Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

The oath taken by health care providers begins, “First, do no harm.” But some doctors get this very, very wrong. medical malpractice attorney

Recently, a Florida car accident victim is accusing her surgeon of committing medical malpractice in West Palm Beach, saying she went into the hospital for spinal surgery, only to awaken from surgery and learn one of her healthy, fully functioning kidneys was removed unnecessarily. South Florida medical malpractice attorneys refer to these as “never events,” because there is no acceptable reason they should ever happen. Yet they do, and all too often.

The National Quality Forum, a non-profit organization comprised of professionals in healthcare, business and policy, lists 28 serious reportable adverse patient events including:

  • Surgery on the wrong body part;
  • Patient elopement/ wandering resulting in serious injury or death;
  • Maternal death or serious injury associated with a low-risk pregnancy while being cared for in a health care setting;
  • Serious patient injury or death associated with a fall while being cared for in a health care facility;
  • Pressure ulcers;
  • Unintended retention of a foreign object in a patient after surgery.

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You are likely aware that if a physician or other health care provider is negligent in providing medical care, patients have recourse in the form of a Florida medical malpractice lawsuit.Palm Beach birth injury lawyer

However, unlike typical negligence lawsuits, there are all kinds of special rules. For example, claims must first go through a mediation process. The “standard of care” for doctors is different than what is used in general negligence lawsuits. And then there are some cases where doctors can be totally immune from medical malpractice claims if there services were provided on a volunteer basis via F.S. 766.1115.

Volunteer Docs Enjoy Government Immunity

Essentially, if the doctor’s services are provided via contract to the state’s Department of Health free-of-charge as part of an initiative to ensure indigent patients receive care, those doctors have sovereign immunity protection and can’t be named as a defendant in medical malpractice claim connected to that care. Continue reading

Emergency medical services (EMS) professionals, which include both emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics are often the first responders on scene in the midst of a medical crisis, such as a Florida car accident, heart attack or serious personal injury. When they do their job right, countless lives are saved. However, if EMS negligence occurs, people affected may have grounds to sue the EMS worker and/ or that person’s employer (either a private company, government contractor or the government itself) for liability to pay damages.EMS injury attorney

The principles of EMS are essentially:

  • Early detection;
  • Early reporting;
  • Early response;
  • Good on-scene care;
  • Care in transit;
  • Transfer to definitive care (i.e., a hospital).

The purpose of EMS is to provide immediate medical care in the hopes of prolonging life, as well as providing individuals the means to promptly get definitive care when they need it. But as in so many other professions, events don’t always go as planned.  Continue reading

Aside from skin cancer, breast cancer in the U.S. the No. 1 most common type of cancer in women – regardless of race or ethnicity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports its the No. 1 cause of death from cancer among Hispanic women and the No. 2 cause of death from cancer among others. Here in Florida, nearly 16,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in a single year.medical malpractice attorney

That means treatments like radiation, chemotherapy and surgery (namely, mastectomy and breast reconstruction) are among the most commonly-performed in the state. Of women diagnosed with early state breast cancer, more than one-third undergo mastectomies. Among women with more advanced stage breast cancer, nearly 60 percent undergo mastectomy, according to the American Cancer Society. Mastectomies increased 36 percent between 2005 and 2013, according to the federal Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality, including a more than tripling of double mastectomies.

Fort Myers medical malpractice attorneys know there is a lot that can go wrong in any surgery, and it doesn’t necessarily mean negligence occurred. What we as medical malpractice attorneys must show is that the care received fell below the standard quality of care for that specialty and region. Product liability cases involving medical devices or implants must generally prove the product was defective and thus unreasonably dangerous, meaning there was a flaw in the design, manufacturing or marketing. (Marketing defects involve the manner in which the product was advertised or sold.) Every company within the chain of distribution can be held liable in a product liability case. Continue reading

The parents of a 25-year-old South Florida man who died after a seemingly routine IV line removal are suing for medical malpractice, alleging Palms West Hospital made a preventable medical error – and then tried to cover it up. That’s what’s been reported in the Broward-Palm Beach New Timesmedical malpractice

His mother told the newspaper that almost immediately after the line was pulled out, her son began clutching his chest, complaining he was unable to breathe. His oxygen levels fell dramatically and he began to convulse. The doctor who rushed in immediately asked the nurse if she’d just removed the central catheter. The man never regained consciousness after that, and died after his family agreed it was time to take him off life support.

The young man was in the hospital after relapsing into his addiction to opioids. Plaintiffs say the hospital tried to steer them away from staffers’ mistakes by telling them their son had died of “broken heart syndrome,” because of his guilt for relapsing. Of course, no such condition exists, and his family would later say this led them to suffer the pain of believing they were somehow responsible for not reassuring him of their steadfast support. They were not aware until the medical examiner listed his cause of death what had really happened: A burst of air entered his vein due to improper removal of a central line catheter. This was a preventable medical error, plaintiffs in this wrongful death action allege. Continue reading

A patient who suffered a leg amputation was recently awarded nearly $5 million in damages in a Florida medical malpractice lawsuit against a doctor he alleged was negligent in failing to act quickly, given his medical condition.

Failure of an on-call physician to timely and completely respond to a call of a patient in distress with a potentially serious condition could be grounds for medical malpractice. If you believe a doctor’s failure to properly treat your condition may have fallen outside the scope of the accepted standard for medical care, our South Florida medical malpractice attorneys may be able to assist.medical malpractice attorney

According to the Daily Business Review, jurors in Polk County delivered the verdict in favor of a plaintiff whose leg was amputated in 2013, when he was 61-years-old. Defendant was an on-call vascular surgeon at a hospital in Winter Haven who was allegedly negligent in treating plaintiff’s condition, which was acute lower-leg ischemia. Medical researchers characterize this condition as one that develops quickly when there is a sudden decrease of blood flow to a limb, resulting in a potential threat to the viability of that limb. Not only is one at risk for a possible amputation, patients are also at heightened risk of death  because the condition results in issues that impair both heart and liver function, in some cases releasing highly toxic free radicals that further compromise critically ill patients. Medscape notes that therapeutic choices in these situations are often few, usually requiring surgery.

In this case, before the 10th Judicial Circuit Court in Polk County, plaintiff alleged it was the surgeon’s delay in ordering the surgery – and not the underlying condition itself- that necessitated the removal of his leg.  Had the physician acted with the urgency plaintiff’s condition required, the amputation would not have been needed. Instead, plaintiff alleged his condition could have been treated with something called an embolectomy, which is the surgical removal of the emobolus or emboli, or the blockages affecting blood circulation. Continue reading

A circuit court judge in Miami-Dade has ruled damage caps in a Florida medical malpractice lawsuit are unconstitutional and can’t be applied even when plaintiff previously rejected a defendant’s offer to voluntarily arbitrate the matter. medical malpractice attorney

It should be pointed out that in two previous Florida cases – N. Broward Hosp. Dist.c v. Kalitan in 2017 and Estate of McCall v. U.S. in 2014 – that damage caps in medical malpractice lawsuits are unconstitutional, based largely on the unfounded assertion that costs of medical malpractice insurance were out-of-control and needed to be curbed to avoid doctors fleeing the state to work elsewhere. The issue in this case, Defranko v. Poole, was whether that was still applicable despite plaintiff’s rejection of the defense offer to arbitrate, as outlined in 766.207(7)(k) and 766.209(4)(a). The laws stipulate that when a plaintiff is successful at trial but refuses a defendant’s initial offer to voluntarily arbitrate, claims for non-economic damages are capped at $350,000.

Plaintiff in this case had taken the medical malpractice claim to trial and jurors awarded $500,000. The defendants sought to have that award reduced by $150,000, a motion plaintiffs opposed on the grounds it was a violation of the Florida Constitution’s equal protection clause (as was determined in the Katilan and McCall).

The judge for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court declined to impose the cap (first implemented 30 years ago), finding it to be outdated and also agreeing with plaintiffs’ assertion that it is in violation of Florida’s Constitution by allowing a damage award to be lowered with no regard as to the severity of one’s injury. Continue reading

When someone dies as the result of medical malpractice in Florida, state law unfortunately limits the types of damages that can be recovered – and by whom. Florida injury lawyers have long railed the restrictions on who may proceed with a medical malpractice claim in the event the patient dies – restrictions for which powerful medical industry lobbyists pushed hard.medical malpractice lawyer

The result is provisions of the Florida Wrongful Death Act that restrict plaintiffs in medical malpractice wrongful death cases to:

  • A child under the age of 25;
  • An adult child who is dependent on decedent for financial support;
  • A spouse;
  • A parent of a child under age 25.

Unless decedent has a surviving loved one who falls under these narrow parameters, there is legally no claim allowed under law. Further, if a decedent dies while a case is pending and doesn’t have a survivor in this category to step in as a plaintiff, the case will die with them and the negligent health care provider is never held to account. That is something that should bother everyone who potentially needs medical care in Florida because it means facilities and providers providing care that falls below baseline accepted medical standards may never have to answer for it, leaving them free to practice and profit without consequence. Unfortunately, the Florida Supreme Court has upheld this as a legitimate means of reducing medical insurance costs.  Continue reading

When a patient goes to see their primary care physician, a specialist, or goes into the emergency room for immediate care, they are relying upon the expertise of their respective medical providers to diagnose what is wrong with them, if the cause of the illness or other medical condition is not obvious, and to advise them of the proper course of treatment.

medical malpractice attorneyIn some cases, a doctor will say they will not know the full extent of the medical condition until they perform some type of exploratory surgery or diagnostic test, and then at that point will know the best course of treatment.  There is nothing wrong with this type of approach and it is often necessary to successfully treat a patient, or even save a patient’s life.  Continue reading

A hospital system in Alabama was granted a new trial following a jury verdict for $10 million in favor of a man who sued for medical malpractice over his infant son’s treatment. The primary cause for reversal, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled, was the trial court’s decision to allow prior acts and omissions by the hospital system defendant. These facts were not relevant to the case at hand, justices ruled, and were ultimately highly prejudicial to the defense. medical malpractice attorney

Although this is surely not the news plaintiff wanted to hear, it does not mean the case is lost. It means medical malpractice attorneys will need to be fully prepared to thoroughly establish a failure to meet the applicable standard of medical care this scenario necessitated.

According to court records, the child ultimately suffered from seizure disorder, blindness and deafness as a result of misdiagnosed bacterial meningitis. Research published by the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota revealed approximately 20 percent of patients who sought a second opinion at one of the country’s top medical providers learned they had been initially misdiagnosed by their primary care provider. Study authors noted that correct diagnosis can be difficult because there are some 10,000 diseases and only about 300 symptoms. Our medical malpractice attorneys in West Palm Beach recognize that a misdiagnosis in and of itself is not enough to bring a case. One must show with expert witness testimony and other evidence that the physician’s diagnosis failed to meet the accepted standard of care for his or her specialty, region and facility. Expert witnesses must be vetted and hold the same general credentials as the defendant doctor or healthcare provider. Continue reading