Tag Archives: Birth Injury

Civil Sanctions Against Pennsylvania Doctors And Hospitals

Two weeks ago I wrote about a defense lawyer in a malpractice case being sanctioned for trying to intimidate the plaintiff's expert witness. I've come across two recent Pennsylvania trial court opinions involving doctors and hospitals themselves being sanctioned for improper conduct. First up is Borrero v. Lake Erie Women's Center, et al., a shoulder dystocia birth injury case. (For some general background, see my Erb's Palsy page, my firm's dystocia attorneys page, and this post about the junk science defenses OB/GYNs raise.) Opinion is here. In discovery, the plaintiffs served Lake Erie Women's Center and Hamot Medical Center standard interrogatories ... Continue Reading

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Defense Lawyer Sanctioned For Expert Witness Intimidation In Medical Malpractice Case

It's no secret that patients and their lawyers have a lot of difficulty finding physicians to serve as expert witnesses in medical malpractice cases. A large fraction of doctors refuse to ever testify in a patient's favor, regardless of how negligent, reckless, or reprehensible the care provided by the defendant-doctor was. Among the doctors who do testify on behalf of patients, most will only testify against doctors in other jurisdictions, adding difficulties in communication and scheduling as well as travel costs. It also makes it harder for plaintiff's lawyers to find qualified, credible experts, because we don't know them by ... Continue Reading

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Medical Apology Laws Are An Excuse To Avoid Doctors’ Ethical And Legal Duties To Patients

The Philadelphia Inquirer today profiles an issue of disturbing importance to doctors and malpractice insurance companies: the legal right to lie to patients with impunity. Of course, they don't describe it that way, they describe it like this: Many doctors feel that an apology - accepting responsibility for errors, telling what went wrong - is a dramatic advance and the right thing to do since doctors have long been loath to admit mistakes. But they say the trend will continue only if doctors know they can speak openly, without fear of being bludgeoned in a lawsuit. "Isn't that a little ... Continue Reading

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When Does A Reasonable Person Suspect Medical Malpractice?

As recently as twenty years ago, large parts of the medical establishment believed that neonatal Group B Streptococcus was rare disease that couldn't be prevented or treated. It was, and remains, the leading cause of meningitis and sepsis in newborns, but the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) didn't even have any documents, much less guidelines, on Group B Strep prevention until 1991. In 1993, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that Group B Strep screening was cost-effective. In 1996, the CDC, ACOG, and AAP finally published their first consensus statement ... Continue Reading

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NEJM Study On Malpractice Risk By Physician Specialty

The New England Journal of Medicine released a new study in today's issue, Malpractice Risk According to Physician Specialty, which concluded: There are few recent estimates on the likelihood of malpractice claims and the size of payments according to physician specialty. Using physician-level malpractice claims from a nationwide liability insurer, we found substantial variability across specialties in each of these descriptors of liability risk. Specialties in which the largest proportion of physicians faced a claim were not necessarily those with the highest average payment size. For example, physicians in obstetrics and general surgery — both fields that are regarded as ... Continue Reading

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Medical Malpractice, Errors in Judgment, and The Beginner’s Mind

Last month the American Journal of Medicine published a new study (“Longer Lengths of Stay and Higher Risk of Mortality among Inpatients of Physicians with More Years in Practice”) with the unexpected conclusion that hospitalized patients were more likely to die or stay long in the care of an experienced physician than in the care of a recent graduate from residency: According to findings in the American Journal of Medicine, patients whose doctors had practiced for at least 20 years stayed longer in the hospital and were more likely to die compared to those whose doctors got their medical license ... Continue Reading

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Strange Birth Injury Award: $21M Medical Expenses, $0 Pain and Suffering

It's conventional wisdom among trial lawyers and insurance lawyers that few plaintiffs are as sympathetic as a brain-damaged baby. The baby plainly did nothing to contribute to their harm, but has nonetheless been deprived of many of the basic joys of their infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. It's thus presumed that, if a jury finds liability in a birth injury lawsuit — like a negligent hospital or obstetrician that failed to observe fetal distress, leading to hypoxia, or failed to treat jaundice, leading to kernicterus — they'll inevitably award a substantial amount of non-economic damages for pain and suffering. Indeed, that was the ... Continue Reading

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Medical Malpractice Filings in Pennsylvania Are Dwindling, Taking Civil Justice And Patient Safety With Them

Today's Legal Intelligencer tells us what we already know: in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, patients' right to compensation for injuries caused by medical malpractice is dying. Not a quick death, mind you, like the death of patients' rights in Texas (a punishment insurance companies and medical associations are trying to inflict upon New York), but a slow death. I use the word "death" because that's what it often what it takes to qualify for a medical malpractice lawsuit these days. If a patient wasn't killed or permanently injured by the malpractice, then often it doesn't matter how outrageously negligent or reckless the ... Continue Reading

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17P & Makena: Exploiting Premature Birth For Billions In Profit

Update, September 7, 2012: More than a year ago, I wrote "It's possible KV will sue the FDA over [the decision not to go after compounding pharmacies] — arguing, in essence, that the FDA is disobeying its own statutes and regulations, and thus in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act ..." That happened in July, but the case was just dismissed. Next step is inevitably an appeal. I hope, for the sake of patients, they do not succeed, but quite frankly they have a valid argument. 17-P should never have been given orphan drug status in the first place.   Preemies ... Continue Reading

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It’s Legal Malpractice Not To Sue Hospital Residents For Medical Malpractice

It may sound strange coming from me, but I don't like suing people, particularly not in personal injury or professional liability actions where the real target of the suit is not even the company that employed the negligent person, but really the employer’s insurance company. But I often end up suing everyone I can, including employees, for one reason: I don’t have a choice. If, years down the road, some hospital or law firm or bank or construction company wants to claim that the negligent employee was an "independent contractor" or "outside this course and scope of their employment," or ... Continue Reading

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