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 Tagged with medical malpractice

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medical procedureIn a recent study,  a majority of doctors said they overtreat patients because they fear medical malpractice lawsuits. Not only is this fear exaggerated but also doctors seem to use it as a good excuse to perform unnecessary procedures that are very profitable to them.  For example angioplasty procedures to implant heart stents in patients are among the most overused interventions. Many procedures not only put patients at risk unnecessarily but inflate the nation’s medical bill.

In the study “Overtreatment in the United States” published in PLOS One yesterday, Heather Lyu from the Department of Surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America, Tim Xu, Daniel Brotman, Brandan Mayer-Blackwell, Michol Cooper, Michael Daniel and Elizabeth C. Wick from the Department of Surgery and the Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America,  Vikas Saini and Shannon Brownlee from The Lown Institute, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America and Martin A. Makary from the Department of Surgery and the Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America surveyed 2,106 physicians about over treatment. The survey found that according to physicians themselves,  20% of  all medical care provided to patients are unnecessary.  Physicians indicated that they felt 25% of tests, 22% of prescription medications and 11% of procedures were not needed. 85% of doctors  said they were over treating for fear of medical malpractice and 59% because they were pressured by their patients. However 70.8% of them recognize that when they over treat patients, physicians tend to perform unnecessary procedures that are the most profitable to them. Over treatment can cause additional and unnecessary harm to patients  and obviously unnecessary financial burden to patients and to insurance companies. Spine surgery, operations done to narrow blood vessels in the leg or stent procedures are all profitable procedures that are the most often found unnecessary for the patient.

Picture: courtesy of Wikipedia

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medical malpracticeIn 2003 Florida lawmakers decided to limit non economic damages for negligence of practitioners to $500,000 or $1 million “if the negligence resulted in a permanent vegetative state or death”.  At the time lawmakers said the cap would stop the medical malpractice insurance crisis and prevent doctors from leaving Florida. However there is no evidence of crisis Today and the Supreme Court of Florida recently ruled that this cap was unconstitutional.

The ruling arose from the case of  a victim of medical malpractice who saw the initial amount awarded by a jury substantially reduced by a judge based on this cap. Susan Kalitan had her esophagus perforated during an outpatient surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome. She spent 3 months in the intensive care unit including six weeks in a medically induced coma. She sued the North Broward Hospital District  and other people involved in her care at the public district. She was initially awarded $4.7 million  by the jury for pain and suffering. This amount was reduced to $1 million by Broward Circuit Judge Jack Tuter based on the cap described above.  After the cap was found unconstitutional by the Fourth District Court of Appeals, the hospital appealed the decision. In a 30-page opinion the Supreme Court confirmed that the cap was unconstitutional.

Read more in Daily Business Review

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Rubinowitz-Ben-B_12d7428b-27a7-4195-bebc-7788dce430881Our managing partner, Ben Rubinowitz, will be lecturing at the Nassau County Bar Association on Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 5:30pm.   The topic will be Direct and Cross Examination in a Medical Malpractice Case. Ben will provide tips and techniques for examining the Target Defendant Doctor, strategies for questioning the Plaintiff’s Expert as well as the Defendant’s Expert. Ben will also suggest  methods of setting up successful arguments for Summation through strategic direct and cross examination.  Examples from real cases will be used throughout the presentation.

Click here for more info or to register

 

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A patient who has to be readmitted to an hospital may have a valid medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital or the clinicians. When a patient is discharged too early or with not enough support not only may his or her condition worsen but also the health costs related to his or her readmission can be significant. Additionally,  hospital and doctors can be liable if the patient was negligently discharged.

Patients with chronic disease such as diabetes, COPD and congestive heart failure are among those who have the highest risk of being readmitted. Chronic diseases affect 1 out of 2 adults in the US and are responsible for 86% of healthcare spending. They also rank among the top 10 causes of death in thew US.

Recent studies have demonstrated that hospital who are using remote patient monitoring (RPM) can significantly reduce the readmission rate of chronic disease patients. RMP allows patients to collect samples and answer questionnaires about their personal health from home. Data is then transmitted to the doctors who can analyse them and follow up in real time with their patients.

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Patient wristbandPatient identification error may be medical malpractice that can result in serious injury and sometimes death of a patient. This type of medical error can happen at any step of a medical process from lab testing to medication administration and even billing.

A special report published by the ECRI Institute reviewed 160 recent scientific searches and publications written on this type of medical malpractice to provide a snapshot of the status of this prevalent occurrence.

The report found patient  identification errors at each of the following clinical contexts:

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Patient safetyAs healthcare providers implement new technologies and therapies every year, they also create unanticipated risks of medical malpractice. The ECRI Institute just published a report highlighting their main patient safety concerns. Below is a list of the top 10 medical situations where patients have the highest risk to be harmed in 2017.

  1. Management of Electronic Health Records (EHR)

    Here are some of the most common risks related to EHR:

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Hospital watch list 2017As healthcare evolves so does medical malpractice. The ECRI Institute just published its 2017 Top 10 Hospital C-suite Watch List. Here are the top 10 issues and technical challenges faced by hospitals in 2017.

  1. LIQUID BIOPSIES

    Liquid biopsies are tests using patients liquids such as patients’ blood, urine or plasma rather than tissues. They are easier, cheaper and less risky than needle or surgical biopsy of tissues. Mostly used for patients with cancer, these types of biopsies are the new trend but they are so new that their reliability  is still questionable.Hospitals using these tests need to set up a solid genetic test clinical utilization process to  mitigate diagnosis error.

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Failure to provide adequate cyber security in a healthcare facility can be medical malpractice. Last year, healthcare became the most frequently hacked industry in the US. According to a recent ECRI analysis, 90% of healthcare providers suffered security breaches in the past. With attackers spending an average of 200 days in a network it is estimated that 1 in 3 Americans will have his or her health records compromised by hackers in 2016. Every patient breached record costs an average of $363. Cyber attacks cost the healthcare industry yearly an average $6 billion. Last year hackers stole $88.4 million by hacking health records.

Quest Diagnostic, a medical laboratory based in New Jersey but handling tests for many New York City Healthcare facilities just announced that it was hacked. 34’000 patients had their data exposed according to the New York Times.

Health records are the main targets of cyber attacks but medial devices are also being hijacked putting patients at risk of dangerous health incidents. To make sure patients are safe and to avoid negligence lawsuits the healthcare industry has to fight back. Equipment needs to be proprely managed and security patches need to be timely implemented. Network security needs to be reviewed on a regular basis. Vulnerable medical devices must be identified. When reusing an electronic medical device on a new patient, the medical staff must make sure that all previous data are erased.  Requests for Proposals to manufacturers or consultants must be exchanged in a cyber safe manner. New devices or patches that are added to the network must be tested before being released.

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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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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.