Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

“It would be great if the regulators of hospitals and doctors were more diligent about responding to harm to patients, but they’re not, so people have turned to other people. This is what happens when your system of oversight is failing patients.”

-Lisa McGiffert, former head of Consumer Reports’ Safe Patient Project to USA TODAY

You may be one of the many who rely on online reviews to help make decisions on everything from where to eat to what vendors to choose for house projects. How about using online reviews to decide which doctor to see? With the popularity of websites such as Yelp, Facebook, and other online platforms that allow customers and patients to post their opinion on venues, goods, and services, many are turning to the internet to help them choose healthcare providers.

In April, our blog highlighted the failure of the state of Illinois to check the National Practitioner Database (NPDB) in 2017 for ANY prior lawsuits or disciplinary action of a physician applying for a license to practice medicine. Illinois was one of 13 states in the country that didn’t use the database to query a physicians’ background a single time that year.

The news was troubling then, but is bringing up renewed feelings of mistrust and worry after information was released in a November 30th article through a collaborative investigation between the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and MedPage Today, a website dedicated to providing education and news to physicians. The investigation found that over 250 physicians who had lost their medical license in one state are now practicing in another.

Doctor Leaves Trail of Injured Patients, Now Practicing in Cincinnati

The Center for Justice and Democracy (CJ&D), a consumer rights group out of New York Law School, has shared their list of 22 famous figures who have been harmed and even killed by medical malpractice.

Most of us are familiar with the high profile drug-related tragedies of Michael Jackson (2009) and Prince (2016) and even Judy Garland (1969) and Marilyn Monroe (1962). Some of us are familiar with the details surrounding the death of comedian Joan Rivers in 2014 during an endoscopy at a New York City clinic.  But it was surprising even to us to read the details of medical neglect in cases involving other beloved celebrities. As CJ&D pointed out in their report, no one is exempt from medical negligence or malpractice, not even celebrities with all the money and resources in the world at their fingertips. The report also shared several findings that now have become well known to the public. Among them, that medical errors are the 3rd leading cause of death in this country.

Each of the 22 cases highlighted in the report has resulted in a settlement or verdict (or is pending) and in many of them, grieving loved ones or the victims themselves have said that it’s not about money, but instead about enforcing a sense of right vs. wrong in the face of injustice.

The parents of an infant girl are suing Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), alleging that hospital’s failure to follow standard infection prevention controls led to their daughter’s death. She is one of 23 infants who were sickened during a 2016 hospital outbreak of adenovirus. Recent reports have indicated that there is a second infant who died, also allegedly due to the same viral contamination.

Melanie Sanders was a premature baby receiving treatment in the neonatal intensive care unit at CHOP, the 3rd best children’s hospital in the country according to U.S. News and World Report. Melanie, along with 22 other infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), became ill after receiving an eye exam. Each of the infants was diagnosed with adenovirus, a group of viruses that cause respiratory symptoms and can lead to pneumonia, an infection that can prove fatal to vulnerable hospital patients, especially children, those with compromised immune systems, and the elderly.

Of the 23 infants sickened by the virus, all showed respiratory symptoms, while 5 of these infants developed pneumonia. The hospital reported in the June 2017 issue of the American Journal of Infection Control that 12 of these patients “required increased respiratory support.” In addition to the 23 infants, 3 parents and 6 hospital employees acquired the virus.

medical malpractice wrongful death

Levin & Perconti Attorneys Assist Family In $12 Million Award for Failure to Diagnose and Treat Lung Cancer

A jury voted to award $12 million to the family of Doris Newberry after her death following a failure to diagnose and treat her lung cancer. Her family, with the help of Levin & Perconti attorneys John Perconti, Michael Bonamarte and Cari Silverman, were able to prove that the defendants — including family practice doctors Dr. Iza, and Dr. Jeffrey Lindahl of Alexian Brothers Medical Group, as well as radiologist Dr. Jeffrey E. Chung, of Radiological Consultants of Woodstock — failed numerous times to appropriately diagnose and care for Newberry’s cancer. As a result, she experienced pain and suffering and disfigurement, and an untimely death, which could have been prevented had her cancer been diagnosed following a 2010 X-ray which revealed a lung abnormality.

  • Iza saw Newberry several times between June 2008 and August 2010, including an August visit following a July 2010 chest X-ray that showed abnormal findings.

A recent study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings reveals that 54% of American physicians report feeling burnt out at work. Lead study author, Stanford pediatric physician Daniel S. Tawfik, and his team found that those experiencing burnout were TWO times as likely to have made a major medical error in the last 3 months. Study authors also believe that based on this information, 1/3 of all American physicians are experiencing burnout at any given time.  Researchers describe burnout as “emotional exhaustion or cynicism.”

The study questioned 6,586 physicians in active practice at an American hospital or clinic and asked them to report feelings of burnout, excessive fatigue, recent suicidal thoughts, their thoughts on patient safety on the unit in which they primarily work, as well as those who had made a major medical error. The authors found:

  • 54.3%  of physicians admitted feeling burnt out

The largest ever medical malpractice verdict was awarded on Monday to now-17-year-old Faith DeGrand from Wyandotte, Michigan. After a two week trial and 2.5 hours of deliberation, the 8 person jury found Detroit Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital of Michigan and two doctors guilty of malpractice, awarding $135 million to the girl.

Doctor Vacationed Twice While Victim Lay Paralyzed

Faith DeGrand was 10 years old when she went to Children’s Hospital of Michigan for a relatively routine pediatric scoliosis surgery. Following protocol for the surgery, a rod and screws were placed in her back to help straighten her spine. Her surgeon inappropriately placed the surgical hardware, causing compression on the young girl’s spine. Immediately following the surgery, Faith experienced severe pain, paralysis of her arms and legs, and lost all bowel and bladder control. She was unable to walk or use the bathroom, bound to a wheelchair and forced to use a catheter. Realizing the placement of the surgical devices was causing Faith’s injuries, another surgeon removed them. However, the damage was already done. Faith spent the next year in a wheelchair and will spend the rest of her life using a catheter and unable to have full control of her arms and legs, a condition known as a quadriparesis.

A bunion is a bone deformity near the joint of the big toe. In some cases, a bunion can become painful and can make walking and wearing shoes difficult. A bunionectomy is a very common procedure done to repair a bunion. This is usually considered minor surgery and is done routinely with minimal complications. However, for one man, a bunionectomy ended with the loss of his leg to amputation. The man filed a medical malpractice lawsuit in Cook County against Diversey Medical Center and two doctors, claiming negligence caused his injuries.

Bunionectomy

A bunionectomy is surgery that is done to remove part of the bone and tissues that are causing the toe to be misaligned. There is extra bone material that needs to be removed through a surgical procedure. An incision is made and an ostectomy is performed. This is the removal of bone through surgery. A patient who has a bunionectomy would never expect that complications could arise that would require amputation of the leg. Yet that is what happened in this situation.

Improper Post-Surgical Care
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Those who have good vision often take it for granted. When we visit the eye doctor we trust that the care we receive will help to ensure that our vision remains intact. Yet that was not the case for one man, who experienced permanent eye injuries because of the alleged negligent care he received from the doctors. The man filed a malpractice lawsuit in Cook County against Yorkville Eye Professionals and several eye doctors. He is represented by Levin & Perconti.

Intraocular Pressure

According to the complaint, the man suffered severe and permanent damage after the doctors failed to properly monitor the intraocular pressure on the man’s eyes. Intraocular pressure, IOP, is the fluid pressure inside the eye. IOP is measured using a method called tonometry. It is one of the only ways to determine the early presence of glaucoma.

An initial screening test is done using a puff of air into the eye. This will find an increased IOP. Further testing is then completed using special eye drops. A more precise test is then done to more accurately measure the fluid pressure. When there is damage to the optic nerve, the fluid may not drain properly and will build up. The IOP can help diagnose ocular diseases such as glaucoma.

Glaucoma
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Lasik eye surgery has become quite common, and is generally considered to be a routine procedure. While Lasik is typically safe, there are some problems and complications that may occur if the procedure is not done properly. A woman filed a malpractice lawsuit in Chicago against Vision One Lasik Center in Arlington Heights, alleging negligence caused serious eye injuries. The lawsuit requests payment of damages of more than $50,000 plus legal fees.

Lasik Surgery Gone Wrong

Lasik eye surgery is a corrective procedure done to improve vision so that glasses are no longer required. Lasik uses a laser to reshape the cornea in order to repair the focus of the eye. During surgery, the doctor opens the top area of the cornea to access the eye. The flap is closed at the completion of the procedure. Lasik surgery is used on people who are nearsighted, farsighted, or have astigmatism. There are other types of procedures available, depending on the patient’s needs. In this case, the woman claims that the surgery caused her pain and loss of vision, and that the procedure should not have been performed.
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