Tag Archives: Surgery Complications

Anesthesia Complications In Routine Surgery

The lines between conscious sedation, monitored anesthesia care, general anesthesia, and life-threatening central nervous system depression are blurry and thin.  As the death of Michael Jackson and prosecution of his personal physician has brought back into the spotlight (I hope), anesthesia medications like propofol are frighteningly dangerous if used improperly.  It's not like taking an antihistamine and going to sleep for a couple hours. Even the "long acting" procedural sedation agents like Versed and Fentanyl work for at most an hour, whereas the short-acting agents like Propofol last for only a couple minutes.  They have to be constantly administered and the patient has to be constantly monitored. ... 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 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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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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New Medical Malpractice “Tort Reform” Just Another Pack of Lies

Insurance-Funded Congressional Representatives Again Try To Deny Justice For Patients Injured By Medical Malpractice Some bad ideas just will not go away. A few days ago The Pop Tort noted that the new, anti-patient Congress was holding hearings on medical malpractice liability. If they had listened to the excellent testimony of Joanne Doroshow, Executive Director of the Center for Justice & Democracy, they would have realized that injured patients need more, not less, legal protection. But the “hearings” were a sham anyway, and a few days later the insurance-backed members of Congress introduced a new plan to strip away the ... Continue Reading

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The Truth About Those Blockbuster Birth Injury / Obstetrical Malpractice Jury Verdicts

Of the over one million people injured or killed annually by preventable medical malpractice, only a fraction have their claims reviewed by the legal system. We can't be sure how small that fraction is — since the health care industry spends millions of dollars every year convincing Congress to frustrate error-reporting — but we know it is small, since only approximately 85,000 medical malpractice lawsuits are filed, less than 10% of those million annual "iatrogenic" incidents. In the bulk of incidents, either the patient (or their survivors) don't even suspect that malpractice occurred, or they suspect that malpractice occurred and ... Continue Reading

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Walking The Line In Medical Malpractice Cases: New Jersey Appellate Division Vacates $19 Million Birth Injury Award

A recent medical malpractice case from the bought-yourself-an-appeal department: Citing multiple trial errors, a New Jersey appeals court has reversed an $18.9 million verdict against an obstetrician whose delay in ordering a Caesarean delivery a jury found to have caused cerebral palsy in the child. The panel found that Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Louis Locascio failed to limit the testimony of a labor-and-delivery nurse, to issue the jury a contemporaneous limiting instruction on the nurse's testimony and to allow the defendant to admit into evidence a report that had exculpatory value for the obstetrician. ... Zeh, the nurse on duty ... Continue Reading

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The Economic Damage Caused By Medical Malpractice Dwarfs The Cost Of Lawsuits

I've posted many times before about the economic realities of medical malpractice liability. Via The Pop Tort, a new study commissioned by the the Society of Actuaries has revealed the economic cost of medical malpractice in America: SCHAUMBURG, Ill., (Aug. 9, 2010)–Findings from a new study released today estimate that measurable medical errors cost the U.S. economy $19.5 billion in 2008. Commissioned by the Society of Actuaries (SOA) and completed by consultants with Milliman, Inc., the report used claims data to provide an actuarially sound measurement of costs for avoidable medical injuries. Of the approximately $80 billion in costs associated ... Continue Reading

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No Surprise: Hospital Refuses To Apologize To Pediatrician For Obstetrical Malpractice

Tricia Pil, M.D., is a pediatrician and a mother, with a terrible story to tell at Kevin, M.D.: This is the true story of a hospitalization as told from three points of view: first, the recollections of the patient (who happens to be a physician); second, events as recorded in the medical charts by doctors and nurses; and third, the version put forth by the hospital. FRIDAY Patient: It is fall 2005, and I am nine months pregnant. A healthy 33-year-old pediatrician, I am a longtime patient of Doctor A and Doctor B, who delivered my two young children at ... Continue Reading

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Texas Lowers The Medical Malpractice Bar Again, Tries To Imprison Nurses For Reporting Dangerous Doctor

All the signs were there: [Dr. Rolando G. Arafiles Jr. had] a pattern of improper prescribing and surgical procedures — including a failed skin graft that Dr. Arafiles performed in the emergency room, without surgical privileges. He also sutured a rubber tip to a patient’s crushed finger for protection, an unconventional remedy that was later flagged as inappropriate by the Texas Department of State Health Services. ... Dr. Arafiles was sending e-mail messages to patients about an herbal supplement he sold on the side. ... The hospital administrator, Stan Wiley, said in an interview that Dr. Arafiles had been reprimanded ... Continue Reading

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