Articles Posted in Medical Negligence

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Earlier this month, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued a written opinion in a medical malpractice case that was brought against several doctors who performed a surgery on the plaintiff that resulted in the plaintiff permanently losing the use of his right arm. The issue that the court had to decide was whether the expert testimony presented by the plaintiff was sufficient to establish the causation element of a Georgia medical malpractice lawsuit. Ultimately, the court determined that the experts’ testimony did not establish the necessary causation because it failed to provide more than a “medical possibility” that the defendant’s actions caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

SurgeryThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff had a surgery performed by the defendant doctors. Prior to the surgery, the doctors positioned the plaintiff in a manner they believed necessary, with both his hands placed behind his back. During the surgery, which lasted approximately 9.5 hours, the plaintiff was not repositioned. The surgery was successful, and the plaintiff was taken to a recovery room. However, upon waking up from the anesthesia, the plaintiff began to complain about pain in his shoulders and arms.

The plaintiff was later diagnosed with compartment syndrome in his right arm, and a subsequent surgery was necessary to relieve the pressure. Unfortunately, the plaintiff never fully regained the use of his arm. He filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctors who performed the surgery, claiming that the initial placement of his body during the surgery and the doctor’s failure to reposition him during the surgery caused his injuries.

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Last month, an appellate court in Illinois issued a written opinion in a wrongful death by medical malpractice case that reversed the lower court’s ruling that the “discovery rule” did not apply to wrongful death cases. In the case, Moon v. Rhode, the court held that the discovery rule does apply, but since the lower court failed to make certain factual findings, the case had to be remanded so that the court could make those findings.

HourglassThe “Discovery Rule” in Medical Malpractice Cases

All medical malpractice cases must be brought within a certain amount of time. This requirement is outlined in what is known as the statute of limitations. In Georgia, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is two years from the date of the incident. However, the discovery rule allows plaintiffs to file a case past the expiration of the statute of limitations if they did not discover the facts giving rise to the case until a later date. Notwithstanding the application of the discovery rule, Georgia plaintiffs must bring their medical malpractice case within the five-year statute of repose. The statute of repose acts as the ultimate limit, meaning that no case can be filed after the five-year period has passed.

Moon v. Rhode:  The Facts

In the Moon case, the plaintiffs were the surviving family members of an elderly woman who passed away while being treated by several doctors. The plaintiff filed a complaint against several of the doctors within the statute of limitations, and that case proceeded as normal. However, during the plaintiff’s investigation, it was discovered that another doctor, the defendant, may have also been partially responsible for their loved one’s death. However, this discovery was made after the statute of limitations had expired.

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One state’s appellate court recently released an opinion that reversed a lower court’s ruling to enforce the state’s medical malpractice statute of limitations against a plaintiff who was injured in a crash allegedly caused by a paramedic who was on duty at the time of the collision. The district court’s ruling that the plaintiff’s claim against the paramedic was subject to the shortened statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims was rejected by the court of appeals, which found that the plaintiff’s lawsuit was not a medical malpractice claim and should be subject to the standard statute of limitations for general negligence cases. After the recent appellate ruling, the plaintiff’s claim will return to the district court to proceed toward a trial or settlement agreement.

AmbulanceThe Plaintiff Was Injured While the Defendant Responded to an Emergency Call

The plaintiff in the case of Aldana v. Stillwagon is a man who was injured in an auto accident when his vehicle was struck by the defendant’s truck after he allegedly ran a red light en route to supervise a medical emergency. The defendant, who works as a paramedic supervisor, was working at the time of the crash and driving a specially designed pickup truck that included emergency flashers and a siren, although neither was in operation at the time of the accident.

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Medical professionals have it ingrained in them throughout their many years of training to always wash their hands as well sanitize any instrument that comes into contact with their patients. This is extremely important for these professionals, who spend the majority of their time in an environment rife with all kinds of things that can cause illnesses or infections.

StethoscopeThe importance of proper sanitation cannot be overstated. And that is why it has become a part of the duty that a doctor, nurse, or hospital has to its patients. Thus, if a patient is negligently exposed to dangerous bacteria while in the care of a medical professional, that patient may be entitled to seek financial recovery from the negligent party to help them cover the costs they have incurred, as well as compensation for any decrease in the quality of their life.

Ballard v. Kerr:  Negligent Sterilization Leads to Patient’s Death

The facts giving rise to this case are tragic. Ms. Ballard planned on surprising her husband with a cosmetic surgery while he was away on military service. She consulted with the defendant doctor about a procedure that would remove fat from her midsection and redeposit it in her buttocks. The doctor told her she would be a good candidate, and the procedure was scheduled.

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Earlier this month, the Connecticut Supreme Court issued an opinion that will be of interest to anyone considering bringing a medical malpractice action now or in the near future. The case of Cefaratti v. Aranow presented an opportunity for the court to discuss and apply the “continuing course of treatment” doctrine, which can be used in some cases to extend a statute of limitations.

Surgeon in MaskThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff, Cefaratti, suffered from morbid obesity and was being treated by the defendants. At some point, the defendants recommended that the plaintiff have gastric bypass surgery, and the plaintiff consented. The surgery was performed, but afterward the plaintiff noticed that there was significant pain in her midsection. She attended several follow-up visits over the course of the next few years, but the pain persisted.

Approximately six years after the surgery, the plaintiff was seen by another doctor after developing breast cancer. As a part of the treatment for that disease, she underwent a CT scan procedure. That procedure indicated that there was foreign material in her body. She returned to the surgeon who performed the gastric bypass surgery, and he informed her that it was a surgical sponge that had been left in her body. She filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the surgeon and other related parties.

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A mother, on behalf of her five-year-old daughter, has joined a number of other families in a medical malpractice lawsuit against a local dentist. According to a news report, county police and federal officials, joined with the Department of Health and Human Services, began investigating the above-mentioned dentist after receiving complaints.

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Evidently, a significant number of families began bringing complaints against the particular dentist, and, as a result, the authorities began to investigate his practices. A dental consultant was retained to review the medical records of the various families. The Board of Dentistry did not begin to investigate until recently, almost three years after the authorities reported the dentist’s possible malpractice.

The parents of the victims have alleged that their children were mistreated by the defendant dentist. The mother referenced above stated that her five-year-old daughter’s teeth are completely capped in silver because of the damage that her daughter incurred. The Board cited the dentist, claiming that over a period of two years, the dentist did not have sufficient documentation for the treatment he provided in over 14 cases. The Board fined the dentist $11,500 and placed him on probation for three years. The families alleged that the dentist used unlawful restraint and force while negligently treating their loved ones.

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