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 Surgical Errors & Complications

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surgeonLast year a neurosurgeon was sentenced to life in prison after it was found that he committed medical malpractice and butchered 33 of the 37 patients he operated on, including two who didn’t survive. His name is Christopher Duntsch. After he was arrested in Dallas, his story was covered by all the local media who nicknamed him Dr. Death. A few days ago, ProPublica released  the result of an  in-depth investigation on his story and describes how the case had to be taken to the criminal system because the medical system wasn’t working and patients couldn’t be protected.

After an unsuccessful beginning of a career as a football player, Duntsch decided to become a neurosurgeon. He was able to get his undergraduate degree and to enroll  at the University of Tennessee at Memphis College of Medicine to get an M.D. and a P.H.D. During his surgical residency, with a few partners, he launched DiscGenics, a company that was developing and selling disc stem cells.

Duntsch also developed a terrible cocaine habit and had the reputation of being a party animal. He would often do cocaine and alcohol all night and go straight to his residency to the hospital. His partners at DiscGenics worried about it and forced him out of the business.

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Our Medical Malpractice Attorneys Jeffrey Bloom and Ben Rubinowitz represented the family  of Joan Rivers after she died during a routine endoscopy at a Manhattan surgery center. Sadly many other patients have died following complications or surgical errors at this type of center as many States still do not have regulations that may prevent them. For example in most of the country there is no law that prohibits a doctor who was laid off by a hospital for misconduct to open a surgery center.

A recent USA TODAY NETWORK and Kaiser Health News investigation found that a surgery center in Arkansas 3 people died during colonoscopy procedures in 15 weeks and none of them were reported to an oversight authority. Patients coming for procedures were obviously not aware of these deaths either. This must change.

The lack of oversight continues to kill patients at surgery centers

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Only one Manhattan acute care hospital obtained a Top A grade in the Spring 2018 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades: the NYC Health Hospitals –  Metropolitan in East Harlem.

Most of the others, NYU Langone Medical Center, NYC Health + Hospitals / Bellevue, Mount Sinai West, New York-Presbyterian , Northwell Health System – Lenox Hill Hospital, The Mount Sinai Hospital, NYC Health + Hospitals – Harlem and Mount Sinai St. Luke’s all obtained a C. Mount Sinai Beth Israel had the worst Manhattan score with a D on a scale of A for the best to F for the worst.

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades is a nationwide bi-annual rating that focuses on acute care hospital errors, accidents, injuries and infections that collectively are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Based on the data provided by the report here is what we found for Manhattan hospitals.

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A very well organized network of profiteer personal injury law firms, doctors, marketers and finance executives have teamed up together to try to make profit out of women who previously had a vaginal mesh surgery by leading them into believing something is wrong with their implant. A recent article in the New York Time looks at the cases of multiple women who previously had a vaginal mesh implant and were contacted by unidentified callers lying to them and pretending that their implants were defective to lure them into expensive, dangerous and unnecessary surgery.

Hired and trained by a marketing company, the callers usually know most of the medical history of the women that they were calling. Victims of these calls are often told that if they don’t undergo surgery to remove the mesh they might die. The caller then set the woman up with:

  • the law firm that initially hired the marketing company
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New York Personal Injury Attorneys Rubinowitz and TorganIn their latest Trial Advocacy column in the New York Law Journal, NYC Personal Injury Attorneys Ben Rubinowitz and Evan Torgan write: Concurrent or overlapping surgeries are becoming more common in major teaching hospitals. Although studies have suggested that the practice can be performed without endangering patient safety, the attorney prosecuting such a case should focus on the motives behind the practice. Developing “case frames” such as profit over safety will certainly answer questions in the minds of jurors as to who benefits from double booking.

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surgery-centerTwo recent articles discuss the increased risks of medical practice at surgery centers as they take on increasingly risky surgeries.

A global investigation by Christina Jewett from Kaiser Health News and Mark Alesia from USA Today reveals that since 2013, 260 people died of complications after they went for an in-and-out procedure at a surgery center in America.

Another investigation led by Lindy Washburn from NorthJersey.com found that more than 12,000 serious cases of personal  injury including 52 deaths have occurred in New Jersey surgery centers between September 2008 and September 2017. Additionally Washburn also found out that these numbers were only reflecting a partial reality as among the 298 surgery centers installed in New Jersey only half of them have to report to NJ’s Patient Safety Reporting System. In New Jersey surgical centers with only one room don’t need to report their patient safety data. Previous cases of medmal indicate that some victims died in the past but exact numbers are nowhere to be found. In her article Washburn describes several cases including the one of  Rekhaben Shah, a 67 year old woman who went to one of these centers for a routine colonoscopy and died two days later. A new law was just passed that will soon require all New Jersey surgical centers to report patients safety data.

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New York Medical Malpractice Lawyer Ben RubinowitzOur partner, Ben Rubinowitz, a nationally regarded plaintiff’s lawyer, recently lectured at the Winter Urologic Forum sponsored by Columbia University, Vanderbilt University, and University of California Davis.

One of the main topics in his talk focused on the issue of Concurrent Surgeries, or what is commonly referred to as Simultaneous Surgeries.  Although many teaching hospitals throughout the country participate in this practice, Rubinowitz made clear that it is not in the best interests of the patient to have the doctor leave the operating room while treating one patient to attend to another.

Although the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recently suggested that Concurrent Surgeries were safe for patients, Rubinowitz challenged that study.

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Bronx Lebanon covering fro medical malpracticesNew York orthopedic surgeon Ira Kirshenbaum was sued 10 times for medical malpractice and 4 of his patients died after undergoing surgery with him. This hasn’t stop Bronx-Lebanon Hospital to keep him as the head of orthopedic surgery since 2008 and to pay him $1 million-a-year and additional bonuses since that time.

Bronx-Lebabanon treats mostly poor patients on Medicaid and executives seem more concerned by the hefty bonuses they receive every year than by patient care. Hospital executives don’t seem to be too concerned if patients die after surgery or if they come out of  the hospital with one leg shorter than the other.

When they hired Kirshenbaum, Bronx-Lebanon executives main concern was how much additional money they could put in their pocket.  By hiring Kirschenbaum the hospital would increase the number of hip and knee replacements which are very lucrative procedures.

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Face InjectionsThe FDA is warning that in rare cases  unintentional injections of soft tissue fillers into blood vessels in the face can block blood vessels and restrict blood supply to tissues and in the worst cases result in embolization. The filler could travel to another part of the body and could cause vision impairment, blindness, stroke and damage and/or death of the skin (necrosis) and underlying facial structures.

Soft tissue fillers are mostly use by dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons to reduce the appearance of wrinkles or to augment cheeks or lips. Ophthalmologists, neurologists, and neurosurgeons also use them for other medical procedures.

If you are considering injecting soft tissue fillers in your face, make sure that your health care provider is board certified, has appropriate training and experience and is knowledgeable about the anatomy at and around the injection site.

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US%20ARMY%20MEDICAL.jpgSharon LaFraniere and Andrew W. Lerhen from the New York Times continue to investigate Medical Malpractice in military hospitals. The two reporters who last June provided an in-depth analysis of the flaws of the military hospital system (see “In Military Care, a Pattern of Errors but Not Scrutiny” ) recently published a new article focusing on the high risk of medical malpractice in small military hospitals. Military hospitals with a turnover of 10 to 30 patients a day are often staffed with inexperienced doctors and nurses who are not busy enough to keep their skills sharp. Most of them are poorly managed and run by untrained and inexperienced physicians with a culture of complacency that threatens patients safety.
Most of these small military hospitals are being considered for closing or transforming into outpatient facilities by the Pentagon as part of its plan to scale back costs but political obstacles are preventing streamlining the system.

Read the complete article here