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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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.

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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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Our law firm is pleased to announce that our attorneys Jeffrey Bloom and Ben Rubinowitz were successful in resolving the Joan Rivers Medical Malpractice case on behalf of her family. The amount is confidential.

Here is the statement from Melissa Rivers in regards to this settlement:

“In accepting this settlement, I am able to put the legal aspects of my mother’s death behind me and ensure that those culpable for her death have accepted responsibility for their actions quickly and without equivocation.  Moving forward, my focus will be to ensure that no one ever has to go through what my mother, Cooper and I went through and I will work towards ensuring higher safety standards in out-patient surgical clinics. I want to express my personal gratitude to my legal team for their wise counsel and prompt resolution of this case. ”