What is a Medical Negligence Claim?
• A medical negligence claim is a direct legal action taken by a patient who falls victim to the negligent or wrongful actions of a medical provider or medical professional. All medical professionals work under a code of ethics. Considering the importance of their role, all physicians and medical professionals are required to provide suitable support and medical advice to their patients. These actions must be delivered in the patient’s best interest to accurately treat, diagnosis, or rehabilitate the individual. A failure to deliver this expected course of conduct may result in the filing of a medical negligence claim.
• To be considered medical negligence, the patient in question must suffer from an injury or some form of damage that arose from the medical professional’s actions. These actions are not always direct; a misdiagnosis or a faulty prescription can result in long-term effects. Regardless of the specifics, all medical negligent claims are filed because the patient (who expected to receive suitable care) was injured, harmed, or suffered some form of loss as a result of the doctor’s negligent or wrongful actions.
• Medical negligent claims are filed through the civil court system of the particular jurisdiction in which the negligent or wrongful action took place. A medical negligent claim is filed by the patient to recoup finances from their injury. When an individual falls victim to a negligent or fraudulent medical action they will invariably suffer from sort of pain—emotional or physical pain must be present which results in the loss of wages or emotional distress.
• The laws associated with medical negligence claims–meaning the grounds for what constitute a medical negligent action—are dictated through state interpretation. Medical negligence is not always a direct issue; similar to other personal injury claims the negligent actions must be directly linked to the patient’s suffering.
• In addition to the varying interpretations, all states possess different statues of limitations that regulate when a medical negligence suit can be filed.
How to File a Medical Negligence Case
• To recoup finances lost from an injury or emotional distress caused by a doctor’s actions, you must gather all information regarding your particular case. A list of the doctor’s actions, all appointments with the underlying medical provider, prescriptions, diagnoses, and a proof of wages or time lost due to the injury must be presented at the medical negligence trial.
• After all information has been gathered and you understand your particular state’s interpretive laws regarding medical negligence, you must hire a medical malpractice attorney to facilitate your claim. Utilize all resources (the yellow pages, the Internet, word of mouth) before hiring a medical malpractice attorney.
• When an attorney is hired, develop a strategy that will give your case the best opportunity to reach a favorable settlement. The most important aspect of developing a strong case is the obtainment of information and evidence.
What is a Misdiagnosis?
• A misdiagnosis is an inaccurate diagnosis of a medical ailment. Medical professionals can misdiagnose an individual depending on a number of factors; however, in most instances a misdiagnosis is delivered through a negligent action taken by the medical provider or physician. An erroneous diagnosis can take on a number of forms—sometimes a medical problem is identified when the patient has no such ailments, or a diagnosis can be classified incorrectly. Examples of the latter include a doctor who diagnoses a tumor as benign when it is in fact malignant.
• A misdiagnosis is a medical error, and although it may be difficult to gauge given varying symptoms or the presence of inaccurate statistics, all forms of misdiagnoses will portray some form of externalities or adverse side effect.
Contact a medical-malpractice-lawyer to acquire legal advice and assistance.
Reasons for a Misdiagnosis?
• There are a number of reasons that will cause a misdiagnosis. People often times blame negligent actions or laziness for an inaccurate diagnosis; however, a misdiagnosis can arise for a number of medical reasons. That being said, the presence of a misdiagnosis may award an individual the right to file a medical malpractice suit.
• Reasons that would not necessitate or warrant a medical malpractice suit for a misdiagnosis include: faulty or malfunctioning medical equipment, a patient’s discretion to conceal critical information, a language barrier between the medical professional and the patient, or a situation in which the symptoms of the ailment did not match the universal diagnosis.
• Reasons that would necessitate or warrant a medical malpractice suit for a misdiagnosis: a negligent action taken by a doctor, a failure to adhere to the code of conduct necessary for all doctors to abide by, or a blatant wrongdoing that stems from laziness or the doctor’s inability to deliver a routine medical action.
Consequences of a Misdiagnosis
• The consequences of a misdiagnosis are variable; for example if a patient’s biopsied tumor is misdiagnosed as malignant when it is in fact benign, he or she will undergo unnecessary medical operations. This obviously would adversely affect the individual’s health and would invariably result in a medical malpractice suit.
• In order for the misdiagnosis to be considered malpractice, the individual must suffer a direct loss through a physical damage. Undergoing unnecessary surgery or chemotherapy will inevitably result in a negative effect in the form of unwarranted scars, sickness, and the loss of wages. These instances are grounds for medical malpractice suits; the individual will file a medical malpractice suit to obtain a recoupment for the losses suffered.
• In these instances, the individual must hire a medical malpractice attorney to facilitate their medical malpractice case. The individual must demonstrate to the local court system that the misdiagnosis directly lead to a loss in the form of finances, physical pain, or emotional distress.
New York courts specializing in the state’s 4,000 medical malpractice cases filed annually have begun expanding following the success of a Bronx judge in expediting the settlement process.
The approach, which has shown to save money by reducing court backlogs, has been extended to the other boroughs, through the implementation of training and educational programs.
Starting December 1st, New York Chief Administrative Judge, Ann Pfau, will become the coordinating judge of the court system’s medical malpractice segment. The program is using a $3 million federal grant to train more judges in expediting the process.
Bronx Justice Douglas McKeon, who has focused on malpractice cases for over 15 years, said he helped settle over 1,000 malpractice suits in his career. The efficacy in settling such cases is attributed to the city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation—an entity which runs 11 public hospitals and uses its own claims and law department to settle cases in a streamlined fashion.
Courpration deputy counsel Suzzane Blundi stated that the entity revamped their commitment to patient safety, developing programs to manage claims, improve care and decrease payouts. The effort also investigates malpractice claims early on to help expedite settlements.
Severe complications like kidney failure and heart attacks during and immediately after labor and delivery are rising nationwide, says a CDC report. The report, published in the November issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, has serious implications for pregnant women, attorneys in the malpractice field, obstetricians, midwives, and other birth professionals.
Because the study the report was based on was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, it could examine a very large, nationwide sample of births. The Nationwide Inpatient Sample, used by the study, includes information on over five million patients annually at approximately 1,000 hospitals. According to these samples, having a baby is the single most common thing that Americans do in hospitals—labor and delivery accounted for more hospital intakes than any other single cause.
Out of about 50 million births recorded during the period from 1998 to 2009, about 600,000 involved severe complications in delivery or in the immediate period after delivery. Women were recorded as having severe complications if they had to receive a blood transfusion or had a serious infection or other illness.
Some of these events had seen a significant increase over the eleven year timespan. For example, the rates of blood transfusion went up over 180 percent. Embolisms were also more common, as were tracheotomies and heart attacks.
However, not all of the news was negative. Maternal death rates are on the decline even as overall complication rates have gone up. The rate of in-hospital maternal death is just over one in 10,000—a 37 percent reduction overall from what the maternal death rate was at the beginning of the study.
Several theories have been proposed to explain the increasing rates of complications. One of the reasons for the increase may be that minority women are still unable to get equal access to healthcare. They experience both fetal and maternal death more frequently than white women across the board.
Uninsured mothers are another component of the increase in complications, because the greatest risks for complications occur in women who have not received routine prenatal care. Higher rates of obesity in the American population have also led to an increase in complications like high blood pressure and diabetes, which can make giving birth significantly more risky even with modern medical technologies.
Older women are also significantly more likely to experience birth related complications, especially women over the age of 40 who are giving birth for the first time. In recent years, more women in this age group have been able to successfully conceive and give birth thanks to assisted reproductive technologies. While these technologies have benefited many people, they also put more high-risk patients into obstetrics wards every year.
According to the CDC, the best ways for women to avoid pregnancy related complications and maternal mortality involve taking good care of their bodies before getting pregnant. Losing weight, stopping smoking, and getting untreated diabetes or hypertension under control before becoming pregnant is critical to a healthy mother and baby.
What is Medical Malpractice?
• Medical malpractice refers to a professional act of negligence or glaring omission, delivered by a medical professional or health care provider.
• Medical malpractice is an illegal action; the negligent care provided by a medical institution or medical professional precipitates an injury or death to the patient.
• All medical professionals as well as health care providers must adhere to the established regulations and standards instituted by the state government (as well as the federal government) in which they operate out of. Although these regulations vary by location, general human’s rights issues are enshrouded in the code. Any care that blatantly disrupts a patient’s health or any procedures that are improperly administered, or conducted with negligence that precipitate an injury or death may be tried in a court system under the statutes which govern medical malpractice.
• Typically medical malpractice cases are initiated by patients who feel they have been misdiagnosed, mistreated, or handled with negligence. These patients, as a result of the faulty medical care, become inflicted with increased bodily damage or even death. Following this unfortunate circumstance, the patient or the patient’s family, will then initiate a medical malpractice suit in the hopes of retaining a financial settlement to recoup the monetary and emotional damages that were caused from the mistreatment. In addition to compensatory rulings, more severe medical malpractice cases—typically those that result in the premature death of the patient–will evaluate the doctor’s or medical professional’s motives in relation to an involuntary manslaughter charge.
• As a result of the financial issues which surround a medical malpractice charge, all medical professionals are required to assume and maintain professional liability insurance. These policies are designed to offset the risk and the legal costs that stem from medical malpractice charges.
• Depending on the circumstances, a doctor or medical professional would be liable, and thus susceptible to a medical malpractice charge, for such maneuvers as prescribing experimental drugs, performing cosmetic surgeries, or initiating alternative-based surgeries or medical treatments to a patient.
Elements of a Medical Malpractice Case
• In a medical malpractice suit, the plaintiff is the patient, or a legally designated party who acts on behalf of the patient—these parties are assigned in wrongful death suits. In contrast, the defendant is the health care provider or medical professional who precipitated the injury or death.
• In order to receive a favorable ruling, a plaintiff must establish and definitively prove the following four elements of tort negligence:
1. A duty must be owed; a legal duty is realized whenever a health care provider or medical professional undertakes care or delivers treatment for a patient.
2. The duty then must be breached; the provider must fail to meet and conform to the relevant standards of care. The standard of care is examined based on expert testimony or through the observance of obvious errors. The standard care refers to the normal treatment methods for similar medical issues.
3. The breach, meaning the negligent action or omission, must precipitate bodily injury; the breach must be a proximate cause of the physical injury.
4. The patient must suffer from physical damages; without the presence of damages (the losses may be emotional or pecuniary) there is no true basis for a claim. This notion exists, regardless of whether the provider was negligent.
Medical malpractice cases include accusations against some medical professional, that their actions or inaction resulted in an injury to a patient or in the death of the patient, when it could have been prevented. For example, medical malpractice cases involve surgeries which may have been performed on the wrong body part or surgeries in which medical instruments were left inside the patient. There are also medical malpractice cases which involve a misdiagnosis, when the correct one should have been easily determined.
Individuals involved in a malpractice case, should immediately contact a malpractice attorney. Malpractice attorneys specialize in these types of cases and often work with victims and the accused, in order to attempt to reach a settlement before going to trial. Medical professionals carry malpractice insurance, which is often used to cover such cases.
Pediatricians should consider giving teenage girls a prescription for emergency contraception before they need it, according to a recent report released by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The recommendation represents a significant shift in how the medication has been treated by pediatricians in the United States.
Although the popular emergency contraceptive, consisting of a combination of synthetic estrogens and progesterones, was made over the counter for women 17 years of age and older, women under 17 still require a prescription to obtain the pills.
This presents a problem for girls under 16, who often have difficulty scheduling a doctor's appointment and obtaining a prescription within the 72 hour effective window for emergency contraceptives. Making matters even worse for teenagers trying to get EC, the pill is at its most effective when it's taken as early as possible.
In repeated studies, physicians have found that emergency contraceptive drugs are safe for occasional use in adolescents. Most of the objection to allowing girls under the age of 17 obtain the pills on their own came from people who had issues with the ways in which over the counter Plan B would diminish parental control over a child's medical treatment.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, giving girls pre-emptive prescriptions would solve several of the current issues with prescribing Plan B to teenagers. For one, the pre-emptive prescription could be filled nearly immediately after an incident of unprotected sex or of a birth control method being compromised. This makes the Plan B medications very likely to be effective.
Another reason is that the doctor can evaluate any girls who are given a pre emptive Plan B prescription to ensure that they do not have any medical conditions that might make Plan B less safe for them to take. Doctors can also go over side effect information with patients and help them understand that Plan B is not for use as a primary birth control method.
Anti abortion groups are likely to decry the statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics. These groups also fought the approval of Plan B, as well as the recent change that made it over the counter for girls and women over 17 years of age. According to these anti-abortion groups, because Plan B may be responsible for causing fertilized eggs not to implant in the uterus, they are tantamount to abortion.
However, according to the CDC and other government sources, these pills work primarily by blocking ovulation and are considered very safe. There have been no major lawsuits as a result of Plan B being made available to consumers, either behind the pharmacy counter or over the counter.
It remains to be seen how many pediatricians will actually act in accordance with the new recommendations from the AAP. Parental objections may make it difficult for some pediatricians, especially those in conservative or rural areas, to give pre-emptive Plan B prescriptions to younger female patients.
Sources: cdc.gov, aap.org
What is Fetal Abduction?
Fetal abduction occurs when a pregnant mother is forced to undergo a cesarean. The abductor will then kidnap the fetus, and the mother is usually murdered or killed during the cesarean. The type of abduction is somewhat of a phenomenon, for recorded cases have only occurred since the 1980s.
Psychology of the Abductor
A fetal abduction is much rarer than an infant abduction, but the abductor usually has the same frame of mind and thoughts before the abduction. The abductor is usually a woman, and she will usually have fantasies of becoming pregnant or being a mother. In some cases, the abductor will fake a pregnancy and abduct the fetus when it would appear the abductor is ready to have a child.
The Most Recent Case of Fetal Abduction
Warning: the details of the following crimes are graphic and may offend some readers. On September 20, 2012, Annette Morales-Rodriguez was convicted of first-degree homicide after she killed a woman and her unborn child. The woman was Maritza Ramirez-Cruz, and she died as a result of asphyxiation, head trauma, and blood loss along with the involuntary caesarean performed Morales.
A witness stated that Morales lured the victim to her house and attacked her with a baseball bat. Ramirez was then bound with duct tape, and the tape covered her nose and mouth as well. Morales proceeded to place a plastic bag over Ramirez and then cut the unborn fetus from the womb. Morales will spend the rest of her life in prison.
Other Cases of Fetal Abduction
Recorded fetal abductions have occurred in the United States since 1987. Some of the cases are described below:
1987, Albuquerque, New Mexico
The first recorded fetal abduction occurred in Albuquerque when Darci Pierce murdered Cindy Ray and stole her unborn child. Cindy Ray was attacked after she left the Kirkland Air Force Base in New Mexico, and Peirce strangled her. She then used a car key to remove the unborn child, who survived and is still living.
1996, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Felicia Scott and Carenthia Curry were friends before the crime occurred. Scott cut open Curry to steal her child, shot Curry in the head, and placed her body in a plastic bag. The family eventually reported Curry as missing, and authorities found Curry’s body three months later. The baby survived the abduction.
2006, St. Louis, Illinois
Tiffany Hall killed Jimella Tunstall and cut the unborn fetus out of her womb. She then proceeded to drown three of the pregnant woman’s children and left the drowned children in a washing machine and dryer. It was another case where the defendant knew the victim. Sadly, the baby did not survive the attack.
2008, Kennewick, Washington
In this case, Phiengchai Sisouvanh Synhavong killed Araceli Camacho Gomez by stabbing her in the chest numerous times. Gomez’s feet and hands were found with yarn, and Synhavong cut the fetus out of the womb. Bloody gloves, a box cutter, and other bloody items were found in Synhavong’s purse, and the child miraculously survived.