Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

The family of an Arkansas woman has filed a nursing home negligence lawsuit against after the woman died from complications regarding a gastronomy tube. The woman was admitted to the nursing home and needed a g-tube to ensure that she got enough nutrition. A g-tube is connected through the stomach through an incision in the abdomen. After several months, staff at the Arkansas nursing home noticed that the woman’s g-tube was missing. They inserted a second tube, assuming that the first one had fallen out. However, no one ever tried to find out where the g-tube went. If they had done a search, they would have discovered that the tube had been pulled into the woman’s stomach. Because the doctor’s failed to remove the first g-tube, the woman continued to get ill and eventually died.

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A $1 million verdict was reached recently on behalf of the family of an 84-year-old man who died of infected pressure sores as a result of nursing home abuse and neglect. The man, who had lived at his daughter’s home without complications up until his stay at the nursing home, developed stage IV pressure ulcers, weight loss, dehydration and malnutrition after only 26 days at the facility. The man was admitted to the hospital and died 6 days later as a result of those symptoms including a pressure sore so infected that it went to the bone and was infected with his own feces. The plaintiff was awarded $250,000 in survival damages, $500,000 in wrongful death damages, and an additional $250,000 for the nursing home’s medical malpractice and neglect.

Among the many forms of nursing home abuse and neglect, there is one common offense that is being habitually overlooked. Unfortunately, it has become a regular practice in nursing homes or long-term care facilities to sedate patients with medication instead of using them for their intended purposes. Staff often gives patients medication to make their job easier. If they are understaffed, which is by no means uncommon, or if patients are displaying a degree of behavioral issues, medication can be used to lighten the workload. Unnecessary use of psychoactive drugs can cause serious side effects. Psychiatrists may not even be prescribing many of these medications. Instead, regular doctors can write prescriptions “as needed” and leave the distribution up to the nursing home staff. Nursing homes have been fighting medical malpractice lawsuits due to the abuse of the drugs, but the percentages of patients being administered antidepressants and antipsychotics is astounding. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) calculated that 27% of patients in nursing home nationwide are being administered antipsychotics, and a shocking 52% are being administered antidepressants. In Illinois, 33.2% of patients are given antipsychotics, over 5% above the national average. 47% are given antidepressants. These figures are well above what should be a proportional amount of patients receiving medication. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, it is vital to carefully monitor the medication they may be receiving.

In a new initiative to improve health care, Medicare will no longer pay hospital costs of treating illness, injuries or infections resulting from medical mistakes or negligence. By not paying the extra costs of treating preventable injuries or illness in hospitals, the lives of many patients and millions of dollars can be saved. Currently, Medicare pays for treatments resulting from medical malpractice and negligence. Private insurers are considering following Medicare’s lead, which could greatly increase benefits and savings for patients and make insurance less expensive and more accessible.

Preventable conditions that will no longer be covered include bedsores, or pressure ulcers, injuries or death caused by falls and unnecessarily contracted infections. This will force doctors and hospitals to take more care in following policies and procedures to prevent these types of avoidable errors. Hospital advocates have tried to fight back, making claims that some injuries, such as pressure sores, are unavoidable. However, Levin & Perconti recently settled a case for $1 million in which a nursing home claimed that pressure sores were unavoidable. This theory proved false when the paraplegic patient was treated somewhere else and the pressure ulcers healed. This initiative is a federal recognition that many illnesses and injuries are caused by hospitals and doctors not following policies and procedures or meeting the standard of care. Because pressure ulcers are not covered by Medicare, for instance, the federal government is acknowledging that they are, in fact, avoidable and a result of negligence.

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A Tazewell, County Illinois coroner has said that a nurse from the Washington Christian Village Nursing Home lied to him about the death of a resident. The nurse told the coroner that there were no extenuating circumstances regarding the resident’s death, but just two days later, a doctor told the coroner that the resident died after being given the wrong medication by a nurse. Despite the nurse’s assertion that there were no extenuating circumstances regarding the resident’s death, the coroner has been informed by a medical expert that five of the seven pills that the resident received just two hours before her death would have caused a severe drop in blood pressure.

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The family of an 88-year-old nursing home resident recently filed a lawsuit against a nursing home for negligence. The family claims that the home neglected to supervise patients allowing a 25-year-old resident to attack and stab the woman multiple times in the neck. The family alleges that the nursing home was negligent in admitting the patient with a serious mental disorder and a violent criminal past without performing a background check. The nursing home also failed to prevent the violent patient from accessing sharp objects. The victim’s family is also suing the violent patient’s doctors and other mental health facilities he attended for medical malpractice as they failed to treat the patient with proper medication.

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A Miami hospital has paid $15.4 million to settle federal and Florida civil health care fraud claims against it. The settlement resolves the civil case U.S. v. Jack Jacobo Michel MD et al, in which the government alleged violations of the False Claims Act.

The claims alleged that in 1997, the hospital paid kickbacks to physicians in return for patient admissions. In 2000, one of the defendants was a party to a $14 million settlement with the U.S. for a similar scheme from 1992-2000 that involved Medicare fraud and Chicago medical malpractice.

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An article recently released by MSN addresses many steps to take to ensure that you will leave your hospital no worse off then how you entered. Overwhelmed emergency rooms are greatly decreasing the safety of hospitals. The fourth leading cause of death in the United States are infections from hospitals and medication dosing errors harm over a million patients each year. Preparing in advance with information is the first step in surviving a hospital visit and keeping yourself safe from medical malpractice.

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The surveys revolve around medical errors and medical malpractice, quality issues, prescription drug advertisements, Medicaid provisions, doctors’ willingness to see Medicaid and Medicare patients, and other health care issues.

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Association of Trial Lawyers of America will be hosting its Winter Convention in Miami, Florida from February 10-14. During the convention, Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. from Delaware will be a Keynote Speaker. The Convention includes CLE programs on advocacy in medical malpractice lawsuits and holding nursing homes accountable for abuse and neglect.

For more information about the convention.
To register.

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