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stethoscopeA study recently found that over 250,000 Americans die from medical mistakes every year, making it the third-leading cause of death. Our medical malpractice lawyers have been representing victims of medical errors for 30 years. Here, we shed some light on this hotly debated issue and share what we’ve learned over the last three decades.

Why the Hot Debate?

Any number of factors can cause medical errors, from diagnostic oversights to inadequate skills. Professor Martin Makary of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine wrote the explosive paper calling out medical errors as the third-leading cause of death. He explains that medical error is not an option on death certificates, so when a patient dies from any type of medical mistake, their death certificates state “respiratory failure,” or “cardiac arrest,” rather than the actual cause of that emergency.

Death certificates are the basis for our national health statistics. When you hear or read that the number one cause of death in the U.S. is heart disease, it’s because heart disease is the most common box checked on death certificates.

This means that the number of patients dying from medical errors is not even recorded. The only places medical mistakes are recognized are in court, in nurses’ stations, and in doctors’ lounges. We have no system for collecting and reporting these statistics.

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NYCOur team of medical malpractice lawyers represent injured clients in New York, where the malpractice insurance market is undergoing significant change. Although this may not be on the public’s radar, it could leave injured patients vulnerable and without prompt payments.

When a patient is seriously injured or killed from medical negligence, the have the right to file a claim against the doctor, nurse, or hospital responsible for their injuries. All health care professionals are required to pay medical malpractice insurance premiums (like auto insurance) precisely for this reason. Doctors pay their premiums, and the insurance companies are responsible for paying claims filed by injured patients and their families.

In 2012, U.S. insurers spent over $3 billion in malpractice payments.

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er-1_lAn emergency restriction has been placed on a Miami plastic surgeon who promised his clients flat stomachs and curvaceous backsides. Dr. “Osak” Omulepu has botched several procedures, sending at least four patients to the emergency room. Our medical malpractice lawyers explain plastic surgery malpractice lawsuits and the most common forms of negligence.

“Very Aggressive” Liposuction 

Dr. Omulepu’s license was restricted on February 16, 2016, in an order stating he posed an immediate, serious danger to the public. All patients injured under his care were undergoing liposuction and fat transfers to the buttocks, a procedure often referred to as a “Brazilian butt lift.”

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For many years now, nurse practitioners have been fighting to change laws so they can run practices and write prescriptions without assistance from doctors. Currently, 21 states allow nurses full prescribing privileges. As  doctor shortages intensify across the country, more states are considering law changes. The medical malpractice lawyers at Pintas & Mullins have represented many clients injured and killed by negligent nurses.

Nursing malpractice is quite similar to doctor malpractice: it occurs when a nurse performs his or her duties in a negligent manner, and that negligence directly harms the patient. This can include an array of failures, including administering the wrong drug or wrong dose, failing to notify doctors in an emergency, or injuring a patient with medical equipment.

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DR with XRAYMedical malpractice lawsuits depend on whether or not the doctor or medical team acted within the standard of care in treating the injured patient. Our malpractice lawyers explain what exactly this term means, and what makes for a successful injury claim.

To have a viable medical malpractice case, the patient must prove four things:

  1. The doctor owed the patient a duty of care
  2. The doctor violated the standard of care in treating the patient
  3. The patient suffered a severe, permanent, or compensable injury
  4. The patient’s injury was caused by the doctor’s deviation from the standard of care

The “standard of care” is defined as what would have been reasonable medical practice under the unique circumstances. The problem with this, as many in the medical field argue, is that there is not an easy “standard” or “model” to follow in medicine. No two patients are alike.

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eye chartTwo patients have filed lawsuits against the disgraced Florida eye surgeon Salomon Melgen, claiming he left them both blind in one eye. The doctor was arrested in April 2015 for Medicare fraud after receiving more than $100 million from the government program. The medical malpractice lawyers at Pintas & Mullins describe malpractice and healthcare fraud lawsuits below.

Melgen, recently released on $18 million bond, is already awaiting trial for Medicare fraud and corruption charges. His schemes involved convincing elderly patients on Medicare to undergo macular degeneration treatments that were not medically necessary, prescribing overpriced drugs, and falsifying records. Medicare paid for all services to these patients, resulting in millions of dollars in profit to Melgen. In 2012 alone, he received $21 million from Medicare, the highest of any doctor in the country.

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MDLast year, we wrote about a successful medical malpractice case by a patient who recorded his own colonoscopy. The legality of video and audio recordings is a contentious topic in healthcare, as laws are drafted allowing patients, nursing home residents, and families to record their care. Our team of medical malpractice lawyers report on one of the most recent developments in Indiana, as the state weighs a Bill that would give patients the right to choose to have their surgeries recorded.

House Bill 1335 was authored by Representative Terry Goodin and is now pending before the Committee on Public Health. The full text of the Bill can be found here, on Indiana General Assembly’s website.

The Bill would require certain health facilities to provide patients with an option to have their surgeries recorded with full color and audio. If a patient is incapacitated, their guardian or representative would decide for them. If a patient opts for recording, they must provide a written statement signed by a witness. Patients under Medicaid would have their recordings covered through the program.

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moldUPMC Presbyterian hospital, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is facing at least one lawsuit from mold-related infections that occurred at the hospital in August 2014. The patient claims the hospital was negligent in failing to prevent the infection after his double lung transplant. Our medical malpractice attorneys detail the lawsuit below.

The patient, 70-year-old Che DuVall, remains in the hospital more than four months after his original lung transplant. Typically, a patient can return home about one week after their transplant surgery. He waited three years for the transplant while suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

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Our medical malpractice attorneys are proud to announce the settlement of a wrongful death lawsuit against MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island, Illinois.

Our client, 44-year-old Keesha Caldwell, went to the emergency room on February 28, 2010 complaining of chest pain. Doctors suspected the issue was heart-related due to her low blood pressure. Caldwell was admitted to stay at MetroSouth overnight in the intensive care unit. CT scans showed a collected of fluid in the tissue surrounding her heart, which can cause a condition called cardiac tamponade.

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pregnancyA global survey of maternal mortality recently found that women in the U.S. are two times more likely to die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related causes than women in Canada. The medical malpractice attorneys at Pintas & Mullins detail this survey and the factors driving these alarming statistics.

The survey was published by the United Nations and World Bank and led by the World Health Organization. The U.S. was one of just 13 countries to have worse death rates, along with Zimbabwe, North Korea and Venezuela.

The U.S. maternal mortality rate was found to be worse than it was in 1990. In 1990, the U.S. averaged 12 deaths per 100,000 live births. In 2013, that number rose to 14. Canada averaged seven deaths per 100,000 births. The global leaders in maternal survival are Iceland, Finland, Greece and Poland, all of which have just three mothers die for every 100,000 births.

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