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AWARD WINNING ATTORNEYS A team with over 400 years experience Over $500 million dollars in Verdicts and Settlements
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Recently, in December 2014, a few Chinese surgeons and nurses took selfies with patients undergoing surgery. They claimed that the operating room was soon to be closed, and they just wanted some memorabilia.  The outcome: a few clinicians lost their jobs, and the rest were reprimanded.

Closer to home, in June 2015, a Virginia anesthesiologist, gastroenterologist, and medical assistant were unknowingly recorded mocking, name-calling, and poking fun at a sedated patient during a colonoscopy. One recorded comment was, “After five minutes of talking to you in pre-op…I wanted to punch you in the face and man you up a little bit.”  The clinician also called the patient a “retard.” Even more disturbing, one clinician declared her intent to falsify the patient’s medical record.  For these offenses, a judge awarded the patient $500,000.

The Keches Law Group Medical Malpractice department receives calls every day from people describing bad care, from minor issues of rude behavior to more major concerns of misread x-rays and delays in diagnosing cancer or stroke.  Often, the bad care did not cause harm and so was not legally negligent.  When bad care is such that it falls below accepted standards AND when it causes harm – that is Medical Malpractice.

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Medical Malpractice occurs on a daily basis. When it happens in a hospital setting, it can be difficult to figure out who was responsible.  There are two to three nursing shifts every day, attending physicians, consulting physicians, physician assistants, and resident physicians.

Take this case, for example: Our client went to the emergency department with a broken leg. The emergency department physician evaluated her and admitted her — not for the broken leg, but for the dizziness that caused her to fall in the first place.  Then began the extensive workup and multiple consults (physician examinations from different specialists).   On day one, the broken leg was placed into a removable walking boot for the next three weeks – a simple break that needed some stability.  No orders were written about that boot, (but remember, it was a removable boot). Throughout the next five days in the hospital, the patient saw several different consulting physicians for an extensive workup to uncover why she became dizzy and fell.  The patient also had 24 hour nursing care. On a daily basis, the patient saw several different doctors who reviewed and assessed different test results, the patient’s clinical presentation, and radiology/laboratory findings.  As each physician or nurse assessed this patient, s/he was advised of the extreme pain experienced by the patient.  Each physician reviewed and agreed with the existing pain medication order or orders more/stronger pain medication – and with the medication, the patient’s pain subsides temporarily. But by day five, the pain was excruciating.  Someone finally took off that removable walking boot…only to discover that the “simple broken leg” is gangrenous.  The end result: a below the knee amputation.

So, who was responsible for the treatment and care of this patient?

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Kathryn Wickenheiser    kwickenheiser@kecheslaw.com

When filing a new lawsuit, one must keep the above law in-mind.  In short, we call this “60L Notice.”

Anyone intending to file a claim for Medical Malpractice in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts must give written notice of (6) six months (182 days) to each health care provider, entity and corporation intended to be named as a defendant.  This notice shall contain a factual basis for the claim; the applicable standard of care alleged by the claimant; the manner in which the claimant alleges the standard of care was violated; the alleged action that should have been taken to achieve compliance with the alleged standard of care; the manner in which it is alleged that the breach of the standard of care was the proximate cause of the injury claimed in the notice; and the names of all health care providers that the claimant intends to notify.  The claimant must also furnish a copy of all medical records related to the claim of negligence within 56 days of giving notice.

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Diabetes affects blood vessels and can impair the delivery of blood to all parts of the body – eyes, kidneys, legs, and feet.  Diabetics are especially prone to develop foot complications such as neuropathy, vascular disease, and injury. Doctors caution diabetic patients to make foot care a part of the daily routine: to watch for cuts or unusual marks; to keep the feet clean and moisturized; and to control blood sugar levels. The goal is to promote circulation and never to impair it.

Healthcare providers must aggressively treat signs of circulatory problems in the feet of diabetic patients.  Wounds must be cleaned and debrided when necessary.  IV antibiotics may need to be used and patients may need to be admitted to hospital for observation and treatment.  Wraps, like ace bandages and casts, must not be applied too tightly and must be removed periodically for foot care and inspection.  Improper foot care can lead to amputation of the foot or even the lower leg.

Because diabetics are at high risk for foot problems, it can be difficult to prove that an amputation was necessitated by medical negligence rather than the natural course of the disease.  Our nursing and legal staff can sort through your medical records to determine whether healthcare providers rendered substandard care.  We will consult with expert witnesses to figure out whether poor care led to an amputation.

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Diabetes affects blood vessels and can impair the delivery of blood to all parts of the body – eyes, kidneys, legs, and feet.  Diabetics are especially prone to develop foot complications such as neuropathy, vascular disease, and injury. Doctors caution diabetic patients to make foot care a part of the daily routine: to watch for cuts or unusual marks; to keep the feet clean and moisturized; and to control blood sugar levels. The goal is to promote circulation and never to impair it.

Healthcare providers must aggressively treat signs of circulatory problems in the feet of diabetic patients.  Wounds must be cleaned and debrided when necessary.  IV antibiotics may need to be used and patients may need to be admitted to hospital for observation and treatment.  Wraps, like ace bandages and casts, must not be applied too tightly and must be removed periodically for foot care and inspection.  Improper foot care can lead to amputation of the foot or even the lower leg.

Because diabetics are at high risk for foot problems, it can be difficult to prove that an amputation was necessitated by medical negligence rather than the natural course of the disease.  Our nursing and legal staff can sort through your medical records to determine whether healthcare providers rendered substandard care.  We will consult with expert witnesses to figure out whether poor care led to an amputation.

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Informed Consent is required before many medical procedures. Patients sign Informed Consent forms in doctor’s offices and hospitals. There are consents for anesthesia, surgery, certain medications and diagnostic tests or treatments. The typical Informed Consent form provides the patient with a list of things that can go wrong – “risks of the procedure.” For instance, one might bleed after surgery or develop an infection.

So, what does it mean to a patient who suffers permanent harm when one of those bad things happens? What it does not mean is that because you signed the form, you may not sue a doctor whose negligence caused the bad thing to happen. When a health care provider renders substandard care resulting in harm to the patient, the health care provider may well be liable for negligence – even if the event was contemplated by a signed consent. A doctor may not negligently injure a patient and then hide behind a consent form.

If a patient is harmed because a doctor withheld material information from the patient, that may give rise to another kind of claim for damages – even where there was no medical negligence.

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By: Suzanne CM McDonough

508-821-4324

Featured on November 15, 2013 in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette was Keches Law Group’s most recent medical malpractice settlement for $4.25 Million

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By: Suzanne CM Mcdonough

508-821-4324

According to the CDC, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men in the United States. Nearly 30,000 men in the United States die from prostate cancer each year.