Menu Location

Detroit Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Off-label drug prescriptions and medical malpractice liability

  • 23
  • April
    2015

We began speaking in our last post about litigation that has been initiated against GlaxoSmithKline in connection with Zofran. As we noted, the lawsuits accuse the manufacturer of failing to warn patients about the risks the drug presents for pregnant women, which include the possibility of birth defects. The issue we raised last time was what liability may attach to doctors who choose to prescribe medications for an off-label use, as is the case with Zofran as used by pregnant women.

One important point is that prescribing medications for an off-label use is not all that uncommon, and physicians are allowed to do so as long as these prescriptions do not veer into the realm of “research.” The distinction, generally speaking, is that research is characterized by interventions aimed at testing of a hypothesis and ultimately contributing to increased knowledge. In cases where research is being conduct with the off-label use of a drug, physicians must take steps to follow established safety protocol and supervision to ensure safety and effectiveness. Patients must also be fully informed of the risks. Failure to do so opens a physician up to liability.  

Zofran litigation raises issue of physician liability for off-label prescriptions

  • 15
  • April
    2015

Readers may have heard of the medication Zofran and the current litigation going on with respect to its safety for use by pregnant women. GlaxcoSmithKline, the manufacturer of the drug, is reportedly being accused of failing to warn patients about the potentially dangerous effects of the drug during the first three months of pregnancy.

In support of their claims, plaintiffs are pointing to previous research suggesting the drug may cause musculoskeletal deformities and heart defects. The big legal issue in the cases, as already mentioned, is that Glaxo failed to provide adequate warning about the risks of Zofran with respect to possible heart and musculoskeletal issues. What we want to ask here, though, is: what liability do doctors assume in the prescription of this medication for pregnant women?

Study shows patients feel better after reviewing medical records

  • 07
  • April
    2015

Isn’t it funny how scientific research often confirms what most of us already suspected or knew to be true? Well, another study like this recently came out. According to recent research conducted at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, patients who are allowed to see their medical records during their stay in a hospital have less anxiety about their treatment or procedure. We know…not that surprising.

One of the hopes coming out of the study is that allowing patients to review their medical records while they are hospitalized will not only help them to be less anxious, but also to become more involved in their care and to potentially prevent medical errors from occurring. This last point is an important one. 

What are the qualification requirements for expert witnesses? P.2

  • 31
  • March
    2015

In our last post, we began looking at what Michigan law has to say about the qualifications for expert witnesses in medical malpractice litigation. As we noted, one of the main requirements is that the physician has knowledge and experience practicing in the same field and specialty as the defendant physician.

There are a separate—though not that different—set of factors that are considered for evaluating the qualifications of an expert witness who is being called to provide an opinion on some aspect of a medical malpractice case other than the standard of care. We’ll briefly look at these factors here. 

What are the qualification requirements for expert witnesses?

  • 25
  • March
    2015

In our last post, we spoke a bit about the role of judges in determining the qualifications of expert witnesses and the reliability of their testimony. In this post, we wanted to take a brief look at what state law has to say about these qualifications.

The first issue addressed by state law is the qualifications for an expert witness to be able to offer an opinion on the correct standard of care in the case, whether in favor of or against the provider accused of negligence. As a general matter, experts who testify on the appropriate standard of care must be licensed health professional in either Michigan or another state. Further, experts must have specialized in the same specialty as the provider accused of negligence as of the time of the alleged negligence. 

The role of the judge in expert witness testimony

  • 17
  • March
    2015

In our last couple posts, we explored the issue of cerebral palsy and the question of causation. As we noted, causation is an important issue in medical malpractice litigation, and one which is often disputed. Because of the importance of determining the cause of medical injuries in medical malpractice litigation, expert testimony plays a critical role.

One thing that should be clear is that it is not the function of judges handling medical malpractice lawsuits to weigh in on the issue of causation, as this requires specialized training and knowledge. As a recent Michigan appeal decision made clear, judges are not to voice opinions on scientific and medical issues in medical malpractice litigation, but to play a gatekeeping function with regard to expert testimony.                       

Cerebral palsy and the issue of causation, P.2

  • 12
  • March
    2015

In our last post, we began discussing a recent study suggesting that, at least in some cases, cerebral palsy may be rooted in a genetic mutation rather than a mishap during the birth process. As we noted, the findings could potentially have an impact on the issue of causation in birth injury litigation.

The principle of causation in medical malpractice litigation is aimed at ensuring that the alleged acts of negligence are a sufficiently connected cause of the alleged injuries. In cases where negligence is established but it cannot be established that the negligence was the legal cause of the injuries, no recovery is possible. 

Cerebral palsy and the issue of causation

  • 04
  • March
    2015

According to a recent study published in an online journal by the name of Molecular Psychiatry, a small but significant percentage of cases of cerebral palsy may stem from genetic mutations rather than mishaps during birth. The study specifically found that out of 183 cases of cerebral palsy, one in seven individuals had a gene variant which could have caused the condition.

The bottom line of the study is that at least some cases of cerebral palsy may be rooted in genetics rather than other factors, and this finding confirms previous research showing that there is a significantly greater risk of cerebral palsy for those who have a relative with a developmental disability. 

What legal remedies are available for medical neglect in prison?

  • 23
  • February
    2015

In our last post, we began speaking about the issue of medical care in prison and fact that prisoners do have the right to adequate medical care. Here, we want to take a brief look at the legal remedies that are available to prisoners who have been denied such care.

At the state level, prisoners may be able to enforce their constitutional rights by filing an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. One of the advantages of suing under this statute is that a plaintiff is able to avoid any state limitations on medical malpractice caps. Here in Michigan, noneconomic damages are capped in medical malpractice cases, but pursuing a section 1983 action would allow a plaintiff to avoid the cap. Other advantages include the availability of attorney’s fees and a potentially longer statute of limitations.

Inmates and the right to adequate medical care

  • 18
  • February
    2015

Medical care is obviously a critical resource which all of us rely on throughout our lives, for ourselves and for our family members, so much so that basic medical care could arguably be considered a human right. In any case, basic medical care is at least a constitutional right guaranteed by the Eighth Amendment. This right is applicable whether or not the medical care is provided directly by employees of the government or by medical staff contracting with the government.

From the perspective of constitutional law, medical neglect of a prisoner must meet a certain threshold before it can be considered a constitutional violation. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, prison officials must specifically display “deliberate indifference” to a prisoner’s “serious medical needs.” 

We get results for people like you

Our law firm has built a strong record of success in medical malpractice and personal injury lawsuits. We have obtained millions of dollars in compensation for people like you. In fact, for four out of the last seven years, our attorneys have obtained the biggest verdict in the state.

Follow Us Online
facebook logo linkedin logo twitter logo google plus logo