May 29, 2015

Missouri Moves Backwards on Medical Malpractice Caps

by Levin & Perconti

Medical malpractice lawsuits are the primary tool injured patients can use to hold responsible the doctors who hurt them. Whether a patient is injured by a missed diagnosis, a misdiagnosis, a healthcare provider error, or a hospital-related infection, medical malpractice suits provide a way for those who are proven to be at fault for an injury to be held financially responsible. Unfortunately the powerful insurance and medical lobbies have convinced large swaths of both our government and the public that “tort reform” is a good idea. So-called “tort reform” would be better named “rights limitation” or “rights elimination,” as that is what it actually is. Tort reform measures are designed to take away or limit regular people’s rights to due professionals and companies who hurt them. Missouri’s Supreme Court was a leader in striking down some of these measures as unconstitutional, but unfortunately it appears that Missouri has again passed measures stripping patients of their rights.

Missouri Passed A Medical Malpractice Damage Cap that Hurts Patients

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May 26, 2015

Robots May Offer Solution to Pharmacy Error Problems

by Levin & Perconti

Pharmacy errors are a serious problem in the United States. This form of serious medical malpractice happens regularly, and in the most severe cases it can result in serious injury or even death. The thing about these errors is that they are almost always caused by simple human error. Pharmacists and techs who are working too quickly and too carelessly wind up filling a prescription incorrectly and the patient pays the price. One hospital may have found a solution to the problem, however.

Robots Fundamentally Change a California Hospital Pharmacy

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May 22, 2015

Jury Award Demonstrates Damages Done to Medical Malpractice Victim

by Levin & Perconti

All over the country insurance companies and the medical profession are fighting to strip patients of their rights in medical malpractice cases. One of their key tactics in convincing average Americans that these so-called tort reforms are a good idea is their painting of malpractice plaintiffs as people who are filing “frivolous lawsuits.” When do this they discount the real people out there who have been seriously injured or even killed by healthcare provider errors. Occasionally a case comes along in the media that demonstrates just how horrible the effects of medical malpractice can be, and how tragic the consequences of doctors errors can be for patients and their families. One such case recently went to a jury trial in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Jury Awards Paralyzed Woman $35 Million

The Boston Globe reports that a Dedham, Massachusetts jury awarded over $35 million to a woman earlier this month in a medical malpractice case. The woman, Andrea Larkin, experienced dizzy spells back in 2004 after running the Boston marathon. So, she went to a doctor.

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May 19, 2015

Healthcare Errors Hidden from Service Members

by Levin & Perconti

Medical malpractice can happen to anyone. Unfortunately, as the VA Hospital scandal showed, members of our military are not immune from this. Whether it is missed or delayed diagnosis, health professional error, or pharmacy error, service members can fall victim to the exact same kinds of malpractice civilians suffer from. Unfortunately malpractice that happens to military members can be even harder to uncover than the malpractice that happens to civilians due to military regulations regarding service member health information.

Active Duty Service Members have Different Rights from Civilian Patients

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May 13, 2015

Prescription Error Nearly Kills Child

by Levin & Perconti

Pharmacy errors are a serious problem in the United States. While some of these errors are caught before serious damage is done, others result in serious personal injury or wrongful death. The most tragic of these cases are those that involve children, whose small bodies are even less likely to be able to cope with receiving an overdose or improper medication. Unfortunately problems in our pharmacy system lead to these errors happening all too often.

Young Boy Nearly Killed by Pharmacy Error

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May 5, 2015

Federal Proposal Would Limit Injured Patients' Rights

by Levin & Perconti

Usually medical malpractice laws are state-level laws. When a person files a personal injury or wrongful death case it is usually filed in state court. Despite the state-based nature of malpractice law, occasionally federal laws impact medical malpractice plaintiff's rights. One proposed law that would do just that is currently being considered by federal lawmakers.

House Bill Would Provide Shield for Negligent Doctors Against Malpractice Suits

The New York Times reports that the U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill, with bipartisan support, that would limit the rights of medical malpractice patients. Specifically, the law would limit injured patients ability to use certain government information about the quality of care doctors are expected to provide in such lawsuits. The bill, were it to become law, would require the government to measure the quality of care doctors are providing and rate their performance on a scale of 0 to 100. This would be great.

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April 29, 2015

Nursing Home Malpractice Leads to Serious Injuries

by Levin & Perconti

As our loved ones age in some cases a nursing home is the best option. While we would all love to be fully independent well through our elder years, some older people suffer from serious health conditions that prevent them from living on their own or being cared for by their loved ones. In these cases we rely on the professionals in nursing homes to provide that care. Unfortunately, in some cases, these care facilities break that trust and engage in nursing home abuse or neglect. This can result in a nursing home resident suffering from bed sores, falls, choking, or a whole host of other serious problems.

Illinois Woman Allegedly Suffers Nursing Home Neglect

The Madison-St. Clair Record reports that the estate of a downstate Illinois woman who died in 2013 is suing the nursing home where she received care before her death. The lawsuit alleges that the nursing home was negligent and careless when it came to caring for the deceased woman. Allegedly as a result of the neglect she endured during her lifetime she allegedly suffered “multiple open wounds, dehydration, malnutrition, weight loss, sepsis with multiple organ dysfunction and failure” and other conditions that contributed to her death.

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April 24, 2015

Court in Yet Another State Strikes Down Tort Reform Damage Caps

by Levin & Perconti

Medical malpractice lawsuits provide the only effective means of holding American doctors responsible when their negligence hurts their patients. Whether the case is for personal injury or wrongful death, these suits provide a way to make the injured patients or their families as whole as possible and provide real financial incentives for doctors to practice according to the standard of care.

Unfortunately the insurance lobby and medical lobby have convinced many legislatures to severely limit medical malpractice cases and place arbitrary and harmful limits on how much plaintiffs in these cases can recover. There is no limit to the amount of damage a negligent medical professional can cause, so limiting the amount a patient can recover when he or she is injured is nonsense. Fortunately many courts like the supreme courts of Illinois and Florida have struck down medical malpractice damage caps as violating state constitutional provisions. Now a judge in Tennessee has followed suit and held that his state's damage cap is also unconstitutional.

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April 21, 2015

Doctors and Hospitals are Allowed to Keep Mistakes Secret

by Levin & Perconti

Sometimes it can be hard to know when you have been a victim of medical malpractice. Medicine is an extremely complex field, which is exactly why we rely on health care providers rather than just treating ourselves. It is impossible to know exactly how much malpractice goes undetected by its victims. But there is also a different knowledge gap when it comes to medical malpractice. Even in those case where the direct victim of the malpractice knows about it and is able to obtain a malpractice settlement, it is common for other patients to have know way of learning about the malpractice meaning they too could become victims.

Confidential Settlements Keep Patients in the Dark

News Channel WSOC in Charlotte, North Carolina recently reported on the issue of confidentiality agreements in medical malpractice cases. A reporter interviewed a woman who accepted a settlement that included a confidentiality agreement after having a surgical sponge left in her body during an abdominal surgery. Because the woman had signed the confidentiality agreement she could not tell anyone about what had happened to her. She is now an advocate for changing the law to prevent these confidentiality agreements so that the public is not kept in the dark about incidents like hers.

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April 19, 2015

Dirty Scissors Used on VA Hospital Patient

by Levin & Perconti

Two things are true of hospitals: they are full of sick people and they are full of people who are vulnerable to infections. This is one of the reasons why using properly sterilized equipment is of paramount importance in hospital settings. When hospitals fail to properly sterilize equipment, the result can be personal injury or even wrongful death. While it is a shame when this sort of lapse happens at any sort of hospital, it is most horrifying when it happens at a VA hospital tasked with treating the men and women who have already put their lives on the line for our country. Unfortunately, this does happen.

VA Hospital Uses Dirty Scissors on a Patient

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