Next week our managing Partner Ben Rubinowitz will be speaking at the prestigious Mayo Clinic annual Review on Medical Malpractice.
Hospitals all over the US are cancelling elective and non emergency surgeries as they are facing a shortage of surgical gowns after one of the main providers in the country, Cardinal Health, announced a voluntary recall of 9.1 million defective surgical gowns.
The sterility of the gowns might have been compromised
The recall includes “AAMI Level 3 surgical gowns that have been produced in unapproved locations that did not maintain proper environmental conditions as required by law, were not registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and were not qualified by Cardinal Health”. The sterility of these gowns might have been compromised. Level 3 surgical gowns are commonly used in emergency rooms, in trauma cases, when inserting IVs or during arterial blood drawn. They protect hospital workers and patients from infections and illnesses.
Patient safety, infection control staffing ratio as well as patient boarding and conditions are out of control at the Emergency Room of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. Executives who 3 years ago hired medical experts to assess the ER department issues, are fully aware of the situation but are doing nothing to improve it. According to former employees at all levels, at Mount Sinai Hospital profit comes before patient safety. Staffers and doctors who worked there, were so horrified by the conditions of the ER that most of them quit after a few months. Dr. Eric Barton was the head of the emergency department for the Mount Sinai hospital Network for less than a year. He told the New York Post that he had to leave because the organization was not caring for patients. Nurses who quit because of the horrendous wok conditions remember seeing patients going into cardiac arrest without anyone noticing. Patients requiring critical care are often not admitted in the critical care unit timely because it is overloaded. ER Nurses who according to medical safety standards are supposed to care for five to six patients a day are assigned 14 to 18 of them a day.
Globally Mount Sinai has a solid reputation because some excellent doctors work there. It ranks #3 in New York and #14 in the US Best Hospitals Honor Roll of the US News ranking. It also ranks nationally in 9 adult and 5 pediatric specialties. Additionally the hospital was rated a high performer in 4 adult specialties and 7 procedures and conditions. The problem with Mount Sinai is that to access this high ranked care, patients are being parked in very unsafe conditions for up to two days in the emergency room or in the nearby hallways. The conditions are so bad that a worker said the emergency room at Mount Sinai look like Times Square. While the hospital ranked well in the US News ranking it ranks very poorly – 3,874 out of 4,221 hospitals – in term of patient satisfaction on the NY department of Health website.
Shortly after the Post denounced the horrendous conditions at the Emergency Room, Governor Cuomo announced that he had ordered the State Health Department to probe the allegations in the Post.
This week, both Northwell Health of New York and Massachusetts General Hospital agreed to pay millions of dollars to settle medical malpractice cases related to concurrent surgery. Double-booked surgery also called simultaneous surgery or concurrent surgery is a recently new practice implemented by hospitals all over the country during which a surgeon is involved in two or more surgeries in different operating rooms at the same time. While some medical studies have been backing this practice other studies have pointed out the resulting complications and inherent safety risks to patients. Last year in their Trial Advocacy Column in the New York Law Journal, Ben Rubinowitz and and Evan Torgan raised the alarm about this practice.
Deadly negligence and fraud
The case settled by Northwell Health of New York claimed that Dr David Samadi, urologist at Lenox Hill Hospital who raised to fame after performing several prostate surgeries on celebrities was allowing urologist residents to perform conventional surgical procedures in a room while performing high risk complex robot-assisted surgeries in another room. The surgeon would shuttle back and forth between the operating rooms during the simultaneous procedures. The hospital would then bill Medicare for the procedures performed by the unsupervised trainees. The practice of upping Dr Samadi’s salary for referring more patients to Medicare is illegal. It violates the federal Stark Law. Dr Samadi was one of the highest paid surgeon in the US. In 2017 his salary was estimated at $6.8 million. Several patients died after undergoing surgery with him and many others suffered post surgery complications.
Our NYC Personal Injury Law Firm was named a 2020 Best Law Firm by U.S. News and Best Lawyers for the 10th consecutive year and we would like to congratulate our attorneys and staff for their continuous effort and great work.
Also for the 10th consecutive year, Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf was named
- A Tier 1 Firm for Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiff in New York City
To boost transplant patient survival rates, Dr Mark Zucker and his team have allegedly been keeping vegetative patients on life support for an entire year without family consent according to a recent investigation by ProPublica. For hospitals that have organ transplant programs, the patient survival rate is the most important number tracked by the US Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. If a hospital has a “one year survival rate” falling bellow an expected number calculated by an algorithm, an audit might be launched by the agency. If the audit uncovers serious problems, the transplant program can potentially loose its Medicare certification. As a result the hospital would loose the procedures paid by Medicare and by some medicaid and private insurance plans that only reimburse for transplants at Medicare approved transplant programs. A hospital charges around 1.4 million for a heart transplant.
Newark Beth Israel advertises itself as one of the best heart and lung transplant hospitals in the country. For 30 years, Dr Mark Zucker has been leading the heart and lung transplant program. His heart transplant surgeon, Dr. Margarita Camacho, has been performing most of the heart surgeries since 2005. She developed a strong and successful reputation as a heart transplant surgeon, travelling in person to donors hospitals to inspect the facility and the donor’s heart before traveling back to Beth Israel with the organ.
Very unethical decisions made by the hospital to game the system
Since 2001 more than 150,000 patients in the US have been notified by their healthcare providers that they might have been potentially exposed to bloodborne pathogens such as hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) after a health provider committed medical malpractice by failing to observe standard injection safety protocols.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is worried that too many healthcare providers are failing to observe what is considered basic infection control when injecting patients. A recent “One and Only” campaign seeks to raise awareness among healthcare providers and patients about safe injection practices.
These practices might seem obvious but incidents happen quite commonly and the consequences can be deadly.
The Center for Justice and Democracy recently released the 2019 edition of their Medical Malpractice Briefing Book. This very popular publication was updated with the most recent studies, statistics and general healthcare information and comes with links to the original material.
In addition to the usual sections, this new edition contains several new sections, including: sexual assault by doctors; misdiagnoses (the most prevalent and costly type of medical error); childbirth errors; plastic surgery; resident “hand-offs;” physician stress and burnout; and the real cause of insurance spikes for doctors.
Among the many findings, here are some of the most interesting:
150,000 potential victims of medical malpractice who clicked on Facebook ads created by xSocial Media and provided their personal medical records including intimate and personal descriptions of their injuries were exposed in a major data breach. The leaked data included not only the full name, address, email, phone number and IP address of the patient but also the circumstance of the injury and an explanation about the injury. Among the information unveiled by the breach were injuries suffered by veterans during combat, injuries by medical devices or by medication side-effects. Some of the data also contained insights about the employment situation of medical patients that could ruin their career.
xSocial Media is a Facebook marketing agency that specializes in running ad campaigns for medical malpractice and other personal injury lawsuits to generate leads for their clients. When Facebook users click their adds, they are asked to fill a form to check if they qualify for legal assistance. These forms generate leads for xSocial Media’s clients. The forms are stored in multiple databases operated by xSocial Media. These databases are not safe and were hacked. After the breach was discovered it took xSocial Media 9 days to act on it and fix the issue. A recent article in VPN Mentor demonstrates how easy a hacker could access this data. (The full VPN Mentor report on this leak can be found here)
Also in addition to leaking medical records, xSocial Media also leaked invoices records containing their own bank account info as well as their clients name, address and phone numbers. The leak also shows the result of their clients campaigns and how much they paid for it.