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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.

Arguments for Both Sides

The permissibility of audio and video recordings in healthcare settings is vexing legislatures, patients and hospitals nationwide. In August 2015, Illinois passed a law that allowed cameras in nursing home resident’s rooms. The Authorized Electronic Monitoring in Long-Term Facilities Act was championed as a safeguard against abuse and neglect, particularly useful for families who live out-of-state or suspect insidious behavior.

Similarly, advocates of the Indiana Bill believe it will keep doctors accountable and ultimately help them and their teams learn from errors. On the other hand, some hospital and doctor groups fear it will infringe on privacy, increase lawsuits, and harm doctor-patient relationships.

Still others believe recordings would aid in malpractice lawsuits, since so much of what is argued over concerns what exactly occurred. The only basis for lawyers, patients and juries to make a decision of guilt or innocence is through medical records, expert opinions, and witnesses. If a hospital team truly acted within the standard of care, a recording of the event would only benefit their case.

The Public is Ready

Just as the widespread use of camera phones have placed a national spotlight on police misconduct, many patients are ready and eager to use technology to their advantage and place their care back in their own hands. Patients are requesting, with increasing regularity, to record doctor’s instructions, physical therapy sessions, and other routine medical visits.

Many hospitals have made their own policies regarding recordings, unwilling to wait for state legislatures to pass specific laws, as Indiana is now attempting. Wisconsin, Mississippi, and Massachusetts have introduced similar bills.

These bills are fueled in part by friends and family members of patients lost to malpractice. Indiana resident Betty Daniels lost her brother to a surgical error. Since his passing, Daniels became a member of the National Association for Medical Malpractice Victims, the National Medical Malpractice Advocacy Association, and is now spearheading the effort to pass HB 1335.

Wisconsin Representative Christine Sinicki was inspired by Wade Ayer’s attempts to keep his sister’s story alive. Ayer’s sister stopped breathing during a cosmetic procedure, dying at a nursing home several months later. Investigations revealed she received fatal amounts of an anesthetic drug during the procedure, causing her surgeon to lose his medical license.

These families have been able to channel their tragedy into political activism and patient advocacy. The change they hope to invoke is one of truth and transparency, based in patients’ and familial rights.

The medical malpractice lawyers at Pintas & Mullins have been representing individuals and families harmed by negligence for 30 years. We have a wide network of medical experts, trial attorneys, and investigators who will help you get through this difficult time. We offer free consultations to injured patients nationwide.

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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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surgeonA new study found that medication errors occur in about half of all surgeries, and a third of these errors result in harm to patients or other adverse events. Even more troubling is that this study was conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital, a national leader in safety and Harvard affiliate. Our medical malpractice attorneys detail this study and the devastating consequences of medication problems during surgery.

Researchers studied more than 275 surgeries at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) during which thousands of medications were administered. This is the first study to measure the rates of medication errors and side effects during the “perioperative period,” which is the time immediately before, during, and immediately after a procedure.

As stated, MGH is one of the best hospitals in the country. If at least 50% of patients there experience a medication error during surgery, the rates at other hospitals must be at least as high and likely much higher. Among the team’s findings include:

  1. Most frequently observed errors: labelling mistakes, incorrect dosages, documentation errors, failing to treat problems showing on patients’ vital signs.
  2. Medication errors seen in 1 of every 2 procedures.
  3. 80% of these errors were determined to be preventable.
  4. Errors were more common during longer procedures (6 hours or longer).
  5. 33% of errors led to an adverse event.

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hospital bedNearly 300 patients have filed suit against cardiologist Arvind Gandhi and two other doctors for performing medically unnecessary procedures. Our team of medical malpractice lawyers examines this lawsuit and patients who may have been affected by similar doctor schemes.

Dr. Gandhi and his colleagues at Cardiology Associates of Northwest Indiana in Munster have denied any wrongdoing. Cardiology has come under increased scrutiny in recent years, with several high-profile cases filed by federal officials. Cardiology tends to be a big money-maker for hospitals, since Medicare and private insurances reimburse at significantly higher levels for procedures.

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gavelA woman recently won a lawsuit in North Carolina over complications that arose during surgery to remove segments of her colon. The woman suffered ongoing problems including infections, kidney failure, and internal bleeding. Our team of medical malpractice lawyers examines this lawsuit and the types of surgical malpractice claims we handle.

In 2010, Melode Dickerson underwent surgery to remove part of her colon because of potentially-cancerous masses. Her surgeon, Florias Andrew Morfesis of Owen Drive Surgical, incorrectly connected the remaining parts of her colon, leaving a tear and consequent leakage.

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newbornIt is not very often that we hear about wrongful birth / wrongful life lawsuits, particularly those that end in such a high jury award. Recently in Washington State, the parents of a boy born with a severe genetic abnormality filed and won a lawsuit against LabCorp and Valley Medical Center for negligently handling their son’s samples. Our medical malpractice lawyers report on this case and its massive verdict below.

The parents in this case, Rhea and Brock Wuth, had a healthy son in 2002 and wanted more children. A relative of Brock’s, however, suffered from severe seizures and other ailments that confined her to a wheelchair. The relative’s illness was found to be associated with an unbalanced translocation of chromosomes, which is genetic. Brock underwent genetic testing and found he had similar genetic abnormalities and could pass it on to future children.

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