arbitrary percentage that Medicaid can claim. Medical malpractice attorneys and victims’ advocates do not think states should be able to decide how much they are going to take. State governments fear that if they don’t set a certain amount they will not receive any reimbursement from legal settlements or damages because the plaintiff will claim that the entire amount was for something other than medical expenses.

Continue reading "Supreme Court Hearing May Affect Kentucky Medical Malpractice Awards" »

January 14, 2013

Kentucky Medical Malpractice Can Be Claimed for a Variety of Reasons

Medical malpractice covers a wide range of issues regarding mistakes that medical personnel make. Examples of several types of medical malpractice have been in the news recently and help to illustrate what issues are included in this type of personal injury. Here are a few examples:

Medical Misdiagnosis: this type of personal injury occurs when patients are given the wrong information regarding their conditions that often leads to the prescription of wrong medications or incorrect or unnecessary surgeries. A doctor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, right over the river from Kentucky, specializes in patients with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), which often causes multiple tumors to grow on the kidneys and other organs. He says doctors that are unfamiliar with this condition often see the tumors on the patients’ kidneys and prescribe surgery to remove the tumors or the entire kidney because they think the tumors are cancerous. In reality, though the affected kidneys may look bad, they may be functioning normally, and really do not require surgery or removal.

Surgical Errors: The type of errors in this category range from medical devices being left in the patient during surgery, to surgery being performed on the wrong body part, to internal damage being caused. A young man who had surgery after being shot while playing basketball continued to have bladder infections years after the surgery. His urologist ordered a scan that revealed a sponge that had been left in him during the surgery three years before. This error forced the already-paralyzed young man to endure another surgery to remove the sponge and a six-week recovery.

Continue reading "Kentucky Medical Malpractice Can Be Claimed for a Variety of Reasons" »

August 2, 2012

Medical Malpractice Claims for Spine Injections Partially Settled for over $33 Million

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, a pain management specialist was performing numerous procedures on patients with back issues until his voluntary departure in November, 2008. He was injecting a cement-like substance between the disks of patients with spinal pain. While the product had been approved to treat spinal fractures, it was never meant to be injected in between the disks. And the man was not even qualified to be doing some of the procedures. Yet he convinced a surgeon that the method was appropriate, and between the two of them they treated so many patients that they ordered a second set of instruments and were one of the busiest departments in the hospital. The pain management specialist also allegedly performed back surgeries that he was unqualified for.

Unfortunately, over 80 of their patients have suffered serious injuries and pain as a result of their procedures. Medical malpractice lawsuits filed on their behalf state that the cement moved into other parts of the spine before it hardened or it cracked into pieces that migrated to other places in the spine. Injuries reported include partial paralysis, loss of bladder and bowel control, and excruciating pain. One patient has died and some attribute his wrongful death to the procedure.

How can this type of medical malpractice occur in the first place? And how was it able to continue? According to the deposition of the surgeon involved, the other doctor showed him numerous x-rays of patients who had supposedly had this procedure done and were doing well. He also had several articles that he claimed proved the process was used very successfully in Germany. Of course, the articles were in German, so the surgeon was not able to read them. He simply took the other man at his word. When a nurse tried to tell a supervisor that she thought the doctor had overstepped his bounds, she was told to keep quiet. An insurance company questioned the doctor’s credentials when one of their customers filed a claim regarding loss of motor skills, immobility and incontinence after one of his surgeries. The hospital defended the doctor and threatened to take the insurance company to court for its damaging remarks against him and the hospital. It appears that the hospital was more concerned with protecting its reputation and bottom line than with patient safety.

Continue reading "Medical Malpractice Claims for Spine Injections Partially Settled for over $33 Million " »

May 10, 2012

Medical Malpractice during Birth can Cause Life-long Cerebral Palsy in Kentucky Infants

Injuries caused by medical professionals are always tragic because they most likely could have been avoided. When a medical error injures a child, the tragedy increases. Unfortunately, a number of these injuries occur at birth, leaving the infant and the family to deal with medical issues throughout the child’s life.

In a recent case, a jury realized the seriousness of this type of situation and awarded a child’s family $78 million in a medical malpractice case stemming from problems that started at birth. Three years ago, a woman went to the hospital because of complications with her pregnancy. The obstetrician on duty did an ultrasound and concluded that the baby had died. Almost an hour and a half later, an emergency cesarean section delivery was performed and the baby was alive. Unfortunately, the delay in the birth left the newborn with brain damage. The three-year-old has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy.

After hearing the facts of the case from both sides, the jury decided that the hospital, rather than the attending physicians, was at fault. Testimony brought to light the fact that the ultrasound equipment provided to the doctor by the hospital was old and had not been maintained in the last ten years. Also, there was no ultrasound technician available to say the results had been misread because it was a Sunday. Rather, the technician had to be contacted at home and told to come in. It was most likely these two issues that caused the jury to place the blame on the hospital.

The $78 million medical malpractice award seems very large, but it covers a wide range of issues. The child will require a lifetime of special medical care and will most likely never be able to work to support himself. The award also takes into account the pain and suffering the child has endured and will continue to endure. Of the entire amount, $1.5 million was awarded to the child’s mother for her emotional distress. The rest of the award will be used only to pay for the child’s ongoing medical expenses and care.

Continue reading "Medical Malpractice during Birth can Cause Life-long Cerebral Palsy in Kentucky Infants " »

March 31, 2009

Kentucky Surgical Malpractice: Jury Awards Woman $2.5 Million After Surgical Sponge Left in After Hysterectomy Results in Personal Injuries

A Kentucky jury says Three Rivers Medical Center in Lawrence County must pay former patient Sophia Savage $2.5 million for a surgical mistake that resulted in a surgical sponge being left inside her body following a medical procedure. Savage underwent her hysterectomy in 2001.

About three and a half years later, she had to undergo another surgery to remove the sponge. Part of her small intestine had to be taken out because the sponge had gotten lodged against it.

She claims that having the foreign object in her body caused her to experience depression, anxiety, abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea. For her Kentucky surgical malpractice verdict, the jury awarded Sophia $1,934,031 for past and future pain, $65,969 for medical costs, and $500,000 for her husband’s loss of consortium claim.

A 2003 report in the New England Journal of Medicine noted that about 1,500 of the medical errors that occur annually involve surgical team members accidentally leaving a surgical tool or a sponge inside a patient. It can also take years before the patient starts to exhibit symptoms. The longer the surgical sponge remains in the body, the greater the harm to the patient.

A surgical sponge left inside the human body can result in infected abscesses or injury to internal organ issues. Sepsis, bowel perforation, nerve damage, organ damage, internal bleeding, and blood clots may also result. The ensuing medical procedures can be costly and painful for the patient. Retained foreign objects due to surgery may even be fatal.

It is the responsibility of the surgical team and the surgeon to make sure that no foreign objects are left inside the body following surgery. One way to do this it to count all of the surgical instruments and tools before and after the procedure. Visually or manually examining the cavity area before closing it up is also helpful. Failure to remove all foreign objects from the patient's body following surgery can be grounds for a Kentucky medical malpractice lawsuit.

Woman Receives $2.5 Million for Medical Mishap, WSAZ.com, March 11, 2009

Medical Malpractice and Surgical Complications

Related Web Resources:
FAQ: Retained Foreign Objects After Surgery, Jointcommission.org

Three Rivers Medical Center

March 24, 2009

Louisville Medical Malpractice Attorney: Lawsuit Contends Medical Mistake Led to Lil Wayne Producer and Kentucky Local Static Major’s Wrongful Death

The family of Static Major, a Louisville local who has produced music for performer Lil Wayne and helped create hits with Jay-Z, Aaliyah, and Nas, is accusing Baptist Hospital East of medical malpractice leading to his wrongful death.

Static was admitted to the Louisville hospital in February 2008 after he began experiencing breathing problems and flu-like symptoms. He died just hours later.

On the day of his death, tests showed that Static had myasthenia gravis, which is a rare autoimmune disease. Doctors urged Static to undergo a treatment that takes out toxins from the blood with a catheter. This treatment is called plasmapheresis.

Dr. Jean J. Wickel performed the procedure. Following the treatment, Static told a nurse that he was experiencing pain in his internal organs. Wickel reportedly told the nurse to take the catheter out of Static, who lost consciousness and would then die.

Autopsy reports indicate that Static died from respiratory arrest after the catheter was removed. Apparently, incorrectly inserting the catheter can result in lung puncture or too much bleeding.

Now, Static’s family is suing Wickel and the Kentucky hospital for medical negligence. Static died at 33. He leaves behind his wife and four children.

Kentucky Medical Malpractice
Doctors and nurses can’t afford to make mistakes when treating patients. Performing an incorrect procedure, making the wrong diagnosis, prescribing the wrong medication, or delaying treatment unnecessarily can result in serious health complications and even wrongful death.

Lil Wayne Producer Static Major Died From Medical Negligence, Lawsuit Filed, Six Shot, March 10, 2009

Producer Static Major, of former R & B Group Playa, Dies, Vibe, February 26, 2008


Related Web Resources:
Baptist Hospital East

Medical Malpractice, Justia

March 13, 2009

Louisville Medical Malpractice Lawyer: Oprah Talks About Catastrophic Medical Mistakes and How You Can Be Your Own Advocate for Your Medical Care

Medical mistakes happen way too often in this United States, which is why Oprah and Dr. Oz sat down this week to discuss some harrowing malpractice errors that have occurred to real people. Dr. Oz also offered some suggestions on what you can do to be an advocate for your own medical care.

He says that despite their best efforts, doctors, nurses, and medical technicians are only human. People get busy, easily distracted, and make mistakes. However, it is important that they not make a mistake on a patient. Unlike most other professional fields, where mistakes are more easily remedied, a surgical error, the wrong diagnosis, or the wrong medication dose can be a matter of life and death.

For example, movie Star Dennis Quaid and his wife Kimberly experienced this firsthand when their newborn twins nearly died after being given the wrong dosage of Heparin. Rather than being administered 10 units of the blood thinner, they were given 10,000 units each—on two occasions. This caused the babies to bleed out. The medical mistakes occurred because a pharmacy technician placed bigger bottles of Heparin with bottles that contained smaller dose. A nurse failed to make sure the bottles she picked up contained the correct dose.

Another woman reports having 24 lymph nodes removed and undergoing a mastectomy after doctors diagnosed her with a rare form of breast cancer. Eight days after the procedure, she was told that there had been a mix-up with her biopsy sample. She actually never had breast cancer. She did have neck cancer. Treatment for that had been delayed so doctors could deal with her breast cancer first. Meantime, the other woman who received the wrong cancer-free diagnosis had to be notified that she was suffering from breast cancer.

One cancer survivor, Chef Grant Achatz, took his medical care into his own hands. In the culinary world, Achatz is considered a genius for the innovative cuisine he offers at his restaurant Alinea, located in Chicago. Achatz’s culinary career could have come to a halt after he found out that he had Stage 4 cancer on his tongue if he had followed the treatment recommendations of four doctors.

His cancer diagnosis had been delayed three years after first his dentist and a general practitioner determined that the white spot on his tongue was stress-related. When another doctor finally diagnosed him correctly, that doctor and then three others told him that he would need to have parts of his tongue and jaw removed, as well as undergo a radical neck dissection.

Achatz refused and found a doctor who allowed him to undergo chemotherapy before determining whether such radical procedures were necessary. Achatz is now cancer-free.

Dr. Oz says it is important that patients be their own advocate and not leave their lives in the hands of doctors, nurses, surgeons, and other medical providers who can make mistakes. He offers a number of recommendations about how to become a smarter patient:

• Make sure that medical workers have washed their hands and are using sanitized instruments on your body.
• If you are going to have surgery on one side of your body, write on that part of the body to remind the surgeon on which side he or she should operate.
• Avoid making small talk with your doctor so that you don’t distract him or her.
• Choose a hospital with the latest technology.
• Find out if your hospital uses a preflight checklist to prevent simple mistakes during surgery.
• Make sure that you go to an accredited hospital that is in good standing.
• Research your choice of a doctor to make sure he or she has the experience and skills to provide you with the kind of care that you need.

If your condition grew worse or you were injured or if someone you love died because a medical provider gave you a delayed diagnosis, a wrong diagnosis, the wrong medication, or made another medical mistake, you may have grounds for filing a Kentucky medical malpractice lawsuit.

Oprah.com


Related Web Resources:
Dr Oz, Discovery Health

Proactive Patient Checklist, Imaginis

Continue reading "Louisville Medical Malpractice Lawyer: Oprah Talks About Catastrophic Medical Mistakes and How You Can Be Your Own Advocate for Your Medical Care" »

February 16, 2009

Kentucky Medical Malpractice Attorney: Louisville Psychiatric Hospital Under Investigation for Allowing 17-Year-Old Patient to Bang Her Head on Floor More than 120 Times

The Kentucky Attorney General’s Office is investigating a Louisville psychiatric hospital to determine if criminal charges need to be filed because of the way staffers dealt with a 17-year-old patient. The probe comes following a report from the state’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services that found that Our Lady of Peace hospital failed to assure the girl’s safety.

The girl, who suffers from cerebral palsy, autism, and mental retardation, was reportedly allowed to strike her unprotected head against a hard floor over 120 times last year while she was observed by staff workers. The employees, among them a behavioral analyst, were reportedly trying to determine why the teenager engaged in behavior that caused self-injury.

The patient reportedly “appeared dazed” after the incident, but no one told a doctor for almost 24 hours. Medical help was finally sought when a staffer who was helping the teenager take a shower saw that a bald spot on her head had popped blood vessels and was swollen. The girl was released from the Louisville psychiatric hospital in August.

In order to qualify for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services funding, US hospitals must satisfy certain safety conditions and other requirements. Although Our Lady of Peace and parent company Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare were at risk of losing their federal funding following the incident, the hospital revised its procedures, including adding a new requirement that a doctor be involved in any assessments of a patient. Another change that has recently been implemented by the hospital is the appointment of Timothy Brady as the new CEO of Our Lady of Peace.

Psychiatric Malpractice
Psychiatric malpractice is one form of medical malpractice. Psychiatric care deals with the mental and emotional well-being of a patient. When a psychiatrist is negligent or neglects to provide a patient with a certain level of care and that patient suffers harm as a result, the injured party may have grounds for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Examples of psychiatric malpractice:

• Breach of privacy
• Wrong diagnosis
• Improper treatment
• Medication mistakes
• Mental abuse
• Emotional abuse
• Physical abuse
• Sexual abuse
• Having sexual contact with a patient

Our Lady of Peace psychiatric hospital under state investigation, Courier-Journal.com

Related Web Resources:
Our Lady of Peace, Jewish Hospital and St Mary's HealthCare

What is psychiatric malpractice?, Power2u.org

Continue reading "Kentucky Medical Malpractice Attorney: Louisville Psychiatric Hospital Under Investigation for Allowing 17-Year-Old Patient to Bang Her Head on Floor More than 120 Times" »

December 22, 2008

Kentucky Medical Malpractice: Widow To Receive $975,000 to Settle Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against VA

The widow of a Kentucky man who bled to death after undergoing gallbladder surgery at a Veterans Affairs hospital has settled her wrongful death lawsuit with the government. Katrina Shank had sought $12 million when she filed her federal case alleging medical malpractice. The settlement she will receive is $975,000.

Robert Shank III underwent the procedure in August 2007. Katrina claims that the hospital provided her husband with substandard care. She also accuses the government of failing to properly check Dr Jose Veizaga-Mendez’s background.

Veizaga-Mendez, who was Robert’s surgeon, has come under fire after inspectors found that the deaths of several of his patients may have been a result of the questionable care he provided them. He resigned three days after Robert’s death.

Between October 2006 and March 2007, at least nine patients have died due to substandard care at the VA hospital where Robert underwent his surgery. These do not included the deaths attributed to Veizaga-Mendez.

Surgical Malpractice
Unfortunately, tens of thousands of people die in the United States every year because of surgical errors. Surgical malpractice can also lead to serious injuries and complications, including infections, organ damage, and brain injuries, for those who survive. Common kinds of surgical errors include:

• Operating on the wrong body part
• Anesthesia errors
• Leaving a medical instrument in a patient
• Taking out the wrong organ
• Not properly monitoring the patient’s vitals during surgery
• Negligent post-operative care

Surgical errors can be grounds for a Kentucky medical malpractice claim or wrongful death lawsuit.

Ky. widow settles lawsuit against VA for $975,000, AP, November 25, 2008

Troubled VA hospital settles death suit, UPI, November 25, 2008


Related Web Resources:

US Department of Veterans Affairs

Military Medical Malpractice Overview, Justia

September 16, 2008

Kentucky Medical Malpractice: Second Louisville Doctor, Michael C. Hess, Accused of Sexual Misconduct

Dr. Michael Hess of Louisville Kentucky had his license to practice medicine suspended by the Kntucky Board of Medical Licensure. This news comes just days after similar allegations against Louisville doctor Jack Allen surfaced. (As mentioned in an earlier post on this blog, my office has been retained to represent a few of Dr. Allen's victims in their potential claims.)

Dr. Hess's lawyers at Whonsetler & Johnson, who incidentally also represent Dr. Allen, told the Courier-Journal that they were going to "pursue all legal avenues at our disposal to restore Dr. Hess' good name."

A final ruling from the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure on Dr. Hess' license to practice may not come for months.

September 11, 2008

Kentucky Medical Malpractice: Louisville Doctor Jack Allen MD Accused of Sexual Assault

Dr. Jack Allen, a Louisville family care doctor, was recently placed on probation by the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure after multiple women came forward accusing him of sexually assaulting or sexual abusing them during office visits. Dr. Allen made inappropriate comments to female patients during office visits and pap smears and inappropriately touched women's breasts and bodies, according to a report on WHAS-11 TV.

Dr. Allen was also accused by patients of prescribing painkillers to women, getting them addicted to narcotics and painkillers and then forcing women to allow Dr. Allen to touch them in exchange for more prescriptions.

If you want to contact a Louisville Kentucky Medical Malpractice Attorney, feel free to contact me. I have been retained by one of Dr. Allen's victims and am interested in talking to other victims or lawyers familiar with this horrific situation. Please feel free to contact me directly at 587-8423 or email me steve@kytriallaw.com

For more details, see the WHAS-TV report.

July 16, 2008

Kentucky Board Suspends Lexington Gynecologist’s Medical License Following Allegations of Medical Malpractice

The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure has suspended the medical license of Dr. Hamid Sheikh, a Lexington gynecologist, amid allegations that he engaged in improper medical practices.

One investigator for the Attorney General’s office said that when she went to Sheikh's Lexington office, she discovered unsanitary conditions, expired medications, and inoperable or missing equipment.

Last year, in Franklin Circuit Court, Sheikh was indicted on four counts of defrauding Medicaid, including allegedly presenting abortions as ultrasounds, submitting bogus billing statements, and illegally charging Medicaid patients. An investigator reported a nurse’s findings that the standard of care that Sheikh provided was “dramatically out of compliance.” Another Medicaid agent said that seven patients had complained of their care, including “a lack of medication.” One patient reported that Sheikh did not ask about her medical history and that the pain during her procedure was extremely severe.

Sheikh, who has performed abortions at his office in Lexington since 1975, says that his arrest was politically motivated.

Medical Malpractice
Doctors in Kentucky are obligated to provide patients with a certain standard of care. When failure to provide that standard or errors in care result in injury or death, the patient or his or her family may be entitled to file a Kentucky medical malpractice claim or wrongful death lawsuit.

Examples of Obstetrics and Gynecology Malpractice:

• Botched hysterectomies
• Birthing errors
• Failure to detect cancer or another disease/medical condition
• Surgical errors
• Abortion malpractice
• Testing errors involving pap smears, ultrasounds, etc.
• Birth control-related errors
• Inappropriate medical exams

If you or someone you love was injured by a doctor, a dentist, a surgeon, a nurse, or another health care provider anywhere in Kentucky, contact our Louisville medical malpractice law firm today.

Gynecologist's medical license suspended, Kentucky.com, June 26, 2008

More Details Revealed in Case of Kentucky Abortion Practitioner's Malpractice, Lifenews.com, June 26, 2008


Related Web Resources:

Medical Malpractice, Justia

Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure

Continue reading "Kentucky Board Suspends Lexington Gynecologist’s Medical License Following Allegations of Medical Malpractice" »

February 6, 2008

Kentucky Medical Malpractice: Failure to diagnose aortic dissection

Medical Malpractice News: Lawyers for the family of actor John Ritter will proceed to trial today in their claim that his death could have been prevented. Learn more about the case: LA Times NBC Today Show Interview with John Ritter's widow

Make no mistake about it, aortic dissection is a dire emergency requiring immediate medical intervention.

In the Kentucky medical malpractice cases involving failure to diagnose aortic dissection cases I have handled, one of the key issues is the time between the failure to diagnose and the death of the victim. In other words, was there enough time to make a difference? Based on conversations I have had with experts on the subject, cardiologists and thoracic surgeons, if the misdiagnosis and the death are more than an hour or two apart, it is virtually certain that there was enough time to treat the condition appropriately and prevent the patient from dying.

I assume this will be one of the key issues in the Ritter case.

February 5, 2008

Kentucky Medical Malpractice Lawyers: Fantastic interview with a victim

Amy Yasbeck, widow of actor John Ritter, does a fantastic job in her interview on NBC's Today Show. It sickens me every time I hear a reporter talk about a "$5 Million Dollar" lawsuit, or that a victim is seeking "$70 Million Dollars". Ms. Yasbeck clearly explains what Kentucky injury lawyers know, that she is not seeking "$67 MIllion Dollars".

Watch the video.

August 20, 2007

Kentucky Medical Malpractice Attorneys: Medicare won't pay for hospital errors

In a fascinating change of policy, Medicare announced last week that it will not cover medical care for injuries resulting from medical errors. In other words, medical malpractice. This raises a host of serious questions for doctors, hospitals, injured patients and their lawyers. Will Kentucky medical malpractice attorneys be able to use this to their client's advantage? Or will it complicate matters?

Download the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services press release or visit the website for more information.

New York Times Article

Medicare Says It Won’t Cover Hospital Errors

By ROBERT PEAR
Published: August 19, 2007

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 — In a significant policy change, Bush administration officials say that Medicare will no longer pay the extra costs of treating preventable errors, injuries and infections that occur in hospitals, a move they say could save lives and millions of dollars.
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Eileen O’Neill-Pardo’s mother, Margaret, died after an infection developed at a hospital.

Private insurers are considering similar changes, which they said could multiply the savings and benefits for patients.

Under the new rules, to be published next week, Medicare will not pay hospitals for the costs of treating certain “conditions that could reasonably have been prevented.”

Among the conditions that will be affected are bedsores, or pressure ulcers; injuries caused by falls; and infections resulting from the prolonged use of catheters in blood vessels or the bladder.

In addition, Medicare says it will not pay for the treatment of “serious preventable events” like leaving a sponge or other object in a patient during surgery and providing a patient with incompatible blood or blood products.

“If a patient goes into the hospital with pneumonia, we don’t want them to leave with a broken arm,” said Herb B. Kuhn, acting deputy administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The new policy — one of several federal initiatives to improve care purchased by Medicare, at a cost of more than $400 billion a year — is sending ripples through the health industry.

July 12, 2007

Kentucky Medical Malpractice Attorneys: Malpractice Insurers Price-Gouging Doctors

Yet another study shows what Kentucky Malpractice Lawyers have been saying for years:  it is the insurance industry, not lawyers or lawsuits that are responsibile for the high premiums doctors pay for medical malpractice coverage.

The report, compiled and authored by Jay Angoff (former Missouri Insurance Commissioner), surveyed annual reports from 15 medical malpractice insurers.  Agnoff’s conclusion is that insurers raised MDs’ premiums without reason and have perpetrated a lie by claiming that a so-called “malpractice crisis” exists.

For a copy of the report “No Basis for High Insurance Rates: An Analysis of the 15 Largest Medical Malpractice Insurers 2006 Financial Statements”, visit www.justice.org/pressroom/angoff

June 13, 2007

Medical Malpractice: Mistakes Happen, Doctor Says

Everyone makes mistakes. Even doctors. But you rarely hear a doctor admit she made a mistake. In my years representing Kentucky medical malpractice victims, I have never once heard a doctor admit their error caused a patient harm. In his new book, Dr. Atul Gawande says just that. Gawande, a surgeon whose bestselling book inspired the hit TV series Grey's Anatomy, takes a refreshingly candid look at the medical profession and the havoc medical errors can cause.

Here, he discusses a surgical error:

Six months ago, I was performing a thyroid operation on a teacher my age and damaged a nerve that led to her vocal cords. This woman can no longer talk and has had to give up work. The only way I can live with myself is to try to do all I can for her and understand what I did wrong and do better next time. Being sorry is not enough.


The Guardian has an interesting article on Gawande and the book. An interesting read.


June 6, 2007

Medical Malpractice Settlement: Anesthesiologist pays over $2 million in death case

I've handled medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuits all over Kentucky. But never one for an elective cosmetic surgery. I've always wondered how jurors would react to the obvious defense theme that the deceased put their own life at risk for vanity's sake. That would definitely be something to explore in a focus group.

New York lawyer Tom Moore apparently knows the answer to that question. I have seen Tom Moore speak at seminars on numerous occasions. I have watched trial tapes from a few of his trials. He is as passionate a lawyer as I have ever run across. Anyone who has seen him in action will agree. It comes as no surprise that he settled a case this week in excess of $3 million dollars involving a woman who died during a facelift.

But wait! There is a twist. The surviving husband is a physician. I have to wonder what his stance on tort reform was prior to this tragedy. Reminds me of Senator Robert Smith of New Hampshire and "friend of the people" Rick Santorum, whose wife filed a medical malpractice suit in 1999 for over $500,000.

Can you say Hypocrite?

May 29, 2007

Kentucky Medical Malpractice Lawyers: Would this fly in Kentucky?

Doctors Attempt 'No Sue by Steven Klearman

Steveven Klearman of Reno has a very interesting read about OB/GYNS making their patients sign waivers containing arbitration agreements and caps on pain and suffering at $250,000.

Citing the high cost of medical malpractice insurance, more than a dozen ob-gyns have joined Obstetricians & Gynecologists Risk Retention Group of America (OGRRGA), a new Montana-based company that is reportedly reducing their premiums by about 50 percent. As part of their participation in the group, these physicians are requiring patients to sign agreements stating that they will pursue any subsequent disputes through binding arbitration.

They also must agree that pain-and-suffering awards will be capped at $250,000.

Clearly, this type of agreement would be unconstitutional in Kentucky.  But don’t think local doctors won’t try it.
May 23, 2007

Kentucky Medical Malpractice Lawyers defend lawsuit

Let there be no mistake. Joe White and Mike O'Connell are excellent personal injury lawyers. That's why I was shocked when I read Jewish Hospital's allegations in the paper the other day. I could not imagine that these two of the most experienced, principled Kentucky medical malpractice lawyers would run off and file dozens of lawsuits without basis in the form of expert opinion.

Turns out my skepticism was well-founded. White and O'Connell had numerous witnesses come forward, including former employees of Jewish Hospital, to describe the deplorable conditions at the hospital.

Lawsuits vs. Jewish Hospital defended

“And the hospital's lawyers said in interviews yesterday they were disappointed that White and O'Connell are trying to re-litigate the underlying cases, which they have already lost.”

I bet they are.

Steve Frederick

July 11, 2006

For Kentucky Medical Malpractice Lawyers: Great Article from Slate on The Medical Malpractice Myth

Following is an outstanding synopsis of the truth about medical malpractice.  If you have not read “The Medical Malpractice Myth” and the studies referenced in this article, I highly recommend you do so soon.

The Medical Malpractice Myth
Forget tort reform. The Democrats have a better diagnosis.
By Ezra Klein

The Republican answer to runaway health-care spending is to cap jury awards in medical malpractice suits. For the fifth time in four years, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist tried and failed to cap awards at $250,000 during his self-proclaimed "Health Care Week" in May. But this time, the Democrats put a better idea on the table.

Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama also want to save on health care. But rather than capping jury awards, they hope to cut the number of medical malpractice cases by reducing medical errors, as they explain in an article in the New England Journal of Medicine. In other words, to the Republicans, suits and payouts are the ill. To the Democrats, the problem is a slew of medical injuries of which the suits are a symptom. The latest evidence shows the Democrats' diagnosis to be right.

The best attempt to synthesize the academic literature on medical malpractice is Tom Baker's The Medical Malpractice Myth, published last November. Baker, a law professor at the University of Connecticut who studies insurance, argues that the hype about medical malpractice suits is "urban legend mixed with the occasional true story, supported by selective references to academic studies." After all, including legal fees, insurance costs, and payouts, the cost of the suits comes to less than one-half of 1 percent of health-care spending. If anything, there are fewer lawsuits than would be expected, and far more injuries than we usually imagine.
Click Here!

As proof, Baker marshals an overwhelming array of research. The most impressive and comprehensive study is by the Harvard Medical Practice released in 1990. The Harvard researchers took a huge sample of 31,000 medical records, dating from the mid-1980s, and had them evaluated by practicing doctors and nurses, the professionals most likely to be sympathetic to the demands of the doctor's office and operating room. The records went through multiple rounds of evaluation, and a finding of negligence was made only if two doctors, working independently, separately reached that conclusion. Even with this conservative methodology, the study found that doctors were injuring one out of every 25 patients—and that only 4 percent of these injured patients sued.

 

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE:

The Medical Malpractice Myth - Forget tort reform. The Democrats have a better diagnosis. By Ezra Klein.

June 22, 2006

Medical Malpractice News: Rapid response team activation by patients can mitigate errors

Wow. Kentucky malpractice lawyers, what do you think of this unique concept?

Allowing patients and their families to demand prompt medical attention saves lives.

Who knew?

Rapid response team activation by patients can mitigate errors
Many hospitals are familiar with the concept of rapid response teams (RRT), one of six initiatives that comprise the 18-month-long Institute for Healthcare Improvement's 100,000 Lives Campaign. The idea is simple: any healthcare worker can bypass the typical chain-of-command and call what is essentially a medical "SWAT team" to quickly assess the patient and intervene when life-saving care may be needed (1). Unlike the traditional "code" team, the RRT intervenes before the patient experiences a respiratory or cardiac arrest. The results have been impressive, with reductions in cardiac arrests, deaths, and length-of-stay (2).

Taking this intervention to a whole new level, The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Shadyside, is perhaps the first hospital in the nation to invite patients and families to call for a RRT to address unresolved concerns about their safety and health (3,4,5). Upon admission, patients and family members are encouraged to pick up any phone in the hospital to report a Condition H (for "help") if they:

IV vincristine survey shows safety improvements needed.

June 21, 2006

Medical Malpractice News: NY Judge Denies Disclosure of Surgeon's Medical Records

N.Y. Judge Denies Disclosure of Surgeon's Records

Daniel Wise
New York Law Journal
June 21, 2006

A medical malpractice plaintiff, who claims her doctor was suffering from a physical condition that caused him to botch her face-lift, may not compel the doctor to disclose his medical records, a New York judge has ruled.

The defendant doctor's medical records remain privileged, unless he has taken some affirmative step to put his medical condition in issue, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Eileen Bransten ruled in Brower v. Beraka, 109514/03.

Although Bransten refused to require Dr. George J. Beraka, a plastic surgeon, to disclose his medical records, she did order him to submit to a deposition where he could be asked questions about the facts and circumstances of his condition during the 40 days following the plaintiff's surgery.

Law.com - N.Y. Judge Denies Disclosure of Surgeon's Records.

June 13, 2006

Medical Malpractice Essentials: Sentinel Event and Root Cause Analysis

If you have handled medical malpractice cases in and around Kentucky you have no doubt practiced a case with Kirsten Daniel. She spent the last 8 years defending doctors and hospitals in Kentucky medical malpractice cases and gained extensive trial experience in the process. I am pleased and proud to say that she recently made the switch from the dark side and joined our firm.

On our way to meet with clients yesterday, Kirsten and I started talking about Sentinel Event and Peer Review materials and their importance in med mal litigation. She informed me that many plaintiff's lawyers don't even request Sentinel Event or Peer Review materials, which came as a big surprise to me. I can only assume this is because these lawyers don't know about the JCAHO's Sentinel Event policy. And that is a big problem, as these materials often contain a wealth of information which is not discoverable by any other means.

It is essential that any lawyer handling medical malpractice cases have a firm grasp of Sentinel Event, Root Cause Analysis and Peer Review procedures. The JCAHO website is a great place to start educating yourself on the subject.

Sentinel Event Links

Joint Commission Sentinel Event Main Page

Sentinel Event Policy and Procedures - Joint Commission

Joint Commission website search for "Sentinel Event"

JCAHO Sentinel Event Flow Chart

Here are two books which should be in the library of any medical malpractice lawyer:

Sentinel Events: Evaluating Cause and Planning Improvement, Second Edition

Root Cause Analysis in Health Care: Tools and Techniques, Third Edition

Medical Malpractice Essentials: "Patient Safety Essentials for Health Care"

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations has released the Fourth Edition of its book "Patient Safety Essentials for Health Care." This is a valuable reference which should be in the library of any Kentucky malpractice lawyer.

The blurb: "This book is the complete guide to the Joint Commission's safety standards for ambulatory care, behavioral health care, critical access hospital, home care, hospital, and long term care organizations. It includes the standards, rationales, elements of performance, and scoring information in one handy resource. This book also identifies the commonalities among the standards to help readers understand which standards apply to which settings."

Order it for $75.00 here.

Thanks to John Day of MedMalBlog.com for bringing this important resource to our attention.

June 10, 2006

Medical Malpractice News: Sorry Works! Coalition

An interesting read from the Joint Commission Website on the Sorry Works! Coalition.

The Sorry Works! Coalition, an organization of doctors, lawyers, insurers, and patient advocates, is dedicated to promoting full disclosure and apologies for medical errors as a “middle-ground solution” in the medical liability crisis. If a standard of care was not met (as shown by a root cause analysis) in a bad outcome or adverse event, the providers (and their insurer) should apologize to the patient/family, admit fault, provide an explanation of what happened and how the hospital will ensure that the error is not repeated, and offer compensation. The Sorry Works! protocol is based on the disclosure program developed at the Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky.
The Sorry Works! Coalition: Making the Case for Full Disclosure

June 1, 2006

Preparing for the defense medical expert’s deposition

A very helpful resource for any Kentucky injury attorneyJanabeth Evans Taylor, R.N., R.N.C co-aouthered a wonderful article for ATLA's TRIAL Magazine on preparing for defense medical expert's deposition.

Brief excerpt:

Here is a general list of information to collect for the medical expert’s deposition. Consider adding these items to your subpoena duces tecum for deposition. Request copies of

• the expert’s license to practice medicine

• certificates, memberships, and awards

• applications for continuing medical education credits for seminars and courses attended

• the expert’s Ph.D. thesis

• published abstracts and articles

• materials presented at professional meetings covering the issue in your case

• patents held by the expert or his or her employer (The Statement of Claims in patent documentation may explain what hazard the invention should ameliorate; for example, a needle guard may be intended to prevent perforation of vital organs.)

• a list of authorities in the lawsuit’s subject that the expert deems to be reliable

• all documents provided to the expert for review in the case.

—Betsey Herd and Janabeth Evans (Taylor)

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE: Preparing for the defense medical expert’s deposition

May 30, 2006

For the Kentucky Medical Malpractice Lawyer: Motion to Compel Sentinel Event and Peer Review Materials

Kentucky medical malpractice attorneys: Do you request sentinel event and peer review information in all your medical malpractice cases? You should.

All hospitals eligible for federal funding are accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (the “JCAHO”). As part of its accreditation survey, the JCAHO reviews its members’ processes for identifying, reporting and responding to “sentinel events”. The purpose of these guidelines is to improve patient outcomes and avoid malpractice resulting in serious personal injury or wrongful death.

In 1996, the JCAHO promulgated “Sentinel Event Policy and Procedures”. They state in part:

I. Sentinel Events
In support of its mission to improve the quality of health care provided to the public, the Joint Commission includes the review of organizations’ activities in response to sentinel events in its accreditation process . . .

◆ A sentinel event is an unexpected occurrence involving death or serious physical or psychological injury, or the risk thereof. Serious injury or loss of limb or function.
◆ Such events are called “sentinel” because they signal the need for immediate investigation and response”

II. Goals of the Policy

“The goals of the policy are four-fold:
◆ To have a positive impact in improving patient care.
◆ To focus the attention of an organization that has experienced a sentinel event on understanding the causes that underlie the event, and on making changes in the organization’s systems and processes to reduce the probability of such an event in the future.
◆ To increase the general knowledge about sentinel events, their causes, and strategies for prevention.
◆ To maintain the confidence of the public in the accreditation process”

As part of the sentinel event policy, the JCAHO requires health care organizations to perform a “root cause analysis” when a sentinel event occurs, and to use “the information from the data analysis to identify changes that will improve performance or reduce the risk of sentinel events.” To maintain JCAHO accreditation, healthcare organizations must also “ensure that the processes for identifying and managing sentinel events are defined and implemented.”

Click here for a sample Motion to Compel Production of Sentinel Event and Peer Review Documents

May 27, 2006

For the Kentucky Medical Malpractice Attorney: Medical Resources on the Internet

janabeth.jpg

Janabeth Evans Taylor, R.N., R.N.C of Attorney's Medical Services has compiled a FANTASTIC list of medical resources on the internet. Below is a list of links ... to read the entire article, click: Utilizing the Power of the Web: Medical Resources for Attorneys

Medical information on the Internet is growing and diversifying. Every month more information is added and it becomes more challenging to sift through the many sites to find the content you are looking for. Traditional search engines do not focus on medical sites, and therefore some very valuable sites are overlooked or not updated into the index.

To date, there is no all-inclusive engine for searching medical sites. Nor is there a single engine that adequately and throughly indexes just the most reputable sites. These are a sampling of sites that will search for and retrieve up-to-date, applicable and current postings from peer-reviewed sources.

Continue reading "For the Kentucky Medical Malpractice Attorney: Medical Resources on the Internet" »

May 25, 2006

For the Kentucky Medical Malpractice Lawyer: Clinton/Obama - Making Patient Safety the Centerpiece of Medical Liability Reform

Making Patient Safety the Centerpiece of Medical Liability Reform

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama

We have visited doctors and hospitals throughout the country and heard firsthand from those who face ever-escalating insurance costs. Indeed, in some specialties, high premiums are forcing physicians to give up performing certain high-risk procedures, leaving patients without access to a full range of medical services. But we have also talked with families who have experienced errors in their care, and it has become clear to us that if we are to find a fair and equitable solution to this complex problem, all parties — physicians, hospitals, insurers, and patients — must work together. Instead of focusing on the few areas of intense disagreement, such as the possibility of mandating caps on the financial damages awarded to patients, we believe that the discussion should center on a more fundamental issue: the need to improve patient safety.

We all know the statistic from the landmark 1999 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report that as many as 98,000 deaths in the United States each year result from medical errors. But the IOM also found that more than 90 percent of these deaths are the result of failed systems and procedures, not the negligence of physicians. Given this finding, we need to shift our response from placing blame on individual providers or health care organizations to developing systems for improving the quality of our patient-safety practices.

To improve both patient safety and the medical liability climate, the tort system must achieve four goals: reduce the rates of preventable patient injuries, promote open communication between physicians and patients, ensure patients access to fair compensation for legitimate medical injuries, and reduce liability insurance premiums for health care providers. Addressing just one of these issues is not sufficient. Capping malpractice payments may ameliorate rising premium rates, but it would do nothing to prevent unsafe practices or ensure the provision of fair compensation to patients.

SUPPLEMENT: Interview with Richard Boothman on a medical-error disclosure program in Michigan.

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE: NEJM -- Making Patient Safety the Centerpiece of Medical Liability Reform.

May 18, 2006

For the Kentucky Medical Malpractice Lawyer: Medical Malpractice Crisis is a Myth

No surprie to us .... A recent study by Health Affairs, the industry's leading policy periodical, comes to the conclusion that there is no malpractice crisis.

from Malpractice Premiums And Physicians’ Income: Perceptions Of A Crisis Conflict With Empirical Evidence

"Conclusion
To paraphrase Mark Twain's comment on reading his obituary in a newspaper, the reported recent demise of medical practice as a result of rising malpractice premiums has been greatly exaggerated. The perception that
increased malpractice premiums cause a crisis is at odds with evidence from the AMA surveys. These surveys indicate that premiums have consistently been a small percentage of total practice expenses except within anesthesiology, which is a result of its having much lower than average nonpremium expenses. When premium increases occurred between 1970 and 1986, and from 1996 to 2000, they had only a small effect on net income."

Look at this chart which shows medical malpractice premiums in relation to total expenses and net income.

Self-Employed Physicians: Mean Malpractice Premiums, Total Expenses, And Net Income, Selected Years 1970-2000

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May 15, 2006

For the Kentucky Medical Malpractice Lawyer: Placenta Previa (failure to diagnose)

Medical Malpractice tip for Kentucky Lawyers:

Failure to diagnose and treat placenta previa can have disastrous consequences.

Placenta previa, one of the leading causes of vaginal bleeding in the second and third trimesters, is a potentially life threatening obstetric complication. It may cause serious injury or death to both fetus and mother.

BLSA_Moot_Court_Gray_Smith_.gif

Click here to learn more about Placenta Previa and its complications from WebMD, or call us at 502-583-1000 for a free consultation.

May 9, 2006

Reid: Bush Republicans Keep Insurance Companies Healthy

Reid: Bush Republicans Keep Insurance Companies Healthy
WASHINGTON, May 8 /U.S. Newswire/ -— With Bush Republicans in the Senate seeking to use their "health" week to push Medical Malpractice legislation that will do nothing to fix the health care crisis in America today, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid delivered the following remarks on the Floor of the U.S. Senate.

The text of Senator Reid's speech, as prepared, is below.

Mr. President, I rise to object to the Republican medical malpractice bills before the Senate today. These measures do not represent a serious attempt to improve health care or civil justice in the United States. Moving to these bills is a tired political exercise, and the Senate should reject it out of hand.

To think with American consumers paying over 3 dollars for gas, with college tuition moving beyond the reach of many in the middle-class, with the Iraq war dead approaching 2,500, with immigration a security crisis unresolved, with our country's deficit standing at 9 trillion dollars, with 46 million Americans lacking health care coverage, we are moving to bills that are unnecessary and go nowhere. It is wrong.

We could more profitably use the scarce time remaining in the 109th Congress tackling the urgent challenges facing America's families: energy, the war, immigration, and the real health care crisis.

April 27, 2006

For the Kentucky Medical Malpractice Attorney: Legislation Will Be On The Floor Of The US Senate The First Week of May.

Each year, over a hundred thousand people are killed by preventable medical errors, due to negligence or wrongdoing. Many more are seriously or permanently injured, disfigured or disabled.

Congress has done little to address this serious problem. Instead, the Congressional leadership is working to pass legislation that would limit the right of those injured through no fault of their own to hold wrongdoers accountable and eliminate a key incentive for health care providers to act responsibly in the future.

For those who are injured or family members of those who have died as a result of medical negligence, the civil justice system is the last resort and the court room is the only place where they can seek justice against powerful interests on a level playing field.

Next week, as part of a so-called “Health Week,” the US Senate will vote on medical malpractice legislation which would dramatically restrict your ability to hold wrongdoers accountable.

Please help fight this attack on our rights.

Learn the facts about the bill.

Read about victims of medical malpractice.

Contact Congress and tell your Senators to protect the health and safety of Americans, not corporate profits.

At a time when so many people have been harmed due to preventable mistakes, Congress should be talking about protecting the health and safety of patients, rather than protecting the profits of negligent wrongdoers.

February 28, 2006

For the Kentucky Medical Malpractice Lawyer: Report Confirms Insurance Crisis Is Over

New York — Americans for Insurance Reform (AIR) released a new study today confirming the wholesale decline of medical malpractice insurance rates nationwide. The AIR study also shows that this phenomenon is occurring whether or not states enacted restrictions on patients’ legal rights, such as “caps” on compensation. The medical malpractice insurance “crisis” is over, according to the study.

AIR’s study is based on the most recent Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers survey of market conditions, showing that the average rate hike for doctors over the past six months has been 0 percent. This is following similar results for the last quarter of 2004, which saw rates rising only 3 percent at the end of that year. By comparison, rates jumped 63 percent during the same quarter of 2002.

According to Joanne Doroshow, AIR spokesperson and Executive Director of the Center for Justice & Democracy, “Consumer rights organizations have long maintained that the ‘crisis’ of skyrocketing insurance rates for doctors and other policyholders would end when the insurance investment cycle stabilized, and that this would occur whether or not so-called tort ‘reform’ laws were enacted. Insurance industry data now unmistakably confirms this prediction.”

“We are now witnessing the wholesale collapse of insurance rates, including medical malpractice rates,” said J. Robert Hunter, AIR spokesperson, Director of Insurance for the Consumer Federation of America, former Federal Insurance Administrator and Texas Insurance Commissioner. “The end of the ‘hard market’ of sharp rate increases, less competition and cutbacks in coverage has occurred and a ‘soft market’ is now fully in place.”

A “hard” insurance market is characterized by higher rates, less competition and limited coverage. This is the result of the cyclical nature of the insurance business. Prior to the “hard market” of the last few years, the last such “hard market” occurred in the mid-1980s. But like today, the insurance cycle turned after a few years and prices began to fall. This had nothing to do with tort law restrictions enacted in particular states, but rather to modulations in the insurance cycle everywhere.

“The hard phase of the insurance cycle clobbers American businesses and professions every ten to fifteen years,” said Hunter. “Although these hard markets last only about two to three years, they can no longer be tolerated. State regulators must enforce the rating laws in order to end the boom and bust swing from illegal overpricing, such as the rates some policyholders have been asked to pay today, to illegal and inadequate underpricing, which will be seen when the market softens too much later in the cycle. Fortunately, the hard market price jump is behind us and we are now entering the softer market so legislators have a decade or so to grapple with how best to do this before the next hard market hits the nation. And there is now clearly no need to rush into quick legislative fixes, such as legal limits on patients’ rights.”

To read the entire article, click here.