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Detroit Medical Malpractice Blog

Hospitals named in med mal suits in connection with fraud charges

  • 24
  • September
    2014

Investigation continues in a case of health care fraud out of Detroit involving a physician who has pleaded guilty to putting patients through unnecessary treatments in order to be able to submit fraudulent insurance claims. The main doctor targeted thus far has pleaded guilty to 13 counts of health care fraud, as well as other charges. Now, eight other physicians have been implicated in the case.

According to authorities, the eight other physicians knew about the fraudulent activity but failed to report it. For that, the physicians are suspects for conspiracy. Already, multiple civil cases have been filed for medical malpractice in connection with the fraud, including several hospitals.

Early brain injury can lead to autism, study says

  • 17
  • September
    2014

Researchers from Princeton University recently offered a new theory regarding the genesis and onset of autism. The theory has to do with the cerebellum, the area of brain which processes motor control. Researchers suggest that an injury to the cerebellum during the birth process can significantly increase an infant’s likelihood of developing autism, more than almost every other known risk factor.

The connection between deficiencies in the cerebellum and autism have been known for some time, but the study takes a closer look at the issue from a developmental perspective, suggesting that a dysfunction in the cerebellum could affect the development of circuits in the neocortex and lead to cognitive and behavior issues as well as autism.  

Risky sleeping pills may be overprescribed

  • 12
  • September
    2014

Most of our readers have heard of the sleep drug Ambien, as well as the risks associated with it. These risks include dizziness and drowsiness, and in more serious cases depression, suicidal thoughts, aggressive behavior and anxiety. The sedative effect of the drug is increased when the drug is mixed with alcohol and other drugs.                                                       

Ambien is fairly widely used in the United States, enough that its use results in thousands of emergency room visits every year. In fact, the number of ER visits connected to use of Ambien and similar drugs has almost doubled over the past ten years. This is at least partly attributed to strong efforts to advertise the drug directly to consumers, as well as over-prescription of sleeping pills containing zolpidem, the active ingredient in Ambien.

Patients can face challenges pursuing malpractice claims

  • 05
  • September
    2014

One of the challenges with medical malpractice litigation is that it is not always easy for those who are harmed by a health care provider to successfully pursue a case for medical malpractice, even when the merits of their case are strong. Part of the reason for this is that health care providers usually have greater resources at their disposal with which to pursue litigation, whereas patients very often don’t have much in terms of financial resources. Medical malpractice litigation can be expensive, particularly if the provider is not open to settlement and is bent on defending his or her case at all costs.

Another challenge with medical malpractice litigation is the amount of time it takes to see a case through. Cases can take months or years, all the while building up the expenses involved. With the potential cost and time investment of medical malpractice litigation being so high, it doesn’t always pay off in the end to pursue such litigation. Depending on the potential payout in a case, it may be better for an injured patient to forego litigation, or at least push for settlement.  

Developing technology may help surgeons avoid errors, improve technique

  • 28
  • August
    2014

Surgical errors can result in serious harm to patients in some cases, and it goes without saying that patients deserve to have the assurance that their providers and their employers are continually working on ways to reduce the occurrence of errors to make operations more successful. Improvements can come from a variety of approaches, including improved safety practices, better staff communication, and enhanced technology.

In the area of technology, surgical “black boxes” hold some promise of helping improve surgical operation safety. In Canada, there are researchers working on developing devices which record surgeon’s hand movements and which identify errors in the procedure, giving the surgeon immediate feedback on their progress. Not only could these devices help avoid medical errors and save lives, they could help surgeons to better improve their technique by pinpointing when errors occur. 

Class action lawsuit against hospital settled for $190 million

  • 20
  • August
    2014

When most of us hear the term medical malpractice we generally tend to think of medical error of some sort. The truth, though, is that medical malpractice encompasses a wide range of erroneous and inappropriate behavior on the part of medical professionals and their employers. A recent class action lawsuit against Johns Hopkins Hospital involving thousands of patients is a good example of this.

The case resulted in a settlement of $190 million for over 7,000 women who were harmed by a doctor accused of violating doctor-patient trust by carrying around a concealed camera and recording pelvic exams. The activity is alleged to have gone on over a number of years, and was discovered after a female colleague of the physician reported that she thought something fishy was going on with the doctor’s special pen. Sadly, the physician ended up committing suicide shortly after his activity came to light. 

Survey of research shows medication errors common among children

  • 05
  • August
    2014

In a recent post, we wrote on the issue of medication errors in nursing home settings and noted the surprising frequency with which these errors occur. Medication errors are not uncommon only among the elderly, though, but also in health care settings involving children. According to a new study which looked at a number of previous studies on the issue of medication errors, anywhere from five to 27 percent of all medication prescriptions for children result in child patients taking the incorrect dosage of the drug.

The study found that the reason for this has largely to do with deficiencies in the way prescriptions are filled and administered.  For example, doctors who use preprinted prescription order sheets are less likely to cause prescription errors. The reduction in error has been shown to be as high as 82 percent. 

Lack of transparency in medical care problematic for patients

  • 29
  • July
    2014

According to a recent study published in the Journal of Patient Safety, every year over 400,000 people die from preventable medical error and scores more are harmed. In light of this, it can be said with certainty that Medical error is a serious issue in health care, and all of us deserve to be better informed about when medical error has occurred and about our providers’ performance records.

Unfortunately, only a handful of states have laws which require hospitals to report medical errors to the public at present. Consumers are able to find information about medical errors at the federal level on Hospital Compare, a website run by Medicare, but that information is limited. Recent efforts under the Affordable Care Act have tried to increase transparency, but time will tell whether this is successful. 

Drug abuse not uncommon in nursing homes

  • 25
  • July
    2014

Medication errors are a rather common mistake in the field of health care, particularly in institutions where elderly people live, such as nursing homes and assisted living centers. It is the responsibility of these institutions, of course, to ensure that residents receive the medication they have been prescribed in a timely way.

Something that may surprise some of our readers is that abuse of certain powerful medications is not at all uncommon in nursing homes and assisted living centers. In particular, antipsychotic medications are well known to be overused at nursing homes. According to some, up to one in five patients in nursing homes are unnecessarily medicated with antipsychotic drugs.

Mother agues for higher cap on noneconomic damages in stillbirth case

  • 14
  • July
    2014

A judge for the Lenawee Circuit Court held a hearing last month on the issue of what the cap should be for birth injuries in a medical malpractice case involving a botched delivery that resulted in the stillbirth of a baby at ProMedica Bixby Hospital in 2008. According to the claim brought by the baby’s mother, the death was the result of the negligence of a nurse and a physician on staff at the hospital. The child was reportedly delivered well after it should have been due to the oversight of the providers.

Under Michigan law, non-economic damages are capped at $280,000 in most cases. It is possible for a higher cap of $500,000 to be applied in certain cases involving serious injuries, including severe brain injury. These amounts are adjusted yearly for inflation. Given the circumstances of this case, the lower limit is $440,300 and the cap is $774,000. 

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