Articles Tagged with medical malpractice

“Never events,” according to the National Quality Forum, are those mistakes that occur during medical care that are:

  • Clearly identifiable;
  • Easily preventable;
  • Serious in their consequences for patients;
  • Indicate major problems in the safety and credibility of a health care center. medical malpractice

They include things likes mismatched blood transfusions, major medication errors, surgery on the wrong body part and pressure ulcers/ bedsores. They also include items, like surgical sponges, left inside a patient after surgery. Yet the Institute of Medicine estimates more than 100,000 such incidents occur annually, resulting in more deaths than car accidents and more than $9 billion in excess charges.

A recent analysis published in the New England Journal of Medicine details a case wherein a 42-year-old woman reported to a primary care center with bloating – only to discover in a CT scan that two gauze sponges had been left inside her abdomen from one of two (or both) prior C-section surgeries – one six years earlier and one nine years earlier. CNN reports she’d had no prior abdominal or pelvic surgeries.  Continue reading

Every year, hundreds of thousands of patients undergo surgery at one of the nation’s rapidly proliferating surgical centers (estimated to be somewhere between 5,600 to 7,000). In fact, these centers now surpass the number of hospitals, as U.S. regulators trying to lower health costs are green-lighting an expanding number of outpatient procedures. However, according to a new in-depth report from Kaiser Health News and USA Today, these centers are too often are ill-equipped to handle emergency complications. As a result, hundreds of patients have died as a result of “routine” surgeries, such as tonsillectomies and colonscopies. medical malpractice

No knows exactly how many deaths, illnesses and injuries happen at these centers because no one is required to keep track.

Although any surgery carries a risk and some centers boast top-of-the-line medical equipment and well-trained staffers, journalists uncovered dozens of cases where a lack of training or basic equipment found at most hospitals made a difference in patient outcomes.  Continue reading

An 80-year-old South Florida man was awarded $13 million after a botched cataract surgery that a jury concluded was the result of medical malpractice. medical malpractice

NBC-6 Miami reports jurors concluded the medical center where the surgery was conducted was liable in a case involving the negligence of an opthalmologist with whom the center contracted for routine eye surgeries. The surgery resulted in patient suffering total blindness in one eye.

As our medical malpractice attorneys in Miami can explain, normally medical centers (hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, etc.) aren’t vicariously liable for the negligence of independent contractors. Instead, they are only vicariously liable for the work of employees. While it must seem to many patients that doctors who work at these facilities work for them, more often than not, this isn’t the case. However, in this case, the jury determined the physician was an actual employee of the center, even though he was practicing on contract.

Vicarious liability stems from a legal doctrine of respondeat superior, which  is Latin for “let the master answer.” It means an employer can be liable for the negligent acts of employees who were acting in the course and scope of employment. It does not require proof that the facility itself did anything directly wrong, only that it employed the person who was negligent and that person was acting as an employee at the time the injury occurred. Continue reading

Injuries that occur in hospitals are mostly matters of medical malpractice, meaning they stem from substandard care provided by medical professionals. However, some hospital injuries are the result of general negligence (often due to unsafe conditions on the premises). Although hospitals are providers of care, they are also owners of property, with a duty of reasonable care under premises liability law to the general public who enter. medical malpractice

This distinction is clear in some cases. For example, a visitor slips-and-falls in a just-mopped hospital lobby that isn’t marked with a sign. Clearly, that incident isn’t a matter of medical malpractice; the visitor wasn’t even being treated. However, when it comes to patients – current, prospective or leaving – the waters can get muddied.

It’s an important distinction to make because the proof burden for these two types of cases is very different. For general negligence cases, one must simply prove defendant owed a duty of care, that duty was breached and the breach resulted in an accident that caused injuries. However, Florida medical malpractice cases, per F.S. 766.102, require claimants to prove by the greater weight of evidence that alleged actions of health care provider(s) breached the prevailing professional standard of care for that health provider. This considers whether the level of care, skill and treatment in light of all surrounding circumstances is deemed acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar health care providers. In order to do this, one must present a qualified expert medical witness testimony – and that’s long before one ever gets to the trial phase. There is also the matter of the statute of limitations (the time in which one has to file a case). In Florida, general negligence claims can be filed within four years. Medical malpractice claims have to be filed within two years.  Continue reading