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Detroit Medical Malpractice Blog

What can medical malpractice plaintiffs learn from the Michigan Model?

  • 28
  • January
    2015

Medical malpractice, as Michigan readers know, plays an important role in helping injured patients and the survivors of deceased patients recover damages from losses stemming from provider negligence. The ability to pursue litigation is something patients should have greater awareness of and appreciation for, since litigation offers the opportunity to hold a potentially dangerous physician accountable.

That having been said, medical malpractice litigation is not always the most effective way resolve disputes between providers and their patients. Medical malpractice litigation is often costly and time-consuming, and because of this many injured patients who have strong claims end up not pursuing litigation.

Study looks at medication errors among the young

  • 23
  • January
    2015

Medication errors are not an uncommon occurrence in the health care world. Those who are most at risk for these errors, not surprisingly, are the young and the elderly.

According to a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics, an average of 63,358 medication errors take place for children less than six years of age every year. Of those errors, around one-quarter occur in children less than 12 months of age. The study also noted that there are over 200,000 medication errors reported to U.S. poison control centers every year, and almost one-third of these are for children less than 6 years old. 

Court decision challenges long-established medical malpractice exemption

  • 13
  • January
    2015

A recent ruling by a federal appeals court has put cruise lines on notice that they could be held fully responsible for medical malpractice if their medical staff fails to take proper care of their guests. Significantly, in coming to the decision, the appeals court reversed over 100 years of law which provided exemptions for cruise lines from being held accountable for medical malpractice committed by on-board healthcare providers.

The ruling was based on a medical malpractice case involving a man who died of a brain injury on the Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas back in 2001. The man had fallen and hit his head not long after the ship disembarked. After the fall, he was examined by a nurse from the ship’s medical unit, but was only advised to rest. Eventually, he was examined more closely by a doctor and transferred to a hospital in Bermuda, but not until it was too late. After the man’s death, a medical malpractice lawsuit was filed against the cruise line for its failure to detect and address the injury in a timely manner. 

Reduction in preventable errors tied to insurance trend

  • 06
  • January
    2015

According to a recent report by the Department of Health and Human Services, there has been a decrease in preventable medical errors in recent years, to the tune of 17 percent. Because of this, the report noted, fewer patients have died and there has been savings in the cost of health care. This data concerns the period from 2010 to 2013.

The report looked specifically at what are commonly called “hospital-acquired” conditions, which includes things like urinary tract infections, pressures ulcers and surgical-site infections—all very typical in health care institutions. These types of medical errors are generally considered avoidable, and it is speculated that a significant reason for the decrease in recent years is the growing trend of Medicare and private insurance companies holding back payments in cases where there are errors in medical care. 

Weighing your probable damages award against the costs of litigation

  • 30
  • December
    2014

In our last couple posts, we’ve been speaking about the elements of medical malpractice claims, focusing particularly on the harm element, which can be said to tie together the other elements, at least in claims which have merit. The same could also, though, be said of damages, which are intimately connected to the harm element.

We left off discussing how, in addition to the merits of a medical malpractice case, the probable damages award in a case should be carefully considered. Medical malpractice litigation is not cheap, and injured patients need to have an honest conversation with their attorney about the costs and benefits of pursuing a case.

Looking at the harm element in medical malpractice cases

  • 24
  • December
    2014

In our last post, we spoke briefly about the basic elements in a medical malpractice case. To briefly recap, these are: duty; breach; causation; and harm. Here, we’d like to talk briefly about the harm element, which kind of ties together the first three elements.  

It is easy to assume that, in medical malpractice cases, harm is relatively easy for a patient to prove. After all, you wouldn’t be suing your physician for malpractice unless you were injured somehow. This is true to an extent, but the issue can get complicated by the fact that the harm suffered by the patient in a medical malpractice case must be causally connected to a legally appreciable degree to the physician’s established breach of duty.

What do I have to prove in a medical malpractice case?

  • 16
  • December
    2014

Medical errors occur all the time, but those who are familiar with the area of medical malpractice know that it is only a fraction of medical errors which ultimately provide the basis for successful medical malpractice lawsuits. There are a variety of reasons for this, but one of the basic reasons is that not every case of medical error involves a fact pattern which is able to satisfy the basic elements of medical malpractice.

Michigan law, like other states, requires that a plaintiff provide evidence to support several elements in a medical malpractice action. The first of these elements is duty, which refers to some sort of legal obligation. In a medical malpractice case, duty is a particularly important element which goes by the name “standard of care.” This refers to the level or course of care that would be provided by a reasonably prudent physician under the same circumstances and who has comparable training.

Work with an experienced attorney to ensure proper selection of expert witnesses

  • 10
  • December
    2014

The principles of the practice of medicine and the standards of care that apply to health care professionals are not something those of us who work outside the profession are qualified to speak about in a court of law. Because the issues that come up in malpractice cases can involve very specific knowledge of the principles of medicine, expert witnesses are required to show which standards of care apply in cases of medical malpractice.

Something our readers are probably not aware of is that the qualifications for an expert witness vary according to the circumstances of the case. Under Michigan law, there are several potential scenarios, each involving different qualifications for expert witnesses. Here we’ll look briefly at the general principles which come out of state case law.

How can I protect myself from medical error?

  • 01
  • December
    2014

Medical error is more commonplace than many Americans realize. According to Consumer Reports, an estimated 440,000 Americans die each year after suffering medical errors. To be fair, it isn’t clear how closely medical errors are tied to those patient deaths—not every medical error is serious enough to cause a significant impact— but the problem is serious enough that patient safety advocates have been calling for changes. One of the changes being recommended is the creation of an agency to handle patient safety complaints to help improve patient safety.

Whether or not such an agency is created, patients are well advised to do what they can to ensure their own safety.  Although the way medical services are purchased is currently very different from the way other goods and services are purchased, there are some steps that can be taken. 

Group publishes results of latest safety ratings for Michigan hospitals

  • 26
  • November
    2014

For consumers of medical services, which is all of us, the way we approach purchasing health care is very different from the way we think about purchasing, say, a home, car or electric razor. For the average person, it is very difficult to make any kind of objective judgment about the quality of medical care at any given facility as compared to services offered at other facilities. Most of what we have to go on are anecdotal reviews, which is of limited benefit.

The situation is something that some groups have been trying to change in recent years. One such effort, by The Leapfrog Group, is to routinely rate hospitals and clinics in terms of their safety performance. The idea is to provide consumers with information to help them make more informed decisions. In its latest round of reviews, Leapfrog rated 79 Michigan hospitals, giving 23 of them an “A” rating. A total of 26 facilities received “B” ratings, 24 received “C” ratings, and a total of six received a “D” rating. 

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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.

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