Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti work each day to help the victims of medical errors. We are confident that our work helps ensure that the legal rights of victims are honored and also plays a role in guaranteeing that future medical patients are less likely to be harmed by negligent physicians. That is why we remain disappointed that some doctors who have clearly been shown to pose a threat to all the patients they treat are allowed to continue working, risking the lives of many unknowing individuals who seek their care.

For example, The Chronicle recently reported on one cardiologist with a track record filled with allegations of medical mistakes, medication errors, fraud, and wrongful death. The doctor was most recently found to have overbilled Medicaid by $1.7 million for unneeded arthritis medication. He eventually pled guilty to the fraud and is awaiting sentencing.

However, the Medicaid fraud was only the latest in a string of legal problems for this particular doctor. In at least two other cities, the doctor was found to have run complex pill mills-dispensing drugs with reckless fury to those interested in acquiring much abused pill combinations. Two of those patients eventually died because of the medication error. The families of those victims have filed suit against the dangerous doctor.

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A renewed effort is being made to push through some changes that may ultimately eliminate thousands of medical mistakes and save hundreds of lives, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

We have reported on this blog about the frequency of mistakes made with medication tubing. Misconnections in tubing has played a role in many medical mistakes-often fatal-affecting all types of patients. The gist of the problem is simple: different tubing is not distinguished from one another, so medication intended for one part of the body, often ends up in the wrong location.

Tragically, infants are often the group most affected by tubing errors. Medication is frequently mixed inadvertently and then given to vulnerable infants. In one high profile case, morphine intended for a mother was accidentally connected to the tubing of her infant daughter. With these connections being made quickly, often in low light, the errors occur at an alarmingly high rate. Many nurses admit that they do not always check to ensure that the tube originates at the desired location.

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Reader’s Digest published a story recently that attempted to put a human face on the medical errors that destroy families as well as medical careers. The publication recently asked doctors to discuss errors that they have made, describing how the error affected them and their future as hospital professionals.

For example, Dr. Peter Pronovost explains how he made an error in the middle of a 36-hour shift. He hadn’t slept in 24 hours and was forced to discharge patients from intensive care to make room for several new patients. The doctor decided to move one patient who had esophageal cancer, removing his breathing tube and transferring him to another unit. Following that mistake, a series of complications caused the doctor to quickly reinsert the breathing tube and in his panic he had trouble with the process.

In another case, Dr. Bryan E. Bledsoe explained a mistake he made that cost a woman her life. The error ultimately led him to become a proud advocate for patients’ rights. He works to spread the message of health care safety, trying to teach physicians to treat patients with a personal touch.

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The Green Bay Press Gazette published an editorial this weekend concerning the high cost of medical mistakes on local residents, their friends, and family.

After a review of hospital inspection records, reporters discovered that most area hospitals did a good job of keeping patients safe and attempting to save lives whenever patients needed emergency care. However, every time a healthcare provider makes even a single medical mistake, the cause needs to be closely monitored and the victim needs to hold the offender accountable to help ensure that future errors are limited.

The costs of these errors is simply too high.

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The husband of a medical malpractice victim has filed a lawsuit against St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville, Illinois. The lawsuit claims that the victim was initially admitted to the hospital with a soft tissue infection in the fatty tissues of the upper leg. She informed hospital personnel that this occurred after she had pinched her left buttock in a toilet seat. The area had grown red, tender and swollen after this incident. The hospital then drained the pressure sore and stated that it was a successful surgery because there was no longer an infection.

However, three days later the victim was complaining of extreme fatigue and a week feeling. Blood cultures showed that there was a high level of E coli in the victim’s body and she had degeneration around the surrounding tissue. The doctors released her and the remaining tissues appeared healthy. She was ordered to use a wound-vac in her infected area and to simply wash and clean the wound. After the hospital she went to a nursing home. A month later her wound had to still not heeled and she was still complaining of pain and discomfort. New blood cultures showed that she had MRSA. The MRSA infection was traced back to the pressure wound. She died a few months later from complications related to the MRSA infection. To read more about this medical malpractice lawsuit, please click the link.

Pressure ulcers and infections are a common form of death. It is important to know the signs and symptoms in order to properly diagnose them. One is that the blood from the body core is warmer than skin temperature. Also, you may be able to detect a small odor caused by the bacilli. To read more signs and symptoms of pressure ulcers, check out the link.

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Congressman Murtha’s recent death has raised questions about the complications of gallbladder surgery. Many are left wondering if the influential lawmaker was among nearly 100,000 people who die in U.S. hospitals annually because of medical errors. While Congressmen debate health care on the hill, it is time that they reflect on the death of one of their own. Instead of focusing on issues such as tort reform, it is necessary that they look more closely at how to prevent medical error.

The Washington Post found reported that Murtha had elective laparoscopic gallbladder surgery preformed at the Bethesda Naval Hospital and fell ill shortly afterwards from an infection that has been related to the procedure. Studies have found that the mortality rates for gallbladder surgery is quite low, ranging from .7-2% even in the elderly. So we are left with the question of whether Murtha was an unlucky patient or whether he is yet another victim of medical error. Some argue that a two minute checklist could decrease the death rate. Since Bethesda Naval Hospital is a government institution, organizations that work to prevent medical mistakes cannot confirm whether they do use such a checklist.

The Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Levin & Perconti support the use of checklists to promote communication between hospital staffers. They believe that this is one step that a hospital can take in lower the death toll that occurs every year from medical error. If you believe that you are a victim of such a medical error, please consult a Chicago medical malpractice attorney. To read more about the devastating lost of Congressman Murtha, please click the link.

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The family of a 6-year-old boy who wrongfully died after he was struck in the head by an oxygen tank reached a $2.9 million settlement with the hospital. The boy was lying in an MRI chamber when the machine’s magnets pulled in a metal tank that a staff member had brought into the MRI’s magnetic field. The victim’s family then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit. This death is one of the 98,000 deaths that occur due to medical error. To learn more about the medical error, please click the link.

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A doctor who specializes in pain and addition is facing a wrongful death lawsuit. This lawsuit was filed by the family of a former patient who state that the victim became addicted to drugs while under the doctor’s care before he committed suicide. The medical malpractice lawsuit states that the doctor turned the victim into a drug addict through a regular regimen of addictive painkillers and anti-anxiety drugs. The 30-year-old then killed himself with an overdose of pills prescribed from the pain clinic where the doctor works. The victim first sought out the doctor for back pain and was prescribed oxycodone months before the MRI confirmed an injury. The doctor never referred the victim to a drug addiction specialist. The doctor actually specializes in urology despite his advertisements which state that he works in pain and addiction. The doctor’s deception could lead to medical malpractice. To learn more about the wrongful death lawsuit, please click the link.

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A jury has returned a $20 million verdict in an anesthesia medical malpractice lawsuit filed by the family of a woman who died during surgery when bile entered her lungs. The wrongful death lawsuit alleged that the anesthetists failed to identify that the victim had risk factors for breathing fluid into her lungs, despite the information being available in her medical record. The victim was preparing to receive exploratory surgery to determine the cause of severe stomach pains when she received the anesthesia. Once anesthetized, she began breathing bile into her lungs. She then later died. The victim’s family alleged that the defendants did not examine the victim’s abdomen or medical records before giving her anesthesia. If they had examined the patient they could have prevented her wrongful death. The jury awarded $20 million in favor of the plaintiff. Anesthesia deaths accounted for more than 2,200 deaths between 1999 and 2005. A little over 46% of those deaths are due to anesthesia overdose. To read more about the jury verdict, please click the link.

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The husband of a woman who died at a Long Island Hospital due to a misdiagnosed brain hemorrhage has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital and doctors who failed to properly treat her. The wrongful death lawsuit alleges that doctors failed to properly diagnose the victim’s brain hemorrhage which lead to her death. The victim was admitted to the hospital after complaining of vomiting and gastrointestinal pain, as well as a painful headache and pain in her left eye. The medical malpractice complaint stated that the victim had a history of ulcerative colitis. Usually a computed tomography (CT) scan will confirm a brain hemorrhage. If a brain hemorrhage is diagnosed properly, it can often by treated by radiology or microsurgical procedures. Since doctors did not perform these tests, their medical error led to the patient’s death. To examine the wrongful death suit more closely, please click the link.