Tag Archives: Hospital Negligence

When Will Hospitals Learn How To Use Heparin?

Heparin is one of the most basic medicines used in medicine, the primary anticoagulant used by hospitals, which is why it’s part of the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines.   But anticoagulants are so powerful that they are used as rat poison. Anticoagulants make a patient 10 times more likely to develop intracerebral hemorrhage, and thus all of them -- Heparin, Coumadin, warfarin -- have to be used with the utmost caution.   The Legal Intelligencer reported yesterday:   A Philadelphia jury has hit the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania with a $44.1 million verdict for failing ... Continue Reading

TweetLikeEmailLinkedIn

The Doctors Company’s Dubious Medical Malpractice Statistics

This morning, MedPage Today — which should know better — began their “Morning Break” with this description and link: An analysis of closed claim data from The Doctors Company suggests that physicians spend about 10% of their professional life dealing with malpractice claims, but most of those claims are closed with no money paid to the plaintiff. Goodness! That sounds incredible. Turns out, it is incredible. In fact, it’s false. The linked post by “The Doctors Company” at The Doctor Weighs In says: The average physician spends over 10 percent of his or her career consumed in defense of an ... Continue Reading

TweetLikeEmailLinkedIn

Proving Negligent Hospital-Acquired Infection Through Bacterial Genes

Imagine you are a medical malpractice attorney. Your client, in the hospital for surgery or childbirth or some other invasive procedure, developed an nasty infection, resulting in permanent injuries or death. You order their medical records and their billing records, and you notice that their insurer (it can be a private insurer or Medicare) refused to even pay for treatment of the infection as a “never event.”  You settle on two negligence theories to investigate: whether the hospital-acquired infection was preventable and whether the infection was properly treated.   (Let’s make this hypothetical easy and assume the infection is one ... Continue Reading

TweetLikeEmailLinkedIn

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

TweetLikeEmailLinkedIn

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

TweetLikeEmailLinkedIn

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

TweetLikeEmailLinkedIn

The Burden Of Proof: A Matter Of Life And Death

When I was in law school, I took Federal Courts, a notoriously difficult and complicated class, with Laura Little, who taught it with grace and style. (Law students, take note: she wrote a commercial outline with rave reviews.) Afterwards, I told her how much I liked the class, and asked her what I should take next (law students, again take note: great way to get recommendations for classes) and she pointed me to Michael Libonati, whom she said was "probably the smartest teacher on the faculty." With a recommendation like that, I dutifully took his State and Local Governments class, ... Continue Reading

TweetLikeEmailLinkedIn

Massive Emergency Room Malpractice Award For Noncompliant Patient

I’ve written several times before about where multi-million dollar jury verdicts come from, like in A Look Behind The Scenes Of A Multi-Million Dollar Personal Injury Verdict and Strange Birth Injury Award: $21M Medical Expenses, $0 Pain and Suffering. There’s no secret recipe. Facts win cases; outrage at the defendant’s reckless conduct makes the damage awards larger. Another example was published yesterday in The Legal Intelligencer: A Philadelphia jury awarded $21.4 million on Friday to a diabetic man with brain damage over the care he received in the emergency room of Temple University Hospital. …   The defense argued in ... Continue Reading

TweetLikeEmailLinkedIn

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

TweetLikeEmailLinkedIn

Proving Bacterial Infection Injuries Through Circumstantial Evidence

A tragic story: SIOUX CITY -- A Sioux City bank has filed a personal-injury lawsuit on behalf of a Sioux City girl against the maker of a powdered infant formula, claiming the girl got seriously ill from drinking the reconstituted formula days after she was born in 2008. According to court documents, Security National Bank alleges the girl, Jeanine Kunkel, now nearly 3 years old, contracted neonatal Enterobacter sakazakii meningitis from the Similac formula made by Abbott Laboratories and suffered permanent brain damage. The bank, as the child's conservator, seeks monetary damages for her care, suffering and fear of future ... Continue Reading

TweetLikeEmailLinkedIn