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Medical Malpractice

Brazil Woman Finds ‘Dead’ Mother Alive in Morgue

By San Diego Injury Lawyer on November 6, 2011 - Comments off

Rosangela Celestrino was called to a Rio de Janeiro hospital to identify her mother’s body on September 23, 2011, only to find that her mother was still alive.
The mother was initially admitted to the Hospital Estadual Adao Pereira Nunes for a pulmonary infection. Doctors had pronounced 60-year-old Rosa Celestrino de Assis dead, and she was placed in the refrigerated drawer of a hospital morgue for two hours.
“I went to kiss my mom, and she was breathing.”
The mother was immediately taken to the ICU, intubated again, and put on a respirator.
The nurse who first suspected the mother was dead was fired and the doctor who pronounced her dead had resigned. The Celestrino family made a police complaint. If medical negligence is proven, the family could sue the hospital for personal injury. If the mother dies, the family can file a wrongful death suit for manslaughter.

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The Arbitrary and Unfair Impact of Tort Reform

By San Diego Injury Lawyer on February 23, 2010 - Comments off

Earlier today, my friend and New York medical malpractice attorney Gerry Oginski posted this link on Facebook to a New York medical malpractice verdict against a podiatrist. The verdict was noteworthy in that the jury awarded $3,000,000 for the victim’s pain and suffering ($1.5 million for past pain and suffering and $1.5 million for future pain and suffering).
This sparked a discussion amongst several lawyers from throughout the country about how inequitable tort reform laws are to the victim solely because of where they choose to live or receive medical treatment.
In New York, there is no tort reform cap on pain and suffering damages. Therefore, the $3,000,000 verdict, so long as it is supported by evidence, will not be reduced. However, here in California, we have MICRA–California’s tort reform measure which places certain limits and requirements on medical malpractice lawyers and their injured clients. Specifically, the California legislature has placed a cap on pain and suffering at $250,000. It does not matter how badly injured you are, whether you need constant medication to live with moderate pain the rest of your life, had 2 wrong limbs amputated, etc. California has decided that under NO circumstances is anyone’s pain and suffering worth more than $250,000 when injured by a doctor.
So, let’s assume that we have 2 people who have suffered the same injury and have the same prognosis. The only difference is that one was injured by a New York doctor and the other by a California doctor. The former victim will get compensated $3,000,000 for his pain and suffering while the other will only recover $250,000.
That is just not fair or right.
The tort reform mess gets even worse in other states, such as in Indiana. In the Hoosier State, total damages are capped at $1.25 million for all damages. This is true even if current and future medical treatment exceeds $10 million and lost wages are $3 million or more.
This inequality in results, based solely on geographic location of where the injury occurred, cannot stand. Tort reform has created this and many other unfair results for injured people, all in the name of saving society from runaway litigation costs–which have been proven time and time again not to exist.
One of these days, the public will hopefully wake up and rescind these unfair tort reform laws. Until then, these unequal results will continue.

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Nevada May Lift Medical Malpractice Damages Cap; Should California Do the Same?

By San Diego Injury Lawyer on April 13, 2009 - Comments off

Well, it looks like the Nevada Medical Malpractice Reform Law may not see its’ fifth birthday–or at least its’ damage cap provision may not. Nevada legislators are considering overturning or raising the $350,000 cap for “pain and suffering” damages arising from medical malpractice.
The reason? Recent scandalous, unethical, and dangerous behavior by doctors in the state have led legislators to realize that damage caps hurt consumers while protecting negligent doctors.
We’ve taken a look at these developments and what it might mean for California’s MICRA damage cap of $250,000. You can read more about this California medical malpractice development at our San Diego personal injury lawyer website here.

 

One of Tort Reform’s Biggest Lies Disproved….Again

By San Diego Injury Lawyer on March 28, 2009 - Comments off

We’ve written twice now about Oklahoma’s current tort reform efforts led by Republican Senate President Pro Tem Tom Glenn Coffee (R–Oklahoma City), a former medical malpractice defense lawyer. You can read more here and here.
One of the big myths leading the Oklahoma tort reform movement and tort reform in general is that without tort reform, doctors will flee to other jurisdictions with tort reform. The argument goes that with tort reform, medical malpractice insurance rates go down and attract doctors–while high insurance rates drive doctors away.
The problem is that the data does not support the myth. That is the case again in Oklahoma. According to this Edmond, OK news story, the number of Oklahoma doctors is increasing even while the tort reform movement is claiming they are fleeing. In addition, the doctor owned medical malpractice insurance carrier, Physicians Liability Insurance Company, is in the best financial shape in it’s three decade long existence. The company is posting record profits and will be the clear winner if the Oklahoma tort reform bill passes limiting injured medical patient’s right to be compensated for injuries caused by their professionally negligent doctors.
Like any political issue, it is always important to look and investigate the real data underlying the tort reform movement. Is there a real reason to substantially limit injury victim’s right to justice? If so, what is the purported benefit? And, last, is that benefit worth the cost? In almost all cases, the answer to these tort reform questions is “No”.
If you or any of your loved ones has been injured or killed due to medical malpractice, contact San Diego medical malpractice lawyer Ross Jurewitz and the San Diego personal injury attorneys at the Jurewitz Law Group at 619-233-5020. You may also contact these San Diego injury lawyers online here.

 

El Cajon Psychiatrist, Dr. Wayne Funk, Accused of Collecting And Dispensing Surplus Medication Pills to Patients

By San Diego Injury Lawyer on March 3, 2009 - Comments off

Dr. Wayne Funk, a longtime psychiatrist in El Cajon, is fighting to keep his medical license after being accused of medical malpractice by the Medical Board of California. The 87-year-old doctor is thought to have been collecting powerful surplus pain killers and sedatives, such as Oxycodone, Diazepam, Lorazepam and Temazepam, from his patients and then redistributing them to other patients as a means of making them cheaper.
Funk, licensed in California since 1954, was subject to an investigation started a year ago by the Medical Board of California and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. According to the accusation filed in the Administrative Law Court, “the investigators observed a counter with numerous sample medications and a basket containing prescription bottles, including controlled substances, which were returned by patients.”
The University of Kansas school of medicine graduate is also being accused of prescribing the anti-anxiety drug, Xanax, to a patient over a two month period without any proper reviews or examinations. The patient had to later seek medical attention from another doctor for detoxification.
During the investigation, Funk surrendered his DEA certificate to dispense controlled substances but denies any wrongdoing. No hearing date has been set.

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The Oklahoma Expert Certification Tort Reform Bill: A Good Idea or Does It Not Go Far Enough?

By San Diego Injury Lawyer on February 22, 2009 - Comments off

The Oklahoma legislature is currently considering a tort reform bill that would require people wishing to file a civil lawsuit for professional negligence (medical malpractice, accounting malpractice, legal malpractice, etc.) to obtain and attach an affidavit that the person has consulted with a qualified expert who has reviewed the facts of the case. The bill addresses all professional negligence but there can be no doubt that its’ main goal is to reduce the number of medical malpractice lawsuits by prohibiting lawsuits without expert support.
The affidavit must include a statement that the expert has provided a written opinion to support the allegation of professional negligence. If the affidavit is not filed, the lawsuit may be dismissed. You can read about the bill here.
The bill, House Bill 1570, is similar to a bill vetoed by Oklahoma’s governor last year. Six states, including Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New York, and Pennsylvania, already require expert certification before filing a professional negligence lawsuit. The cost of having an expert review medical records and provide a written opinion can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 in most cases. The news story cites an example where an expert charged a medical malpractice victim $12,000 for his pre-litigation expert opinion.
The NewsOK.com news story prompted me to post this provocative tweet on Twitter, which then received several comments from Walter Olson of the legal reform website Overlawyered.com and Chris Davis of the Seattle personal injury law firm, the Davis Law Group.

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San Diego Man Allegedly Committed Medical Malpractice by Selling Unapproved Medical Devices

By San Diego Injury Lawyer on February 19, 2009 - Comments off

James Folsom, 68 of San Diego, faces 26 felony counts for medical malpractice by selling illegal medical devices in San Diego that he claimed would treat a variety of medical conditions through the passage of electrical currents. He faces 140 years in prison and $500,000 in fines if convicted, according to this news story in the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Since 1997, Folsom sold approximately 9,000 devices, such as NatureTronics, AstroPulse, BioSolutions, Energy Wellness, and Global Wellness to both retail and wholesale consumers generating more than $8 million in revenue for himself in the process. Assistant U.S. Attorney Melanie Pierson said that this is the largest case involving illegal medical devices in the 20 years that she has worked as a federal prosecutor in San Diego County.
Folsom is an ex-business partner to a Fallbrook woman named Kimberly Bailey who sold similar devices until convicted in 2002 for planning the torture and murder of another man who was her business partner and lover.
The device sold by Folsom is made up of a small black box with dials, a digital screen, and wires leading to a pair of stainless steel cylinders or metal plates. The box is plugged into an electrical socket, and a patient holds the cylinders or stands on the plates. According to Folsom’s marketing, the device destroys diseased cells in the body with the use of electrical frequencies.
Prosecutors also allege that Folsom conducted business under false names and the United States Food and Drug Administration states that the device was never approved for use as a medical device in the United States.

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San Diego Medical Malpractice Caused by Unlicensed Doctor

By San Diego Injury Lawyer on February 19, 2009 - Comments off

A Chula Vista woman was sent to jail recently after pleading guilty to committing medical malpractice by performing abortions without a medical license. Bertha Bugarin plead guilty to nine counts of practicing medicine without a license, one felony count of grand theft, and one misdemeanor count of “dispensing dangerous drugs” to her patients at her Chula Vista clinic where she claimed to be a doctor.
The arrest and prosecution of Bugarin occurred after Michael Varga, a Chula Vista Police officer assigned to the department’s Special Investigations Unit, interviewed women about abortions they had received at Clinica Medica Para La Mujer de Hoy, a storefront clinic located on Broadway in Chula Vista that catered to low-income, Spanish-speaking women.
Varga’s investigation led to identifying Bugarin as the leader of an illegal medical facility and abortion clinic. Bugarin, the investigation found, was a layperson who claimed to be the owner and manager of the Chula Vista cash only clinic, as well as five other similar clinics in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

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Lemon Grove Rehab Center Accused of Medical Malpractice Death

By San Diego Injury Lawyer on February 16, 2009 - Comments off

On February 12, 2008, the California Department of Public Health issued a “AA” citation against the Lemon Grove Care and Rehabilitation Center. The Center was cited due to accusations of inadequate care and neglect, leading to a patient’s death.
The Director of the California Department of Public Health, Dr. Mark Horton, stated that the citation was issued because the Lemon Grove Center did not adequately protect the health and safety of its residents. Dr. Horton added that the Center failed to provide adequate supervision of its’ employees and residents, resulting in one patient suffering fatal injuries.
The citation process of the California Department of Public Health ranges from “B” to “AA” and is a part of its ongoing effort to improve the quality of care provided by California’s 1,400 skilled nursing facilities.
The Lemon Grove center was fined $80,000.
The State of California imposes a variety of legal requirements designed to protect those under the care of nursing homes or treatment centers. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by neglect in a nursing home or while under dependent adult care, call the experienced nursing home abuse lawyers at The Jurewitz Law Group at 888-233-5020.

 

New Surgical Checklist May Reduce San Diego Medical Deaths and Complications

By San Diego Injury Lawyer on February 12, 2009 - Comments off

San Diego patients may benefit from new safety checklists.
The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 500,000 surgical deaths and complications occur worldwide every year due to inexcusable medical malpractice. Too many times patients have signed incorrect surgical consent forms allowing medical staff to incorrectly label them for a planned procedure. Nurses have documented patient safety measures that never actually occurred. Doctors have injected medications that were not labeled on the surgical field. The list goes on.
In order to address this issue, the World Health Organization, along with the Harvard School of Public Health, has launched its first “Safe Surgery Saves Lives” campaign. The study is based on the theory that a one-page surgery checklist developed by several world surgical experts will greatly reduce errors and omissions in the Operating Room.
The study, conducted with participation of 3,955 patients in eight different cities, demonstrated that this low-cost and low-tech tool significantly reduced surgical mortality and morbidity rates.
The annual savings from the prevention of major complications in the Operating Room can be anywhere from $15 billion to $25 billion. Encouraged by this thought, the Institute for Healthcare Improvements and the World Health Organization have initiated the “Sprint” challenge: to have every hospital in the country utilize the surgical safety list with at least one surgical team by April 1, 2009.

 

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