Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

It seems that the amount of paperwork required in order to be admitted to a hospital, nursing home, or other health care facility grows with each passing year. It can be overwhelming even under the best of circumstances. Unfortunately, health care providers can be quite demanding and pushy, shoving papers into a patient’s hands or insisting that a loved one complete them prior to admission.

In many cases, the patient or the family member has no idea what he or she is signing. This is especially true when it comes to arbitration agreements, which have the power to prevent a dispute between the patient and the facility from proceeding to court.

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There are several issues that are common in nursing home and senior care litigation, such as falls, medication errors, bedsores, and medical malpractice. In the recent unreported per curiam opinion of Evanston Insurance Company v. Agape Senior Primary Care, Inc., the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit was asked to review a case arising in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina at Columbia that presented a more unique issue.

In early 2012, the defendant facility hired a man who held himself out to be a board-certified physician. In actuality, the man was an impostor, and he had stolen the identity of the real physician, who was out of the country at the time. Approximately six months later, the defendant learned of the impostor’s fraud when he was arrested. He was later convicted and sentenced to two years in federal prison for aggravated identify theft.

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The importance of the statute of limitations – the deadline for filing a lawsuit – cannot be overemphasized. If a case is not filed in a timely fashion, there can be no recovery unless the circumstances fit into a very small number of exceptions.

In the recent case of Sims v. Amisub of South Carolina, the plaintiff was the duly appointed guardian and conservator of a ward who had allegedly been hurt as a result of the medical negligence of the defendant medical center and doctor in 2003. Unfortunately, the conservator’s suit was not filed until 2009.

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A stillbirth occurs when a baby dies after the 20th week of pregnancy. According to the March of Dimes, this tragic event happens in about one out of every 160 pregnancies in the United States. It can be caused by a number of factors, including birth defects, problems with the placenta, infections, umbilical cord issues, and chronic health conditions in the mother.

Sometimes, a stillbirth is not preventable. Other times, it may be possible to save the baby if appropriate measures are taken by the mother’s physicians and other medical personnel. A recent decision by the South Carolina Court of Appeals addressed a case in which a mother whose son was stillborn alleged that her doctors’ negligence caused her son’s death.

The Facts of the Case

In the case of Jamison v. Hilton, the plaintiff was a woman who delivered a stillborn infant via Caesarean section after the baby’s heart stopped beating at 32 weeks gestation. She sued two of her doctors and their obstetrical practice, claiming that her son’s death could have been prevented if they had complied with the applicable standard of care.

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If you’ve read a lot of our blog posts, then you probably look at news stories very differently than you used to. You may look at a story now and recognize situations where it may be necessary for victims to obtain a lawyer or when a case might lead to litigation. The latest case of two superbug-related deaths on the other side of the country may be no different as it sparks questions about liability and the possibility of personal injury lawsuits down the road.

Many people here in South Carolina may have heard about the deaths of two patients at a UCLA medical center. According to reports, the patients died after becoming infected with the superbug CRE, which is short for carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae. The infection was linked to a particular endoscope that the Food and Drug Administration is now saying had not been approved by the agency for use on patients.

Although the makers of the medical device have since applied for FDA approval, the damage has already been done, which could leave many across the nation wondering if and how the victims will be compensated.

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Despite our highest hopes and the best efforts of hospitals across the nation, medical mistakes continue to occur. Although one of the reasons is because of negligence — both at the hospital level and the staff level — the other reason is that technology and procedural guidelines are simply not up to the standards yet that we expect to find.

That having been said, our readers are probably wondering what technology could put patients in danger in 2015. With the help of a top ten list provided by the ECRI Institute, we hope to answer this question and give a heads up about possible hazards in 2015.

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No one who goes on a cruise really expects that they will get sick or injured on the journey. Still, it is nice to know that cruise ships have doctors and nurses on board who can treat illnesses or injuries that do occur. Until recently, those doctors and nurses effectively operated independently because of a ruling almost 30 years ago that gave immunity to the cruise lines in the event of medical malpractice aboard a ship.

In a ruling that came from the United States 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, that immunity has been reversed. In that ruling, the court said that the 1988 decision was outdated, partly because of the considerable updates and advances in technology. The judge who made the recent ruling noted that the medical facilities on cruise ships are for-profit operations. These facilities on the ship are usually the only option that passengers have when they need medical care.

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If you found out that your doctor was using a common medical device that could spread an undetected disease within your body, would you want them to continue using it? If you’re like a majority of our readers here in South Carolina, the answer to this question is a simple and resounding one: no.

Unfortunately, for months now, doctors across the nation have continued to use a gynecological tool that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration believes spreads undetected cancer cells in female patients. Despite the agency’s concern for patient safety, many doctors believe that the warning to stop using the device is unwarranted and that the government “shouldn’t [be allowed to] interfere with patient treatment.”

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Most people have very high standards when it comes to the care they receive at a hospital. There is an expectation that all medical professionals will provide the best possible care they can and that the hospital is abiding by all industry best practices.

But it’s these same expectations that can lead to shock and concern, especially following a medical mistake. After witnessing such negligence, most people find that their trust in the hospital and its staff has been broken, which leaves victims with a number of questions such as “how is this mistake going to be remedied?” and “am I able to seek compensation?”

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South Carolina residents may be interested in hearing about recent events that have followed the 2012 death of Russell Means, a prominent American Indian activist. The widow of the activist, who died of cancer at the age of 72, is suing a New Mexico hospital for medical malpractice and wrongful death, saying that the hospital failed to diagnose her husband’s esophageal cancer until it had already spread throughout his body.

According to the widow’s complaint, the hospital suggested that the symptoms that Means was experiencing, including difficulty swallowing and spitting up blood, were possibly caused by an enlarged tonsil when the man went into the hospital in 2011. However, Means had undergone a tonsillectomy as a child. The former leader of the American Indian Movement and member of the Oglala Lakota tribe had been an activist since the 1960s when he began protesting the use of American Indian images as sports mascots. In 1973, the activist protested the federal government’s mistreatment of American Indians by occupying a village at Wounded Knee in South Dakota for 72 days at the site of an 1890 massacre of Lakotas by U.S. troops.

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