Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.

Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

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Failure to diagnose breast cancer at an early stage or delay in treating breast cancer early can have deadly consequences. Early detection of the disease through regular screening such as mammogram is essential for every woman over 40 year old. According to Cancer.net, women who are diagnosed when the cancer is located only in the breast have an almost 100% chance to survive for at least 5 years. If the cancer is detected after it spread to the regional lymph nodes, the 5 year-survival rate is 85%. A woman diagnosed with breast cancer that spread to another part of her body has a 26% chance to survive more than 5 years.

Statistics also indicatewho is not getting mammogram that only 61% of breast cancers are diagnosed at an early stage. Unfortunately, despite campaigns such as the Breast Cancer Awareness Month that ended Yesterday,  too many women over 40 years old are still not getting regular mammogram.  29% of women who have health insurance and should be screened are still not doing it. Among women who do not have health insurance, as many as 68% of them are not getting mammograms. Not having an insurance is not an excuse for not getting regular mammograms. In every city, charitable organizations offer free screenings for women who can’t afford to pay for them. In New York our firm is sponsoring free mammography vans through the Judges and Lawyers Breast Cancer Alert.

FAILURE TO DIAGNOSE BREAST CANCER CAN BE MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

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Compartment Syndrome occurs when the pressure within a closed anatomic space (a compartment) becomes so elevated that capillary perfusion is compromised. Any closed anatomic space including the abdominal cavity is at risk of developing a compartment syndrome. Abdominal compartment syndrome is a clinical disease spectrum that results from increased intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) due to tissue edema or free fluid collecting in the abdominal cavity. Click above to read more.

Abdomen Anatomy

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Patient identification : executive summary coverWrong patient error is medical malpractice that can have deadly consequences. As healthcare is becoming more and more sophisticated, patients are visiting multiple care providers and their personal data are being shared through multiple IT systems. The growing complexity of the health care system has led to an increase in patient errors according to a recent report released by the ECRI Institute.

The report entitled “Deep Dive” is based on the analysis of more than 7,500 events of patient identification errors.  The researchers found that most identification errors are corrected before they affect the patients. However some do reach the patients. Some patient identification errors may have limited consequences. For example, a nursing home resident was mistaken for another resident and taken for an unnecessary exam to an affiliated hospital. Other identification errors can have dangerous consequences. An infant was infected with hepatitis B after receiving breast milk pumped from the wrong mother. Some wrong patient errors can be fatal. A patient who suffered cardiac arrest was not resuscitated because the medical staff followed a “do-not-resuscitate” order from another patient.

Wrong patient errors can happen at all stages of a medical process, from registration to electronic data entry, surgical intervention, medication administration, diagnostic or blood transfusion. They can occur in various settings such as nursing homes, doctor offices, hospitals or pharmacies. They are not only committed by doctors but also by nurses, transporters, medical secretaries or anyone else from the medical staff interacting with the patient. Often as the patient is mistaken for another one, the error doesn’t affect only one person but two.

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jbOur partner Jeffrey Bloom will be talking about Medical Malpractice at the next “Bridging the Gap Winter 2016” program. This seminar is organized by the New York State Bar Association. It is primarily intended to help newly admitted lawyers to bridge the gap between law school and the reality of practicing law in New York State. This two-day program  will take place on November 30 and December 1st at the CUNY Auditorium of the Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Ave in Manhattan. It will be broadcast to Albany, Buffalo and Boston in an interactive video conference format. Participants will be able to interact directly with other participants or speakers in other locations. The program will also be streamed on a live webcast. This two-day program offers 16.0 MCLE credits. It covers various areas of law.

Jeff Bloom will speak on “Cross Examination of an Expert Witness in a Medical Malpractice Case”.  A top New York  Medical Malpractice Attorney, Jeff has built his reputation trying numerous cases involving failure to diagnose cancer, surgical errors as well as cerebral palsy. Jeff recently represented Melissa Rivers after her mother, Joan Rivers died during a routine surgical procedure. He obtained a confidential but substantial settlement for the Rivers family. Jeff  is also actively involved in pushing New York lawmakers to pass Lavern’s Law. The proposed law would be especially useful for cancer patients who have been misdiagnosed but can’t sue because of the statute of limitations.

Mr. Bloom describes his view of his work as follows: “One of the most difficult events a person may ever encounter is being told that he or she has a serious illness such as cancer. Even more devastating, however, is the realization that the disease should have and could have been diagnosed earlier. As a medical malpractice attorney, my role is to prove this medical negligence to the jury with the ultimate goal of securing a substantial award as compensation for the losses suffered by our clients.”

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African American Patient with DoctorsMedical Malpractice may have been committed on many American Africans who were previously diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.  A recent study found that some genetic variations that were linked to this condition were indeed harmless. These specific genetic variations were found more often in black Americans than in white Americans. Therefore many patients from African descent may have been misdiagnosed or are still being treated for a condition they don’t suffer from.

Also called, abnormally thick heart muscle, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a genetic disease that affects 1 out of 500 Americans. The disorder can cause arrhythmia and can be fatal. Symptoms may include chest pain, difficulty, breathing, fatigue and swelling in the ankles and feet. For a complete list and diagnostic testing see The American Heart Association web site. Sometimes there are no symptoms.

Abnormally thick heart muscle is diagnosed through genetic testing. A patient who tests positive for  the condition will often be required to change his or her lifestyle. These changes may include healthy diet, additional physical activities, losing excessive weight or stopping smoking. Patients diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy  are often prescribed specific medication to treat the condition.  Various types of surgeries are also commonly used as well as  alcohol septal ablation, a noninvasive procedure.

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Patient checked by doctorDischarging a patient too early can be hospital negligence that puts a patient at higher risk of readmission or death. An alarming new study shows that 1 out of 5 patients is released from the hospital before his vital signs are stable. The study released in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, was conducted by Dr. Oanh Nguyen (Assistant Professor Internal Medicine Department of Clinical Science), Dr. Anil Makam  (Assistant Professor Internal Medicine Department of Clinical Science) and Dr. Ethan A. Halm (Professor Internal Medicine Department of Clinical Sciences and Chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine), all from the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center.

Vital signs include:

  • temperature
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alcohol withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the level of addictionFailure to diagnose alcohol withdrawal symptom (AWS) can be medical malpractice that may cause severe injury or even death in some cases. The ECRI Institute  is looking at options to  better “Identify Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Early and Ease Patients’ Care”.

An estimated 20 % of the patients that are admitted in US hospitals show symptoms of alcohol abuse or dependence. Those that are admitted for alcohol poisoning and detoxification may be difficult to treat but their alcohol withdrawal symptoms will usually be properly diagnosed and addressed.

Patients at a higher higher risk to be misdiagnosed for alcohol withdrawal symptoms are those who are admitted for a different medical condition than alcohol intoxication or dependence.

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newbornFailure to diagnose or delay to treat a bacterial infection in a newborn can be medical malpractice. Doctors (and also parents) may sometimes be reluctant to submit a young infant  to a lengthy and complicated process in order to  find out if a fever may  be caused by a bacterial infection. Thanks to new research this process may become much easier in the future.

Fever is usually one of the first symptom of a bacterial infection. However it can also be caused by other medical conditions. When a health care provider evaluates a young infant with fever and suspect an infection, there is no quick way to find out if the infant suffers from a bacterial infection. The actual method consists in isolating live bacteria from blood, urine or spinal fluid and grow a bacteria culture in a laboratory. This may require difficult and traumatizing medical procedures such as spinal tap. Additionally the  infant may necessitate hospital admission and an antibiotic prescription until the results of the tests are available.

A recent study that was published on Aug. 23, 2016 in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that through advances in genetic sequencing technology it may soon be possible for doctors to diagnose bacterial infections in infants with fevers quickly and in a non invasive manner.  More work is needed but in the future only a small blood sample may be enough to immediately determine if an infant suffers or not from a bacterial infection.

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Medical Malpractice lawsuit rate per stateThe New York Medical Malpractice lawsuit rate was 19.3 Per 100K residents in 20015. A new study released by Zippia identifies in which  states  the highest and the lowest amount of malpractice lawsuits against medical practitioners were brought in 2015.

For this study Zippia used the data from the National Practitioner Data Bank. The results are somewhat surprising with Louisiana coming first with 44.1 lawsuits Per 100k residents, followed by Oklahoma and Delaware with respectively 36.3 and 35.2 lawsuits Per 100K residents.

New York State came in 31st with 19.3 medical malpractice lawsuits Per 100K residents.

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Elmhurst HospitalA man died from Sepsis after being treated at the Elmhurst hospital in New York City. More investigation will be necessary to determine if the hospital committed medical malpractice. The patient, 59 year old Antonio Flores, showed up at the emergency room of the hospital on July 7th after sustaining a minor injury in a bicycle accident. He was treated and sent back home. The patient came back to the hospital on July 10th and died there from Sepsis the following day.

Sepsis is a potentially life threatening condition that occurs as a complication of an infection. Commonly acquired in healthcare facilities, sepsis if detected early can be treated.

Eelmhurst Hospital has a very good reputation in preventing Sepsis. In 2013 the Hospital won an award at HHC’s Patient Safety Exposition 2013 for hospital achievement in preventing complications and death from Sepsis. At the time Dr. Scott Weingart who was director of critical care in the ER and a co-chair of the STOP Sepsis collaborative had developed a standard treatment protocol to promptly deliver fluids and restore blood pressure. His best practice model called Early Goal-Directed Therapy is based on intense identification, monitoring and treatment of septic patients with unstable blood pressure by promptly giving intravenous fluids and antibiotics.