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Detroit Medical Malpractice Blog

Michigan med mal payouts in 2013 were $7.45 per capita

  • 16
  • April
    2014

What would you think if you were told that the average payout in medical malpractice cases in Michigan was roughly $7.45 per year for 2012 and 2013? Maybe you’d be indifferent, not knowing whether that’s good or bad. Maybe you’d argue in favor of tort reform to reduce the occurrence of malpractice cases, or maybe you’d argue that the legal system needs to do more to protect patients who are harmed by their doctors.

Whatever your reaction, this is the number provided by Diederich Healthcare in its annual compilation of medical malpractice payouts, which it reports to the National Practitioner Data Bank. The numbers only include payouts following a written request, which leaves out those made after merely verbal requests or those occurring during mediations. Still, the numbers are thought to be pretty accurate. 

Eye Surgeon Pays $1.4M To Settle Unnecessary Surgery Lawsuit

  • 02
  • April
    2014

An ophthalmologist91710722.jpg recently agreed to pay the federal government $1.4 million to settle a lawsuit against him concerning the False Claims Act.

The federal government alleges that Dr. John Arthur Kiely performed unnecessary surgeries on Medicare and Medicaid patients during a period of nearly seven years. Despite not having the medical need for the operations, the eye doctor recommended surgery to patients then billed the federal government.

In addition to the $1.4 million he will pay the government, Kiely agreed not to treat patients on government-funded health insurance for 20 years.

Florida Supreme Court Overturns Medical Malpractice Damage Cap

  • 26
  • March
    2014

The ruling may spark other states to only allow fact-based measures of tort reform

malpractice.jpgMedical malpractice lawsuits have long been the political scapegoat for the exorbitant cost of U.S. healthcare. Although facts have never supported claims that malpractice lawsuits are the cause of rising medical malpractice insurance premiums and healthcare costs in general, politicians have used these allegations as a platform to spark tort reform in every U.S. state.

It has been maddening for injured patients and the attorneys that represent them, as the laws have decimated victims' ability to receive sufficient compensation after they are wrongly harmed in a hospital or doctor's office.

The Florida Supreme Court recently acted as a voice of reason, emphatically overturning a state medical malpractice damage cap. The court stated that evidence did not support the reasoning used to create 2003 damage cap, that a malpractice insurance crisis was causing doctors to flee the Sunshine State.

Psoriasis Study Reveals Doctors' Common Ignorance Of Guidelines

  • 19
  • March
    2014

dermatologist.jpgThe successful practice of medicine involves a great deal of skill, insight and intelligence, but it also requires doctors to remain current with industry knowledge.

A new dermatological study evidences the large divide that may exist between physicians that evolve to incorporate modern medical guidelines and those that remain stuck in their ways.

Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center discovered that corticosteroids were the second-most prescribed treatment for psoriasis, a skin disorder, even though current guidelines advise against it. The study found that corticosteroids accounted for three of the top nine drugs prescribed for psoriasis.

The study shows that it can be alarmingly common for doctors to ignore medical guidelines, carefully crafted by top physicians, so they can remain in their comfort zone and keep doing things as they have in the past.

Journal: Some Hospitals Fall Short On Basic Infection Prevention

  • 11
  • March
    2014

Healthcare-associated infections kill 100,000 each year in the U.S., handwash.jpgoften because basic safety guidelines are not followed. That is what makes a medical study recently published in the American Journal of Infection Control so disconcerting.

Approximately one in five American health care facilities does not have a sufficient number of hand sanitizer dispensers installed, according to researchers at Columbia University School of Nursing and the World Health Organization (WHO).

While health care mistakes such as surgical errors and missed cancer diagnoses grab headlines, hospital patients are more likely to be harmed or killed by healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), also known as hospital-acquired infections.

How Are Surgical Patients Exposed To Incurable Brain Disease?

  • 28
  • February
    2014

Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (CJD) is an untreatable brain diseasebrainscan.jpg affecting one in one million people each year. It is thankful that CJD is rare, because it is often regarded as the human version of "mad cow" disease, quickly transforming healthy brain proteins into unhealthy cells. This is what makes news from a North Carolina hospital so disturbing.

The Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center recently warned 18 patients that they may have been exposed to Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease through surgical equipment.

Surgical tools can spread CJD if they make contact with an infected patient's brain tissue and are not subsequently sterilized under the highest standard. For some reason, hospitals often sterilize brain surgery equipment under a "normal" standard that does not prevent the spread of CJD via surgery.

Pregnant Moms Receive Painkiller Meds Despite Safety Concerns

  • 26
  • February
    2014

A recent study reveals that 14 percent of pregnant women in the U.S.pregnantultrasound.jpg are prescribed powerful painkillers by their doctors. The statistic is particularly unsettling because there is little research about the effects of narcotics on unborn children.

Of the few studies that have examined the effects of painkillers on unborn infants, one found that babies have more than a twofold increase risk of birth defects when the mother takes opioid narcotics. This study is reason enough for physicians to only prescribe pregnant patients narcotic painkillers as a last resort.

At the very least, doctors need to be upfront with patients about the uncertainties regarding painkiller use during pregnancy. Mothers-to-be should be given as much information as possible so they can make an informed decision on whether their pain is great enough to risk harming the baby.

Family To Receive $9M For Complications Causing Cerebral Palsy

  • 19
  • February
    2014

A family recently settled its lawsuit against a Hawaii military hospital for birth injuriespregnant.jpg that caused a boy to develop cerebral palsy. The lawsuit listed disturbing details about doctors' actions preceding the emergency c-section birth of Noah Whitney, now 3.

Noah's mother was considered a high-risk pregnancy because she had a history of miscarriages and had a difficult labor birthing Noah's older sibling. As a result, Noah's mother and her doctor closely monitored her pregnancy and prepared for delivery complications.

During her 35th week of pregnancy, Noah's mother suffered severe pain in her lower abdomen. She arrived at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, but hospital staff failed to act urgently and contact her obstetrician.

She had suffered a uterine rupture - her medical history indicated that she was at risk for this condition - so the hospital staff should have diagnosed the condition and performed an emergency cesarean section. According to the suit, hospital staff inappropriately delayed the c-section, causing Noah to suffer severe brain damage and cerebral palsy.

McKeen Honored By Michigan Lawyers Weekly

  • 18
  • February
    2014

On behalf of Michigan Lawyers Weekly, I want to congratulate Brian J. Mckeen of McKeen & Associates for being chosen as one of the distinguished lawyers who will be honored for reputable work and success in the legal community on Thursday, March 20th at the 2014 Leaders in the Law award ceremony.

Surgeon's Egotism, Drug Use Caused Patients' Paralysis, Death

  • 14
  • February
    2014

The former patients of a surgeonsurgeons.jpg recently filed lawsuits against the hospital that hosted him, arguing that it had knowledge that the doctor was an "an egomaniac, mentally ill, an alcoholic, drug addict or a combination thereof."

The lawsuits allege that the hospital, Baylor Plano, risked the lives of patients by allowing Dr. Christopher Duntsch to perform surgeries despite having knowledge of Duntsch's history of unethical behavior. The medical malpractice suits also explain that Dr. Duntsch botched numerous surgeries at Baylor Plano that further evidenced his incompetency, yet he was allowed to continue performing surgeries.

Some of Duntsch's former patients include:

  • The family of a woman who died from massive blood loss resulting from Duntsch's botching of her surgery
  • Duntsch's former roommate and best friend who became a quadriplegic after Duntsch urged him to have surgery and then made surgical mistakes
  • A former patient who suffered partial paralysis during his operation

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