Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

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Episiotomy Complications After Childbirth

As more women speak up about their pregnancy challenges, share delivery stories and post-partum struggles, many are starting to let their doctors know that the unnecessary episiotomy they performed during childbirth has created lasting injuries and made sexual intercourse painful if not impossible. The American Pregnancy Association identifies these situations in which an episiotomy may be needed for any of the following reasons:

  • Birth is imminent and the perineum hasn’t had time to stretch slowly

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FDA Releases 20 Years of “Hidden” Data Related to Medical Device Injuries and Deaths 

Serious medical complications and lifelong injuries, and even death, can result from a risky or wrong medical device. But a March 8, 2019 Kaiser Health News investigative report has led to the recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) release of two decades worth of previously hidden data containing millions of malfunctions by medical devices and allowed some manufacturers to keep potential safety issues quiet.

Some of the FDA’s public reporting of adverse device outcomes were previously filed as an “alternative summary,” and included more than 5.7 million incidents hidden from the American people. This is risk information that could have been (and now will be) helpful for device prescribing doctors, medical researchers and life-saving knowledge for consumers and patients.

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FDA Says Surgical Mesh Manufacturers Must Stop Selling Unsafe Devices

On April 16, 2019, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered two manufacturers of three different vaginal mesh products to immediately stop selling and distributing their products for not meeting U.S. premarket standards for high risk devices. The FDA also said there was insufficient evidence that the mesh worked better than surgery to repair pelvic organ prolapse (POP).

The three vaginal mesh devices are:

As part of a weeklong series, the personal injury attorneys of Chicago’s Levin & Perconti have been highlighting the list of companies named by the American Association for Justice (AAJ) as having the “Worst Corporate Conduct of 2018.” These companies have each engaged in behaviors that have emotionally and physically harmed patients, clients, customers, employees, and young female student athletes.

Larry Nassar, the now imprisoned former doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University Athletics, has landed both of his employers as the final “bad businesses” on the list. While employed by both the University and big-business funded USA Gymnastics, Dr. Larry Nassar was able to sexually abuse hundreds of young women. Since at least the late 1990s, high level employees at Michigan State had been aware of allegations against Dr. Nassar and had actively engaged in multiple coverups of these incidences.

Last year, Larry Nassar was sentenced to a minimum of 40-125 years in prison as the result of both federal and state charges of sexual assault of both adults and minors, as well as possession of child pornography.

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Vietnam Veteran’s Wrongful Death Awarded $7 Million Verdict

A Cook County Circuit Court jury recently awarded $7 million to the family of Patrick Stein, a two-tour Vietnam veteran, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), after nurses and paramedics failed to keep him safe in an ambulance transfer from St. James-Olympia Fields hospital to the Edward Hines Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital for psychiatric treatment. The 64-year-old Army veteran died in July 2014, after his PTSD confusion resettled and prompted him to exit an ambulance while it was traveling 30 to 35 miles per hours and sustain fatal injuries to his head and body. Prior to his transfer, his concerned family had brought him to the St. James-Olympia Fields emergency room after finding him outside his daughter’s home with a butcher knife clutched to his abdomen. Once Mr. Stein arrived at the hospital though, he did not remember the episode with the knife and continued to present dangerous confusion, prompting his fatal ambulance ride to the VA hospital. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSD afflicts almost 31 percent of Vietnam veterans.

Levin & Perconti attorneys Michael Bonamarte, Margaret Battersby Black and Cari Silverman brought the suit on behalf of Mr. Stein’s family. The attorneys argued that Mr. Stein, given his medical history, should have been carefully monitored by medical staff to protect and prevent him from injuring himself during the transfer. Hospital nurses were also faulted for failing to relay information to the paramedics about his mental state. The clinical impressions of the medical staff at St. James indicated Mr. Stein to exhibit:

Chicago has a reputation for its phenomenal hospital system and top tier medical universities. Patients go to Chicago area hospitals trusting that they will receive the most expert care. Families bring their seriously ill loved ones to Chicago hospitals with the hope that bringing them to the best facilities with top notch doctors will help them heal and their conditions improve.

Not only should doctors live up to this reputation to represent their city and place of work, but because it is their legal duty to do so. When patients see a doctor, they are literally putting their life in the hands of the doctor. Because patients entrust themselves to a doctor, a doctor must use the utmost care and responsibility when providing healthcare to a patient. When a doctor fails in this regard, they can be held liable in a lawsuit for medical malpractice. A doctor commits malpractice when their actions or lack of actions cause a patient to suffer injury or their condition to worsen, and this would not have occurred but for the action or inaction of the medical provider.

According to a recent article by the Chicago Tribune, a family that filed a lawsuit in regards to their 6-year-old son settled a medical malpractice lawsuit for $30 million against a doctor who allegedly performed experimental surgeries on the patient. The Chicago doctor performed 25 surgeries in all on the child, and the final surgery left the boy with an irreversible brain injury and cerebral palsy. These 25 surgeries took place over a mere 17 months. The doctor utilized unproven methods to treat non-life-threatening conditions. The doctor was a faculty member at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a staff member at Rush University Medical Center. The child will now require lifelong medical care.
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There are many times in our life when we must place our lives and trust in the hands of medical professionals. Because they have expert knowledge, we rely on them for our healthcare needs. That being said, when we turn to a medical professional for our health, we should be able to trust that we will be taken care of and that our best interest will be in mind. We should not have to have fear that we or our loved ones’ condition will be made worse, or that a new harm or injury will be introduced, or an illness undetected. Unfortunately, it is all too common of an occurrence that medical professionals breach our trust and their legal duty to keep us safe and healthy when in their care. In these instances, victims or their family members can hold negligent parties accountable through medical malpractice or wrongful death lawsuits.

An example of this comes from a recent article published by the Cook County Record, where a woman is seeking reimbursement and damages from Advocate Christ Medical Center for the alleged wrongful death of her mother. The hospital is located in the Chicago suburb of Oak Lawn. According to the complaint, the woman’s mother was admitted for anemia and while in the hospital suffered various injuries. One of these injuries included development of decubitus ulcers, which the woman alleges is the result of neglect during her mother’s stay. The ulcer progressed into a stage II sacral decubitus ulcer upon her released from the hospital, which later resulted in her death. According to the report, on the basis of these ulcers, the plaintiff is citing negligence in her lawsuit, and seeks damages over $50,000.

Our lawyers have filed hundreds of pressure ulcer lawsuits similar to this case. We believe that when patients are in the care of medical professionals, that their condition should only improve, and not be worsened by unnecessary negligence and carelessness. Our attorneys represent clients who have been injured by the careless or intentional acts of healthcare providers, or who have lost family members to this type of negligence. Such lawsuits can include a missed or delayed diagnosis, lack of informed consent, birth injuries, medication and pharmaceutical errors, and neglect.
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Many of us know how scary it is to be sick or injured and not understand what is wrong, how to fix your ailment, and if it can be remedied at all. That is why we turn to medical experts who can help us heal through surgery, treatment, therapy, and the correct medications. However, when these medical professionals make mistakes through carelessness or a misjudgment where they should have known better, patients can suffer or be in a worse state as a result.

According to a recent article by the Cook County Record a mother has filed suit against the University of Illinois for failure to timely diagnose and treat her son’s MRSA infection. She alleges that through the failure of the medical staff, her son was not timely diagnosed and treated for an MRSA infection and necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating bacteria. She alleges that as a result of this failure in time, her son has suffered permanent and disfiguring injuries that he would not have otherwise suffered except for their negligence. In her suit the mother seeks damages and medical costs.

As a patient, healthcare providers, such as doctors and nurses, owe you a legal duty of care when you are receiving medical treatment. Because you are relying on their medical experience and knowledge, you are vulnerable by placing your trust and well-being in their hands. That is why it is the duty of healthcare providers to act with the utmost care. Where they fail to diagnose or cause you further injury or illness, a court may find them liable for medical malpractice.
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As we know from hearing reports of preventable medical mistakes, medical malpractice is unfortunately all too common in our clinics, hospitals and doctors’ offices. It is a serious and important legal issue because patients put their trust in healthcare providers and leave themselves vulnerable to these medical experts so that they can get the care and assistance they need to continue living a healthy life. However, where healthcare providers act negligently or fail to act where necessary and cause injury or death to a patient, they have breached their legal duty as a healthcare provider to keep a patient safe and not be the source of harm. When this occurs, a patient or family member can file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

According to an article by the Cook County Record, one woman is suing a Chicago hospital after a surgeon severed her laryngeal nerves during thyroid surgery. Last month, she filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court against John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital claiming medical negligence and seeks damages over the jurisdictional limit.

Jurisdictional limits on damages that can be awarded in a lawsuit may be a new concept to some of our readers. Cook County has a limit of $100,000 but still hears cases in excess, according to the Cook County Clerk. However, according to the Illinois Hospital Association, the state of Illinois has no cap on medical malpractice cases after a landmark case from 2010, Lebron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital. Prior to this case, the state of Illinois placed a cap on damages of $500,000 for physicians and $1 million for hospitals. However, as a result of this case, medical malpractice case are no longer subject to recovery limitations.

Frequently our blogs cover incidents of negligence committed by doctors, nurses and other direct care providers. However, medical malpractice applies to all types of healthcare providers, including pharmacists, who handle the preparation of our prescription medications. Where pharmacists do not use the care and diligence required, and cause injury to a patient as a result, they too can be held liable for medical malpractice.

According to a report by the Cook County Record, one woman is suing CVS Pharmacy for allegedly providing the incorrect dosage of her prescription. Her attorneys filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court claiming that she suffered a GI bleed that required emergency medical care after the pharmacy provided her with the wrong dosage and instructions of a medication following a laparoscopic procedure. Her lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $50,000.

Every day, thousands of people in and around the Chicago area rely on local pharmacies to fill and dispense prescription medications. Pharmacy patrons trust that the medications they are diligently prepared in the correct dosage, and safe for their individual use. However, pharmaceutical medication errors occur when pharmacists or pharmacy technicians provide the wrong medications or incorrect dosages to the patient. When these mistakes occur, patients are at risk for serious injury or even death. In most cases, pharmacy customers put their full and complete trust in the pharmacist and assume that the medications they are given are safe to use. Therefore, people are often unaware of any error until after they have taken the medication.

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