dementia patients emergency room

Hospital Emergency Rooms Struggle with Dementia Patients

Many people who have the beginning signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease may be elderly, frail, and have other underlying medical concerns which land them in an emergency room. Their confusion can trigger accidents due to mobility or unsafe environments, and forgetfulness leaves them prone to higher personal injury rates, dehydration and malnutrition, or medication under and overdoses. But despite the higher trends of patients arriving to the ER with memory and confusion related disease symptoms, too many emergency rooms are not equipped to manage them.

As our country’s population continues to grow in the number of people that are affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, the need for better health care services will expand as well. Until then, family members will have to stay vigilant in protecting their loved ones.

pain medication overdose

Health System, Intensive Care Doctor, Pharmacist, and Nurse All Sued for Giving Excessive Doses of Powerful Pain Medicine

An Ohio hospital system has been at the center of intense scrutiny after one of its former intensive care doctors is said to have ordered “significantly excessive and potentially fatal” doses of “comfort” pain medicine for at least 27 near-death patients over the course of several years. One family is suing the health system as well as the doctor, pharmacist, and nurse responsible for allegedly giving an improper dose of fentanyl to their 79-year-old family member even though they had asked that lifesaving measures be stopped. Fentanyl, also known as Actiq, Duragesic or Sublimaze, is an especially potent painkiller used to treat extreme pain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), strains of fentanyl can be up to 50 times more powerful than morphine.

Although the hospital, part of the larger Mount Carmel Health System, has since acknowledged the doses in many similar patient cases were larger than needed. A legal team will now investigate as to whether the acts were intentional, and if the lethal drugs were possibly used improperly to accelerate the patients’ deaths.

“To know that this happens is our country, that’s unacceptable.” 

-Sue Sheridan, patient safety advocate, in To Err Is Human

The medical malpractice attorneys of Levin & Perconti recently watched To Err Is Human, a newly released documentary showing the frequency and impact of medical errors upon American families. To see the facts relating to the frequency and severity of medical errors combined with the heart wrenching story of a family forever changed by these mistakes has left a lasting impression on all of us.

veteran health care

Medical Mistake Leads to Terminal Cancer Diagnosis for Green Beret

The story of Sgt. 1st Class Rich Stayskal, as published on January 14, 2019 in Stars and Stripes, an independent news source to the U.S. military community, is tough to get through. Stayskal is a former Marine who later became a Green Beret but is now battling a terminal stage IV metastatic lung cancer. The husband and father of two says his military doctors missed a diagnosis opportunity that could have saved his life in 2017 when he first presented symptoms and a scan showed the illness.

But unlike similar malpractice claims patients can bring against the private medical community, Stayskal can’t do much because of a military rule known as the Feres doctrine. Feres prohibits military servicemembers from suing the government and is a rule that can only be changed via an act of Congress or a ruling by the Supreme Court. The rule, which has been upheld for more than 68 years, was meant to maintain a “no-fault” compensation system in the military where combat-related deaths and injuries are possible.

“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.

medical malpractice lawsuit

History of Common Malpractice Errors May Be Unknown to Patients

A recent investigation led by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, USA Today and MedPage Today found that even when surrendering a medical license because of unprofessional conduct such as sexual assault, medical malpractice or prescription abuse, physicians simply leave their bad history in one state and move their practice to another while continuing to make deadly mistakes as risky medical experts. Equally disturbing is that if a physician voluntarily surrenders his license, the public may not ever be able to access or gain knowledge about why the surrender occurred. Although the National Practitioner Data Bank has more than 1.3 million records of “adverse actions” going back to 1990, files can only be accessed by hospitals, insurers, and state medical boards. Individual states can file a complaint, but only if prompted to inquire of a physician offender’s harmful patient history.

Additional investigative findings published in December 2018 from the news organizations included:

medical malpractice attorneys

How An Attorney Can Help You After a Surgical Burn

Unfortunately, medical mistakes and their related injuries remain all too common for today’s everyday patient. One largely preventable mistake some may not think of is a surgical burn. These injuries are likely to occur when a person is under anesthesia for a routine operation or reconstructive surgery and can range from first to fourth degree burn injuries as a result of a medical professional’s negligence or medical equipment or device failure. Burns are most often caused from an electrical, transferred heat, laser or other surgical equipment thermal burn immediately once contact is made with the patient. Patients may wake up from a surgery focused on an internal organ and find they are also being treated for a skin burn to their lower extremity, the most common area for surgical burns. While some burns can be treated in an outpatient center many others may require ongoing therapy and painful reconstructive surgeries.

While these cases might seem simple, an attorney will be needed to help gather answers and provide careful consideration of the facts prior to taking on a surgical burn case. During this investigative stage, an experienced surgical burn attorney can determine:

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

“We need to hold institutions accountable…this can’t just be a hashtag. It has to be real action and the way to do that is through changes in our legal system.” 

-Melissa Hoechstetter, victim of Robert Hadden, former Columbia University gynecologist

A civil lawsuit in New York was filed this week, accusing a top New York City gynecologist of sexual abuse.

A New York Times article earlier this month examined the financial impact of hospital mergers on their patients. In comments to the press and public, hospital CEOs and executives often speak of the benefits a merger will have, including offering quality care to people in areas that were underserved, while lowering costs to the patient because of the continuity in care. A lower cost, streamlined healthcare experience would be the result of fewer medical tests, as well as easy information exchange between physicians of differing specialties through a medical record system. This, hospital executives say, would reduce cost for the patient, while also increasing their ability to do their job and cut back on unnecessary visits, procedures, treatments, and tests, ultimately resulting in less waste.

But data seems to prove that rebranding a hospital actually has the opposite impact on a patient’s wallet, costing patients more through higher insurance premiums, deductibles or other out of pocket expenses.


Data Shows Chicago Hospital Mergers Cost Patients More

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