Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

The Federal Drug Administration has issued a warning to health care professionals after a pharmacist mixed up two medications with similar sounding names causing serious injury to a patient’s eye.

The FDA says that a pharmacist accidentally dispensed Durasal, a wart remover, instead of the steroidal eye drop Durezol to a patient, resulting in serious injury. Durezol was being prescribed to the unnamed patient to help with inflammation and pain after eye surgery. Durasal contains salicylic acid and one can only image the pain that the mistake caused to the patient.
attorney for prescription errors
The FDA says that this is not the first time the two similarly named products have been confused. According to the FDA, in the other cases, the prescription error was discovered before the patient actually used the eye drops.

The FDA says Durasal has not been approved by the FDA for wart removal and has asked Elorac, Inc., the drug’s distributor, to remove the product from the marketplace.

As part of the FDA approval process, drugs are supposed to be screened for similar names but in the case of Durasol,the drug had not been screened by the FDA.

Preventable medication errors can result in serious physical injury to patients and sometimes even death. Medication errors can occur to one of 25 hospital patients and it is estimated that medication errors result in more than 48,000 patients every year.

The following are some common reasons for medication errors:

  • Medication prescribed without knowledge of a patient’s allergies, lab results, diagnosis.
  • Insufficient drug information — not understanding drug interactions or having information about a drug recall.
  • Misreading of a prescription due to poor handwriting
  • Confusion between drugs with similar names.
  • Confusion regarding dosage units.
  • Lack of proper labeling.
  • Improper storage of medications which can affect their potency.
  • Distraction to the pharmacist which can cause lead in a medication mistake.
  • Overworked pharmacists.
  • Relying too heavily on technicians.

Medication errors can cause serious injury and even be deadly. If you or a loved one has been injured by a medication error, you should seek medical attention immediately and you should bring all your medications with you if you are not in a hospital setting.

If your injuries are serious, you might want to consider contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you make a claim against the professional’s medical malpractice insurance to cover your damages.

The Farber Law Group, a personal injury and medical malpractice law firm has more than 30 years experience representing people seriously injured by medical malpractice and pharmacy errors. We represent our clients on a contingency basis which means that our clients pay a percentage of the recovery from the settlement or verdict in the case.

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A construction worked from Montana has received a $9 million medical malpractice award by a federal court jury who agreed with his contention that Campbell County Memorial Hospital and the ER doctor who cared for him following a rollover truck accident were negligent in failing to diagnose his broken neck.

Louis Prager was injured in December of 2008 when his company vehicle skidded off an icy road and road. Prager told emergency personnel who took him to the hospital that he had pain to his neck and shoulder and they placed a cervical collar on.

Dr. Brian Cullison, the emergency room physician ordered x-rays and CT scans of Prager’s spine, head and facial bones but neglected to order the tests for his neck. He discharged Prager from the hospital on the day of the accident without a complete diagnosis and without a cervical collar.

Prager returned to the hospital four days later after he experienced extreme pain in his neck and shoulder and it was at that time that he was diagnosed with a broken neck. Unfortunately, because his neck had not been stabilized immediately, he suffered permanent nerve damage.

The jury awarded Prager $7 million and his wife $2 million for loss of consortium.

This was the largest medical malpractice award in Wyoming history.

Often people have the misconception that medical malpractice only occurs when a physician or hospital does an overt act such as dispensing the wrong medication but failing to diagnose can delay treatment which can result in death or a worsening injury as in this case.

In a “failure to diagnose” case, the important test is “Did the delay in diagnosis made a difference?”

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent victims of medical malpractice and their family.

Source: Feds agree to $2.15 ‘failure to diagnose’ medical malpractice settlement
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If you have some kind of accident, such as a car accident, workplace accident, or even if you slip and fall on someone else’s property, you may suddenly find yourself trying to learn all you can about personal injury law.

Personal injury law covers personal accidents and damages that can be awarded when claims are made.

While you can file a personal injury claim for any type of accident, there are some things you should understand about personal injury law and how you can win your case.

For starters, accidents do happen, but sometimes they are just that-accidents, meaning no one is to blame. In these cases you probably won’t get far in the way of a personal injury claim.

If you file a claim and expect to be compensated for damages, you need to be able to clearly demonstrate that the party you are filing the claim against could have prevented the accident. For example, if you are walking down the street and fall on the sidewalk in front of someone’s house because you simply weren’t paying attention to where you were going, you are probably going to have a hard time getting a settlement from the homeowner. If, however you fall because the homeowner failed to remove a branch, or ice, or something else from the sidewalk and you fall, that homeowner may be responsible for your accident and may have to pay your medical bills or any other costs associated with the accident.

While this may seem like simple logic, personal injury law is a complex, and sometimes controversial topic. Many politicians feel that the amount of damages one can receive in a personal injury claim should be capped to a certain amount. Different accidents require different things however. Maybe you not only have medical bills from an accident, but you also can’t return to work due to a hospital stay. You lose money by not working, should the responsible party not be held liable for these damages as well?

Personal injury law is hard to navigate, and for that reason, if you feel like you need to file a personal injury claim, you should immediately contact a lawyer for advice. The lawyer can tell you what they think your chances are of a settlement and what the next step should be. You should get compensated if you have an accident that is not your fault, and a lawyer can help make that happen.

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 construction accidents, motor vehicle accidents and slip trip and fall accidents.

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An Illinois doctor has been found not guilty of medical malpractice by a jury who deliberated for two hours in the case of a patient who died of a heart attack nearly a week after seeing her physician.

The estate of Barbara Jean Pratt filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming that Dr. Malench failed to diagnose a heart condition. In the lawsuit, the administrator for Pratt’s estate claimed that Pratt saw Malench with complaints about pain in her chest, left arm and left side of her neck.

Pratt died of a heart attack six days after she saw Malench, who was her primary physician.

A reviewing physician stated that Malench failed to manage Pratt’s symptoms and that he knew she had risk for coronary disease and that Malench incorrectly diagnosed her presenting symptoms as cervical radiculitis, a spinal disorder caused by a spinal disc pressing against nerves to the spinal cord.

Malench claimed that the patient only complained of pain in her chest when she breathed in deeply and that the she had not mentioned the other symptoms.

The jury, however, sided with Dr. Malench. In determining whether a physician is guilty of medical malpractice, a jury need to find the physician negligent and his conduct fell below the “standard of care”. In Washington state, the test for “standard of care” is, “Did the health care provider fail to exercise the degree of care, skill and learning expected of a reasonably prudent health care provider with similar credentials and circumstances would have provided?”

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 with their wrongful death claims.

Jury sides with doctor in med mal suit
October 21, 2011 7:01 PM By SANFORD J. SCHMIDT The
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Kadlec Medical Center in Richland, Washington hired Dr. Robert Lee Berry as an anesthesiologist based upon a glowing recommendation from his former colleague, William J. Preau III, MD. Preau wrote in his letter of recommendation:

“He is an excellent anesthesiologist. He is capable in all fields of anesthesia including OB, peds, C.V. and all regional blocks. I recommend him highly.”

Dr. Preau’s recommendation of Berry helped him land the job at Kadlec, but unfortunately, it did not reveal the truth about Berry, that he was fired from Louisiana Anesthesia Associates because his colleagues felt that he had a drug problem and was known to divert patient’s Demerol, an opiod pain killer, for himself.

While at Kadlec, Dr. Berry committed an egregious medical error while anesthetizing Kimberly Jones, 31, and a mother of three, while he was “under the influence.” His medical error left Jones in a permanent vegetative state.

Jones’ family sued Dr. Berry and Kadlec and they won a medical malpractice award of $1M against Berry and $7.5M against Kadlec.

It was then that Kadlec decided to file lawsuit against Dr. Preau and Lakeview Regional Medical Center in Covington, LA to recoup the medical malpractice judgement against them. In their lawsuit, Kadlec claimed that Dr. Preau and Lakeview misled them and were intentional and negligent for failing to disclose Berry’s substance abuse problem. The lawsuit claimed that Lakeview and Preau had a duty to provide crucial information to the prospective employer.

The lower court provided a judgment against Dr. Berry and Lakeview but the judgment against Lakeview was reversed on appeal because the person who provided Lakeview’s evaluation of Berry’s performance claimed that she did not know the reason for Dr. Berry’s termination. The court did, however, uphold the claim against Dr. Preau and ordered him to pay $8.2M to Kadlec.

Dr. Preau probably never imagined he could be on the hook for writing a letter of recommendation.

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 medical negligence and the family of those who have died.
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A Leighton, PA, woman, was awarded $23M after she had to have both of her legs and a finger amputated due to a bacteria from a catheter entering her bloodstream.
Sharlee Ann Smoyer, 55, was being cared for at home by a home healthcare nurse, Jolynn Yurchak , under the employee of St. Luke’s Miners Memorial Home care. Smoyer’s attorney argued that the home care nurse’s negligence in failing to report the infection in a timely manner, almost killed Smoyer and cost her limbs due to gangrene.

Smoyer’s attorney, Matthew Casey, said:

“Sharlee Smoyer was one of St. Luke’s most vulnerable home-care nursing patients and they refused during this trial to accept even the most basic responsibility for mistakes made in her care. Ms. Smoyer hopes that the verdict will result in St. Luke’s redoubling its efforts to help prevent catheter-related bloodstream infections in the home-care setting.”

The jury found that the home care nurse failed to provide the “standard of care” — the kind of care that another medical professional would have provided given the same set of circumstances with the same level of education and training.

The medical malpractice award will pay for Smoyer’s medical expenses, loss of earnings and for her future care.

The jury was also most certainly sending a message to St. Luke’s Miners Memorial Home care to work on preventing catheter-related infections.

Central-line and catheters can introduce bacteria into a patient’s bloodstream and can cause death and injuries like Ms. Smoyer’s.

National Patient Safety Goals have set standards to decrease and eliminate catheter-related infections. Healthcare workers should be educated on potential complications and how to monitor the catheters and signs of potential infection. Hand washing, body draping, and anti-septic prep before inserting a catheter are all measures that must be taken to prevent infection.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who suffered serious injury due to medical malpractice and hospital infections including MRSA. With our help, you may recover compensation for your damages.


Jury awards Lehighton woman $23 million
The Morning Call September 17, 2011
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A U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel is meeting next week to discuss problems associated with vaginal repair of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) in women using non-absorbable surgical mesh.

The panel is meeting after Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, petitioned the FDA to ban surgical mesh for transvaginal repair of POP.

Tens of thousands of women have suffered serious side effects when their surgeon used a transvaginal technique to implant the mesh. Patients report complications including vaginal tissue erosion, neuromuscular disorders, severe pain, infection, painful sexual intercourse, bleeding and organ perforation. In some cases, women have had to be hospitalized to treat the complications or to have the mesh surgically removed. Surgery to remove the mesh is often complicated because the mesh becomes embedded into the vaginal tissue. Some women have required two or more surgeries.

We just read a story about a an egregious hospital error. A Taiwan hospital transplanted five organs including a heart, liver, lungs and two kidneys from an HIV-infected donor into five recipients. Now, the recipients are all being treated with AIDS drugs.

In all likelihood, the recipients will contract HIV and their health will be impacted as they have to take both AIDS drugs as well as anti-rejection drugs for their new organs, two treatments that are opposite of each other.

The hospital error occurred because a hospital staff member mistakenly thought he heard that the HIV test on the donor was “non-reactive.” Unfortunately, he misheard or the person on the other end of the telephone misstated that the HIV test was positive or “reactive.”

The donor was hospitalized after a fall and his family was unaware of his HIV status.

A Taiwanese health department official described the error as “appalling negligence.”

It seems like the hospital was very negligence in not double checking the results of the HIV test and checking an electronic or printed result. At least, they need to change their terminology as it seems like without an established change in protocol, this error could happen again. The hospital may have also been negligent in not conducting a detailed health history of the donor.

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-acquired infections can be deadly to patients. According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 1.7 million patients acquire an infection while in the hospital which is about 1 in 20 patients. Of those patients, approximately 100,000 patients die of complications caused by the infection they picked up in the hospital.

One solution to bringing down the number of infections is requiring hospital staff to be vaccinated for common diseases including the flu, hepatitis B and chicken pox.
bellevue medical malpractice lawyer
In Michigan, some hospitals are making it mandatory that their employees get a flu shot. Previously, compliance at many hospitals has been as low as 50%.

According to an article we found on Michigan radio, More hospitals require flu shots as condition of employment by Tracy Samilton, some employees are bristling about the new requirement calling it a “civil rights issue.”

While the Michigan hospitals are letting employees opt out if they have allergies or if their faith prohibit it, they are requiring employees to get the shots or get fired.

It seems to us like vaccinations in a health care setting is extremely important to protect the lives of patients. Healthcare workers and patients can be contagious up to a couple of days before they feel flu symptoms. A doctor, nurse, respiratory therapist or even house keeping staff could potentially spread the flu to people with compromised immune systems.

When a healthcare professional is working in a hospital setting, he or she is part of a team that should contribute to healing and caring for patients. Inadvertently spreading germs either through poor hand washing or failure to be vaccinated seems to us like negligence.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people with medical malpractice claims and the family of those who have died. With our help, you may receive compensation for your damages.

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Every year in the U.S., hospital-acquired infections are factors in the deaths of nearly 100,000 Americans. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that approximately 1.7 million Americans acquire an infection of some sort in the hospital. To put it in persective, 1 in 20 patients in the hospital will pick up an infection. This is a huge problem across the nation as many of the infections are antibiotic resistant.

A recent article in the Los Angeles Times reports on a California-initiative to bring down the number of hospital-acquired infections to save lives and to save money. It is estimated that hospital-acquired infections adds $600 million to California health care costs each year.

Many, if not most, hospital-acquired infections can be prevented because they are transmitted when doctors, nurses and other hospital staff do not practice correct hygiene and transmit disease from patient-to-patient. Common hospital infections include ventilator-associated pneumonia; staphylococcus aureus; tuberculosis; urinary tract infection; hospital-acquired pneumonia; Methicillin-resisten Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA); and Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) are some of the most common infections.

Fighting infection can sometimes be pretty low tech such as frequent hand washing. Medical personnel should wash their hands between patient contacts and after contacts with items contaminated with blood, bodily fluids or equipment. Though hand washing may seem simple, it must be done correctly.

Requiring hospital personnel to be to be vaccinated for common diseases such as hepatitis B, influenza and chicken pox is another fairly straight-forward solution.

Another low-tech infection prevention device is the tooth brush. Making sure that ill patients get their teeth brushed can go a along way to preventing pneumonia as bacteria can build up in a patient’s mouth. The Times article said that with a routine of teeth brushing and hydrogen peroxide swabbing of ventilator patient’s mouths, the rate of ventilator infections went down from 18 to 0 in a one-year period in one hospital.

Sterilization also plays a key role in infection prevention. Equipment and items that patients and medical staff come into contact with can prevent transmission. Sterilization can be done with chemicals, dry heat, steam under pressure or radiation.

One preventative measure that many patients can take is check the infection rate of the hospital where an elective surgery will take place. The Washington State Department of Health provides a website with information about the state’s Healthcare Associated Infections Program. This information provides patients with data to make healthcare decisions.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We are a personal injury law firm with offices in Seattle and Bellevue and we represent victims of medical malpractice and their family.

Source: Hospital-related infections drop under California initiative, Los Angeles Times, August 23, 2011
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