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Medical Malpractice

Woman suffers amputations after failure to diagnose sepsis

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

When a person visits a hospital emergency room with a serious health issue, medical professionals are often required to make quick decisions regarding treatment. Doctors and nurses in New York are subjected to intensive training in order to prepare for similar situations. Unfortunately in some cases, failure to diagnose and treat a condition in a timely manner can result in serious harm to the health of a patient.

Recently in another state, a woman was awarded a substantial monetary judgment after she was forced to undergo multiple amputations. Reportedly, medical professionals failed to notice that the woman had sepsis, which can be life-threatening if not properly addressed and treated. She was subsequently forced to endure amputations on both legs below her knees, as well as one arm around the elbow and several fingers on the other.

The woman claims that upon arrival at the hospital, she was not treated for several hours. According to the claim, the medical facility was reckless and negligent in its treatment of the patient, resulting in severe and permanent losses. Having both legs and one arm removed can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. An individual who suffers a similar loss is often unable to return to activities that he or she may have previously enjoyed.

Failure to diagnose a condition has lead to the suffering of many individuals over the years. When facing a similar situation, many individuals in New York choose to seek restitution for losses through a claim against the party deemed negligent. Since this can be complex, many victims speak with an experienced attorney for assistance in the process.

Source: aikenstandard.com, “Aiken Regional Medical Centers hit with $13.75 million judgment“, Tripp Girardeau, March 2, 2017


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Obstetrician faces lawsuit after birth injuries to 9-pound baby

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Sunday, August 17th, 2014

It is not uncommon for New York mothers to be concerned about the well-being of their babies during childbirth. They commonly have to put all their trust in the competence of the medical staff that is present during the process. A mother would naturally expect the obstetrician to identify potential birth injuries and act upon them in a timely manner.

An obstetrician in another state is currently facing a medical malpractice lawsuit that was brought by the mother of a child who suffered birth injuries in 2012. She states that the birth weight of the child was over nine pounds, and she accuses the obstetrician of negligence in failing to identify this as a potential problem and, therefore, performing a Cesarean section. The plaintiff claims that her daughter was left with brachial plexus injury and permanent damage to her nerves, leaving her left arm mostly motionless.

The injuries allegedly stem from the defendant’s attempts to turn the baby when she identified problems in delivering the posterior shoulder. These maneuvers allegedly led to the baby’s head being excessively tilted during birth, along with excessive downward pressure. The little girl has also been diagnosed as being autistic; however, this condition was reported not to be related to the birth injury.

The parents of children whose well-being have been jeopardized by the negligence of medical professionals may be facing ongoing financial expenses as the result of birth injuries. By carefully recording and documenting the alleged negligence, and successfully presenting a medical malpractice claim in a New York court, they may be the recipients of a monetary judgment to cover medical expenses. Additional compensation may be awarded to cover future costs, along with any other related damages as allowed by state laws.

Source: The Madison-St.Clair Record, “Child’s birth injury subject of medical malpractice case at trial“, Ann Maher, Aug. 15, 2014


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Man wins medical malpractice suit against negligent doctor

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Saturday, August 9th, 2014

Nearly four years after suffering from a painful and serious bacterial infection, a man recently won his civil suit against the doctor responsible for his care. The medical malpractice suit, filed in 2011, claimed that the New York doctor botched the man’s treatment and sent him home despite the infection. The man was awarded $2.3 million in damages.

The now 52-year-old man went to the medical facility where the doctor worked to get an MRI. While at the health facility, he received an injection, and the man believed that the injection was what caused the bacterial infection. On Sept. 29, 2010, the man had to go to the hospital for a culture test, and two days later he returned to the doctor at the medical facility. After a reportedly quick visit, the doctor sent him home yet again.

Two days after the visit with the doctor, the man had to return to the hospital, and he suffered irreparable damage from the infection. The man claims that he had test results and paperwork from the hospital to prove that he had a serious bacterial infection, but the doctor still dismissed him. He claimed in the suit that he has suffered loss of enjoyment of life and can no longer work his construction job, and a jury returned the verdict in his favor.

In this society, medical professionals are expected to administer quick and effective aid when a person is in need. However, sometimes they are negligent in their actions, and patients can suffer serious injuries. Even though the New York man has suffered from the doctor’s actions, the money won from the medical malpractice suit can be used to cover necessary expenses and hopefully improve the quality of his changed life.

Source: lohud.com, “Nyack Hospital orthopedist hit with $2.3 million jury verdict“, Jorge Fitz-Gibbon, Aug. 2, 2014


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Medical errors result in 325,000 deaths annually, report says

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

When a doctor, surgeon, nurse or any medical staff member makes a mistake, it can greatly affect a patient’s health. The patient may not receive the correct medication, or they may not receive the proper dosage of the correct medicine; the patient may suffer an injury or complications stemming from a surgical error; a doctor may misdiagnose a patient’s condition, leading that patient (and even medical staff members) down a treatment path that is completely wrong.

There are myriad other mistakes that can occur when you are receiving medical treatment, and they can cause a patient severe or even fatal harm. Granted, in the grand scheme of things, these mistakes are uncommon — but they still happen often enough that they are a concern. For example, did you know that a recent report found that roughly 325,000 people die every year as a result of medical errors?

Lives are turned upside down by medical errors, and it isn’t just the patient who is affected. The patient’s loved ones may be without one of their own as a result of a medical error, which greatly affects them emotionally and financially. When a medical error occurs, the victims need support during this time. One of the ways they can help themselves is by holding the responsible medical personnel and/or medical institutions responsible in civil court with a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Money may be the last thing you want to think about after a medical error has ravaged your life, but really a civil lawsuit isn’t always about the money. It’s about holding reckless people responsible for their actions, and hopefully that justice helps the plaintiff move on from the incident, while also spurring the defendant to become more responsible.

Source: FierceHealthcare, “Updated medical errors report shows progress,” Zach Burdyk, July 11, 2014


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New study exposes obstetricians for environmental risk ignorance

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Imagine you’re pregnant, or that your wife is pregnant, and you go to an obstetrician to prepare for all that pregnancy and childbirth entails. During this appointment, your obstetrician goes over some of the basics, including some of the dangers that are posed to pregnant women. You probably know many of the dangers by now — pregnant women shouldn’t smoke or drink, they shouldn’t consume too much caffeine, and they should avoid certain types of fish — but it’s still nice to hear them again from your obstetrician. It’s comforting to know he or she is trying to help you or your wife have a healthy pregnancy.

However, what if your obstetrician is holding some information back? You probably believe this is unthinkable, right? Well according to a new study, it isn’t as impossible as you may think.

The study found that even though more obscure environmental hazards such as heavy metals and pesticides can cause complications during pregnancy, less than 20 percent of obstetricians involved in the study said that they didn’t ask pregnant women about their exposure to such environmental hazards. Even more troubling, nearly four out of five of the obstetricians involved in the study said that these hazards need to be discussed with a pregnant woman to reduce their risk of exposure.

Is this medical malpractice? It’s unclear, because many obstetricians in the study said that talking about these environmental hazards could generate many questions from pregnant women that they are unprepared or unqualified to answer. However, they should still be doing everything they can to help a woman reduce her risks during pregnancy.

Source: NPR, “Few Doctors Warn Expectant Mothers About Environmental Hazards,” Kara Manke, June 25, 2014


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Could some medical malpractice verdicts reflect judge bias?

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Friday, May 9th, 2014

As too many victims in New York know all too well, the process of pursuing malpractice claims can be long, challenging and complicated. In fact, it is not unusual for a medical malpractice verdict to be challenged, resulting in the case being heard in a federal appeals court. That is why it’s so important that the legal process be upheld and that rulings reflect objectivity and accountability on the part of appellate court judges. Questions over conflicts of interest and misconduct are being raised now that there is evidence to suggest that some judges wrongfully preside over cases across the country.

Federal appeals court judges handle a large array of cases, including everything from malpractice to discrimination claims, and they earn considerably more than the average American. It’s for that reason, among others, that federal guidelines dictate that federal judges recuse themselves from any and all cases in which they are financially invested. For instance, a judge is not allowed to preside over a case involving a company that he or she owns stock in.

In order to ensure that federal judges comply with the law regarding conflict of interest, an automated system and database was established to monitor and flag incidents of financial conflict. Beyond that, court officials and judges themselves are charged with preventing conflicts of interest. However, no official form of punishment is established to handle incidents where the judge does not recuse themselves from a case.

In a recent investigation conducted by the Center for Public Integrity it was found that 24 of 255 Appellate Court judges surveyed presided over cases in which they had financial ties. One case in particular involved medical malpractice claims, and the judge in question ruled in favor of the defendant.

Source: Huffington Post, “Federal Judges Admit Conflicts Of Interests, Leaving Litigants Reeling,” Reity O’Brien, Kytja Weir, Chris Young, April 28, 2014


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How many medical errors could be avoided by slowing down?

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

While there is no question that some injuries and medical conditions occur through no fault of attending New York physicians or other medical staff, many serious issues are a result of avoidable mistakes. And too often those mistakes are caused by medical negligence and a general lack of attention paid by doctors to their patients. It seems that a number of factors and changes within the medical industry have contributed to a patient-care environment that is not necessarily conducive to treating patients.

The standard of the 15-minute patient visit was established, at least in part, by Medicare back in the early 90s, and resulted in a widespread adoption of the practice. Interestingly, it is estimated that the length of the average doctor visit has increased by approximately 4 minutes over an almost 20-year period. Even so, there are still major concerns over the quality of doctor-patient visits.

According to one study, only around 25 percent of patients complete a sentence before being interrupted during their doctor visit. The issue is compounded by the fact that doctors commonly redirect patients after approximately 23 seconds of them speaking. And given that patients often arrive at their doctor’s appointment with more than one issue to bring up, visits can quickly become rushed for patients and doctors alike.

Ultimately, it does seem that time is still a major issue when it comes to patient visits, since physicians are primarily paid for the number of patients they see. And while the issue is not necessarily a new one, some suspect that the already hurried environment will be compounded by changes made by the Affordable Care Act.

Concerns must be raised to the fact that a lack of attention on the part of doctors can have serious consequences like misdiagnoses and pharmacy errors.

Source: PBS, “15-minute doctor visits take a toll on patient-physician relationships,” Roni Caryn Rabin, April 21, 2014


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Serious medical errors linked to spinal implants

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Saturday, April 26th, 2014

No medical professional can honestly claim that any medical procedure or treatment is completely risk free. In fact, patients throughout the state of New York often agree to undergo surgery with the understanding that complications can occur. That is not to say, however, that medical professionals should not be held fully accountable for incidents of preventable medical errors. Now that recent figures shed light on complication rates relating to one particular medical procedure, concerns over physician training and oversight are being raised by many in the medical community.

Spinal stimulator implants are increasingly being used to treat patients with chronic back pain, and it is now estimated that up to 50,000 patients receive the implant every year in America. The implants generate pulses of electricity that are believed to mask pain signals sent from the spine to the brain. Currently, there are several leading spinal simulator manufacturers and the price of the implant can range from $20,000-$60,000.

According to a study conducted by one manufacturer, the implants were considerably more effective in substantially reducing pain in patients over a set period of time as compared to conventional treatment methods. The same study also noted, however, that complications related to the implants resulted in almost 25 percent of patients requiring further surgery.

The FDA reports that there were 58 cases of paralysis resulting from spinal stimulator implants last year alone, compounding concerns over physician and medical errors that may be contributing to complication rates. Some medical experts believe that a lack of medical oversight, in addition to poor training guidelines and standards, is contributing to incidents of paralysis. Similarly, some medical professionals are suggesting that many physicians that currently perform the implant procedure are not properly suited to do so.

Source: Wall Street Journal, “When Spine Implants Cause Paralysis, Who Is to Blame?,” Joseph Walker, April 15, 2014


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Prevention may be key to treating birth injury cases

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

New York physicians and medical professionals may agree that prevention is the best course of treatment for just about any serious injury or illness, but determining the exact warming signs of a particular medical condition can be especially challenging. And in cases involving pediatric patients, correctly identifying and treating birth injury incidents often poses unique challenges to doctors. That is why more emphasis is being placed on investigating the causes of serious birth injuries so that physicians can develop more accurate and effective treatment methods.

Properly recognizing and treating brain injuries in newborn babies can be especially difficult for pediatricians because signs and symptoms may not present themselves until during or after birth, or even later in many cases. Even so, advances in medicine and technology have come a long way to help diagnose and treat neonatal brain injuries. For example, physicians can now rely on more accurate brain imaging devices to help determine how severe a brain injury is and when it was sustained. Beyond that, the long-term effects of a neonatal brain injury may be minimized if the patient is treated with neonatal hypothermia, cooling the baby’s body down for a set amount of time.

Of course, such medical treatments can only be truly effective if they are administered in a timely and appropriate manner. It’s for that reason that two leading medical organizations are encouraging pediatricians to be more proactive in diagnosing and treating neonatal brain injuries to avoid serious medical errors. The two groups recently published updated guidelines for pediatricians and obstetricians, encouraging physicians to identify all possible causes for brain injuries in neonatal patients. By recognizing that neonatal brain injuries can occur prior to birth and may depend on numerous factors, physicians hope that they can identify trends and develop more effective preventative treatments.

Source: medicalexpress.com, “Spotting cause of newborn brain injury could aid prevention, report says,” April 3, 2014


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High infection rates may be sign of serious medical errors

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Thursday, April 10th, 2014

When someone is admitted to a New York hospital with a serious illness and/or injury, they are often in an extremely vulnerable state emotionally and physically. That is why many patients put a great deal of trust into their physicians and medical providers to ensure that they are cared for properly. But with the findings of a new study pointing to the extent and severity of infections developed in the hospital setting, some medical professionals are suggesting that patients put less trust in their physicians to avoid potentially fatal medical mistakes.

When discussing how well hospitals around the country address issues concerning infection prevention and patient care, one physician noted that patients should look at the rate of bloodstream infections spread in the ICU. By comparing local hospitals for factors like infection rates prior to being admitted, individuals can help to ensure that they are not victims to secondary infections. Beyond that, the medical expert conceded that nurses and physicians can need to be reminded about policies regarding sanitation, pharmacy errors and infection prevention.

Such comments came in response to the results of a study that surveyed over 11,000 patients in 183 hospitals during a five-month period in 2011. The study, which was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that approximately four percent of patients developed an infection while admitted in the hospital that year. And while bloodstream and urinary tract infections were common, approximately 22 percent of the total number of infections acquired were related to pneumonia and surgery sites.

The findings of the study point to the fact that infection rate statistics have changed in recent years. For instance, the CDC estimates that antibiotic-resistant infections are on the rise, while some bloodstream infections have dropped sharply.

Source: CNN, “1 in 25 patients gets infection in hospital,” William Hudson, March 26, 2014


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