U.S. Doctor Charged with Malpractice, Wrongful Death in Australia

February 17, 2009

Jayant Patel is facing more than a dozen medical negligence charges in Brisbane, Australia.  Among them, he is accused of removing a man’s bowels unnecessarily, allowing an elderly man to die from internal bleeding, and taking out the wrong gland in a cancer operation.

The 58 year old doctor faces life in prison if convicted.

Among the accusations, Patel is said to have caused the wrongful death of three patients, and seriously harmed two others.  His alleged negligence runs the gambit, from misdiagnosing patients and using questionable surgical techniques to performing surgical procedures that have been banned in the U.S.

Prior to moving to Australia, Patel had a similar pattern of negligence in the United States.  He was fined by the NY state health officials and placed on probation in 1984, for allegedly failing to examine patients prior to operating on them.  The pattern continued and in 1998 he was placed on restriction by his employer, Kaiser Permanente Hospital, following 79 complaints against him.  He was cited by the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners for “gross or repeated acts of negligence.”

Patel failed to disclose his previous run-ins with the law and medical boards in the U.S. to his Australian employers, who said they would never have hired him had they known of his past.

Patel’s countless victims are quoted as saying that it is a “huge relief” that the case against him is finally moving forward.

Source:  msnbc

Radiation Malpractice

February 10, 2009

Perhaps one of the lesser talked about forms of medical negligence is that of radiation malpractice.  But just because it’s not as common doesn’t make it any less devastating.

Patients receive radiation treatment for several different medical ailments, but probably the most common is in treatment of different forms of cancer.  It is a dangerous procedure which should only be used when deemed absolutely necessary, because it can have significant side effects.

Regardless of the reason for treatment, radiation mistakes can be made with life altering results.  Radiation malpractice cases typically include:

  • Failure to inform patients of the possible side effects
  • Performing radiation treatment when it is not entirely necessary
  • Over-radiation
  • Not following proper radiation procedures
  • Technician is improperly or inadequately trained
  • Use of faulty or outdated equipment
  • Infertility
  • Moderate to severe burns to the skin or internal areas being treated
  • Death

As with any serious medical treatment, the doctor performing the procedure should be well trained and able to prepare their patient for what to expect.  If they fail to do so, or they do not perform the radiation properly, causing injury or death, a malpractice case is inevitable.

Anyone who has experienced ill effects of radiation treatments due to a doctor’s negligence should consider sitting down with a medical attorney to discuss their situation and determine if their case constitutes radiation malpractice.  If it does, then justice should be sought.

Why Do You Need a Medical Attorney?

February 2, 2009

There are enough jokes about lawyers out there that you’ll probably never hear them all in your lifetime.  But when it comes to serious matters, such as medical negligence and the lives that are ruined by it, a lawyer is exactly what you need.  You might think you can represent yourself, but the truth is doing so might prove detrimental to the success of your case.  But why, exactly, do you need a medical attorney?  Here are just a few reasons to consider.

They know the law.
Do you know the statute of limitations for filing a claim in your state?  Are you aware of what type of evidence is and is not allowed in court?  Probably not.  Malpractice laws are complicated and confusing, and they vary from state to state.  Medical attorneys know these laws in and out, and will be able to work within them to get you justice.

They have connections.  Most likely you don’t have a list of experienced medical experts available to review your case and testify on your behalf in court.  But medical attorneys do.  They know exactly who to call to have the best chance of proving your case.

They have experience. Few people can say they’ve personally filed a lawsuit on their own, and probably even fewer when it comes to medical negligence claims.  There is truth in the saying “practice makes perfect” and the fact that lawyers “practice” the law is not a coincidence.  Medical attorneys fight negligence claims for a living.  They know exactly what the procedure is, and how to do it efficiently and effectively to have the best chance at success.

They know the numbers
.  Because medical attorneys fight for their clients’ justice every day, they know how to estimate how much of a settlement should be sought.  There are many factors that go into this decision, including current and future medical expenses as well as lost wages and punitive damages.  Experienced medical attorneys know what formulas to use to come up with just the right number in your individual situation.

Their success depends on your success. Most medical attorneys only collect a fee upon the successful outcome of a case.  This means that if they can’t prove your case, they don’t get paid.  This is tremendous motivation to present an excellent case and get you a settlement in your claim.  Otherwise, you both lose.

There are, of course, countless other reasons why it’s important to have an experienced medical attorney in your corner when fighting a medical negligence claim.  The above are just a few to remind you it’s never a good idea to go it alone.

What are Bacterial Infections?

January 31, 2009

There have been a lot of recent cases of medical negligence involving the missed diagnosis of bacterial infections.  It can often lead to disastrous consequences, such as amputation and even death.  But what exactly are bacterial infections?

Bacteria in and of itself is not bad for us.  On the contrary, many types of bacteria are actually helpful and essential to our daily functions.  For example, some bacteria help to digest food, others destroy disease-causing cells, and still others provide the body with much needed vitamins.

It is infectious bacteria that we have to be wary of.  This dangerous type of bacteria can make us extremely ill, very fast.  They multiply at an alarming rate, and many of them give off harmful chemicals called toxins.  These toxins can cause tissue damage and make us very sick.

Common types of bacterial infections include:

  • Respiratory tract infections – sinusitis, pharyngitis and pneumonia
  • Digestive tract infections – including ulcers
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Nervous system – infections of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord
  • Blood infections – sepsis;  any other type of bacterial infection can pass into the blood stream and cause sepsis

Medical negligence comes into play when the symptoms of these infections, such as vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and pain, are misdiagnosed or missed altogether.  If caught early enough, most infections can be treated successfully with antibiotics.  If misdiagnosed or missed, however, the infection can spread and cause grave results.

If you or someone you know has suffered from a bacterial infection that your doctor failed to properly diagnose and treat, and it has led to further illness or injury, you should consult with professional medical negligence attorneys who specializes in these types of cases.  He or she will help you to determine what your rights are and how to fight for them.

Missed Diagnosis Results in Young Model Losing her Hands and Feet, then her Life

January 29, 2009

In a tragic case of medical negligence, a critical diagnosis was missed resulting in the death of a beautiful young model, after having to have her feet and her hands amputated in an attempt to save her life.

20 year old Brazilian Mariana Bridi da Costa sought medical attention in late December and was initially told she was suffering from kidney stones.  Unfortunately, what she really had was an infection termed as pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterium, which is often fatal.

When she finally returned to the hospital, the infection had spread.  It was then that doctors discovered that septicemia (dangerous bacteria in the blood) had set in.  Circulation was being cut off to her limbs, and the only way to save her life at that point was to amputate.  Unfortunately, just a few days following the surgery, da Costa died.

It is thought that da Costa was actually originally suffering from a urinary tract infection, which went untreated and ultimately spread, causing the ensuing septicemia.

Another tragedy of a young life cut short by a medical error.  Da Costa was once a finalist in the Brazilian stage of the Miss World beauty pageant, and had also participated in the 2007 Miss Bikini International contest.  Now, she leaves behind what once was a bright future, shattered.

It is unclear whether a medical malpractice or wrongful death suit will be brought, but chances are there will.

Source: FOXNews.com

Lawsuit Filed in Wrongful Death of Teen

January 25, 2009

The parents of sixteen year old Heather Harkness from Oklahoma City are suing the surgeon, anesthesiologist and hospital under whose care their daughter died during a routine appendicitis surgery.  It is a tragic, clear cut case of wrongful death.

On September 9th, the teenager was undergoing the routine surgery when something went terribly wrong.  According to an autopsy performed after her death, Harkness died from blood loss after her carotid artery was accidently severed during the surgery.

The pending lawsuit names surgeon Walter Bell as being the negligent party, but also indicates that the hospital, Integris Baptist Medical Center, is at fault for allowing Bell to perform surgery there because they also allege that other patients under Bell’s care have been injured or died during his surgical procedures.

The lawsuit is still pending.

Wrongful death is a tragedy that nobody should have to face.  If you have lost a loved one at the hands of a negligent doctor pick up the phone and call an experienced medical attorney today.  Your loved one can never be replaced, but you do have the right to seek justice for them and make the guilty party pay.

Catheter Left in Heart – A Case of Hospital Malpractice

January 23, 2009

According to a hospital malpractice lawsuit filed earlier this week, doctors at the San Mateo Medical Center acted negligently when they left a five inch catheter in Alan Paolucci’s heart after it broke off in 2003.  What’s worse, it’s also alleged that the mistake was then covered up.

The 52 year old was undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma when the catheter being used to administer chemotherapy snapped and a part of it was left behind.

The five inch piece eventually became lodged in his heart, resulting in a life threatening infection and permanent damage to the organ.

Perhaps even more egregious is the fact that according to Paolucci’s attorney Derek Longstaff, the apparatus was actually detected as early as March 2006. However doctors didn’t inform Paolucci about the wayward catheter until July 2, 2008.

Paolucci then underwent open heart surgery in August to remove the catheter, but he ended up losing a heart valve in the process.

The failed valve was replaced, however the plaintiff feels that this has weakened the state of his heart, and is a key contributor to his continued battle with cancer, which has returned after being in remission for a year.

Paolucci is suing the county, the medical center, medical center CEO Dr. Sang-Ick Chang and Dr. Thomas Chen.  The damages being sought are for negligence, hospital malpractice, fraud and battery.

Women Sue for Wrongdoing While Under Anesthesia

January 19, 2009

According to recent reports, opening arguments are set to begin this week in the trial regarding a New Jersey surgeon who supposedly took advantage of his patients while they were under anesthesia. The oral surgeon, from Andover, is being accused of sexually abusing five of his female patients who at the time were under anesthesia. Anesthesia is a sedative used for a majority of surgeries so the patient is unable to feel any pain or discomfort.

The case has been quite controversial in the community seeing as the surgeon was a trusted physician. However, these five women claim that he is anything but trustworthy and feel that he used the drug to take advantage of them.

Anesthesia Lawsuit Details

Allegations have been brought against Dr. Joel Phillip Kurtz, 64, who has been practicing dentistry and oral surgery in Sussex County from 1974 to 2004. He was forced to stop practicing when the initial charges were brought against him. The first three cases came all at once from three women who claimed they were all separately sexually abused while in his office and under anesthesia. Only months later a fourth woman came forward and finally a fifth weeks after that. All the women decided to file a joint suit against Dr. Kurtz in an attempt to get his license revoked so he is unable to do the same harm to others.

Dr. Kurtz’s lawsuit is reportedly the first high-profile suit to be filed in the Newton historic courthouse and many community members have shown their support for the women.

The defendants claim they were heavily sedated when Dr. Kurtz molested them and state that had they not been under anesthesia they would have been able to prevent the abuse from occurring. They also blame the office staff who were negligent for not being more aware of what was happening.

Medical Negligence and Colonoscopies

January 18, 2009

Although colonoscopies are a routine and highly recommended medical procedure to aid in early diagnosis of colon cancer as well as a host of other intestinal diseases, they are complicated procedures that require a high level of training and care.  Unfortunately, there are many cases of medical negligence during colonoscopies that can have devastating results to the patient.

A colonoscopy is the examination of the large colon and the distal part of the small bowel which is performed endoscopically using a CCD or a fiber optic camera on a flexible tube passed through the anus.  It is a relatively routine screening test for people 50 years of age or older.

Although colonoscopies rarely result in long-term harm to the patient, complications such as heavy bleeding, intestinal perforation (poking a hole in the bowel), infection, adverse reaction to the sedatives, and bowel infection can occur, leaving the patient with permanent injury or even death.

In one such case, a man underwent a colonoscopy for nausea, vomiting and unexplained weight loss. The day after the procedure, the patient’s wife called the doctor who performed the procedure and explained that her husband was experiencing a lot of pain. The doctor assured the patient’s wife that everything was fine. The following day the patient’s wife called back because her husband could no longer walk due to the pain. Rather than examining the patient, the doctor instead prescribed pain medication over the phone. Unfortunately, the medicine did not provide any relief. The next day, despite three calls to the doctor’s service, the family was unable to get in touch with the doctor. They waited another day to go their local emergency room at which time the patient was diagnosed with a bowel perforation and a severe infection.  Emergency surgery was required to remove a portion of the patient’s colon.  Not surprisingly, there is now a pending medical malpractice suit against the doctor.

When it comes to side effects and post operative complications for colonoscopies, time is of the essence.  Post procedure nausea, vomiting, fever, lethargy, bleeding, abdominal pain and/or swelling must be reported to a physician immediately.

If you or someone you know has suffered debilitating medical complications following a colonoscopy, it is critical that you contact an experienced medical attorney to discuss your situation and learn exactly what your rights are.

Nevada Board Investigates Claim of Negligence

January 14, 2009

The Board of Medical Examiners in Nevada is investigating a claim of medical negligence in the 2006 death of a British tourist who died after receiving treatment at a Las Vegas hospital.

Terence Brace underwent a gallbladder surgery at the University Medical Center by Dr. James Tate. Brace was transferred to a hospital in Bristol, England by air ambulance in September 2006 after nearly one month of treatment in Las Vegas. He ultimately died of multi-organ failure and sepsis.

An independent report from a surgeon who reviewed medical documents from England and Las Vegas concluded that Tate did not have the expertise to manage Brace’s condition.

It now remains a waiting game as to whether formal charges will be brought against the doctor and his surgical team.

Source: SFGate: Home of the San Francisco Chronicle


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