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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 Wrongful Death

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Complications during or after surgery are happening too often at New York City, St Luke’s Hospital. The Hospital scored a low overall surgery rating on the new Consumer Reports surgery safety rating. The safest hospitals in the city to have surgery are Mount Sinai, NYU Langone Medical Center and New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Consumer Reports looked at medicare claims data from 2009 through 2011 for patients undergoing 27 categories of common scheduled surgeries. For each hospital, the results for all procedures are combined into an overall surgery rating.The global ranking is based on who died in the hospital or stayed longer than expected for their procedure. More detail by type of surgery as well as a hospital ranking by state can be found on the Consumer Reports website.

Most common surgery complications are bad reaction to anesthesia, heart problems or surgeon nicking a blood vessel, leaving an instrument inside, or even operating on the wrong body part. Complications can also happen after the surgery. Nationally, 30 percent of patients suffer infections, heart attacks, strokes, or other complications after surgery and sometimes even die as a result.

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Last April the explosion at a fertilizer plant in West Texas was of the magnitude of a small earthquake. It killed 15, destroyed houses, businesses and municipal buildings, and left a 93-foot crater. To avoid such a tragedy in the future, President Obama last week signed an executive order directing Federal agencies to work with stakeholders to improve chemical safety and security.
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Excessive bleeding caused by Warfarin can lead to wrongful death if not addressed promptly. This anti coagulant medication is commonly prescribed to address blood clots but it has a very serious side effects that leave patients at risk of very heavy bleeding. In the US when emergency room doctors are faced with warfarin anticoagulation they commonly use fresh frozen plasma to reverse the bleeding.

Frozen Plasma therapy is slow and unpredictable and most emergency room doctors around the world have been replacing it with Prothrombin complex concentrates (PCCs), a therapy that can reverse Warfarin anticoagulation in minutes according to an article from the American College of Emergency Physician based on a study by Kenneth Frumkin, PhD, MD of the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Va. published in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Hopefully the use of these life-saving products will increase in the US since the Food and Drug Administration accepted a form of PCC specifically intended for warfarin reversal last April.

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A bridal party on a speedboat turned into a horrible tragedy when then intoxicated skipper of a of a 19-foot Stingray bowrider collided with a construction barge on the Hudson River near the Tappan Zee Bridge , north of New York City. The best man and the bride died in the accident leaving behind an injured and unconsolable husband-to-be.

Alcohol use is the number one contributing factor in deaths for recreational boating in the US.

Last year in New York 11 people died in boating accidents where alcohol use was cited as the primary contributing factor. This number is the highest among all states with a total of 140 deaths for the totality of the US territory in 2012.

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An elderly woman with an history of pancreatitis was admitted for an emergency laparotomy after she showed symptoms of acute abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. The diagnosis was small bowel obstruction. Her heart stopped during anesthesia and she had to be resuscitated and sent to the ICU. She died there the day after. The hospital’s case review committee concluded it was a misdiagnosis: the patient suffered acute pancreatitis and not a small bowel obstruction therefore surgery was contraindicated and death could have been prevented. This type of cases raises questions about the decision process in emergency surgery, specifically for elderly people. The complete case as well as a medical commentary, references and World Health Organization Surgical Safety Checklist can be found at Web M&M.

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Doctors should be vigilant when they decide to send home some pediatric cancer patients who still need to use a central venous catheter for their treatment. Because the central line is a tube that is placed directly into a major blood vessel, it can easily become a gateway for bacteria in the blood stream if it is not handled properly. Central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) can lead to serious personal injury such as organ damage and sometimes death.

A recent study from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center published yesterday in the journal Pediatric Blood & Cancer followed 319 children with cancer between 2009 and 2010. Most children were first treated in the hospital and then sent home to continue their treatment. 19 children developed a central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) while hospitalized and 55 while at home.

Hospitals have been fighting for a long time against bloodstream infections and they have made serious progress in reducing them. They have experienced clinicians following precise protocols.Things are different when children are treated at home by family members. More should be done in preventing development of CLABSIs at home.For example teaching family members how to handle and clean central lines should be part of the formal discharge protocol. It is not the case yet.

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Nail%20Gun%20Injury.jpgNail gun injuries send more construction workers to the hospital than any other tool-related injury. Most injuries are punctured hands or fingers but in some cases the injuries are far more serious and can even lead to death.

To prevent these type of injuries OSHA just created a new Nail Gun Safety web page and a complete guide on Nail Gun Safety that can be downloaded by construction workers directly to their mobile phones in English or in Spanish.

The new webpage offers great links to relevant content from the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) and from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as access to training, regulations and additional resources.

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Failure to diagnose cancer most commonly breast cancer, colon cancer, melanoma, lung cancer and malignant tumors in the female genital tract are the most common misdiagnoses in the primary care setting. The second most common type of misdiagnosis is failure to diagnose myocardial infarction. Failure to diagnose meningitis in children is also among the most misdiagnosed conditions by primary care doctors.

Medications errors such as prescription errors, contraindicated medication, administration errors leading to adverse reactions are the second most common types of medical malpractice committed by general practitioners.

These findings are the result of a computerized literature search that compiled 34 relevant studies mostly in the US but also in Canada and Europe. The complete results of the research, led by Dr. Emma Wallace from the HRB Center for Primary Care Research of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Medical School, in Dublin can be found at BMJ open.

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New%20York%20Wrongful%20Death%20Lawyer%20Howard%20Hershenhorn.jpgOur partner Howard Hershenhorn represents the family of a man killed by falling debris from a historic Brooklyn church in a lawsuit filed on Tuesday alleging that church officials failed to maintain and repair a building they knew had become increasingly dangerous. Howard was quoted in The Wall Street Journal as follows:

” Church officials “knew they had a humongous problem, which they knew could cause injury or death and they did nothing about it,” said Howard Hershenhorn, an attorney for Mr. Schwartz’s family. “They let it linger for a decade and it’s absolutely mind-boggling.”

Mr. Hershenhorn called for a criminal investigation. A spokeswoman for the Brooklyn district attorney’s office said the office would review his request.

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Gross Medical Malpractice related to blood transfusion seems to occur again at Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, New York. According to the New York Post, the hospital blood lab was shut down yesterday after a 40 year old man died following a botched transfusion in which he was given blood that had been mislabeled by a lab technician. Today the Daily News reports that an 86 year old lady died after she was given the wrong type of blood on June 9th, just a month ago.

According to statistics the probability for a patient to receive the wrong type of blood is one out of every 14,000 transfusion.

Coney Island Hospital has a history of serious malpractice in handling blood. From 1990 to 1994 the hospital recorded five nonfatal transfusion mistakes. In 1995 , Ira Medjuck , a 30 year old paramedic, agonized for a month before her death after she was given a botched blood transfusion.