Archive for the ‘Med-Mal News’ Category

Medical Malpractice Payments Are Down But Are Medical Errors Really Decreasing?

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Last year, Medical Malpractice payments hit an all time low.  The National Practitioner Databank, set up in 1991 to record medical malpractice payments also reports that payments have been decreasing consecutively for the past 8 years.

One of the reasons for the decline of medical malpractice awards could be individual state’s decisions to place a cap on non-economic damages, which limits the amount of money a plaintiff can receive for pain and suffering.   These caps have not only limited the amount of money one patient can receive, but are also preventing patients from collecting any damages, as more and more attorneys are limited the number of cases they accept because of the caps.

Another reason for the decrease in claims could be lack of reporting.  Healthcare facilities often settle a number of cases out of court.  This is often done to save both time and money.  However, these cases that are settled outside of court do not get recorded in the databank.  This medical malpractice payments that are paid out to clients as a result of the doctor or hospital’s negligence outside of court are not recorded as medical malpractice payments.  This could mean millions of dollars, potentially billions are not being recorded.

William Landess, CRNA, MS, JD is the director of anesthesia at Palmetto Health Richland Campus in Columbia, South Carolina.  He believes that the lack of reporting could be the answer.  “I believe the numbers, I just don’t believe they’re a fully accurate portrayal of the actual number of malpractice claims or their financial impact.”

The Latest News on Doctor Discipline

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Recently, the Federation of State Medical Boards released their most recent statistics on doctor discipline by the fstate medical boards.

Latest Doctor Discipline Statistics

In 2011:

  • There was a 6.8% increase in the number of doctors who were disciplined by state medical boards.
  •  6,025 doctors were disciplined by state medical boards in 2011 compared with 5,652 in 2010.
  • 1,905 doctors had their licenses revoked in 2011 compared to 1,815 license revocations in 2010.

Not Everyone is Impressed by the Increase

The Director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group has told the media that, despite the increase, he believes that most state medical boards fail to discipline doctors deserving of discipline and thereby put
patients at risk. Specifically, he is concerned that the majority of disciplinary actions are merely reprimands or warnings and not actual punishments.

What do you think? Do state medical boards do a good job protecting the public from medical malpractice or could more be done to discipline doctors and protect patients?

A Look at 2011 Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Cases

Friday, May 18th, 2012

The rules changed in 2003, and in the years that followed fewer Pennsylvania medical malpractice cases were filed. From 2004 -2010 the number of medical malpractice cases filed in Pennsylvania dropped each year.

However, last year there was not a drop in PA medical malpractice cases. The number of cases filed in 2011 was substantially similar to the number of cases filed in 2010. In 2010, 1,491 medical malpractice cases were filed in Pennsylvania. In 2011, 1,528 medical malpractice cases were filed in Pennsylvania.

While the statistics are interesting, it is important to remember that they have no bearing on your individual case. If you have been hurt by the negligence of a doctor, nurse, medical professional, or hospital then you may be able to file a medical malpractice case and recover damages.

$78.5 Million Award in Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Case

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Earlier this month a Philadelphia jury awarded $78.5 million to a mother whose now three year old child was allegedly born with cerebral palsy because of a medical error at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center.

The plaintiff claimed that she went to the hospital in August 2008 with signs of pregnancy implications. A doctor allegedly performed an ultrasound and claimed that the baby had died. A second ultrasound was completed a little while later and a heartbeat was detected. The mother was then taken in for an emergency ultrasound and the child was born more than an hour after the first ultrasound. Experts for the plaintiff convinced a jury that the child might not have suffered from cerebral palsy had the C-section been done earlier. The jury also found that if appropriate ultrasound equipment and a trained ultrasound technician had been provided to this mother that the delay would have been avoided.

The multimillion dollar verdict includes compensation for future medical care, lost earnings, the child’s pain and suffering and the mother’s emotional distress. We extend our best wishes to the mother and child for the future.

Two Medication Overdoses Reported at St. Lukes

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Last week the Pennsylvania Department of Health reported that two patients at St. Luke’s had been overdosed with infusion pumps by nurses at the facility. These alleged overdoses come shortly after staff had been retrained because of an infusion pump overdose last fall.

St. Luke’s University Health Network has issued a statement saying that two patients did receive overdoses of medication. One of the patients experienced a critical drop in blood pressure and reportedly responded
to additional medication provided to combat the blood pressure drop. The other patient recovered from the medication mistake within a few hours, according to reports.

We wish everyone injured by these alleged medication errors a fast and complete recovery.