Considering fibroid surgery? Answers to questions regarding surgery with power morcellators

November 25, 2014 by The Farber Law Group

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a rare "black box warning" on power morcellation devices for laparoscopic surgery to remove uterine fibroids or to perform a hysterectomy.

The warning cautions women considering undergoing fibroid removal surgery with the devices. The warning tells women that they may wish to choose an alternative type of surgery because surgery with the device could inadvertently spread undetected cancer.

The Wall Street Journal answers five questions about the device warning. You can read more here: 5 QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FDA WARNING ON MORCELLATORS, UTERINE FIBROIDS

According to the FDA, it is estimated that one in 350 women who undergo hysterectomy or fibroid removal surgery has a uterine sarcoma, a kind of cancer. Morcellators are devices that dissect the uterus or fibroids using a spinning blade. However, if the blades come into contact with a malignant cancer, cancer cells can spread in the pelvis and abdomen worsening a person's likelihood of surviving.

If you or a loved one has had an onset of cancer after power morcellation surgery, you should contact a faulty medical devices attorney about the possibility of filing a lawsuit.

The Farber Law Group, a personal injury law firm in Bellevue, Washington, has represented cases involving faulty medical devices. Call us today for a free and confidential case evaluation.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.

Continue reading "Considering fibroid surgery? Answers to questions regarding surgery with power morcellators" »

Mammogram technician pleads guilty for faking test results

April 28, 2014 by The Farber Law Group

A mammogram technician has pleaded guilty to 10 misdemeanor charges of "reckless conduct" and a single charge of computer forgery after it was discovered that she faked mammogram test results for more than 1,300 women.

Rachael Michelle Rapraeger's malfeasance was discovered after nine women, who had previously gotten "all clear" mammogram reports, discovered that they had breast cancer. There are reports that two women's deaths were as a result of the negative test results.

Rapraeger was a lead radiological technologist in a small community in Alaska. She entered negative results on 1,289 mammograms at the hospital where she worked. These tests were never reviewed by a radiologist.

Rapraeger purposefully filed erroneous test results of a false negative which prevented, in some cases, a correct diagnosis and early treatment of breast cancer.

Once it was discovered that Rapraeger falsified test results, she confessed to her crimes and was fired.

She faces up to six months in detention as well as $12,5000 in fines.

Technician and Hospital face civil lawsuits

Victims of Rapraeger's fraud have filed more than 30 civil lawsuits against her and Houston Healthcare System, the parent company for the hospital where she worked. Some of the suits reportedly have been settled.

One wonders where the checks and balances were in the healthcare system? Did the doctors who ordered the mammograms ever check back on the results when Rapraeger became back logged? Were there any supervisor's checking Raprager's work? Where their compliance reports required on the radiologist who were presumably being paid for work that they never did?

Many of the mammography patients are understandably furious with Rapraeger and a healthcare system that apparently did not have checks and balances. Many are also furious with a court system that allowed her to enter a plea agreement that amounted to no more than a slap on the wrist.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured by medical malpractice and the family of those who have died as a result of medical negligence.

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Study finds medications containing codeine still prescribed to children

April 21, 2014 by The Farber Law Group

attorney medication errors and mistakesIn 2012, the U.S. Federal Drug Administration warned that medications containing Codeine should not be given routinely to children because of the possibility of adverse reactions and concerns about the drug's safety and efficacy.

Despite the FDA's warnings and guidelines written by the American Academy of Pediatrics, a study shows that medications containing codeine are still being prescribed to hundreds of thousands of children in hospital emergency rooms across the United States.

Concerns about Codeine and children

There are several concerns about giving children Codeine, an opioid pain reliever. Codeine is often prescribed to children along with other medications to control coughing or to control pain. The problem with giving Codeine to children is that between one and seven of every 100 people rapidly metabolizes the drug and in this case, the child can overdose. Children often do not metabolize the drug the same as an adult patient.

Why do Doctors continue to prescribe Codeine to children?

While many doctors have taken heed of the FDA's black box warning on medications containing codeine, some doctors are still prescribing the medication to children despite the risk. One wonders why? The reasons may be that some ER physicians may not be up on information regarding prescribing to pediatrics. The other reason may be that physicians may have themselves taken the medication as a child, prescribed it for years and it is their "go to" medication.

Information for Parents

If your child has just had tonsils and/or adenoids removed, make sure they are not prescribed medications that contain Codeine. If your child is prescribed a medication with Codeine as an ingredient, ask their doctor to prescribe a different medication for pain.

If your child is taking Codeine for a cough or tooth extraction or for some other reason, be vigilant and make sure they don't experience side effects of Codeine overdose including excessive sleepiness, disorientation, labored breathing and blueness of the lips and mouth. The child can experience breathing problems which can prove fatal.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured due to medication errors and pharmaceutical malpractice. If you have questions about a serious medication error, contact us for a free and confidential case evaluation.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.

Continue reading "Study finds medications containing codeine still prescribed to children" »

Can morecellation surgery spread cancer?

February 27, 2014 by The Farber Law Group

The Wall Street Journal just published an article, "Doctor's War Against a Common Surgery, Morcellation." What came to light in the article is that one of the most common hysterectomy procedures, in relatively rare cases, may actually spread undetected cancer in some patients. The procedure is called morcellation.

Morcellation surgery allows surgeons to remove large masses of tissue during laparoscopic surgery, allowing for less invasive surgery, leaving smaller scars and presumably allowing a quicker recovery time. The surgery is done using medical devices designed especially for morcellation .

The WSJ article highlighted the campaign by Dr. Hoorman Noorchashm, whose wife (also a physician) -- Dr. Amy Reed -- is battling an advanced cancer after a routine laparoscopic hysterectomy for a diagnosis of fibroids. The morcellation procedure, in Dr. Reed's case, appears to have spread a rare and undetected cancer, leiomyosarcoma. When fibroids or other tissue is cut into small pieces, there is a risk that previously undetected malignant cells can be left in the abdomen can spread. An article on NEJM Journal Watch quotes one study:

Two of seven patients with undiagnosed stage I uterine leiomyosarcoma and one of four with undiagnosed stage I smooth muscle tumors had disseminated intraperitoneal disease after morcellation.

Dr. Noorchashm's campaign, according to the Wall Street Journal, takes on the "medical establishment" and takes to task hospitals and physicians who do not provide informed consent of the potential spread of cancer.

Until there is a reliable way to identify patients with uterine sarcoma before surgery, they may not be enough data to allow patients predict benefit-to-harm of the surgery.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured by medical malpractice due to the negligence of another. For more information on medical malpractice and surgical malpractice, please contact us.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.

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100 children at Seattle Children's Hospital at risk for infection after colonoscopy

January 22, 2014 by The Farber Law Group

Seattle Children's hospital has notified the parents of 100 children that their child may be at risk for infection after the hospital discovered that some equipment used in colonoscopies was not properly sanitized.

Citing a "cleaning process lapse," the hospital's medical director Dr. Danielle Zerr, said that the risk of infection was low but that the hospital is recommending screen for hepatitis B and C and HIV which are infectious diseases..

The patient calls came after a "cleaning process lapse" was discovered on two auxiliary channel scopes according to The Seattle Times. Apparently technicians were not properly trained in cleaning procedures.

Patients who underwent colonoscopy testing prior to early November should contact the hospital's information line at 206-987-5193.

It may be of little comfort to parent's whose children may have been exposed to a potentially serious disease that the chance of infection is "low."

One study of five hospitals nationwide found that 3 of 20 endoscopes used in colonoscopy exams were contaminated with fecal matter from previous patients. Any biological material on equipment such as an endoscope which is inserted into the rectum can pass on infection such as hepatitis and HIV.

Colonoscopies are procedures that most people dread regardless of age. Not only is the preparation for the exam not very pleasant but the thought that equipment is not 100% sterile is frightening.

One factor in non-sterile endoscopy equipment is the nature of many colonoscopy clinics. Clinics often schedule one patient after another and this puts stress on the staff to completely sanitize equipment in preparation for the next patient. One solution to this problem is for the clinic to purchase sufficient equipment.

Hospital-acquired infections are a concern for any patient . Failure to wash hands, failure to control the spread of microorganisms in sinks and wash basins, contaminated surgical instruments and failure to properly dispose lab waste can all result into a hospital-acquired infection.

Bellevue Hospital Infection Lawyer

Herbert Farber, the founder of The Farber Law group, is a Washington hospital infection attorney with 30 years experience in medical malpractice claims. Call our office to evaluate the circumstances of your injury or a loved one's death after a hospital-acquired infection.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.

Continue reading "100 children at Seattle Children's Hospital at risk for infection after colonoscopy" »

Record medical malpractice award after botched surgery

December 9, 2013 by The Farber Law Group

seattle medical malpractice lawyerA woman from North Central Washington has been awarded $30 million after she was seriously injured while surgeons at Wenatchee Valley Medical Center were removing polyps from her vocal cord reports The Wenatchee World.

Becky S. Anderson, 55, suffered serious burn injuries to her throat during laser surgery. Her injuries were so severe that she was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and has undergone nearly 100 surgeries and is on a ventilator and requires nursing care.

Central Washington Hospital settled Anderson's malpractice claim for $12 million. King County Superior Court awarded $7.65 again Wenatchee Valley Medical Center and $4.35 million against Wenatchee Anesthesia Associates.

Confluence Health CEO Dr. Peter Rutherford apologized publically for the accident. Quality Medical Directory , Dr. Randal Moseley, of Confluence Health cited several things that went wrong before the fire which he called a "catastrophic event."

Surgical Malpractice Lawsuits

A surgeon may be held liable for a mistake related to a surgery. Surgical malpractice can be attributed to the surgeon, the anesthesiologists, nurses or other medical professionals that care for the patient. For a successful medical malpractice claim, the patient must prove that that the medical professional lacked the standard of care and their professional conduct directly caused an injury.

At The Farber Law Group, we have seen many times of medical negligence that resulted in a malpractice lawsuit. These cases include:

  • Wrong site error -- in which a surgeon mistakenly operates on the wrong side or on the wrong organ. For example, operating on the left eye instead of the right.
  • Medication error -- in which a patient is administered the wrong dosage of medication. This type of mistake can result in death.
  • Surgery on wrong patient -- in which a surgeon mistakenly performs surgery on the wrong patient.
  • Sponge or other foreign object left in the patient.
  • Burn caused by medical equipment.
  • Treatment for misdiagnosis.

Continue reading "Record medical malpractice award after botched surgery" »

Confidential data of 90,000 UW Medicine patients compromised

December 6, 2013 by The Farber Law Group

washington medical malpractice attorneyUW Medicine is busy contacting 90,000 patients of Harborview Medical Center and University of Washington Medical Center after a malware attack compromised their personal information reports KOMO News.

From KOMO News:

Early last month, a UW Medicine employee opened an email attachment that contained malicious software. The malware took control of the computer, which happened to be storing personal information from approximately 90,000 UW Medicine and Harborview Medical Center patients, according to a UW Medicine news release.

The compromised patient data included names, phone numbers, addresses, medical record numbers and Social Security numbers, among other information.

UW Medicine is now reaching out to the affected patients and has also set up a call center to work with victims.

You can read the letter that UW Medicine sent to patients here.

University of Washington apologized to patients for the inconvenience that exposing their personal information including name, address, services and Social Security Number, date of birth and Medicare number may have caused.

Now that the UW Medicine has notified patients who may or may not be potential identity fraudvictims, what are the patients supposed to do? Monitor their credit reports?

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured by medical malpractice and the family of those who have died.

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Hospital worker convicted of infecting patients with hepatitis C

December 2, 2013 by The Farber Law Group

David Kwiatkowski, 34, a cardiac technologist who bounced from one hospital to another despite being fired from at least four hospitals, has been convicted of stealing painkillers and infecting 46 or more people with hepatitis C.

Kwiatkowski stole painkillers from syringes and replaced the medication with saline. The syringes became tainted with his own blood which in turn infected the patients he was supposed to be caring for. Patients in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Kansas were infected by hepatitis C of the same strain as Kwiatowski.

Kwiatkowski pleaded guilty on August 16 and was sentenced to 39 years in prison.

Hepatitis C is a blood borne disease that causes inflammation of the liver. It can spread when a person is exposed to the blood of a person who has the virus. Of those exposed to the hep-C virus, 75%-85% suffer chronic hep-C. Hepatitis C symptoms do not appear until the infected person suffers serious liver damage including cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancer. The infection can result in death.

Some people, like the victims in this case, can become infected to hepatitis C in a healthcare setting. Blood transfusions and organ transplants as well as tainted hospital equipment including reuse of needles,syringes, and infusion bags can transmit infection.

Are the hospitals at fault?

The victims in this case may file civil suits against the hospitals where they were infected claiming that the hospitals were negligent in hiring for failing to investigate Kwiatowski's background.

Drug abusing medical care workers can do a lot of harm to the patients that they are charged with caring for. Just last month in nearby Kirkland, Washington, a plastic surgery patient suffered a seizure after a registered nurse substituted the Fetanyl medication the woman should have been given with a stimulant. While the patient did not become infected with hepatitis, the seizure could have been life threatening.

Contact The Farber Law Group for More Information

If you have more questions about hospital acquired infection, the experienced medical malpractice and medical negligence attorney at The Farber Law Group can help you today.

Please Contact our firm to schedule a free consultation.

Continue reading "Hospital worker convicted of infecting patients with hepatitis C" »

Patient suffers seizure at Kirkland plastic surgery center after nurse steals drugs

November 14, 2013 by The Farber Law Group

bellevue medical malpractice attorneyAn unidentified Kirkland plastic surgery patient had a severe reaction to medication and suffered a seizure while she was about to undergo surgery after a registered nurse, Angela Huffman, apparently substituted the Fetanyl medication the young woman should have received with a stimulant.

Federal investigators are investigating Huffman and she faces multiple for stealing liquid painkillers and replacing the drug with other solutions including saline. Huffman faces losing her nursing license as well as charges in criminal court.

Huffman, who was licensed as a nurse in July of 2012, was fired from a Bellevue plastic surgery clinic in August 2012 after she was caught forging prescriptions. She then was hired to work at a Kirkland plastic surgery office where she began stealing drugs.

Over the years, we have seen a number of instances where medical professionals, including nurses, have been caught stealing medications such as narcotics from patients. Sometimes one will see a euphemism, "drug diversion" to refer to the theft of medication from patients or clinics but this euphemism does not describe the potential or actual harm to patients that can be done be stealing or adulterating drugs.

We have seen convictions of nurses from stealing drugs from patients, including one case in which a nurse was convicted of stealing morphine from a dying patient. In Colorado, a nurse, Kristen Diane Parker, 26, gave patients Hepatitis C with dirty needles after she used syringes with painkillers meant for patients for herself and then filled those same syringes with saline and injected patients.

How do nurses steal drugs?

Drug addicted nurses have several schemes which enable them to feed their addictions. In some cases, nurses will choose to work in a surgery center or in a cancer ward where narcotics are used. Often, an addicted nurse will volunteer to care for a patient who is on pain medications based on looking a their charts. They will often give the patient some other drug like Ativan, Benadryl or Vistaril instead of the narcotic and secret the narcotic for themselves. When addictive drugs like Ativan, Oxycontin, Oxycodone, Xanax, Valium or Vicodin is in pill farm, they will palm the drug and drop it into a pocket to use later.

Continue reading "Patient suffers seizure at Kirkland plastic surgery center after nurse steals drugs" »

Prescription drug overdose a major health problem

October 7, 2013 by The Farber Law Group

Fifty Americans die every day in the United States due to prescription pain killer overdose. This is a major health problem and is the number one cause of injury death. In fact prescription drug overdose has overtaken car accidents as the leading cause of accidental death.

Since 1999, 16,000 Americans have died from prescription drug overdose, outnumbering the overdose deaths of heroin and cocaine.

In Washington state, the drug overdose mortality rate in 2010 was 13.1 per 100,000. To combat this problem, Washington state has the following programs in place.

To combat this problem, Washington state has the following programs in place:

  • Prescription drug monitoring program - an electronic database which tracks prescribing and dispensing of controlled drugs.

  • Doctor shopping law - a practice in which a patient visits multiple doctors and/or pharmacies to obtain controlled substances. Doctor shopping laws allow for the prosecution of people who obtain multiple prescriptions from different healthcare providers.

  • Substance abuse treatment - expands Medicaid to cover substance abuse treatment and services.

  • Prescriber education - provides medical student education about the risk of prescription drug misuse.

  • Good Samaritan law - provides immunity from criminal charges or mitigating of a sentence for helping someone who is experiencing a drug overdose.

  • Support for Rescue Drug Use - provides access to and use of Naloxone which is a prescription drug that can save the lives of drug overdose victims.

  • Physical exam requirement - requires a patient to obtain a physical exam and have a genuine patient-doctor relationship prior to the obtaining a narcotic.

  • ID Requirement - requires or permits a pharmacist to ask for an identification card prior to dispensing a prescription of a controlled substance to reduce fraud.

  • Pharmacy lock-in - requires high users of controlled substances to use only one pharmacy or medical office.

Continue reading "Prescription drug overdose a major health problem" »

Patients of Spokane plastic surgery clinic advised to be tested for hepatits, HIV

October 2, 2013 by The Farber Law Group

bellevue hepatitis infection lawyerFour hundred and fifteen patients of the Aesthetic Plastic Surgical Center in Spokane have been sent letters by the Washington state Department of Health recommending they get tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV because the clinic may have reused syringes and drug vials intended for single-use. See "Unsafe injection practices at Spokane clinic poses exposure risk for patients" Reusing syringes and drug vials can result in infection.

The Health Department had the clinic implement a plan of correction April and started notifying patients who were treated at the clinic between 2006 to April 2013. Patients may elect to be tested to make sure that they were not infected with any blood borne viruses.

Surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Karp denies that he or his staff reused vials and syringes and that they disposed of them properly. Karp maintains that a technician, interviewed by the Health Department, was misunderstood or there was a miscommunication.

The Centers for Disease Control sets forth standards for the safe use of single dose medication to prevent healthcare-associated infections. It is important that syringes, needles and vials containing medication be used only one time. Improper infection control, reuse of syringes, contamination of vials with unclean needles, uses single-dose vials for more than one patients has resulted in approximately 150,000 patients in the U.S. possibly being exposed to hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV since 2001. In 2009, a CDC journal reported that 33 hepatitis outbreaks were reported between 1998 and 2008 as a result of unsafe infection control practices.

A chilling statistic on the One and Only One Campaign website says:

1% to 3% of healthcare providers reuse the same needle and/or syringe on multiple patients.

In 2008, there was a scandal involving a Las Vegas clinic that reused syringes and vials for a period of four years. In that case, almost 40,000 patients were advised to get testing after it was discovered that the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada was the source of infection after their "unsafe injection practices related to the administration of anesthesia medication may have exposed patients to the blood of other patients." At least three of the clinic's patients were sickened with hepatitis.

Continue reading "Patients of Spokane plastic surgery clinic advised to be tested for hepatits, HIV" »

Jury decides case of man injured during robotic surgery

May 22, 2013 by The Farber Law Group

A jury in Kitsap County Superior court is deciding the outcome of a lawsuit, Estate of Fred. E. Taylor v. Intuitive Surgical Inc., filed by the widow of Fred Taylor who was seriously injured during robot-assisted prostate surgery performed using a da Vinci robotic system made by Intuitive. The jury heard five weeks of testimony before going into deliberations yesterday.

Taylor's estate seeks $8.45M in damages from Intuitive Surgical Inc.

Taylor, who was 67 years old at the time of his surgery, suffered serious injuries during the robot-assisted surgery. His urologist, Dr. Scott Bildsten, was using the da Vinci robotic system unassisted for the first time since training when Taylor was injured. His injuries included a torn rectum, kidney and lung damages, memory loss, incontinence and a stroke. He lived for four years after the surgery but was unable to return to his normal life.

Previously, Bildsten had performed 100 prostatectomies using conventional surgery before Taylor's botched surgery.

Taylor's estate has already settled a medical malpractice case with the surgeon and hospital. The estate filed this lawsuit claiming that Intuitive was negligent in 10 different ways including misleading surgeons into thinking that surgery using a robot was easy and required but a day of training and providing inadequate training.

This is the first case of 26 lawsuits against Intuitive to go to trial and the outcome of the case is being closely scrutinized.

Robotic Surgery

There are approximately 400,000 robot-assisted surgery performed every year and the FDA is correspondingly receiving adverse event reports as there are more robot-aided surgeries before. Since 2012, there have been 500 adverse event reports including the deaths of five patients and reports of several patients suffering serious injuries.

A robotic surgery machine is a costly investment for a hospital. With a price tag of almost $1.5M and maintenance service agreements of $100K annually, there is an incentive for hospitals and surgeons to use the devices to recoup costs.

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April 27 is National "Drug Take Back Day"

April 25, 2013 by The Farber Law Group

medication error attorneyThis Saturday, the Seattle Police Department will be participating in the National "Drug Take Back Day". People can bring any unused, expired or unwanted prescription drugs to one of the five Seattle Police Department precincts between 10am and 2pm.

The "Drug Take Back" day is a coordinated effort with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). It allows people to safely rid their homes of medications which could be stolen or abused.

The SPD accepts the prescription drugs on an anonymous basis and does not charge a fee for accepting the drugs. Last September, more than 2 million pounds of drugs were turned in across the U.S. at 5,200 "Take Back Drugs" sites.

Deaths to intentional and unintentional drug overdose and pharmaceutical drugs is a significant problem in the United States and has risen over the past decade. Some of the most commonly abused drugs are opiods which are contained in pain killers like oxycodone, codeine, morphine, hydrocodone and fentanyl.

In fact, prescription drug overdose kills more Americans than car accidents and is the leading cause of accidental death and in 2009, killed 37,485 people.

Accidental drug overdose are the highest in men between the ages of 20 and 64.

Ridding one's home of unused and unneeded prescription drugs can help subvert misuse and abuse. Many of those who have died of accidental overdoses took the medication from the medicine cabinet of a friend, a parent, or a grandparent.

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California man dies after wisdom teeth surgery

April 3, 2013 by The Farber Law Group

A San Diego TV station reports that Marek Lapinski, 24, of San Diego died after from complications of having two wisdom teeth surgically removed.

Lapinski was undergoing a surgery that is routinely done on millions of Americans every year when he suffered cardiac arrest.

While death due to a wisdom teeth extraction is rare, deaths have occurred. Complications of anesthesia can include medication errors, oxygen deprivation during anesthesia, allergic reaction, post-operation infection and inhaling something into the lungs.

In Lipinski's case, reports that a piece of gauze was found in his airway.

Lapinski's sister told Fox5 that she thought Lapinski's death may have been caused by too much anesthesia.

Lapinkski's family is reeling after the young man's death. At the relatively young age of 24, he had already accomplished so much, including launching a high tech company called T3D which allows cameras to produce 3D images on a screen.

Anesthesia Malpractice

anesthesia malpractice lawyer bellevueAn autopsy report on Lapinski is pending which will hopefully reveal the reason why he died.

When a patient undergoes surgery, anesthesia is used so that the patient does not experience pain. However, in rare cases, some patients suffer complications under anesthesia and these can include a hypoxic brain injury or traumatic stress if the patient experienced anesthesia awareness, a condition when the patient is awake and aware of the pain of surgery but is unable to communicate with the surgical team. While anesthesia is safe in most patients, approximately 1 in every 200,000 or so patients die as a result of anesthesia complications.

Anesthesia errors can occur if the anesthesiologist, nurse anesthetist or dentist does not properly monitor the patient, administers the wrong amount of medication or improperly intubates the patient.

Medical professionals must exercise a high level of care to prevent accidents which could result in a catastrophic outcome including brain injury, stroke, or death.

Continue reading "California man dies after wisdom teeth surgery" »

Lawsuit seeks $2M in damages for injuries suffered during MRI Monday, March 18, 2013

March 18, 2013 by The Farber Law Group

mri accident lawyerThe Oregonian reports that a teenager who was burned during an MRI exam because a technician left metal discs on his body from an electrocardiogram has filed a negligence lawsuit against Oregon Health & Science University.

The boy, Aaron Lee, who was 16-years-old in September 2011, was undergoing testing to find the source of his abdominal pains at the medical center when the accident happened.

According to the lawsuit, Lee suffered burns to his chest which required skin grafting. He also suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after the painful experience.

Lee and his mother, Sharon, are asking for $30,000 in economic damages and $2million for pain and suffering.

This is one of several incidents of people being injured during an MRI exam. In 2010, the family of a 6-year-old boy was paid $2.9M in damages after their son was killed when an oxygen tank was brought too close to the MRI's magnetic field and struck the boy in the head. He died of a fractured skull and injuries from blunt force trauma.

MRI Exams

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) tests are commonly used to provide about problems that can not be seen using a traditional X-ray, ultrasound or CT because it provides a two-dimensional photo.

An MRI can be used to visualize the brain to look for damage after a motor vehicle accident or to look for tumors or bleeding after a stroke. It can also be used to check on problems with joints and bones as well as other internal problems.

Every year it is estimated that 10 million MRI tests are performed in the United States.

Because MRI machines use strong magnets, it is important that metal objects not come near the machines. The MRI technologist should insure that a patient does not have metal implanted on the body, that all jewelry is removed and the patient have no metal attached to their body. The technician should do a thorough screening of the patient before undergoing the test. Patients should be asked if they have a pacemaker, a cochlear implant, coronary stents and certain type of artificial joints. Patients with these devices are or even with certain types of tattoos are at risk for a burn injury during an MRI.

Continue reading "Lawsuit seeks $2M in damages for injuries suffered during MRI Monday, March 18, 2013" »

Scope of meningitis outbreak due to tainted medication widens

October 12, 2012 by The Farber Law Group

The fungal meningitis outbreak that we wrote about just 9 days ago has claimed more lives. The outbreak of the rare fungal meningitis that is linked to a tainted medication has killed 14 people and 170 more have reportedly become infected.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that up to 14,000 people are at risk of the illness. While no patients in Washington state have become ill, there has been one case reported in neighboring Idaho.

Many patients who had a steroid injection in their spine, hip or knee since May are anxiously awaiting to see if they show signs of illness. According to the CDC, in some patients it takes weeks before the disease to manifest itself and "potentially contaminated injection were given starting May 21, 2012."

Meningitis Is a disease which causes inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. In this latest outbreak of meningitis, the source appears to be steroid medication sourced from a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts.

A lawsuit was filed this week in a Minnesota court by a woman who believes she was infected from a steroid injection she had to relieve back pain.

In all eleven states have had cases of meningitis and it is believed that 23 states have received drugs from the compounding pharmacy

Continue reading "Scope of meningitis outbreak due to tainted medication widens" »

Doctor charged with murder after prescription drug deaths

June 26, 2012 by The Farber Law Group

A California doctor, Dr. Hsui-Ying "Lisa" Tseng, faces 24 felony counts including second degree murder in the prescription drug overdose deaths of three young men.

According to the charging papers, Tseng provided drug seekers with narcotics such as Xanax, oxycodone, methadone, and Soma and she wrote more than 27,000 prescriptions over three years.

Prosecutors said that 12 people who were provided drugs by Tseng died of overdoses but they only charged her for the deaths of the three men's who deaths were solely attributed to the narcotics she supplied.

Drug overdose death rates in the U.S. have more been soaring since the 1990. In 2008 alone, more than 36,000 individuals died due to drug overdoses and most of the deaths were from prescription drugs. In fact, prescription drug overdose has eclipsed car accidents as the leading cause of accidental death.

100 people die from drug overdoes every day in the United States

Prescription Drug Overdoses in Washington State

Prescription drug abuse and overdoses are an epidemic in Washington state. More people die every year from prescription drug abuse than combined deaths caused by meth, cocaine and heroin combined.

The state plays a role in creating laws which prevents "pill mills" or so-called pain clinics that operate much like Tseng's clinic. Washington State's initiatives seeks to control how doctors use painkillers and when doctors should refer patients to pain specialists.

The Washington legislature enacted a law (RCW 70.225) which provides for a Prescription Monitoring Program. In 2012, the law was extended to include veterinarians.

Continue reading "Doctor charged with murder after prescription drug deaths" »

Family files medical malpractice after nurse accidentally cuts off baby's finger

March 29, 2012 by The Farber Law Group

seattle medical malpractice attorney
The family of a 8-month old baby girl has filed a negligence lawsuit against a Florida hospital and nurse after the nurse accidentally amputated half of the baby's left pinky finger.

Veronica Olguin had taken her baby, Selena, who was three months old at the time of the incident, to Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center for treatment of a high fever and bronchitis. After a 3-day hospital stay, the baby was ready to be taken home and a nurse, Emily Anna Stutz, started cutting off a bandage off that had held the baby's IV. Mistakenly, she cut off the baby's finger with a pair of scissors.

Attempts to reattach the severed finger were unsuccessful due to the baby's age.

The family filed suit for emotional and psychological damages as well as developmental challenges Selena might have as she grows older. The young mother of this baby was obviously traumatized by what happened to her baby in the hospital.

Study finds 1 of 3 hospital patients are victims of a medical mistake

The journal Health Affairs published a study of "adverse events " -- medical errors -- last year which revealed that medical mistakes in the hospital setting are more common then one might think. In fact, one in three patients admitted to the hospital has been on the receiving end of a hospital mistake and medical errors are one of the leading causes of premature death and injury.

The most common hospital mistakes are foodborne illness, hospital-acquired infections, falls and bedsores. Less common mistakes include wrong-site surgeries and accidents such as this one.

Continue reading "Family files medical malpractice after nurse accidentally cuts off baby's finger" »

Gig Harbor pharmacy sued after prescription mistakes land boy in hospital

February 6, 2012 by The Farber Law Group

As a Bellevue personal injury law firm, The Farber Law Group read with interest an article in The Olympian about a lawsuit filed in Pierce County Superior Court against a Gig Harbor pharmacy alleging that the pharmacy twice made a mistake in filling a patient's anti-seizure medication causing harm to the patient and requiring him to be hospitalized.

Eric and Laura Carlson's attorney, Darrel Cochran, filed suit in Pierce County Superior Court and named Olympic Pharmacy and Healthcare Services as the defendant after the Carlson's son was twice a victim of a pharmacy dosage error.

The Carlson's allege that in 2009 Olympic Pharmacy put eight times the prescribed dosage of Lorazepam in a single syringe. The overdose of medication caused their son to hallucinate and become unconscious and he was hospitalized as a result.

Subsequent to the first pharmacy error, the Carlson's decided to use Olympic Pharmacy again as they were assured that pharmacy procedures would be change to prevent errors in the future. However, in 2011, they allege the pharmacy made another mistake in dispensing anti-seizure pills and the overdose sent their son to the intensive care unit.

In the negligence lawsuit, the plaintiffs claim that Olympic Pharmacy was negligent in "hiring, training and supervising the staff members who dispensed the medications."

Consumer Protection Act
The Carlson's are asking for compensation claiming emotional distress and for damages under the Washington Consumer Protection Act, RCW 19.86.090.

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Dentist guilty of using paper clips in root canals

January 29, 2012 by The Farber Law Group

A former Massachusetts dentist who used pieces of paper clips instead of stainless steel posts when performing rood canal surgery has pleaded guilty to Medicare fraud among other charges; Michael Clair will be sentenced next week.

In his guilty plea, Clair also pleaded to illegal prescribing prescription drugs such as Percocet, Hydrocodone and Combunox for himself and his staff, assault and battery and witness intimidation. He faces up to 10 years in prison for the drug charges alone.

Clair's desire to make money put his patients at risk when he used paper clip sections in the root canal procedures while at the same time billing Medicaid for stainless steel posts. Patients who were treated by Clair are at a higher risk for infection and other side effects.

The assault and battery charges stem from the improper use materials in the root canal. Besides the criminal charges, Clair could be sued in civil court by patients for the damages they suffered. Patients of Clair were advised by seek evaluation by another dentist.

It is interesting to note that before Clair began practicing in in Massachusetts he had his license to practice revoked in Florida, Maryland and West Virginia but he was allowed to practice in Massachusetts even though he was prohibited by doing Medicaid work. He got around the Medicaid restrictions, however, by hiring dentists who used their Medicaid identifications to file.

It's hard to imagine a dentist who spent years of training to obtain a dental degree to fall so far below the standard of care.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured by medical malpractice and dental malpractice and the family of those killed

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