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Category Archives: Medical Malpractice

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How to Find the Best Medical Malpractice Lawyers: 7 Surefire Tips

As many as 200,000 deaths take place every year as a result of medical accidents. That number, for many, represents a horrifying reality.

When we approach doctors, nurses, and surgeons our hope is to leverage their knowledge to help us improve our well-being. Unfortunately, that’s not always what ends up happening.

If you or somebody you know has suffered due to the negligence of sub-par care provided by a medical institution, you may be seeking out a medical malpractice attorney to help find you compensation for your losses.

Since the process of finding the best medical malpractice lawyers can be cumbersome, our team has put together a brief list below that should aid in your ability to find the perfect attorney.

1. Leverage Online Lawyer Finding Tools

When it comes to finding qualified attorneys, leveraging the internet is your best friend. The only issue is that there are a virtually unlimited amount of platforms out there that claim to be useful when hunting down quality legal services.

Our recommendation is to use our tools at Halt.org which specializes solely in matching clients to legal professionals that are especially qualified to take on their cases.

There are thousands of attorneys listed in our directory right now, so search with confidence to dig up some potential leads!

2. Get an Estimate of How Long Your Case Might Take

Depending on the complexity of your case and the existing caseload of the best malpractice lawyer you’re thinking of taking on, the amount of time it will take before you get your settlement can vary.

While it can be difficult to put a specific timetable to how long you can expect before your case is settled, getting an estimate from your attorney can be helpful in deciding whether or not to do business with them.

Attorneys should be able to give you a ballpark estimate on how long it will take for your case to be resolved based on dealing with similar cases. Any lawyer who is unwilling to give you an estimate may not be worth hiring.

3. Ask If You’ll Be Required to Accept a Settlement

It many cases, attorneys are interested in settling your case out of court as quickly as possible. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Settling quickly means you and them getting paid as soon as possible. It also means that you can avoid the uncertainty that surrounds a trial.

Still, you may be presented with a settlement offer that you’re not willing to accept. If that occurs, will your attorney yield to your wishes?

Understanding whether or not your attorney is willing to go to court if you find settlements to be sub-standard is important before bringing them on.

4. Assess Experience with Medical Malpractice Cases

By this point, you should have a shortlist of medical malpractice attorneys you’re open to working with. The next step in your process of hiring the right one will be to interview them.

You can either go straight to booking an appointment to meet your prospective attorney in-person or conduct a pre-interview over the phone.

No matter how you talk to your attorney, be sure to have them describe their experience dealing with cases like yours. Malpractice attorneys should be well versed in the medical field and should have extensive experience winning cases similar to the one you’re attempting to win.

If your attorney seems unconfident in their ability to win your case, keep searching.

Patients should understand their rights. Well, how is a patient to know if the person handling their medical data is authorized to do so under HIPAA? The fact that 7 out of 10 patients having knowledge of their rights under HIPAA may appear like a good record but only if all exercised their right. The most important fact is that there is the HITECH Act signed into law in 2009 to encourage the use of technology with health information and records and to allow penalties to be given for non-compliance with the HIPAA.

5. Ask If They Would Be Able to Produce Expert Medical Testimony

Many medical malpractice suits end up going to trial. When that happens, it’s imperative that attorneys are able to produce expert witnesses who can break down in laymen terms to judges and juries medical standards and where your physician failed you.

This expert testimony typically comes from a physician or a medical professor.

Get an understanding of who your attorney might call in to support your case in the way of expert testimony so you can feel certain that they’re well prepared to defend your case.

6. Consider Fee Structures

At the end of the day, no matter how good your attorney is, if you can’t afford them you can’t hire them. The good news is that many of the best medical malpractice lawyers work on a contingency basis.

What that means is that they take a percentage of whatever earnings they win you during your court case.

Contingency fees can vary widely but typically sit somewhere between 20% and 50%.

7. Make Sure Your Lawyer Seems Vested

As we mentioned previously, most medical malpractice cases will go to court. This starkly contrasts personal injury cases which have a tendency to settle before anyone needs to step foot in front of a judge (if you’ve suffered a personal injury, learn more about your options on this blog).

Given that the road to getting a favorable verdict in your case may be a long one, you’ll want to make sure that you feel comfortable working with your lawyer and that they seem vested in leading your case until the very end.

Remember, if a lawyer seems wishy-washy when you first meet, that disposition will only get worse as the weeks and months go by.

Wrapping Up How to Find the Best Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Finding the best medical malpractice lawyers can be an exercise in patience. First, you have to search both online and offline to create your list of prospects. Then, you have to be tedious in your assessment of the value they can bring to your case.

The more time you take upfront to find a quality lawyer though, the more likely you’ll be to walk out with a favorable settlement!

Navigating the legal niche can be tricky. Because of that our team at Halt Lawyer Directory aims to make things easier by providing you with professional-grade legal content and a directory that hosts the best lawyers from all over the country.

Read more from our blog or start your search for a qualified malpractice attorney with our tools today!

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Can You Sue for Bad Plastic Surgery Results? Here’s What You Need to Know

Plastic surgery patients are getting younger every year. With everybody and their Teen Mom getting lifted and tucked on social media, the average age of female patients has dwindled to a new low of 39 years old. There’s even a trend of parents funding procedures for their children as an incentive for graduating from college.

Meanwhile, the money spent is growing. The plastic surgery industry rakes in over $16 billion a year, and it’s not all from celebrities. As it becomes more convenient and less painful, more normal people are getting work done.

And more people are regretting it.

A study in the UK shows that 65% of women regret getting plastic surgery and most aren’t happy with the results. Even supermodel Gisele confessed her misgivings over altering her appearance.

If you find yourself among those regretting bad plastic surgery, you may be able to take legal action.

Differences Between Elective and Restorative Plastic Surgery

There are two types of plastic surgery: elective plastic surgery and restorative. The distinction can impact your ability to win or even file a lawsuit.

Elective Cosmetic Surgery

Elective cosmetic surgery is exactly that. It’s a voluntary procedure to improve the patient’s appearance. While the patient might think plastic surgery is vital to mental health, the law doesn’t agree.

The most common elective surgery is breast augmentation. Liposuction, tummy tucks, nose jobs, and face and neck lifts are also popular. They range in price, from several thousand dollars to over $12,000, and they also range in level of assumed risk.

The Brazilian butt lift is among the most dangerous procedures. Popularized by the pursuit of the cartoonish proportions of the Kardashian set, it uses fat transfers to reshape the buttocks.

The Florida Health Department charged a Miami doctor with malpractice after the death of one of his patients. When performing a butt lift, he accidentally injected fat into a deep gluteal vein. She went into a coma and died shortly after.

Restorative Plastic Surgery

Restorative or reconstructive, plastic surgery corrects disfigurement due to injury or illness. Breast reconstruction, scar treatments, burn care, cleft palate repair, even hand transplants fall under the umbrella of restorative plastic surgery.

Because it’s deemed necessary, restorative surgery is often covered by health insurance. As such, it has stricter requirements and carries fewer risks of unqualified care.

What Constitutes Malpractice?

When you talk about a cosmetic surgery lawsuit, what you’re actually referring to is a medical malpractice lawsuit. There are entire law firms dedicated to medical malpractice, like Silberstein, Awad & Miklos.

The three main characteristics of malpractice include an established doctor-patient relationship, a breach of the standard of care, and ensuing harm is done to the patient. Most malpractice cases against plastic surgeons hinge on a breach of medical standards.

Due to the nature of plastic surgery fads, many unqualified practices pop up trying to capitalize on the current craze. If the practice fails to provide informed consent in their haste to make easy money, that negligence can be grounds for malpractice.

Informed consent involves explaining all risks and possible side effects before surgery begins. Taking a patient’s medical history, including drug interactions or previous surgeries, into consideration is critical.

Unsanitary operating spaces and practices also affect the standard of care. A surgeon might perform the procedure on the wrong body part or on the wrong patient. He might leave objects inside the patient by accident.

Improper administration of anesthesia is another practitioner error worth suing for.

Obstructions to Winning

Even with an argument for malpractice, the specialized nature of cosmetic surgery lawsuits can make them difficult to win. The injury is sometimes more esoteric than physical. Issues like body dysmorphia make it even more complicated.

Then there’s the added caveat of securing an expert witness. Someone experienced in the field and familiar with the procedure gone wrong will have to testify to establish the standard of care. In some states, your attorney will have to file a sworn affidavit.

There’s also a statute of limitations on plastic surgery lawsuit cases. It can be as short as two years, depending on where you live.

Burden of Proof

The burden is on the patient to demonstrate that damage has been done as a result of the operation. Proving that the plastic surgery results are injurious and not just ugly is hard. Things like MRSA infections or complications from anesthesia or even nerve damage are concrete examples of harm.

Plastic surgery is so expensive that it’s easy for patients to feel wronged by mixed results. They believe, as customers, that they should get their money’s worth, like going back after a bad haircut and demanding a fix.

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple, and a lawsuit may not be the venue for validating those frustrations.

Hung Up Jury

Because plastic surgery is not life or death, it’s easy for a jury to get hung up on the fact that the patient volunteered to have surgery. The choice to have your body cut open and then suffer through recovery is a polarizing concept.

Nobody needs a breast augmentation, so why punish the surgeon?

Why feel sorry for someone who can afford to be so narcissistic?

Something innate causes jurors to bristle at and punish plastic surgery patients. They assume they’re shallow or too lazy to lose weight, even if those things are not true. Some jurors would never even consider plastic surgery, which further colors their opinion.

In cases where that bias is overcome, patients sometimes still don’t win what they could have. The awarded damages end up being lower than other comparable medical malpractice compensation. The jury thinks the patient is partly liable for assuming the risk of surgery.

Can You Make a Case for Bad Plastic Surgery?

Are you a victim of bad plastic surgery? Are you one of the many regretting your choice? If your surgery didn’t go as planned because of malpractice, you might have a valid lawsuit.

Finding a malpractice lawyer to take your case is the first step.

We can help you get started! Contact us with questions or search our online attorney directory.

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All You Need To Know About Dealing with Medical Malpractice

When doctors commit medical mistakes, they will subject their patients to various problems.  This will include increased feelings of frustration, pain, suffering, injuries, time away from their work, additional expenses, physical disfigurement, and in the worst case – death.  Sadly, medical mistakes or medical malpractice occurs each day. In fact, according to statistics, three-quarters of all physicians in low-risk specializations will have experienced lawsuits by the time they reach the age of 65.

Given the emotional distress associated with medical malpractice lawsuits, the majority of health personnel end up suffering from a condition known as Medical Malpractice Stress Syndrome or MMSS.  This article provides information on the causes of MMSS while offering recommendations on ways of managing it.

What Are The Causes Of Medical Malpractice Stress Syndrome?

At its most simplistic level, the primary cause of any medical malpractice stress syndrome is being sued.  Nonetheless, this type of malpractice lawsuit has various elements causing it to be one of the major stressors and depressants in any physician’s life.  Ideally, the lawsuits affect the most vital aspects of a doctor’s identify, which is their careers.

A doctor facing lawsuits regarding medical malpractice will question the physician’s self-worth and competency.  The lawsuit brings about a great deal of self-doubt and shame. In fact, the majority of the affected physician’s prefer to isolate themselves; thereby, avoiding judgement by colleagues or even their family members.  Some of the behavior physicians experiencing these emotions will turn to includes arriving late to meetings, avoiding interaction, and using the elevator instead of the stairs.

If you notice any change in your doctor’s behavior in this way, it does not mean he is dealing with a small amount of stress.  The chances are likely that these are outward manifestations of the medical malpractice stress syndrome affecting him.

The Different Ways To Manage Medical Malpractice Stress Syndrome

1.  Finding A Support System

Even a doctor will have one friend that they are able to go to with their problems.  During these times, it is recommended that you approach your personal doctor and ask for medical help.  This is especially important if the case interferes with your personal relationships or work. On the other hand, you can search for support groups that share your problems.  Using support groups, you will have additional emotional support when undergoing the legal procedure.

2.  Speaking To Your Lawyer

According to medical malpractice lawyers, Thomas Law Offices, you should consult the best medical malpractice attorneys to obtain legal advice and assistance before you do anything else.  It is vital that you engage in the legal procedure as this can assist you in feeling more in control of the lawsuit. Adhering to the instructions provided by a medical malpractice will ensure that you can build a stronger case by gathering all necessary documents to support your argument.

3.  Reflecting On All Achievements

You should not allow one medical mistake to define your professional life.  Unless restricted by the court, you should continue to practice, but perform procedures with greater caution.  Whenever you are feeling upset, you should take a few minutes and consider all your medical achievements. Remind yourself how far you have come and this should keep all negative thoughts away.

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Stevens-Johnson Syndrome: Do You Have a Medical Malpractice Case?

What is Stevens-Johnson syndrome?

Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and the related condition toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) are serious and potentially life-threatening disorders that can affect your skin and the moist inner lining of certain organs.

SJS/TEN are rare skin reactions, but when they occur, they are considered medical emergencies and usually require hospitalization. These two conditions exist on a spectrum. While SJS is indeed a serious medical emergency, TEN is even more severe and life-threatening.

Flu-like symptoms – fatigue, fever, sore mouth and throat, cough, and burning eyes – are usually the first signs of SJS/TEN. Skin-related symptoms occur later. A painful reddish-purple rash spreads and turns into blisters. These blisters can appear on the lining of the mouth, nose, eyes, and genitals.

After blistering, the outer layer of skin dies, peels, and eventually heals. The extent of skin involvement distinguishes SJS from TEN:

  • SJS is a skin peeling on 10% or less of the body.
  • SJS & TEN overlap and are defined as skin peeling on 10-30% of the body.
  • TEN is defined as skin peeling on more than 30% of the body.

SJS/TEN can occur at any age, but most frequently affects children and young adults (ages 20-40 years old). People with history of bone marrow transplants, systemic lupus erythematous (SLE), or chronic joint diseases are at increased risk of developing the condition.

What are the expected outcomes for someone with SJS/TEN?

In the short term, SJS/TEN can be debilitating and painful. Sores on the linings of the mouth, throat, genitals, and eyes can make normal bodily functions difficult. For example, it can be difficult for affected individuals to eat or close their mouths. Their eyes can become swollen shut. Sores in the lining of the digestive and respiratory tracts can cause diarrhea, pneumonia, and make it difficult to breathe.

Because skin loss is a primary characteristic of SJS and TEN, subsequent fluid loss, organ failure, and infection are significant concerns.

SJS and TEN are short-term conditions, but they can cause lasting, chronic effects. After recovery, a person may have to cope with difficult and expensive health outcomes for the rest of their lives:

  • Infections like cellulitis (skin infection) and sepsis (potentially fatal bloodstream infection)
  • Damage to the cornea, possibly resulting in loss of vision
  • Respiratory disorders like acute respiratory failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Permanent skin damage (bumps, pigmentation, abnormal nail growth, itching, sweating, and dryness)

Unfortunately, some people who develop SJS/TEN do not survive the condition and related complications. The death rate associated with SJS is 5%. The death rate associated with TEN is up to 25% in adults and less than 10% in children.

What causes SJS/TEN?

Seventy-five percent of SJS/TEN cases are caused by medications, while 25% are caused by certain conditions, infections, or have an unknown cause (idiopathic SJS/TEN). Despite these statistics, the likelihood of developing SJS/TEN is typically due to a combination of genetic, environmental, and immunological factors. Certain groups of people are more likely to develop SJS/TEN:

  • HIV-positive
  • Weakened immune system
  • Personal history or family history of SJS/TEN
  • Belonging to an ethnic group that carries the HLA-B 1502 gene (e.g., Chinese, Southeast Asian, Indian)

Infections that have been known to precipitate SJS/TEN include:

  • Herpes simplex (genital herpes or cold sores) or herpes zoster (shingles)
  • Pneumonia
  • HIV
  • Hepatitis A

Other conditions that could cause SJS/TEN include graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and some vaccinations.

Antibiotics like penicillin are the most common medication triggers of SJS/TEN, but there are several other medications that can cause the disease:

  • Anti-gout medications like allopurinol
  • Anticonvulsants like phenytoin (Dilantin), carbamazepine (Tegretol), lamotrigine (Lamictal), valproic acid (Depakote) and phenobarbital
  • Antipsychotics
  • Cough and cold medications
  • Nevirapine, an HIV drug
  • NSAIDs, especially those that end with -oxicam

What does treatment of SJS/TEN involve?

SJS/TEN treatment is intense and expensive. Almost always, a person who develops either condition will be hospitalized.

First, the doctor will discontinue all non-essential medications to try to determine the cause. The core of treatment will consist of wound care to prevent infections, eye care, and fluid replacement. Pain medications, anti-inflammatory drugs, and antibiotics may also be required.

Expensive medications and procedures may also be necessary:

  • A medication called cyclosporine may help shorten the duration of blistering.
  • Immune globulins can help block antibodies to prevent additional damage.
  • A plasma exchange may help remove substances from the blood that may have caused SJS/TEN.

Beyond the burdensome length of hospitalization, the type of care the affected person requires also adds to the expense. Because of the nature of SJS/TEN, the patient will need a specialist doctor and placement in an intensive care unit (ICU) and/or burn unit. Skin regrowth can take 2-3 weeks, but full recovery may not be complete for months.

Do I have a medical malpractice case?

Families who have been impacted by Stevens-Johnson syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis unfortunately understand how dire circumstances can become. Without prompt, emergent treatment, people who develop SJS or TEN may not have the opportunity to recover completely or at all.

Furthermore, the short-term and long-term expenses of caring for someone who has experienced SJS or TEN can be prohibitive.

If you’re wondering whether you have a medical malpractice case, the medical malpractice lawyers at Hampton & King can help.  Contact them today at (713) 489-0993 for a free consultation.

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Word From the Experts: How a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Works

Losing a loved one in a serious accident is one of the most traumatic experiences you can suffer.

Nothing can erase the pain, but there’s a legal solution to getting monetary compensation if someone else caused the accident.

When someone’s death occurs at the fault of another party (such as a car maker), their family members can sue for wrongful death. Such a case seeks damages for the loss incurred by the deceased’s dependants, like lost companionship, lost earnings, and funeral expenses.

Here’s an overview on how a wrongful death lawsuit works. You’ll find out what it is, the common causes, who can bring a wrongful death suit, and how to bring a wrongful death suit.

What’s a Wrongful Death Suit?

Representatives of the victim file a wrongful death suit when someone dies due to the wrongful or negligent act of another individual. In the case of a negligent or intentional homicide, the prosecutor can bring charges and start a criminal case against the party responsible.

However, the deceased’s family also has a civil option in bringing a wrongful death case against the party at fault for the death.

The deceased’s family can recover various damages. Some of these damages include the deceased’s pain and suffering before death, medical bills, and lost wages. A jury may also award compensation for the loss of financial assistance and companionship from the deceased.

What Makes up a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In any wrongful death case, the family of the deceased can bring a case that the death was due to the defendant’s actions. To have a successful wrongful death case, the deceased’s family must show:

  • That the defendant caused the victim’s death
  • The defendant was negligent, reckless, or intentionally caused the death of the victim, or that the accused was strictly liable in causing the victim’s death
  • There are surviving dependents and beneficiaries
  • The surviving dependents and beneficiaries have suffered financial loss after the victim’s death

Common Causes of Wrongful Death

Lawyers that focus on wrongful death lawsuits and claims are usually involved in various cases with familiar causes, such as:

  • Birth injuries
  • Medical malpractice
  • Product defects
  • Motorcycle, automobile, or truck accidents
  • Premises accidents
  • Occupational hazards and exposure
  • Assisted living and nursing home abuse and neglect
  • Criminal actions like stabbings, shootings, and blatant violence
  • Supervised activities like field trips, day care, and adult care

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit

A representative of the deceased’s family must bring forth a wrongful death case. In most cases, it’s the executor of the deceased’s estate who files the claim.

The deceased’s beneficiaries and dependants vary with states, so read more here.

Immediate Family Members

Immediate family members such as spouses, kids, and parents of singletons can file wrongful death suits in all states.

Distant Family Members

In some states, distant relatives like siblings and grandparents can file wrongful death claims.

For instance, a grandparent who’s looking after a child can sue for wrongful death.

Parents of a Dead Fetus

Some states allow parents to file a wrongful death suit if their fetus dies. Several other states don’t allow this. In those states, parents can only sue for wrongful death if the child was born alive and died shortly thereafter.

Life Partners, Putative Spouses, and Financial Dependents

In some states, a life or domestic partner, a putative spouse (someone who strongly believed they were in a marriage with the deceased), or a financial dependant can file a claim.

All People Who Suffer Financially

In some states, everyone who suffers financially due to the death can file a wrongful death case for lost support or care. This applies even if they aren’t related to the victim by blood or marriage.

What’s Statute of Limitations

Learning the statute of limitations in your state is an important step when filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Each state has its own time limits within which someone can bring a wrongful death suit.

For example:

  • The statute of limitations in Florida is two years from when the death occurred.
  • The statute of limitations is also two years in California.
  • The statute of limitations in Montana is three years.

In some cases, the wrongful death statute of limitations takes effect from the date of the death while in others it’ll take effect on “discovery of harm”.

For instance, if a doctor fails to diagnose cancer and the error isn’t discovered for years, the statute of limitations might not begin until the patient discovers cancer.

If your state’s statute of limitations has run out, then, unfortunately, you won’t be able to file a wrongful death suit.

How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

At first, your lawyer might try to settle your case by demanding compensation from the defendant. If your case isn’t settled here, your next move is to file a certain document known as a complaint to get the wrongful death case started.

The plaintiff is the individual filing the lawsuit while the defendant is the person hit with the lawsuit. The complaint gives the reasons why the defendant is being sued by the plaintiff. It also states the law supporting the plaintiff’s case and what damages are being demanded by the plaintiff.

A third party serves the complaint to the defendant.

The defendant has a specific time to respond to the complaint, like 20-30 days. This response is normally known as an answer. The reply states the defendant’s defense against the plaintiff’s claim and aims to get the plaintiff’s claim dismissed.

Hire an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney Today

If your loved one died due to another company’s or person’s negligence or wrongful actions, you should hire a local wrongful death attorney.

With more than 300 law firms across the country, Halt Lawyer Directory is the best resource for finding the right attorney for your needs.

For more legal information and advice about a wrongful death lawsuit or other cases, be sure to browse through our blog.

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Are You a Victim of Medical Malpractice? Here’s What to Do

A recent John Hopkins study has found that a shocking 250,000 people in the US die every year due to medical malpractice. It is the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer.

If you or a loved one has fallen victim to malpractice, here are few things that you need to do, to seek legal assistance.

1. Document Everything

It’s possible for records to get lost so it’s important that you record everything that happens to you.

Document important conversations that you had with your healthcare providers, and anything else you think that an attorney may need to know like date, times, and names of doctors and nurses.

This will help your case move forward a lot faster.

2. Request Your Medical Records

Medical records from your health care provider will be key evidence in for your case. You have the rights to get these records, and you shouldn’t have to give a reason for why you want them.

If anyone makes it difficult to retrieve your records, contact an experienced lawyer, such as those that work at the Decker Law Firm.

Review the records to make sure they are complete. They can be retrieved by giving the patient’s name of the records department of where they received their care.

3. Ask Questions

You have the right to know what’s going on with your health and body. Don’t be afraid to ask the nurses and doctors questions regarding your care.

Be direct and ask questions like “What’s going on?” or “Why is this happening?” They legally have to answer you.

4. Ask for an Investigation

In some cases, if the situation is serious enough, you can request an investigation of the healthcare facility.

The hospital most likely won’t share or publicize their findings so it might not benefit you in a way that you would like but, it can raise awareness about your case and you could get an explanation from the risk manager.

It might not help settle your malpractice case, but it will give you some peace of mind.

5. Hire A Lawyer Who Specializes in Medical Malpractice

Once you’ve done these necessary steps, it’s time to call a malpractice lawyer. If you don’t know a malpractice lawyer, call an attorney you trust for a referral.

A malpractice lawyer can tell you if you have a case, and also if it’s worth pursuing. It’s a long and complicated process, so in some cases, it might not be.

Often these lawyers will offer a free consultation to talk about your claim and offer you advice.

What To Do in the Case of Medical Malpractice

Thousands of Americans fall victim to medical malpractice every year. It’s important to take the initial steps before consulting an attorney so you can gather the necessary documents for the case. The attorney can tell you from there if it’s worth pursuing. The best thing is to take a deep breath and keep a clear mind.

Check out our blog for more information to help you get the money you’re entitled to!

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What Price is the American Public Paying for the Sake of Advancing Medical Science

Over the course of the last several days, there has been a flurry of discussion regarding Netflix’s latest documentary, The Bleeding Edge. Much like its predecessors (Making a Murderer, The Keepers, Evil Genius), this hour and forty-minute film (directed by Kirby Dick and produced by Amy Ziering) takes a very raw and uncensored look at the $300 billion medical device industry and how, every year, thousands of innocent people fall victim to its profit-driven agenda; begging the ultimate question, what price is the American public paying for the sake of advancing medical science?

Sadly, The Bleeding Edge is rife with examples of the price Americans are paying for the sake of advancing medical science. Interviews with women having received the Essure permanent birth control device reveal how over 35,000 women have had their lives reduced to chronic pain, autoimmune disorders, and hysterectomies as a result of Bayer’s failure to report the side effects associated with its device. Individuals having received metal hip implants discuss their development of cobalt chromium metal poisoning and the related onset of debilitating neurological deficits. Other women detail the multiple and painful surgeries they have undergone in an attempt to remove the vaginal mesh strangulating their bodies, which had originally been used to help stabilize and reinforce weakened pelvic muscles often caused by childbirth and aging. Even more women discuss how sections of their colon exploded from their bodies following their surgeons’ use of the robotic, da Vinci System.

For years, industry has pushed this idea that newer is better and that new and “innovative” medical devices put us on the “cutting edge” of science. However, The Bleeding Edge most accurately dispels this myth, delving into the world of medical devices, exposing the stark reality of how industry’s push for “innovation,” coupled with a lax regulatory system, actually puts us on The Bleeding Edge of science, as every time a patient agrees to the implantation of a medical device, he or she is unknowingly subjecting his or herself to unimaginable harm, or even death.

THE MEDICAL DEVICE INDUSTRY IS ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL INDUSTRIES IN THE WORLD

Over the last ten years, 70 million Americans have been implanted with a medical device. These devices are a part of our everyday lives, ranging from dental floss and tongue depressors, to pace makers and catheters. Stryker, one of the leading manufacturers of hip and knee replacement components had a net revenue of $12.7 billion in 2017. Bayer, the manufacturer of several contraceptive devices, including, Mirena and Essure, made well over $40 billion in revenue, and Johnson & Johnson, a manufacturer of vaginal and hernia mesh made over $76 billion in revenue in 2017. The profit margin of the medical device industry is frightening in that it has afforded these companies the opportunity to infiltrate our lives under the guise of medical advancement, all the while exposing us to perilous harm.

THE PROCESS BY WHICH THE FDA APPROVES MEDICAL DEVICES IS SIGNIFICANTLY OUTDATED

The Bleeding Edge highlights the misconception under which many Americans operate – that their medical device has been adequately tested and deemed safe and effective for use by the FDA. Since 1976, it has been the responsibility of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate the approval of medical devices. However, since 1976, the complexity, type, and number of medical devices has vastly increased, but whether they are released for public use is still based on a system created over 40 years ago; one clearly incapable of contemplating today’s technology.

98% of all medical devices are not tested prior to approval. Rather, manufacturers are able to acquire approval of medical devices by the system known as the 510(K) process. To obtain approval under the 510(K) process, a manufacturer is only required to show that its device is substantially similar to another (predicate) device that was previously approved by the FDA; absolutely zero safety testing is required. This is true even if the predicate device was taken off the market for safety concerns. Per the FDA, in considering a 510(K) application, it does not check the predicate device for safety issues, or to see if it has been removed from the market; it only looks to confirm that it was actually approved by the FDA. Consequently, much like a genetic mutation, approving a product that is based on the design of a device that has been found to be unsafe, promotes the production of faulty devices in generations to come.       

WE CAN NO LONGER RELY ON THE MEDICAL DEVICE COMPANIES AND THE FDA TO DO WHAT IS IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF PATIENTS

Even more, The Bleeding Edge calls attention to the seemingly biased and corrupt workings of the FDA. FDA officials and physicians charged with the responsibility of determining whether a device should be approved, more often than not, have stock or other monetary interests in those exact devices before them for approval. For example, prior to Dr. Scott Gottlieb (current FDA Commissioner) being appointed commissioner, he not only worked as a consultant to a range of medical industries, but he worked for a venture capitalist firm, New Enterprise Associates, that specialized in the investment of startup medical device companies, which has invested $14 billion in over 500 companies, including the development of the very controversial permanent birth control device, Essure.

MEDICAL DEVICE MANUFACTURERS ARE NOT HELD ACCOUNTABLE

Another misconception addressed by The Bleeding Edge is that the FDA has the data it needs to regulate or recall medical devices. Some safety issues with a device do not become apparent until after the device is already on the market. In these instances, a manufacturer has an absolute obligation to monitor and report such safety issues (adverse events) to the FDA. If enough adverse events are reported for a particular device, the FDA will then decide if the device needs: further safety testing; stronger warnings; or to be pulled from the market altogether. However, if the FDA is unaware of the adverse events, it cannot make the decisions necessary to protect us. The disturbing and unfortunate reality of the situation is that only 3-4% of adverse events are reported by device manufacturers, and the more severe an event, the less likely it is to be reported. Thus, the whole idea of the FDA relying on a company to essentially “tell on itself” when something goes wrong with a device, when billions of dollars of profits are at stake, is not only counter intuitive, but a system that completely fails the American people.

Leaders in industry argue that to impose stricter regulations on how medical devices are approved, is to stifle innovation. However, as Bleeding Edge explains, the aim of regulation is not to stifle innovation, but to call real attention to the safety risks that these newer and “innovative” devices pose to patients. After all, innovation doesn’t necessarily mean better. It means “massive adoption of new technology with little evaluation of the outcomes”, or “putting untested devices on the market.”

HOW THE YOST LEGAL GROUP CAN HELP

For years the attorneys at The Yost Legal Group have litigated cases against device and drug manufacturers all in an effort to not only bring awareness to the same issues addressed by The Bleeding Edge, but to hold those same manufacturers accountable for the devastating injuries they have caused our clients. Presently, our firm is involved in the following litigations against various device and drug manufacturers.

  • ESSURE PERMANENT BIRTH CONTROL: Currently investigating cases against Bayer, involving women who have had to have a hysterectomy following their implantation of the permanent birth control device, Essure.
  • HERNIA MESH:  Currently investigating claims against several manufacturers, including Johnson & Johnson, C.R. Bard, and Atrium Medical, on behalf of individuals having suffered serious complications from synthetic mesh implanted during hernia repair surgery.
  • IVC BLOOD CLOT FILTERS: Currently investigating cases against device manufacturers, C. R. Bard, Cook Medical, and Cordis, involving individuals having suffered serious side effects, including death, following their implantation of an IVC blood clot filter.
  • SMITH & NEPHEW HIPS: Currently investigating cases against Smith & Nephew, involving individuals who have had to have additional hip replacement surgeries following their implantation of the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) System, or the R3 Acetabular System, both of which have multiple components made of cobalt chromium metal.
  • STRYKER LFIT V40: Currently investigating claims against Stryker, on behalf of individuals who have had to have additional hip replacement surgeries following their implantation of the Stryker Rejuvenate Modular Primary Hip System, the AGB II Modular Hip System, or the LFIT V40 femoral head, all of which contain metal on metal components.
  • MIRENA IUD: Currently investigating cases against Bayer involving women who have been diagnosed with intracranial hypertension following their implantation of the intrauterine device (“IUD”), Mirena.
  • DIABETES MEDICATIONS (Januvia, Janumet, Tradjenta, Byetta, Victoza, Onglyza, etc.): Currently investigating claims against various manufacturers, on behalf of individuals having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer following their use of medications belonging to a class of drugs known as incretins (Januvia, Janumet, Tradjenta, Byetta, Victoza, Onglyza, etc.), prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes.  

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a faulty medical device or defective drug, The Yost Legal Group may be able to help.  Our team of experienced legal professionals is here to offer you free, individual consultation. We serve as the voice of our clients to hold Big Pharma accountable and obtain the justice each one so rightfully deserves. Call The Yost Legal Group (1-800-YOST-LAW) today. Let us be your voice.

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Is Nursing Home Abuse Considered Medical Malpractice?

Helping our loved ones transition to the next stage of their lives in a nursing home is difficult for every family. Unfortunately, getting them settled in and Medicare up-to-date isn’t the end of the road of moving into a nursing home.

A report published by the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee found that one in three nursing homes in the United States were cited for abuse that may be considered medical malpractice over a two year period.

Approximately 5,283 facilities received 9,000 individual citations from those who report nursing home abuse and medical malpractice. Crimes ranged from inadequate sanitation to malnutrition and dehydration to preventable accidents.

These violations weren’t the result of a bad day: they hurt residents and are illegal.

Your duty as a loved one of a person in a care home isn’t simply to visit: it’s also to report nursing home neglect or abuse in nursing homes that could potentially result in a legitimate medical malpractice case.

What Constitutes Nursing Home Abuse?

Just like elder abuse, nursing home abuse ranges across a broad range of behaviors and isn’t always detectable right away, particularly when the person being abused is suffering from memory issues related to dementia.

The most obvious signs of abuse are physical abuse, which can be committed by staff or other residents. Slapping, pinching, or allowing residents to fall are all types of violence.

Psychological abuse is also illegal. It includes shouting, shaming, or humiliating the patient.

Neglect makes up the bulk of many of the abuse citations, and it often isn’t malicious but the result of poor policies, training issues, or inadequate staffing. Like physical abuse, neglect takes a physical toll and is demonstrable.

Patients may also be sexually abused, which features sexual exploitation or unwanted attention either from a caregiver or another patient. Patients with dementia are particularly susceptible because they’re cognitively compromised.

What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?

The signs of abuse may manifest physically or in personality. It’s important to pay attention to behavioral changes over time to best determine whether they’re the result of disease or abuse.

Still, any suspicion should be reported. Unfortunately, elder abuse rarely begins and ends with a single patient in a facility.

Here are some of the symptoms:

  • Bed sores
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Recurring infections
  • Weight loss
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Reclusiveness
  • Poor hygiene
  • Bruising
  • Caregivers who hover when families visit

This list isn’t exhaustive, and some of the signs can be invisible, so it’s important to check in with your loved one regularly to notice more subtle signs of abuse.

How to Report a Nursing Home for Medical Malpractice

If you believe your loved one or someone else in the nursing home is being abused, then you should report it. Even if it’s not your family member or friend, it soon could be.

You have several reporting options. Start by contacting the U.S. Administration on Aging’s Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116. They’ll provide you more information on elder abuse laws in your state and explain the proper channels.

Another avenue to report nursing home abuse is via your family member’s primary care physician. In most cases, primary care physicians are required to report suspected abuse in nursing homes – failure to report may be medical malpractice.

If you suspect the damage is threatening the life or immediate wellbeing of your family member, call 911.

Concerned about where to go from there? We always recommend contacting a lawyer who frequently works in elder abuse cases like Zanes Law.

Be Your Elderly Loved One’s Advocate – Report Nursing Home Abuse

While some within the industry suggest that nursing home citations are over-reported because of high and changing standards – elder abuse exists. And it’s often a silent epidemic.

The best thing you can do for your loved one is to be there even after they transition into their new home and keep a sharp eye out for signs of abuse. You can ensure every older adult receives the dignity they deserve.

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How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Undergoing medical procedures is hard and scary enough, let alone the fact that medical errors are probably the third leading cause of death in the United States.

If you or a loved one is suffering from a serious medical issue, then the expertise of medical professionals is something you dearly rely on.

When carelessness leads to a wrongful death, though, you might be the survivor left in the wake wondering what you should do.

If you’re wondering what exactly is a wrongful death suit or how one is begun, then we have some important information to get you on your way.

What is a Wrongful Death Suit?

It sounds simple: a death that shouldn’t have happened.

An important distinction between wrongful death cases and something like murder cases is that “wrongful death” falls under personal injury law.

“But how can someone’s death be considered injury?” you may be asking the screen.

A lawsuit like this is based on the negligence or misconduct of another. It’s not necessarily the same as with criminal cases like murder.

While a wrongful death lawsuit may come out in the aftermath of a criminal case, these types of suits tend to be associated with particular instances, such as:

  • Medical malpractice
  • Vehicular accidents
  • Occupational hazards
  • Death during a supervised activity
  • and more

For example, if you or a loved one were to have died while flying on a plane, is it possible that the pilot was negligent in handling the aircraft? Therefore, would the plane company also be responsible for hiring the pilot in the first place?

If your child died while out on a field trip, is it the chaperone, teacher, or another supervisor who was negligent in watching out for and caring for your child? Could it even be the school itself?

Medical malpractice is another common instance. Mistakes happen. If you’re dealing with a very large hospital, it’s not unheard of that a nurse may give the wrong medication to a patient or a surgeon may receive the wrong information leading up to a surgery.

The point is, someone or something is very possibly responsible for the negligence that led to the death in the first place.

Who Can Make a Wrongful Death Claim?

These claims are made by someone who represents the estate of the one who died.

Who can initiate this claim, though, tends to be different from state to state.

In general, a parent can make a wrongful death claim of their child, a child can of their parents, and an individual can file for their spouse, but it gets trickier when you’re dealing with adults and their adult children or distant family.

Whether the people involved are related or not, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the individual can sue for the wrongful death.

It’s important to check your state’s statutes to understand who can make this kind of claim.

What Comes out of a Wrongful Death Suit?

Grieving for a loved one is consuming. You may need to consider or want to consider what could come out as a result of a wrongful death claim.

It’s important to understand what may have been lost by the death, such as:

  • Lost wages
  • Lost support
  • Lost prospect of inheritance
  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral expenses
  • and more

Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant and to discourage this type of behavior in the future. Whether or not you are entitled to punitive damages from suing for wrongful death is, again, based on your state.

Regardless, you may be entitled to some of these damages as a result, and whether or not you want to even think about it now, your future self and family may be happy that you did.

How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Suit?

If you’re mourning the loss of a loved one, it may be difficult to even think about a timeframe.

Time is important in a case like this, though.

As with many claims, including personal injury claims, your state will have a statute of limitations devoted to how long after a wrongful death a claim may be made.

This can still depend on a number of factors, such as which state you are in, who you are claiming as the defendant, and when the death occurred.

How long you have may not necessarily start from when the death occurred, though.

For example, if you’re dealing with medical malpractice, the death of your loved one may have been declared natural. Some time down the line, new evidence may determine that medical malpractice was the real cause of death.

Specific situations like these can change the timeframe in which you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

How to File a Wrongful Death Suit

Based on your state’s statutes and the specific circumstances surrounding the death, you may find that you are eligible to file.

You may not even be the person benefiting from the suit, but you can still possibly file on behalf of them.

As with many cases, you have the right to represent yourself, but as clearly shown there are so many factors that determine whether or not you can even file in the first place.

Not only that but as the one making the wrongful death claim in the first place, the burden of proof falls on you alone.

Being a civil case, the burden of proof for a wrongful death suit is generally less than proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

It’s typically called “preponderance of the evidence” in this kind of case, which means the proposition being made is more likely to be true than not.

In general, hiring or at least consulting with a wrongful death lawyer, such as Chester Law Group, is strongly advised.

A quality lawyer will already know many of the factors leading up to your case, such as who can file, when you can file, and what will happen when you do file.

More Information on Wrongful Death Cases

Being the survivor of a wrongful death is hard enough.

There is a lot to consider, and your head may not be clear enough to even start the process. Hopefully, the information here gave you a step in the right direction.

If you have more questions or concerns about a wrongful death suit or want to know more legal advice and details, feel free to check out more on our blog.

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Miami Based Attorney Scott Sandler on Medical Malpractice – More Common Than It Should be

The loss of any loved one is tragic. Whether it’s due to injury or sickness, death is often a catastrophe. Yet there’s a bitter irony when the cause of death comes from within the hospital, not from outside it.

We’d like to think that in the 21st century, medical error is disappearing. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case. In fact, according to a recent analysis published in the BMJ, one of the world’s leading medical publications, medical error is the third-leading cause of death in the United States. That’s why it’s important to understand just what medical error (also known as medical malpractice) is.

According to Martin A. Makary and Michael Daniel of the John Hopkins University School of Medicine, medical malpractice is “an unintended act or one that does not achieve its intended outcome.” This can be an error of planning, of execution, or an outright deviation from the proper medical process. In other words, medical malpractice can take many forms, and its effects can be trivial as well as severe.

To illustrate their point, they cite a case history that showcases the role of malpractice in a patient’s death:

A young woman left the hospital after a successful transplant operation, but she suffered from pain and was readmitted to the hospital. Doctors decided to run a variety of tests, many of which were unnecessary, to identify the problem. One of the tests was a pericardiocentesis, which samples fluid from space that surrounds the heart.

She was then released from the hospital and told to wait for the test results. A few days later, the unfortunate young woman checked into the hospital with a hemorrhage and cardiac arrest, and she passed away.

The autopsy showed that the syringe had peirced the skin during the pericardiocentesis slightly hitting the liver, which caused her death. Yet instead of listing the cause of her death as a medical error, the certificate simply blamed it on her cardiovascular system.

We know that medical error happens – after all, mistakes are unavoidable. But just how widespread is it? It’s difficult to identify the exact numbers, partly because “medical error” is never included on a death certificate – this would be too risky for doctors to admit. However, studies from the Harvard Medical School, the US Inspector General, and the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality calculate that anywhere from about 140,000 to 195,000 people die each year because of medical error. What’s more, these studies are likely understating the problem, because of the limited data available to researchers.

Yet even with those understatements, medical error ranks as one of the leading causes of death in this country. Until doctors start including information about medical error on death certificates, it’s up to ordinary patients, and ordinary citizens, to identify cases of malpractice. We need to understand that this problem affects all of us and that each patient must be aware of the possibility that medical malpractice is the true cause of death.

About attorney Scott Sandler:

Scott Sandler is an experienced trial lawyer representing personal injury victims for over 30 years. Founding attorney of The Law Office of Scott M. Sandler, Sandler’s dedicated and forceful approach has allowed him to obtain many multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements.

Visit http://www.scottsandlerlawoffice.com/firm-profile for more information

Source: https://www.hcp.med.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/methodsmakarydaniel_2016_bmj%20%281%29.pdf

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