In the US it is estimated that 12 million adults or 1 out of 20 patients are misdiagnosed every year
This week, both Northwell Health of New York and Massachusetts General Hospital agreed to pay millions of dollars to settle medical malpractice cases related to concurrent surgery. Double-booked surgery also called simultaneous surgery or concurrent surgery is a recently new practice implemented by hospitals all over the country during which a surgeon is involved in two or more surgeries in different operating rooms at the same time. While some medical studies have been backing this practice other studies have pointed out the resulting complications and inherent safety risks to patients. Last year in their Trial Advocacy Column in the New York Law Journal, Ben Rubinowitz and and Evan Torgan raised the alarm about this practice.
Deadly negligence and fraud
The case settled by Northwell Health of New York claimed that Dr David Samadi, urologist at Lenox Hill Hospital who raised to fame after performing several prostate surgeries on celebrities was allowing urologist residents to perform conventional surgical procedures in a room while performing high risk complex robot-assisted surgeries in another room. The surgeon would shuttle back and forth between the operating rooms during the simultaneous procedures. The hospital would then bill Medicare for the procedures performed by the unsupervised trainees. The practice of upping Dr Samadi’s salary for referring more patients to Medicare is illegal. It violates the federal Stark Law. Dr Samadi was one of the highest paid surgeon in the US. In 2017 his salary was estimated at $6.8 million. Several patients died after undergoing surgery with him and many others suffered post surgery complications.
To boost transplant patient survival rates, Dr Mark Zucker and his team have allegedly been keeping vegetative patients on life support for an entire year without family consent according to a recent investigation by ProPublica. For hospitals that have organ transplant programs, the patient survival rate is the most important number tracked by the US Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. If a hospital has a “one year survival rate” falling bellow an expected number calculated by an algorithm, an audit might be launched by the agency. If the audit uncovers serious problems, the transplant program can potentially loose its Medicare certification. As a result the hospital would loose the procedures paid by Medicare and by some medicaid and private insurance plans that only reimburse for transplants at Medicare approved transplant programs. A hospital charges around 1.4 million for a heart transplant.
Newark Beth Israel advertises itself as one of the best heart and lung transplant hospitals in the country. For 30 years, Dr Mark Zucker has been leading the heart and lung transplant program. His heart transplant surgeon, Dr. Margarita Camacho, has been performing most of the heart surgeries since 2005. She developed a strong and successful reputation as a heart transplant surgeon, travelling in person to donors hospitals to inspect the facility and the donor’s heart before traveling back to Beth Israel with the organ.
Very unethical decisions made by the hospital to game the system
Since 2001 more than 150,000 patients in the US have been notified by their healthcare providers that they might have been potentially exposed to bloodborne pathogens such as hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) after a health provider committed medical malpractice by failing to observe standard injection safety protocols.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is worried that too many healthcare providers are failing to observe what is considered basic infection control when injecting patients. A recent “One and Only” campaign seeks to raise awareness among healthcare providers and patients about safe injection practices.
These practices might seem obvious but incidents happen quite commonly and the consequences can be deadly.
The Center for Justice and Democracy recently released the 2019 edition of their Medical Malpractice Briefing Book. This very popular publication was updated with the most recent studies, statistics and general healthcare information and comes with links to the original material.
In addition to the usual sections, this new edition contains several new sections, including: sexual assault by doctors; misdiagnoses (the most prevalent and costly type of medical error); childbirth errors; plastic surgery; resident “hand-offs;” physician stress and burnout; and the real cause of insurance spikes for doctors.
Among the many findings, here are some of the most interesting:
- Improper use of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) can be medical malpractice that can cause severe harm and sometimes death. Diagnoses that are not proprely communicated or followed up are the number one concern when it comes to patient safety in 2019. Too often, the 3 main components of the EHR, The diagnosis, the treatment plan and the follow up plan are inaccurate or missing. As a result, the risk of diagnostic error increases.
- The second biggest cause of concern for patient safety is the over prescription of antibiotics to patients that increases their antibiotic resistance and as a result limits their future treatment options. The over prescription of antibiotics affect particularly seniors who believe antibiotics can help them to feel better in almost any type of situation and doctors who are handing them out like candies.
Army medical staff and doctors should be accountable for medical malpractice says a bipartisan group of House lawmakers that just announced a legislation that would allow malpractice lawsuits against the military by creating an exemption to the Feres Doctrine, a 69-year-old legal precedent barring that legal action. This new legislation is coming after congressional hearings of victims of military medical mistakes last April.
One of the key victims testifying was Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal. The 37-year-old green beret who miraculously survived a pierced lung after being shot by a sniper when he was deployed to Iraq in 2004 is now fighting for his life again because of of gross medical malpractice by army doctors. In 2017, after struggling with severe breathing issues Stayskal went to visit a civilian doctor who diagnosed him with stage 4 lung cancer. Previously Stayskal consulted with Army doctors who diagnosed him with bad pneumonia. The Army doctors misdiagnosed the tumor in his lung, allowing it to double in size and spread to vital organs. A father of two young daughters, Stayskal has a one year life expectancy.
Also appearing in front of Congress last month was the widow of 25 year old U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Dean Witt. The young man was admitted at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California for a routine appendectomy. He was left in a vegetative state after a nurse anesthetist inserted a breathing tube into his esophagus instead of his trachea or airway, depriving his brain of oxygen. His family decided to remove him from life support one month after the operation.
Our managing partner, NYC Medical Malpractice Lawyer Ben Rubinowitz is honored to be invited to the American Urologic Association’s Annual Meeting 2019 held in Chicago, May 3-6 2019. There he will have the opportunity to speak with Practicing Physicians and Hospital Department Chairs about Medical Malpractice in general and about the pitfalls of Electronic Medical Records, In addition, his lecture will focus on doctors’ failure to properly inform their patients of the risks, benefits and alternatives of the proposed treatment, communication errors and recurrent departures from accepted standards of medical care. The goal of the talk is to allow for better patient care.
Click here for more info or to register
Our managing partner, NYC Personal Injury Attorney Ben Rubinowitz will be speaking at the Long Island Medical Malpractice Litigation 2019 Seminar organized by the New York State Bar Association. The seminar will take place on Wednesday February 27th at the Melville Marriott located at 1350 Walt Whitman Road in Melville. Ben will be speaking on openings and summations.
The seminar will start with a presentation of the Developments in the Substantive Law that will cover the recent legal issues and legislative development, e-Discovery, Ex parte interviews with treating physicians, recent developments in Lien Law and the fund for neurologically impaired infants. It will be followed by a presentation on discovery including social media and internet information, surveillance, Arons authorizations and more. After a coffee break, participants will learn tips and techniques to question the defendant during depositions and trial. In the afternoon the program will first focus on the preparation of the defendant for deposition. It will be followed by a presentation on how to cross examine an expert. Participants will then learn how to prepare perfect openings and summations. The program will end with a view from the Bench.
A must for both new and experienced attorneys, this seminar will be filled with useful information and valuable tips. The program will provide an overview of the key issues in medical malpractice litigation through a combination of lectures and practical demonstrations. Learn how to determine the relevant standard of care, how to prepare your case, how to avoid common pitfalls and how to examine expert witnesses. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn trial strategies and techniques in medical malpractice actions from top-notch litigators and distinguished State and Federal Judges.