Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

Uneccesary surgery medical malpractice claimsHaving surgery can be frightening and stressful, but learning that you endured a painful, expensive, and unnecessary procedure can be even more distressing. Unfortunately, unnecessary surgery is a shockingly common type of medical malpractice.

While not every instance of an unnecessary surgical procedure is grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit, if your surgeon or another member of your surgical team was negligent, you may be entitled to compensation. Here’s what you should know.

After undergoing an unneeded surgery, victims often wonder how something like this could happen. Some of the most common negligence-related reasons unnecessary operations are performed include:

malpractice due to diagnostic errorsNot only are diagnostic errors one of the most prevalent types of medical malpractice, but they’re also one of the most frequent reasons for malpractice settlements and financial awards. Medical errors affect an estimated 12 million Americans each year, according to the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine, and can be extremely harmful or even deadly for victims.

Some of the most common diagnosis-related medical errors include:

  • Missed diagnosis. The doctor gives a patient a clean bill of health, failing to diagnose a serious illness or medical condition.

pap smear errors and medical malpracticePap smears are an essential part of women’s reproductive healthcare. Using cells collected from the cervix, these gynecological tests screen for abnormalities that could indicate cervical cancer and are often combined with a test to detect the cancer-causing human papillomavirus.

Doctors recommend that women between the ages of 21 and 65 have a pap smear, also known as a pap test, every three years.

With the possibility for a life-shattering cancer diagnosis on the line, it’s vital for medical professionals to

Surgeons, dentists, general practitioners, specialists, and other medical professionals are required to provide patients with a quality standard of care. Though not all poor health outcomes are the result of providers deviating from an accepted standard of care, many are.

In fact, a recent study from Johns Hopkins found that medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the United States, after heart disease and cancer.

What is a medical malpractice claim?In the event of a poor outcome, doctors and other medical personnel are judged based on what a competent medical professional with a comparable background would have done in similar circumstances. If providers with related training and experience wouldn’t have made the same mistake in this situation, the patient—or surviving family members—may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim.

Our Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers have been following the legal case over the tragic death of 15 year old Shaquille Johnson in 2007. The Supreme Court of Georgia issued its judgment in the case last week and sided with the Johnson family, meaning they can finally have a jury trial and seek justice for their son’s death.

In December 2007, Shaquille had arthroscopic knee surgery for a football injury. Eight days later, his mother, Thelma Johnson, took him to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, complaining of pain on the left side of his chest. Dr. Price Paul Omondi examined him, diagnosed him with pleurisy, prescribed him Naprosyn as a painkiller and sent him home. About two weeks later, Shaquille again complained of pain in his chest and he had trouble breathing. He was taken by ambulance to Phoebe Putney, where he died of a bilateral pulmonary embolism, which is a blood clot in the lungs.

The Johnson’s sued Dr. Omondi and Southwest Emergency Physicians, PC, for medical malpractice. The trial court granted summary judgment for Dr. Omondi and his employers, using Georgia’s emergency medical care statute, which says that in an emergency setting, a doctor or health care provider won’t be held liable unless they acted with “gross negligence. The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s decision.

Medical mistakes are now the third leading cause of deaths within the U.S., according to RT. While previous estimates have indicated medical errors were a top reason for fatalities within the United States, new research affirms that there are only two causes of death which occur more commonly than negligence on the part of medical care providers.

When medical mistakes turn out to be fatal, family members could be left with financial loss and with unspeakable grief. The family of victims killed by Atlanta medical malpractice can get help with a wrongful death claim from an experienced attorney in the Atlanta area.

If medical errors occur but turn out not to be fatal, victims can still be compensated for damages, provided they can show the doctor’s actions caused them to experience some type of compensable harm. It is best to get help as soon as possible if you wish to pursue a claim based on a medical mistake, as an attorney can help you begin gathering the evidence you will need to prove your case.

A recent study, as reported in the Washington Post, showed that errors in diagnosing patients is the main source of medical malpractice claims. This study, lead by Dr. David Newman-Toker, a neurologist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Ali Saber Tehrani, looked into 25 years of malpractice payments to discover this fact. The researchers looked into 350,000 medical malpractice claims in which payment was made from 1986 until 2010.

What they mean by diagnostic errors are things like diagnosing appendicitis when the patient has an ectopic pregnancy or diagnosing simple dizziness when the patient is having a brainstem stroke. Often the correct diagnosis is eventually arrived at, but not until the condition is more complicated to treat and has possibly disabled the patient. The study did not delve into why diagnostic errors were so common, but Dr. Newman-Toker said that diagnosis is a difficult and imprecise process and there is often a time lapse between the mistake and when it is discovered, making it also harder to correct in enough time to make a difference. There are also no public reporting requirements for these types of mistakes.

Dr. Newman-Toker said, “Diagnostic errors are the most common, the most costly and the most deadly of all medical errors.They accounted for 29 percent of successful malpractice claims and 35 percent of the total money paid out. Incorrect, missed, or delayed diagnosis also caused 39 percent of malpractice deaths. Other categories of medical mistakes listed were treatment errors and surgical mishaps, the other two largest categories of malpractice claims, and obstetric problems, medication errors, and anesthesia errors.

News of a pregnancy can be a wonderful and exciting thing for women and couples as they get to bring a new family member into their lives. To ensure a smooth pregnancy and a healthy baby, women count on their obstetricians to provide quality pre-natal care and to manage the childbirth and delivery process. Unfortunately, many things can go wrong both before and during the birth and obstetricians must monitor both the mother and child carefully to minimize the risk of complications.

Obstetricians have a tough job and they are expected to exhibit a professional degree of skill when performing it. When an obstetrician fails to do so and provides poor care below the standard that a reasonable doctor with their background and area of specialization should provide, this can constitute medical negligence.

Under Georgia law, a doctor or healthcare provider who is negligent can be sued by an injured patient or by loved ones of a patient who has been killed by the medical negligence. Medical malpractice lawsuits provide the victim with compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, medical costs and even wrongful death damages. An Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer can help in cases where obstetrics errors constitute medical malpractice by assisting victims in taking legal action to recover compensation.

Medical procedures already carry with them dangers and risks, and this is worsened when medical products are defective. Our Atlanta product liability lawyers have been following a story about dialysis solutions and the lawsuits being filed around the country, including those in Georgia. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a recall for the particular solutions in question, Naturalyte Liquid Acid Concentrate and GranuFlo (powder) Acid Concentrate. The products were manufactured, distributed, and used by Fresenius Medical Care during dialysis. The company is the largest operator of dialysis clinics in the U.S. and also manufactures dialysis solutions and equipment. The FDA recall notice reads, "This product may cause serious adverse health consequences, including death.

Lawsuits have been filed in 37 cases in federal courts, including one involving a patient in Georgia. The plaintiffs claim that the aforementioned dialysis products caused the patients to suffer a cardiac arrest, heart attack, or sudden death, either during the dialysis treatment or within 48 hours thereafter. The various lawsuits allege that Fresenius failed to provide warnings to doctors about the importance of monitoring bicarbonate levels among patients during dialysis. The solutions contain an element that transforms into bicarbonate at levels that are often too high, leading to cardiac arrest or sudden death. The lawsuits claim that Fresenius knew as early as 2010 that their GranuFlo patients died at rates six times higher than those occurring with competing products. In 2011, the company clarified to doctors at their own dialysis centers about the problems, but didn't issue any information or instructions outside their centers until March 2012. This led the lawsuits to claim the company knew, or should have known, about these fatal consequences of the dialysis solutions.

The deaths allegedly connected to the products occurred between 2010 and 2012. These cases involve patients from across the age spectrum, from 23 years old to 89 years old. An internal review by Fresenius found that at 667 of their dialysis centers, there were at least 941 cases of patients suffering cardiac arrest during dialysis in 2010 alone. This information is what prompted the FDA recall last year.

In 2010, the Georgia Supreme Court struck down a law imposing a damage cap on non-compensatory damages in medical malpractice cases. Damage caps limit the amount of money that a patient can receive for non-economic losses caused by medical negligence. For example, if a jury determines that a victim has suffered $500,000 in pain and suffering but there is a damage cap of $350,000 in place, the victim cannot receive more than the $350,000.

Damage caps are an infringement on the right of medical malpractice victims to be fully compensated for the injuries and losses that they may suffer due to poor quality medical care. Unfortunately, these caps still exist around the country. Recent evidence suggests that when damage caps are put into place, they not only harm the patient who is unable to recover compensation but they also make the healthcare system worse for everyone.

Medical negligence is a serious problem, with some estimates suggesting 200,000 or more deaths each year because of preventable medical mistakes. Malpractice claims help to ensure that healthcare providers are held accountable in situations where they fail to provide professional care. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can provide assistance to those who wish to take legal action to pursue a claim for compensation after medical negligence occurs.

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