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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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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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Justice for one New York medical malpractice victim

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

As many victims know all too well, it can be incredibly challenging to prove fault in some cases involving treatment errors. Many medical malpractice lawsuits take years to go to trial and do not necessarily end with a favorable verdict for the plaintiff, since the jury must be able to identify negligent or harmful behavior on the part of the defendant/s. One woman who survived serious medical errors may finally have some closure and to move forward with her life now that her weeks-long medical malpractice lawsuit is over.

The 34-year-old woman at the heart of the case endured 12 weeks of trial before learning that the jury would rule in her favor. After three days of deliberation, the Brooklyn, New York, jury found that the woman was the victim of medical malpractice and should receive $62 million for the trauma she endured. To account for her medical expenses, the plaintiff will receive $4 million; she is entitled to $38 million for any future pain she may experience; and the jury found the woman deserves $20 million for the pain she has already suffered as a result of being permanently disabled by the actions and negligence of the hospital and physicians identified as the defendants in the case.

Even now, the hospital responsible for caring for the plaintiff in 2009 denies any wrongdoing. During that time, the victim was admitted to the hospital to undergo a procedure to remove an ectopic pregnancy. As a result of mistakes made during and after the procedure, however, the victim developed a life-threatening infection, gangrene and blood poisoning. She ultimately sustained hearing loss and had to have both of her legs amputated below the knee.

Now that the trial is over, the plaintiff is reportedly pleased with the outcome of the case.

Source: International Business Times, “Stacey Galette Lawsuit: Double Amputee Awarded $62M After Routine Surgery Leaves Her Without Legs, Brooklyn Mom ‘Happy Justice Was Served’,” Philip Ross, Jan. 11, 2014

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Anesthesia errors may have contributed to death of young patient

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Sunday, January 19th, 2014

Pediatric medicine is a specialty field because young patients typically respond to treatments and medications differently than adults. In fact, countless medical professionals and physicians in New York County, New York, and around the country spend years learning how to properly diagnose and treat children. A young dental patient that sadly died recently may have sustained irreparable brain damage as a result of medical negligence on the part of her dentist.

The three-year-old girl at the heart of the case was allegedly treated by a Hawaii dentist with a practice in pediatric dentistry. The child was diagnosed as needing several root canals and fillings in the fall of 2013. During the visit to perform the root canals, the young girl’s parents claim that she was left unattended for almost half an hour after being sedated. The parents accuse the dentist and the dentistry office of making medication and anesthesia errors that directly resulted in the young patient going into cardiac arrest. Furthermore, such medical errors are alleged to have caused the child to sustain severe brain damage.

According to MRI scans later performed on the child by a pediatric neurologist, she was in a persistent vegetative state caused by brain damage. After the diagnosis, the three-year-old patient was transitioned into hospice care. Tragically, the child died almost a month after undergoing the dental procedure.

While the dentist involved in the incident hadn’t yet commented on the case, the practice was allegedly closed down. The parents of the child victim have filed a lawsuit against the dentist and dental office in Hawaii, accusing the defendants of dangerous and negligence conduct. They argue that no medical precautions were in place to address emergencies such as the one experienced by their daughter.

Source: CNN, “Hawaii girl, 3, dies after dental procedure,” Khushbu Shah, Jan. 4, 2014

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Medical Malpractice Suit Brought Concerning Surgical Infection

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

The death of a Brooklyn woman due to a blood infection has led to a medical malpractice suit being filed in a Kings County court. The case is being brought by the deceased woman’s husband and alleges that various doctors were negligent in treating the woman and that their negligence ultimately resulted in her death.

According to the complaint, the woman was a candidate for a liver transplant and had been admitted to NYU Langone Medical Center for treatment of a liver condition. Two doctors at the hospital allegedly drained an abscess on the woman’s back and then packed the wound with gauze. The woman was then discharged from the hospital with the gauze packed into the wound, but without having the wound sutured or bandaged together.

The woman was sent home under the care of a visiting nurse, but was then readmitted to the hospital four days later because of bleeding coming from the wound. Doctors determined that she was suffering from sepsis, or a blood infection, which had begun to cause her organs to shut down. She died later that same day.

The malpractice complaint was filed in the Kings County Supreme Court and alleged that doctors and the medical center were negligent in: discharging the woman with an open wound while she was in a vulnerable condition, failing to take appropriate measures to prevent the blood infection; and failing to provide medications and other treatment that would have discovered or prevented the infection that ultimately led to her death.

In his lawsuit, the woman’s husband is seeking damages for his wife’s pain and suffering as well as payment of her medical expenses.

Source: Westlaw Journal of Medical Malpractice, 6 No. 15 WJMEDMAL 7, via WestClip by Westlaw

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Study: Medical Mistakes or Medical Malpractice Harm One in Seven

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Monday, November 22nd, 2010

A recent study from the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services has concluded that one in seven Medicare recipients treated at a hospital is in some way harmed due to a medical mistake or some form of medical malpractice or negligence.

The report termed these mistakes or omissions as “adverse events” and found that they contributed to the deaths of about 180,000 patients every year. Moreover, the cost incurred by the government for these health expenses was estimated as at least $4.4 billion a year. Perhaps the most troubling part of the report was the finding that of all the adverse events occurring in hospitals, almost 45% of them were likely preventable.

The most common adverse events found by the study were problems related to medications and patient care such as giving an individual an improper dosage or failing to monitor patients’ fluids correctly. Other major issues included incidences of infections developing while in a hospital and surgical mistakes resulting in further complications.

The study found that the most serious forms of malpractice constituted only about 1% of the adverse events. Mistakes such as performing surgery on the wrong patient, giving a patient the wrong type of blood, or giving a lethal dose of medication, are errors that apparently still quite rare.

The study was reportedly conducted by examining the records of around 800 individual patients chosen to be a representative sample of medical patients currently on Medicare. The report concluded with a call for financial incentives for hospitals to reduce their own errors.

The study did not address medical malpractice lawsuits arising out of these adverse events. However, holding hospitals and doctors accountable for the harm they cause to patients can be the strongest incentive for increased patient safety to prevent such harm in the future.  In addition, when health care providers escape responsibility for the harm they cause, the cost will ultimately be absorbed by the taxpayers. Isn’t it time hospitals and doctors stopped complaining about lawsuits and started focusing intead on patient safety?  What better way to solve the alleged malpractice problem than by not committing mapractice?

Source: New York Times, Mistakes Chronicled on Medicare Patients, Duff Wilson 11/16/10

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