July 8, 2016

Long Hospital Wait Contributed to Patient’s Permanent Injuries

by Levin & Perconti

When we go to the emergency room we expect to be seen by a physician as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, a man recently suffered permanent and disabling injuries after his diagnosis and treatment was delayed after a fall. The man entered the hospital after a fall, but it took hours for the staff to determine his condition. In the meantime, the man was in extreme pain. The man filed a lawsuit in Cook County stating that the neglectful medical care led to permanent injuries. The man is now a quadriplegic.

Prolonged Wait Time

According to the lawsuit, the man waited for hours to receive medical care. The incident happened at St. Joseph Hospital. The man came to the hospital after suffering a fall. He was in severe pain, but the medical staff took hours to examine and diagnose his condition. The lawsuit states that the staff was negligent by not providing adequate medical attention in a timely manner. The man’s condition deteriorated because of the failure to promptly provide proper medical care.

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March 14, 2014

Don’t be Alarmed: Too Many Alarms in Hospitals can be Hazardous

by Levin & Perconti

Beeping, flashing, whirring, buzzing—a hospital room can be full of so many machines that it looks like a scene from Star Wars. These machines can be absolutely essential to patient health and safety. But according to a recent article in the Journal of American Medical Association, a problem arises when too many alarms and noises distract healthcare professionals from the vital ones that could be alerting caregivers to a life-threatening situation.

Medical machines emit alarms in various circumstances, from heart rate monitors to alerts when patients try to leave their beds. Ideally, alarms would activate only to alert a healthcare provider to a serious problem, which that healthcare provider could immediately address. But often, alarms do not function as intended, failing to alert to serious conditions, or will over-alert to non-serious problems. For example, alarms on cardiac monitors frequently set off when a patient is sleeping and the heart rate is lower but normal, and intravenous pumps emit a series of alarms just to indicate that it is finished pumping.

This electronic orchestra has caused frustration for both patients and providers—sometimes with deadly results. Some healthcare providers have resorted to disabling or muting alarms altogether. According to the Washington Post, the Joint Commission received 98 reports of alarm-related incidents, including 80 deaths, over a three-year period. But the commission says this is a gross undercount because reporting alarm-related deaths is voluntary. In one particularly tragic case, a 17-year-old girl’s respiratory monitor was muted when suffered irreversible brain injuries due to repressed breathing and died 15 days later.

Proposals for Reform
But the problem can be fixed. Hospitals can implement alarm priorities and reconsider any alarm that does not indicate a clear or potential risk. Along the same lines, hospitals should consider whether a mute function should ever be utilized, as any critically important alarm should not be turned off. Non-critical alerts that aid clinical efficiency, such as signals that an intravenous pump has finished pumping, could use non-auditory alert methods including vibrations or visual alerts. Furthermore, alarms systems can be integrated into clinical decision making. Machines can recognize when clinical patterns occur that are relevant to healthcare providers. Low blood pressure plus rapid heart rate can be a more significant concern than either of those things in isolation. But if machines worked in tandem to indicate serious deviations from the norm, then alerts to medical professionals may be more meaningful.

Hospitals should not be a hazardous place. When it is possible to avoid tragedy through implementing effective and efficient alarm standards, hospitals should strive to do so. When you’re in a physician’s care, you should be able to rest assured that alarms are functioning efficiently to help that physician give you the best care possible. If you believe your medical care has been adversely affected by a hospital’s alarm system or any other medical device, you may have a legal claim. Malpractice lawyers can help determine whether you or someone you know has received bad medical care.

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Joint Commission Proposes Hospital Alarm Management Goals

January 20, 2014

Sometimes Damages Are the Only Question Mark in Medical Malpractice Case

by Levin & Perconti

In medical malpractice cases, the issue is whether doctors acted as reasonable medical professionals in their situation. However, as the following case demonstrates, there are certain extreme examples where the answer to that question is relatively clear. In those cases, the question becomes one of damages.

Damages & Medical Malpractice
Damages are designed to restore the victim to the position they were in before they suffered the harm in the case. Beyond medical expenses, juries may also award damages to compensate the victim for many other items, like earnings they would have received but now will not because of the injuries. They may also award damages to compensate the victim for the pain and suffering they have endured. In certain cases, they may also award punitive damages to punish the defendant and try to prevent future occurrences. For victims of medical malpractice, money may not be able to completely fill the void left, but as the case below shows, often it can go a long way toward compensating the victim and restoring justice.

In 2009, a woman was in a hospital to undergo a routine gynecological procedure. She returned to the hospital a day later, and following a medically induced coma, she awoke having lost both of her legs and most of her hearing. More than four years later, this devastating tale of medical negligence has resulted in a $62 million jury award.

Cast Study
The 34-year old patient underwent a laparascopic procedure to remove an ectopic pregnancy. The procedure involves removing an embryo that has implanted outside the uterus through small incisions in the abdomen. She expected a short, routine stay in the hospital. Indeed, she was discharged shortly after the procedure. However, the next day her stomach started to swell and she went back to the hospital.

At the hospital, the patient went into cardiac arrest and was placed in a medically induced coma. As a result of her initial procedure, the woman had suffered blood poisoning and gangrene, causing severe hearing loss and forcing doctors to amputate both of her legs below her knees. When she awoke three weeks later in the ICU, she was a double amputee and was mostly deaf. The woman is now confined to a wheelchair, and the hearing loss is likely to be permanent.

The patient filed a medical malpractice suit in 2010. She alleged that doctors punctured her colon during her initial procedure, which resulted in the subsequent infection and blood poisoning.

At the trial, the hospital did not dispute this mistake, instead arguing that the complication was difficult to detect, that the side effects came on very quickly, and that doctors acted swiftly and properly to save her life once they discovered the issues.
However, for the jurors, this was a clear-cut case of medical negligence

“We knew mistakes had been made,” one juror told the New York Daily News. “Our main issue was who’s responsible and how much money do you put on the loss of enjoyment of life, on the loss of a limb.”

Following three days of deliberation, the jury awarded Galette $4 million for medical expenses and $58 million for past and future pain and suffering.

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January 15, 2014

More on Obamacare and Medical Malpractice

by Levin & Perconti

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, otherwise known as “Obamacare,” has stirred the pot in both the court of public opinion as well as our judicial system. The now infamous mandate provision, which requires most individuals to have health insurance policies beginning in 2014 (with some exceptions) or otherwise pay a penalty through their taxes, made its way up the ladder to the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court upheld its constitutionality, although the debate as to its wisdom rages on. One angle not so publicly explored is the mandate’s effects on medical malpractice claims.

The Insurance Mandate’s Effects
While the Affordable Care Act does not directly legislate malpractice, as such torts are governed and adjudicated at the state level, its provisions nevertheless are likely to have far ranging effects on various aspects of healthcare, including malpractice. A Senate report from the Democratic Caucus made brief mention of malpractice, stating that its “sense” was that “health reform presents an opportunity to address issues related to medical malpractice and medical liability insurance,” and furthermore suggested that states should be open to alterations to its civil litigation systems.

Insurance experts have furthermore noted, as for example in this commentary on an insurance underwriter website, the anticipated positive and negative effects of the healthcare mandate. By mandating that all individuals have insurance, it is expected that more and more people will be take greater initiative in addressing medical concerns, as well as simply attending consistent checkups now that they have insurance. This focus on preventative care will likely lead to a decline in serious health ailments. With fewer ailments to address, it is possible that the rate of serious malpractice claims may decline given that doctors will not have to handle complicated cases that open themselves to the possibilities of committing negligence or malpractice should treatment (or lack thereof) fail or result in injury to the patient. Additional provisions to improve healthcare, such as computerizing medical records to keep various patient information organized and accessible, and providing funding to research and hopefully improve treatment options, may lead to greater preventative care, healthier individuals, and fewer chances for doctor or hospital mistakes that would lead to malpractice claims.

On the other side, an increase in patients attending doctor checkups may very well lead to longer waits for appointments as well as exams and tests that are necessary to diagnose patients before potentially serious medical issues become worse. This could also overburden doctors and hospitals, inundating them with patients to the point that those individuals do not receive the focused attention they require. There is a risk of overlooking certain symptoms and ailments, as well as misreading charts and test results in the hurry to see every patient on the list. Broadly speaking, this could lead to improper care and treatment, and thus an increase in malpractice claims.

The mandate, which begins in 2014 (with the exception of the employer mandate, which the Obama Administration has delayed implementation of but will nevertheless be implemented by 2015), has the potential to greatly affect healthcare in both positive and negative ways. It will be interesting to observe the effects on medical malpractice claims over time.

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Obamacare Creates Hurdles for Illinois Patients?
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January 20, 2013

President Clinton Speaks on Patient Harm

by Levin & Perconti

Former President Bill Clinton spoke this week in harsh terms about the many changes that still need to be made in the U.S. healthcare industry to control costs and keep patients safe. Since leaving office, Clinton has worked on many different initiatives, with much of it focused on health care worldwide. His latest statements on our own health care system are an important reminder of the complexities involved and the need to increase focus on making real changes to save lives.

Too Much Confusion
Clinton discussed these issues when speaking at the first ever Masimo Patient Safety Science and Technology Summit. The purpose of the conference was mostly to share information about health monitoring devices which may be able to collect important data to prevent future patient deaths. These devices have the potential to offer significant benefit to individual patients while provided comprehensive information about common safety problems.

The former President’s speech touched on many different issues related to patient safety. For example, according The Patch, he spoke about the “Byzantine” rules affecting the industry and the half-measures related to hospital efficiency which ultimately lead to serious problems in patient safety. He noted that all of this leads to nearly 200,000 patients who die each and every year in preventable ways. These problems are unacceptable, as the consequences of not changing are far too high.

In placing the blame squarely on human errors, he noted: “There’s no devil here. We have an encrusted system that's killing people, not because there's somebody lurking behind the curtain.”

The former president was clear that tackling the costs of health care go hand-in-hand with improving outcomes. Preventing deaths and the subsequent expensive complications from medical errors would go a long way to cutting our total healthcare spending.

At the summit various speakers discussed different ways to address the problem. For one thing, drug administration errors need to be tackled and the use of older blood in transfusions need to be limited. Older blood can break down and then cause problems for recipients.

On top of this, the often-mentioned use of checklists was touted as a simple way to cut down on errors. It might seem silly to suggest that a checklist might prevent a significant number of errors, but researchers continue to find that these reminders cut down on oversights. Yet, many physicians continue to eschew these sorts of protocol changes. Many consider them overly simplistic and not useful in their own practice. This is unfortunate. While most doctors get it right every time without a checklist to help them, all it takes is a single slip-up or mental lapse to cause serious harm. Obviously doctors get it right most of the time, but the safety protocols are needed for those exceptions.

Clinton ended his speech with a call to action, noting that, “I know that none of you want to be a part of a system that leaves us sicker and broke, or you wouldn’t be sitting here. I think our future belongs to creative networks of cooperation. We’ve got to share data, not hoard it. It’s not unrealistic to think that by 2020, you can get rid of unnecessary deaths in the American healthcare system."

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December 14, 2012

More Attention Needed on Maternal Complications During Childbirth

by Levin & Perconti

When problems develop during childbirth most assume the same thing: I hope the child is OK. However, a new report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that we also need renewed focus on possible harm facing mothers during a birth.

Of course, in the past, childbirth has always been an incredibly dangerous time for mothers. In less developed parts of the world the material death rate remains shockingly high. While we recognize the risk elsewhere, in the United States there is a somewhat unacknowledged assumption that mothers will be fine during a delivery. The high risk of death during childbirth is a thing of the past--now the risk is very small.

Obviously vast improvements have been made over the decades on this front, but the problem has not gone away entirely. In fact, in some ways the risk of harm to the mother during childbirth has increased in recent years. It is vitally important that all of us understand this risk and that medical professionals act reasonable at all times to ensure mothers are not hurt in preventable ways as a result of inadequate response to maternal health complications during a birth.

As discussed in a recent story, the CDC report suggests that various maternal complications have rocked up by 75% in the decade ending in 2009, as compared to the rates from the 1990s. Those increases come in the form of more instances of cardiac arrest, kidney failure, respiratory problems, and severe bleeding. Each of these problems are incredibly serious and threaten the life of the mother.

The story explains that there are about 4 million births in the U.S. each year. Most of those occur without problems. When problems do develop, they are generally moderate. But in about 52,000 cases a year, severe complications arise for the mother. It it that total that has been rising in recent years. The reason, say those most familiar with the situation, is an increase in “high-risk” pregnancies. Now more than ever mothers who are older, are obese, and have chronic health conditions are giving birth.

The somewhat startling study is a reminder that medical professionals must act quickly and appropriately at all times to prevent harm to mothers during birth. While much focus has been placed on helping infants survive following complications, far fewer advances have been made on maternal health.

This needs to be corrected. Hopefully, changes are slowly rolled out at institutions across the country so that the medical response to these issues is quicker. One basic way to tackle the issue is increased preparation. Timing is of the utmost importance at these times, because if medical teams delay in even the slightest way after signs of problems, the delay can prove fatal. However, if medical teams are drilled in the possible problems and the correct responses, then their reaction time can be increased--perhaps saving lives. Toward that end the CDC is actually funding programs to help improve routines and protocols as hospitals to determine the response methods that are most successful.

While signs suggest things are moving in the right direct, there is a still a long way to go before all mothers receive reasonable care free of complications. If you or someone you knows is ever hurt in this way, please contact the medical malpractice lawyers at our firm to see how we can help.

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November 15, 2012

Serious Caregiving & Planning Problem at Hospital Following Hurricane

by Levin & Perconti

The Huffington Post reported recently on troubling news regarding planning (or lackethereof) at a hosptial in New York in the midst of Hurricane Sandy. In all the talk about the mass power outages, subway floodings, property damage, and more, the effect on our most vulnerable is often given little attention. That include medical patients in hospitals.

Of course, it is absolutely incumbent upon all medical facilities to have emergency preparedness plans in place so that care is not sacrificied when things go wrong as a result of unexpected events. However, according to the recent report, one facility was forced to evacuate patients unexpectedly after the power went out and several back-up generators failed. Obviously access to electricity is critical for these facilities, because many patients' lives literally rely on the functioning of the medical equipment used in their care. That is particularly true for patients who are on ventilators or may rely on extra outside oxygen support. Many other patients may need IV medication. On top of that, when the evacuation took place, it was critical for medical records and charts to follow each patient. It is easy to see how these sort of situations could descend into chaos and, without careful work every step of the way, patients might be harmed.

Employees familiar with the situation reported that the evacuation took all night on the Monday of the storm and half of the following day. It was an "exhausting" but "methodical" process. Apparently at least 300 residents were shifted to nearby facilities. That group including some very sick and vulnerable patients, like 20 newborn babies in the intensive care unit. No doubt the front-line care workers, nurses, students, assistants, volunteers, and others who aided in the effort did the best they could to handle what was undoubtedly a stressful situation.

However, in the aftermath of the storm and the chaos, many have questioned how the situation arose in the first place.

For one thing, why wasn't the hospital evacuated? Those familiar with the situation report that the facility was evacuated last year, in 2011, when Hurricane Irene hit the area. But not this time. One nurse at the facility summarized by questioning: " I don’t know why we waited so long to evacuate. [...] Everything was okay in terms of people working together, and us having enough staff to complete the transfer. But it seems like we waited too long, especially with all the news we had about the storm."

Legal Accountability
As a legal matter, attorneys would likely advise the only way that any consequences might be at play are if a patient suffered actual medical harm as a result of the failure to properly plan for the coming storm. This particular news article does not indicate if the delay in evacuating was responsible for any specific medical injury. However, no matter what, the situation is a testament to the reality that beyond providing reasonable medical care at all times, these facilites have an obligation to ensure other procedural safety steps are in place. That includes preventing falls, ensuring bed rails don't cause injury, and other basic caregiving protocols.

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April 23, 2012

Misdiagnosis of Bleeding on the Brain Results in Lawsuit

by Levin & Perconti

Diagnostic errors are some of the costliest that a medical provider can make. Proper treatment to help a patient will not even begin until doctors correctly identify the specific ailment that is harming the patient. However, our Illinois medical malpractice lawyers know that failures to properly identify the problem occur frequently, with life and death consequences for those involved.

There are often misunderstandings about what constitutes malpractice in these sorts of situations. As with all malpractice, the law does not hinge on specific outcomes. In other words, doctors are not required by the law to do anything above and beyond basic reasonable care to figure out what the cause of an ailment is. If a doctor fails to diagnose a patient correctly, it does not automatically mean that they committed malpractice. Instead, the legal decision is based on more subtle factors, a comparison of the actions by the doctor with the actions of a “reasonable” doctor in the same situation.

For example, if a patient enters an emergency room with various symptoms, there are basic protocols that reasonable medical practitioners would follow to figure out the patient’s medical issue. That may involve performing tests and comparing symptoms with results to reach reasonable conclusions about what might be harming the patient. Not all diagnostic cases are easy or lead to clear answers. Doctors are not required to do anything more than a reasonable doctor would do. Yet, they can be held responsible when they do not catch issues that a reasonable doctor would catch.

A recent medical malpractice lawsuit ended which illustrates this sort of issue. According to the Coloradoan, a woman went into a local emergency room after experiencing severe headaches. She also had extremely high blood pressure. However, according to the lawsuit, the emergency room doctor did not act reasonably when diagnosing the woman. Instead of putting the information in front of him together which indicated that she might have a more serious issue, the doctor instead diagnosed her with a migraine and sent her home.

The consequences of being sent home without more appropriate treatment would had severe consequence for the mother of two.

By the next morning she had suffered a stroke. She woke up and had to be rushed to the hospital again after being unable to walk or talk. Her family was not sure if she would survive the ordeal at first. She did, but not without permanent injury. She is virtually paralyzed on the entire right side of her body. The woman can no longer perform activities that she once loved, like cycling and skiing. She even has to learn how to write with her left hand, because she unable to use her right.

Each Chicago medical malpractice lawyer appreciates that cases like this are often caused by medical malpractice. The jury in this case agreed that the emergency room physician did not act reasonably. They found that his failure to properly diagnose the woman was caused by unreasonable conduct and led to her permanent injuries. They ultimately awarded the family $3.9 million for the misconduct.

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December 31, 2009

Ignored Patient Sues Hospital for Medical Error

by Levin & Perconti

A woman and her fiancé filed a federal medical malpractice lawsuit against two hospitals. They allege that they were ignored in a hospital emergency room so long that they returned home where the woman gave birth to a premature baby. The baby then died. The victims allege that their federal right to emergency medical treatment was violated. They seek unspecified damages for emotional distress. The two did not have medical insurance. There are current investigations as to whether the couple was ignored after the woman entered the hospital with severe abdominal pain. Federal law requires that most hospitals provide emergency attention to patients whether or not they have insurance. To ignore such a patient is medical malpractice. After visiting to two hospitals the couple went home. The mother gave birth to a breach baby and the 1-pound, 6 ounce baby girl was pronounced dead at the scene. This type of medical error goes hand in hand with health care reform. To read more about the birth injury, please click the link.

September 28, 2009

Family Sue Doctor for Dad’s Wrongful Death

by Levin & Perconti

The children of a retired police lieutenant believe that there father was a victim of medical error after he was rushed to the emergency room. Fox40 stated that the children believe that the doctor abandoned his efforts to resuscitate the police officer and then surreptitiously removed the victims watch and put it in his pocket. According to the medical malpractice lawsuit, two witnesses noticed that the watch went missing from the victim’s wrist and then saw a bulge in the doctor’s pocket. Despite efforts from security, the doctor was able to leave the hospital with the patient’s wristwatch. The family’s greatest fear is that the doctor allowed the wrongful death. The doctor was released from the hospital after the medical error. To read more about the medical malpractice, please click the link.

July 17, 2009

Grand Jury Investigation in Emergency Room Death

by Levin & Perconti

A grand jury investigation has begun in the death of a woman who was found on the floor of a psychiatric emergency room. The woman was rushed by ambulance to the ER when diagnosed with schizophrenia and psychosis. The woman was found dead on the floor of the emergency room while waiting 24 hours to be treated. While waiting for treatment she suffered from a blood clot and died. Hospital staff appeared to ignore the patient while in the ER which was caught on the ER’s security camera. The hospital has been fondly referred to as “Killer Hospital.” The grand jury will investigate the hospital’s negligence and malpractice.

Read more about Killer Hospital and its alleged medical negligence here.

June 1, 2009

Woman Amputated After Several Doctor Errors

by Levin & Perconti

According to an article, “after several (medical) mistakes, miscommunications, and misdiagnoses,” a woman ended up having both arms and legs amputated and since then filed a medical malpractice suit against her doctors. The woman who had a history of kidney stones went to the emergency room with kidney stone pain. Instead of treating the kidney stone, the stone turned into an infection that led to septic shock. This septic shock turned her limbs black from loss of blood circulation. All limbs had to be amputated due to this medical malpractice oversight, according to the article.

Read more about the medical malpractice suit here.

May 6, 2009

Lawyers File Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for Toddler’s Death

by Levin & Perconti

A medical malpractice lawsuit was recently filed on behalf of a family who lost their 22-month old daughter as a result of medical negligence. In May 2007, the child was taken to a hospital’s emergency room with a fever. Within an hour of being at the hospital, her temperature rose to 105.7 degrees. Despite this rise, the attending doctor in the emergency room sent her home. The family returned to the emergency room where the child died less than an hour after arriving at the hospital. The lawsuit alleges that the attending physician was negligent because he deviated from the standard of care by sending the family home. Instead, tests should have been run to measure her blood counts. To read more about this medical malpractice lawsuit, follow the link.

March 30, 2009

U of C Medical Center Allegedly Violated Federal Law

by Levin & Perconti

According to federal officials, The University of Chicago Medical Center has violated the federal law of Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act by not following emergency room procedure. The Chicago hospital failed to provide a medical screening to a 78 year old man who died last month in their emergency room. The alleged violation could lead to loss of federal funding from the Medicare health insurance program for the elderly. The Joint Commission, which is given the power to accredit hospitals, is also going to investigate the alleged violation. The Illinois hospital said it has the correct policies and procedures in place and will take disciplinary action against its staff employees who may not have followed protocol.

Read more about the alleged hospital violation here.

March 27, 2009

Hospital Admits Possible Lapse in Protocol Surrounding Elderly Man’s Death

by Levin & Perconti

According to the Crain’s Chicago, the University of Chicago Medical Center is under fire again, this time for the death of an elderly man who passed away on February 3 in the hospital’s emergency room. The article did not give specific details about this possible case of medical malpractice.

A spokesperson for the hospital acknowledged that the hospital may not have followed proper care procedures, “Our investigation found that proper policies and procedures were in place but staff members may not have followed the protocol. Appropriate disciplinary actions are being taken.” Recently, the University of Chicago Medical Center has come under criticism after announcing plans to redirect emergency room patients to different hospitals in a measure to decrease wait times.

Read the full article about the University of Chicago Medical Center.

March 19, 2009

Family Sues Over Son’s Misdiagnosis and Negligence

by Levin & Perconti

A hospital’s misdiagnosis a boy’s cancer led to his death according to his family’s complaint filed against the hospital. The hospital originally diagnosed the son with bacterial meningitis and released him. The condition later was determined to be an aggressive form of anaplastic central nervous system T-cell lymphoma cancer that killed the boy. Two of the four patients that received the boy’s organs have died from the cancer. The lawsuit also claims doctor negligence.

Read more about the hospital’s misdiagnosis lawsuit here.

March 5, 2009

Hospital Fined for Lost Sponge

by Levin & Perconti

A hospital was fined $25,000 for a surgical error in 2007 when a doctor left a sponge in a patient's body after emergency surgery. According to the article, the surgical error was “likely to cause serious injury or death” to the patient. This error took a second surgery to correct. Apparently it was the job of the nurse and scrub technician to count the number of sponges removed from the patient during the first surgery, but due to the overly bloody nature of this particular surgery, a sponge could have been miscounted.

Read more about the surgical error here.

January 25, 2009

Woman Becomes a Quadriplegic After Horrific Hospital Stay

by Levin & Perconti

A mom lost her limbs during a horrific hospital stay is making great progress in using her artificial legs. The woman lost all four limbs and much of her eyesight to medical malpractice at a hospital. She was sent home from the emergency room with only painkillers for a kidney stone. When the condition worsened, medics failed to take her back to the hospital, causing her to develop sepsis. She awoke from a two week coma partially blind with gangrene ravaging her body. The woman is suing both the hospital and emergency service for medical malpractice. To read the full story, click here.

January 19, 2009

What did my doctor just say?

by Levin & Perconti

Medical professionals have a tendency to speak in abbreviations. In such a busy, hectic setting such as an emergency room or a doctor’s office, abbreviations shorten time. However, some patients do not follow and are left in the dust. Here is a website where you can enter the abbreviation and then the search engine provides the definition.

Abbreviations can lead to medical malpractice when a handwritten abbreviation is misinterpreted as meaning something different than what the physician intended. In fact, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations has issued a “do-not-use” list because of their probability of misinterpretation, leading to dosing errors and serious medical malpractice.

For the website.

January 6, 2009

Finding Ways to Reduce Medical Error

by Levin & Perconti

Researchers received $3.7 million to find ways to reduce medical error in various hospital and pharmacy departments. Researchers will try to develop safe ways in handling patient test results because receiving results are more difficult in larger hospital institutions. Also, the researchers will try and find safer ambulatory sedations. Another goal is to reduce medication error from high-risk medications.

For the full story, click here.