Archive for September, 2014

Payout Caps & Connecticut Medical Malpractice Suits

September 26th, 2014 at 8:55 am

Connecticut malpractice attorney, Connecticut malpractice lawyer, Connecticut medial malpractice, Connecticut Medical Malpractice Law, Connecticut payout caps, medical malpractice, medical malpractice attorney, medical malpractice claim, medical malpractice suits, payout caps, Westport medical malpractice attorneyA measure on the ballot in California this November may have the support of medical malpractice attorneys, but it has doctors scared. The measure, Proposition 46, would increase the state’s limits on what can be paid in pain and suffering awards in lawsuits and require that all physicians be drug tested. According to a recent news article, however, only 61 percent of voters say that they support the measure. Pain and suffering awards in medical malpractice suits in California have been capped at $250,000 since 1975. Proposition 46 would allow for pain and suffering awards to increase to $1.1 million.

Most states do have damage award limits such as the one California is proposing to increase. In fact, Connecticut and Minnesota, reports the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), are the only two states that do not specify a specific limit or cap on medical malpractice payouts, though both states “allow for a court to review the damage awarded.” Twenty-six states allow for joint liability for medical malpractice, and Connecticut is among them. Joint defendants are considered liable proportionate to the percentage of fault for damages awarded.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association and reported by Forbes, medical malpractice is a leading cause of death in the United States, third only to heart disease and cancer. In 2012, more than $3 billion was awarded in medical malpractice suits. That is an average of one approved claim every 43 minutes.

Despite not having caps on medical malpractice payout claims for Connecticut patients, the state does have a rule that establishes a limit or sliding scale on fees attorneys may charge for handling a medical malpractice claim, according to a publication of the Connecticut State Legislature.

While medical malpractice is not the fault of the patient, there are several things you can do to help avoid the probability of experiencing it. According to Forbes, being proactive about your healthcare by asking questions and demanding “full and complete answers” is the simplest thing you can do.

If you feel you have been the victim of medical malpractice or negligence, you may be eligible for compensation. The most important first step is to seek the counsel of a legal professional. Contact a Westport medical malpractice attorney today.

New Medical Technology: Not Always Better at Diagnosis

September 18th, 2014 at 9:11 am

detecting breast cancer, digital imaging mammograms, expensive technology, new medical technology, Westport medical malpractice attorney, cancer, digital imaging technologrecent study, conducted by researchers at Yale University Medical School of Medicine, concluded that despite the astronomical costs being spent for digital imaging mammograms, this new medical technology may be no more effective in detecting breast cancer than previous methods.

The study analyzed data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Medicare database. The research team looked at two groups of women, age 66 years of age or older, who had no history of breast cancer over two separate two-year periods. The first group was comprised of 137,150 women who had been tested between 2001 and 2002. The second group was 133,097 women between the years 2008 to 2009.

In the first group, only 2 percent of the women were given mammograms using digital imaging technology and less than 4 percent were tested using computer-aided detection methods. In the second group, those numbers jumped to 30 percent and 33 percent, respectively. The amount billed to Medicare for the two groups increased sharply. The cost of mammography screenings for the first group was $666 million. The cost of the second group was $962 million.

Although digital imaging and computer-aided detection was used more frequently, and at a greater expense, the study found no difference in rates of cancer detection.

The research team urged more research be done to determine what benefit, if any, is had by this new medical technology. In the report, the team wrote, “Our enthusiasm for new technologies should not replace strong, consistent evidence that the benefits of the new technology outweigh the harms in a clinically important way.”

In 2009, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued a recommendation that it was no longer necessary for women who were in their forties, and who were not at a high risk for breast cancer, to receive routine mammograms. This was a contradiction of what had previously been recommended. However, there continues to be much debate on who should be screened, at what frequency, and what technology should be used.

If you have suffered permanent disabilities or illness because of a doctor’s failure to diagnose, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an experienced Westport medical malpractice attorney to discuss your legal options.

Sunshine Act Requires Doctors to Report Kickbacks

September 10th, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Connecticut malpractice attorney, Connecticut medical malpractice attorney, hospital safety, malpractice attorney, medical malpractice, report kickbacks, Sunshine Act, Westport medical malpractice attorneyThis fall a proviso of the Affordable Care Act goes into effect known as the Sunshine Act, which requires all medical device and pharmaceutical companies to report publicly all payments made to doctors over the amount of $10. This is meant to curb big pharma and device manufacturers from giving doctors and other medical professionals shady kickbacks for using their products, or at least to make the public aware of such practices. Charlie Ornstein, a senior editor for ProPublica, told CBS News that the practice of big corporations providing “pay to play” for doctors who use their medications or devices is nothing new. It has been in place for decades. Ornstein told CBS News that the promotion part “has gotten a lot of attention in recent years because drug companies have paid … billions of dollars to settle lawsuits that have accused them of improper marketing and giving kickbacks to doctors.”

It is an illegal practice for corporations to give kickbacks to doctors for prescribing their products, but it is not illegal for corporations to give doctors money for promoting their drug. This makes for a very grey line between legitimate and illegitimate relationships between drug manufacturers and the medical professional world. Ornstein told CBS News that it all boils down to trust. If your doctor recommends a certain drug to you, you should be able to assume that he is recommending that particular drug because it is what your body needs.

Ornstein said that it would make sense that a doctor would first prescribe a generic or cheaper alternative, as the cost of drugs continues to skyrocket. Another good example of a doctor doing what is best for his patient would be to recommend a non-medication alternative “to reach your goals perhaps first.”

According to ProPublica, the issue of doctors having to settle issues of marketing fraud is widespread. Since 2008, at least 15 manufacturers of drugs or medical devices have had to pay $6.5 billion collectively to settle such accusations. Yet no individual doctor has faced the same penalties, “despite allegations of fraud or of conduct that put patients at risk.”

If you or someone you know suspects that your doctor has illegally received kickbacks for prescribing medication, the most important step is to speak with a legal professional. Contact a Westport medical malpractice attorney today.

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