Articles Tagged with Medical Malpractice

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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?