Articles Posted in Current Issues

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Public Policy Polling (PPP) recently released data from phone polls conducted in late March on the topic of H.R. 1215, a House bill that will be voted on in the next several weeks. H.R. 1215 seeks to limit non-economic damages to $250,000 in medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, prescription and OTC drug and medical device lawsuits. PPP asked the same set of questions to between 500-700 registered voters in 7 red (Republican) and purple states (those that have voted both Republican & Democratic in the past several elections). Polling only red & purple states was intentional, as  Republicans have traditionally leaned towards tort reform, the act of limiting medical malpractice and nursing home abuse lawsuits in favor of protecting big corporations. PPP found that in the polled states of Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Alabama and Arizona, support for H.R. 1215 was virtually non-existent, with over 60% of polled citizens in every state disagreeing with the bill.

Even more impressive was the percentage of voters in each state that believed nursing homes should be held accountable if acts of negligence caused the injury or death of a loved one. The amount of support for nursing home abuse and negligence lawsuits was 77% at its lowest (Florida), and 86% at its highest (Georgia).

Finally, each state’s opposition to H.R. 1215 grew stronger as the person conducting the phone interview gave more information on the bill to voters.

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An article posted yesterday on Huffington Post examines how Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will force Americans to be treated as a diagnosis and not an individual with personal or legal rights. This past May, Tom Price, now Trump’s pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services, released the ‘Empowering Patients First Act,’ his alternative to healthcare reform known as the Affordable Care Act.

Price’s plan, known as the Empowering Patients First Act, would require doctors to administer medical treatment for symptoms based on a set of guidelines established by the Secretary of Health & Human Services in conjunction with a currently unidentified  ‘qualified physician census organization.’ According to Price, these clinical guidelines would be updated every two years and would be made available to the public. Should the Empowering Patients First Act pass, Americans would no longer be treated as an individual, but rather as a set of symptoms resulting in a one size fits all diagnosis.

Why Americans Should Worry

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In November, Americans for Insurance Reform (AIR), a coalition of nearly 100 consumer interest groups, released the results of two studies they conducted based on new insurance data. The studies reveal that contrary to Speaker Paul Ryan’s claims, states that allow caps on damages and other tort reform measures actually have higher doctor’s rates. These same studies also show that premiums and claims for doctors are at their lowest levels in 40 years.

Tort reform supporters frequently claim that medical malpractice insurance rate hikes are directly linked to increases in malpractice payouts. AIR found that rising rates were tied to the economy and the financial losses of the insurance industry, relating to their investments in the stock and bond markets. In years where the stock market was strong, insurance companies lowered premiums in an effort to attract customers and quickly invest the profit made from their premiums.

Based on these findings, AIR concludes that insurance companies are allowing tort reform supporters to believe that taking away the right to fair compensation for those injured by negligence will reduce insurance rates. According to AIR, ‘Lawmakers should focus instead on controlling the power and the abuses of the insurance industry.’

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A couple filed a complaint against doctors, medical facilities, and a laboratory claiming that negligent care led to the woman’s injuries. The woman was eventually diagnosed with endometrial carcinoma, a very serious type of uterine cancer. However, her delayed diagnosis allegedly caused a delay in treatment, which allowed the disease to worsen. The lawsuit was filed in Cook County and is requesting damages of more than $50,000.

Failure to Diagnose

The failure to make a diagnosis or an error in diagnosis may be considered negligence on the part of the doctor or medical staff. Doctors are held to a high standard of care because they have specialized education, training and experience. Sometimes a missed diagnosis does not do any harm to the patient. However, sometimes it can cause additional injuries or can make the condition worsen. In this case, the woman’s cancer was not diagnosed or treated so it caused a serious decline in her health.

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When we go to the hospital or seek treatment from a doctor we expect that we will receive the attention and care that is necessary. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. The family of a man who died because of alleged medical negligence filed a lawsuit in Cook County against Vascular Specialists S.C. and a doctor. The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and damage in excess of $50,000.

Failure to Provide Proper Care

The family in this case state that the doctor did provide treatment quickly enough. This delay led to the man’s death. Had the man received prompt medical attention and treatment he may not have died. Delay of treatment is often considered a form of medical negligence or malpractice. The man was seeking treatment for vascular problems. Many times, vascular disease can be very serious and even life-threatening.

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When we visit a doctor for a medical problem we expect to be adequately diagnosed and treated. That is not always the case. A patient filed a lawsuit in Cook County against Eye Specialists of Chicago and Highland Park, and a doctor, alleging that improper diagnosis and care caused a serious and permanent injury. The lawsuit requests a jury trial and a judgment of more than the jurisdictional limits.

Failure to Assess Medical Condition

The patient in this case states that the doctor failed to properly assess his medical condition. The doctor did not diagnose the man’s eye infection, and therefore it went improperly treated. Misdiagnosis, or failure to diagnose, may be considered medical negligence, or malpractice. Doctors are required to provide a high level of care. After an examination, they are expected to properly diagnose a medical condition. In this instance, the doctor reportedly failed to diagnose the level of infection in the man’s eye.

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Surgical procedures usually go as they should. Sometimes, however, mistakes made before, during, or following an operation can cause harm to a patient. A patient filed a lawsuit against a doctor, hospital, and medical practice, alleging negligent medical treatment. The patient suffered a permanent disability related to the improper care of a tendon injury. The lawsuit requests damages of more than $50,000.

Improper Diagnosis of Lacerated Tendon

The man in this case was a patient of Vanguard MacNeal Hospital. The doctor did not properly diagnose his condition and therefore, adequate care was not rendered. A lacerated tendon is also known as a ruptured tendon. It may occur in the hand, foot, shoulder, and knees. Tendons are strong tissues that help areas of the body function properly. If a laceration occurs, the tendon will not work as it should, and the patient will suffer a great deal of discomfort upon movement. Prompt medical attention is necessary to prevent further damage.

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Victims of medical malpractice, and their families, are often facing incredible hardships, physically, emotionally, and financially. The law currently limits the time to file a lawsuit in medical malpractice cases to two years from the time of occurrence. One of the most difficult aspects of this time limit is the legal discovery process. Discovery can be extremely difficult and complex in medical malpractice cases, and may take longer than allotted. A recent case was decided by the Illinois Supreme Court which determined that the plaintiff would be allowed more time to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Moon v. Rhode

In Moon v. Rhode, the plaintiff did immediately find out that his mother died because of medical malpractice. The medical report was only available after a medical consulting firm reviewed the case and made a determination. The report was not provided until the two-year filing limit had almost been reached, making it impossible for attorneys to file the case in time. The man argued that the discovery rule should allow the time necessary to review the matter.

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Medical care consists of many parts. The doctor and medical team need to properly diagnose the patient’s condition, determine proper treatment, and provide the necessary care. As patients, we expect our doctor to be thorough. Doctors are required to give their patients a high standard of care. Sometimes, however, that does not happen. In some cases, the doctor makes a mistake, and the patient is injured. In one recent case, a patient filed a lawsuit alleging medical negligence caused permanent damage to his eyes.

Improper Medical Care Rendered

The lawsuit was filed against Chicago Eye Consultants, MacNeal Hospital, and two doctors, stating that they provided improper medical care that caused injuries. As part of the complaint, the victims claims that the defendants did not properly perform or interpret examinations before performing eye surgery. The man was allegedly not an appropriate candidate for the type of surgery that was performed. Had the doctors properly examined and reviewed information, they would not have performed the operation.

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Dental implants have become commonplace and are used by thousands of people every year. While implant surgery is typically considered safe, mistakes can be made which can cause injuries. In one recent case, a woman implant patient claims that she was left with injuries after implant surgery was improperly done. The surgery left her with large gaps between her teeth and pain that required additional care. The woman filed a lawsuit in Cook County against the dentist and A Center for Dental Implants in Oak Brook, Illinois.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are often utilized to replace missing or badly damaged teeth. The implant is surgically placed in the jaw where it will then be covered with a tooth and crown. Dental implants look very much like regular teeth and once they are properly placed they are considered permanent. People may get just one implant but they are also utilized instead of partial or full dentures. Dental implants require a special surgical procedure. Typically, all implants can be completed at the same time.
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