Articles Posted in Failure to Maintain Records

A family from the North Chicago suburb of Highland Park is suing Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago claiming doctors lost a tumor removed from their teenaged daughter. The teen had a tumor removed from her thyroid in 2006. The family claims that Children’s Memorial Hospital lost the tumor before performing a biopsy to determine if it was cancerous. The family alleges that without the tumor, they will never know whether their daughter has a potentially deadly disease. Her mother claims that the teen lives everyday in fear. The attorneys at Levin & Perconti filed the lawsuit on behalf of the family because they and the teen’s family does not want any other family to go through this turmoil. To read the full story, click here.

The attorneys at Levin & Perconti filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of a teen whose tumor was lost by Children’s Memorial Hospital before the doctors could perform a biopsy. A week after the surgery the young woman and her family returned to the hospital to receive the biopsy results, but the hospital informed them that they could not tell her whether or not it was cancerous because they had lost the tumor. The young woman not only must now endure ultrasounds every six months to monitor her thyroid, she also may have great difficulties obtaining individual insurance in adulthood. To read the full story, click here.

The lawyers of Levin & Perconti filed a negligence lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County against Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago on behalf of a young adult. After having surgery to remove a tumor encased in the girl’s thyroid, the hospital negligently lost the tumor before performing a biopsy to determine if it was cancerous. This negligence caused, and continues to cause, the young woman significant emotional stress and anxiety because she will never know for certain if she does or does not have cancer. The surgery was a fairly routine surgery where the doctors removed the tumor and a portion of her thyroid. A week later, when the victim and her family came into hear the results, the hospital informed them that they had negligently lost the tumor and no biopsy could be performed. Two years later, the young woman is still worried everyday that she might have cancer. She must undergo ultrasounds every six months to monitor her thyroid to ensure there is no new growth or changes. The attorneys at Levin & Perconti hope that this suit will reveal where the system broke down and how it can be corrected.

Surveillance footage from a hospital shows a woman falling from a chair, writhing on the floor, and, finally, dying, as workers fail to react for over an hour. Esmin Green, 49, waited in the emergency room for almost 24 hours until she fell face down on the floor from the chair she was sitting in. She fell at 5:32 a.m., by 6:35 a.m., when a medical staff member who was flagged down by another person in the waiting room nudged Green’s body with her foot, she was dead. Until that staffer was summoned, Green hardly drew any attention. Patients sitting nearby did not react at all, security guards and a hospital staff member seemed to have noticed her body a minimum of three times, but, from the video, it does not appear that any of them attempted to aid her. In fact, one security guard could not even be bothered to leave his chair, instead, he rolled it around the corner, stared at her body, then rolled it back. Green had been involuntarily committed the day before the incident and was still waiting for a bed when she fell; her body stopped moving approximately half an hour after she fell. Reportedly six people have been fired because of the incident, amongst those let go are security personnel and staff members.

This is not the first issue with the hospital’s mental health unit, which was sued last year by the state’s Mental Hygiene Legal Service and Civil Liberties Union, who called the unit “a chamber of filth, decay, indifference and danger.” The lawsuit further states that patients who complained too much were occasionally handcuffed, beaten, or injected with psychotropic drugs. The parties in that suit went before a judge on Tuesday where the hospital agreed to institute reforms, including checking on patients in the waiting room every 15 minutes. Additionally, the hospital will make attempts to shorten the average waiting time to 10 hours within the next four months.

Adding to the shocking situation is the fact that Green’s medical records appear to have been altered or falsely filled out in an attempt to cover up the incident. For example, there is a note for 6 a.m. that claims she was “awake, up and about” and another 20 minutes later claiming she was sitting in the waiting room and that her blood pressure was normal, in actuality, Green was either dead or writhing on the floor during those times.

One of the greatest organizational problems facing hospitals today is the battle over medical records. Many patients find that it can take months or years to get a hold of their own medical records after treatment. Even worse, some families of victims of medical malpractice or wrongful death have waited for years to obtain their loved one’s medical records from hospitals. Often, lost or missing records are simply part of hospital error and not a deliberate attempt to delay, but on some occasions hospitals may frustrate a patient’s records request purposefully. Patients and victims’ families must be aware that statutes of limitation often require that medical malpractice lawsuits be filed within a certain period of time after the injury occurs or is discovered. This means that patients and victims’ families must decide to file a medical malpractice lawsuit and contact their medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible and begin the medical records request process.

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A new study published in the journal Pediatrics shows that about 1 in 15 children are harmed each year by medication dosing errors at hospitals. The study revealed that children are harmed by dosing errors and incorrect medication substantially more often than previously thought. The study also revealed that some of these dosing errors and patient injuries could be prevented easily.

Medication dosing errors in children are the central issue in popular actor Dennis Quaid’s lawsuit in Chicago against Deerfield, Illinois-based Baxter Healthcare. Quaid is suing Baxter, a large pharmaceutical manufacturer, after Quaid’s baby twins received a Heparin overdose. The medical malpractice lawsuit is pending before Judge Quinn in the Circuit Court of Cook County.

The full text of the Pediatrics study is available here.

A lawsuit has been filed against a county medical examiner, paramedics, and county Emergency Medical Services after a man who was declared dead at the scene of an automobile accident but was found to be alive hours later sustained permanent injuries. Paramedics responded to calls after the car accident but negligently failed to check the man’s vital signs properly not noticing his faintly beating heart. The paramedics made a further medical mistake when they failed to use monitors to check the status of the victim and when they failed to make resuscitation efforts even though it is mandated by policy. The medical examiner is being accused of medical malpractice in that he disregarded signs that the man was still alive, such as eye twitching and chest movements, for hours after the accident. The medical examiner has claimed that it was not his job to determine whether the victim was alive or dead. The man suffered a severe head injury along with a broken leg and other injuries. Now five months after the accident, the victim is just learning how to speak again. He might never fully recover as he would have if treated properly. The man’s mother witnessed the accident and suffered severe trauma and distress when she was told that her son was dead.

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Illinois is one of the few states where the National Nurses Organizing Committee has sponsored a proposed bill to impose mandatory nurse to patient ratios. California has been experimenting with a hospital staffing law with revolutionary results in recent years. The improvement in patient safety has been drastic. The ratios are a minimum standard; hospitals are encouraged to go above and beyond the mandate. The ratios differ by hospital area, but none are higher than 1 RN for every five patients in general units or patients in post-surgical care, 1:4 for pediatric units and in the emergency room.

The important results of the law are plentiful, according to a member of the NNOC’s Council of Presidents. “Lives are being saved, our ability to be effective advocates for our patients is stronger, and more RNs are entering the work force and staying at the bedside longer, mitigating the nursing shortage.” A nurse explained that because they have more time to dedicate to individual patients they have time to check patients’ charts and maintain records, preventing treatment delays and medical mistakes, and that there is more time to teach patients and families about their situation so that they won’t have to return to the hospital for any complications.

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In a recent medical malpractice lawsuit, a birth injury that was allegedly caused by a nurse-doctor communication breakdown yielded a $1.2 million settlement. Nurses were concerned that the birth was taking too long, but were hesitant to consult the doctor about these fears due to his reputation of angry responses to perceived criticism. The infant developed cerebral palsy.

Physicians too commonly react harshly to instances where they feel bothered by the nursing staff, such as late-night clarification requests, difficulties with procedures, changes in patient condition and more. The negative consequences of verbal abuse or disruption in hospitals are significant; reduced communication, team collaboration, information transfer and concentration are all reported as responses to disruptive behavior. Patient safety is compromised in many ways by these reported breakdowns. Medical errors increase in disruptive or abusive situations and the quality of care decreases. Patient mortality increases with these outbursts. Medication errors have also been caused by verbally abusive hospital staff relations.

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A wrongful death lawsuit is being contemplated by the family of a man who died of a “medical related” cause while an inmate in a jail. The investigation is still continuing; the coroner’s report said that the death was caused by medical reasons, implying negligence. The 27-year-old inmate was found dead in his cell. His family said that the man was sick but didn’t receive help. According to the inmate’s girlfriend she tried to get the man medical assistance but the jail said it was only a cold and refused to help. The man’s mother said that in addition to the wrongful death and medical neglect accusations in the lawsuit, she is also hoping to send a message to prisons so that no inmates ever have to go through her pain.

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