Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice (Health Care Liability)

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Here is the scenario we often see: a patient goes in for a surgery. The surgery is successful but the patient continues to experience pain and other symptoms without any identifiable source.  Often the patients are treated as though they are whiners or malingerers.  Finally, at some point, the medical providers realize the source of the patient’s pain and problems: a surgical item has been left inside the patient during the surgery.  Of course, this necessitates a second surgery with all the attendant risks, more medical bills and more pain and suffering.  Think this is a rare occurrence?  Think again. Continue reading

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Because the practice of medicine is complex, there is not an easy answer to this question. But, here are some things to consider when trying to decide if you have been the victim of malpractice.

First, a mistake has to be made. In legal terms, we call this falling below the standard of care. Did the doctor act or fail to act as a reasonable physician would in the same or similar circumstances?

Second, did the mistake cause any harm? This factor is called causation and is usually the trickiest part of medical malpractice cases. Why? Because under most circumstances, when a patient sees a doctor, there is a reason: they are already sick. So lawyers and the law must sort out whether the patient got worse because of the already existing disease process or the doctor’s mistake. Of course, there are some cases in which it is very easy to conclude the doctor’s mistake caused the harm. For example, if a sponge is left in a patient during surgery necessitating a second operation, then of course the doctor’s mistake caused harm. Or, if the doctor performed the wrong operation or performed it on the wrong body part, then causation is not going to be an issue. Continue reading

Ironic door sign

Some people are natural born complainers. Like this one from Middle Class Problems on Twitter: “A pecan from my maple and pecan slice has tragically fallen into my fresh coffee. Worst day ever.” (If you have never checked out Middle Class Problems, you should.) But some of us are loathe to complain. We do not want to be perceived as demanding, obnoxious, whiny, needy, etc. Or, we don’t complain because we think it will not do any good. But from my perspective as a personal injury lawyer, there are times when it is critical to complain. Below are 5 times you should complain freely and without hesitation. Continue reading

According to data published by the Tennessee Fire Incident Reporting System, in the past five years, seven people have lost their lives due to fires caused by medical oxygen. Another nine people were injured and the property damage associated with these fires exceeds $710,000.00. 

Oxygen-rich environments present a very real fire threat. But, there are steps you can take to prevent a serious accident:

1. Keep oxygen canisters at least 5 to 10 feet away from ignition sources such as candles, fireplaces, stoves, etc. 

As we wrap-up Patient Safety Week, we want to conclude with some steps you can take to prevent being the victim of a medical error:

1. Write down questions you have of your doctor so you do not forget to ask about issues that are important to you;

2. Do not be afraid to ask questions about your medications, risks v. benefits of procedures, alternative treatment options, etc. This is your health and life and you are entitled to have a complete understanding of all issues. If your doctor is reluctant or hostile to such questions, you should seriously consider changing doctors.

According to research conducted by John Hopkins Medical Center, diagnostic errors do the most harm to patients and result in the most medical malpractice claims and additional expenses.   Diagnostic errors can be either a missed diagnosis, a delayed diagnosis or a wrong diagnosis. Some of the most common reasons for diagnostic errors are:

* Switched or lost lab or imaging reports;

* Failure to perform a diagnostic test when required;

Earlier in the week, we discussed the "never event" of wrong site surgeries. Another never event is patient falls. Patient falls in hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities should never happen. In fact, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will typically not reimburse medical facilities for additional medical treatment that is necessitated by a patient fall. And additional medical treatment is often required because falls can cause traumatic brain injuries, broken bones and even death. 

Falls can be caused by a number of factors including medications, abnormal blood pressure, lack of fall precautions, inadequate staffing, etc. At the Law Offices of John Day, our award-winning attorneys are experienced in medical malpractice cases. In fact, John Day is board-certified in medical malpractice by the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys. And, we have a nurse on staff full-time who can help address medical issues and questions.

If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries due to a fall in a medical setting, contact us online or call us at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787 for a free, no-obligation consultation. We handle all medical malpractice cases on a contingency basis which means we only get paid if we win.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each day roughly 1 in every 20 hospitalized patients will develop a healthcare-associated infection as a result of receiving medical care. And, that statistic does not include infections acquired at doctor’s offices and long-term care facilities. There are several types of healthcare-acquired infections including: bloodstream infections, surgical site infections, gastrointestinal infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia, injection site infections, etc.

To help prevent these dangerous threats to patient safety, the Centers for Disease Control Prevention has developed checklists for all types of medical facilities including dialysis clinics, long-term care facilities, dental offices, etc.   Of course, in an emergency situation, you do not have the luxury of researching the best medical facility. But, if you are scheduling a medical procedure or surgery, take the time to do some research at such sites at www.healthgrades.com. In addition to searching health grades, we recommend patients research all aspects of their medical providers. In Tennessee, health.state.tn.us allows consumers and patients to check licensing information, abuse registry etc. disciplinary actions, etc.  

Finally, be an advocate for yourself or your family member. If a medical professional is not practicing good hygiene (i.e, using hand sanitizer upon entering the room, etc.) or the hospital room is dirty, etc., speak up and demand action. 

National Patient Safety Week continues and so does our discussion about preventable medical errors. Medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United States. Only cancer and heart-disease claim more lives.   Accidents, stroke, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease are not even close to the deaths caused by preventable medical errors. 

With that background, today we will look at medicine errors. Medicine errors can take many forms. The wrong medicine or the wrong quantity can be administered. The medicine can be administered at the wrong time resulting in either ineffective treatment or an overdose situation. Or, a medication can have a dangerous adverse drug interaction with a medication the patient is already receiving.

According to the National Patient Safety Foundation, 1.5 million Americans are harmed each year by preventable medicine errors. These errors can occur by pharmacies and by medical professionals in a hospital or long-term care setting. As a patient, there are steps you can take to help prevent medicine errors. In the event your medical condition renders you unable to monitor your medications, it can be very helpful for a family member to ensure the accuracy of any medications administered to you. 

An estimated 2,080 wrong site surgeries errors occur each year in the United States. The term wrong site surgery actually encompasses several different types of errors that occur in the operating room including wrong site, wrong side, wrong procedure and wrong patient surgeries. Wrong site surgeries are "never events" — meaning they should never happen. 

First, as the name implies, a wrong site surgery is where a surgeon actually operates on the wrong body part. Patient A is supposed to undergo an appendectomy but instead the doctor removes a kidney. An example of wrong side surgery is when the surgeon does a knee replacement on the left instead of the right leg. Sometimes surgeons will perform a surgery on the wrong patient. For instance, patient A is scheduled to have an appendectomy. But because proper protocols were not followed, the doctor actually performs the appendectomy on patient B, who was supposed to undergo a bowel resection. Finally, the doctor may have the patient, the site and the side correct but may still perform the wrong surgery. For instance, patient A is supposed to undergo an ACL repair of his right knee. Instead, the doctor performs a total knee replacement on patient A’s right knee. 

Obviously, these types of medical errors are completely and totally preventable. Here are some of the common ways wrong site surgeries occur: