Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

The future of medicine is here! (Well, actually, it’s somewhere else. And in reality, it’s been around for about a decade.) It’s called remote telemedicine, and it is rising in popularity in Florida intensive care units, referred to there as eICUs. Concern among patient safety advocates and St. Lucie medical malpractice lawyers has grown as evidence mounts indicating eICUs aren’t always associated with the “amazing” level of care they promise.St. Lucie medical malpractice attorney

Florida Today recently published an article penned by a representative of Health First hospital system touting its digital monitoring unit as one of the region’s”best-kept healthcare secrets.” The writer gushes that VitalWatch ICU offers “an additional layer of protection” for severely ill patients at four hospitals along the Space Coast, with critical care doctors and nurses at headquarters monitoring ICU patients hundreds of miles away via a secure, live transmission of electronic vital signs and audio/ visual feeds. The benefit for these patients was highest on the overnight shifts, where specialist resources are often spread thin.

The article does not make mention of how many physicians are actually on the floor or whether the system has cut back onsite staffing on its eICU floors. St. Lucie medical malpractice lawyers have concerns the whole system isn’t as fail-safe as the writer indicates.  For an ICU patient, a lapse of even just a few minutes can lead to devastating and possibly fatal consequences.  Continue reading

A surgeon who for 40 years fixed broken hearts as a cardiologist is now in a vegetative state, according to a Palm Beach medical malpractice lawsuit. The claim alleges the doctor’s former employer, JFK Medical Center in Atlantis is liable for a series of medical mistakes – starting with an egregious medication error – that nearly killed the active, energetic 74-year-old. Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyers know this case underscores the fact that if even a distinguished member of this hospital’s own staff is at risk for medical errors, imagine how common they must be for so many of the rest of us.Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyer

Research by patient safety experts at Johns Hopkins in 2016 revealed medical errors are the No. 3 cause of death in the U.S. Unfortunately, most of those incidents go unchecked because health care providers rarely come out and admit they were wrong. It’s up to families and survivors to initiate their own investigation, which is especially tough if they themselves don’t have a medical or legal background. Talking with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Palm Beach will help give you a better sense of your options.

A newer study published in the journal Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy found that medication errors by health care providers are a leading cause of death, with the most common type of errors being:

  • Omission of medicine.
  • Wrong dose/ strength of medicine.
  • Wrong kind of medicine.

It’s important if one has any suspicion a loved one may have suffered severe injury or death as a result of a medication error to discuss these concerns with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in South Florida. Continue reading

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