Archive for October, 2014

Medical Malpractice: Statute of Limitations in Connecticut

October 27th, 2014 at 7:00 am

Connecticut attorney, Connecticut malpractice attorney, Connecticut malpractice lawyer, Connecticut medical lawyer, Connecticut medical malpractice, Connecticut medical malpractice lawyer, medical malpractice claim, medical malpractice lawyer, statute of limitationsMedical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Journal of American Medicine and as reported by Forbes. In the U.S., a malpractice payout is made every 43 minutes and amounts to a stunning $3 billion in 2012.

However, according to Forbes, there are several steps a person can take to avoid malpractice suits—the most important of which is to be your own healthcare advocate. Understanding medical malpractice and how to approach it is the most important step to dealing with it and getting your life back on track in the event of a malpractice issue.

To begin, you have the right to file a malpractice claim if “a provider’s negligence causes injury or damages to a patient,” reports Forbes. Negative results from medical care do not always amount to a malpractice claim, however, and there are certain limitations regulated by the state when it comes to what types of incidents can be considered malpractice, as well as the timeframe for which a claim can be filed.

More than 80 percent of all malpractice claims filed in the U.S. every year do not result in payouts to the patients or the survivors of affected patients. In addition, there is a statute of limitations in which the claim can be filed. This varies from state to state. In Connecticut, according to the office of the state’s Chief Attorney, Connecticut state law requires that a medical malpractice suit be filed within two years from the date “when the injury is first sustained or discovered or in the exercise of reasonable care should have been discovered.”

The Chief Attorney’s Office notes, however, that if a patient can prove that the medical professional had a continuing duty to warn him or her about the consequences of malpractice or possible negative effects of procedure, the statute of limitations can be extended. There must be evidence that the doctor failed to fulfill his duty in the period that follows the original wrong, and that duty must be proved to be within the typical standard of care.

If you suspect you have been victim of medical malpractice and have questions regarding the medical malpractice statute of limitations, the most important step is to seek legal counsel. Contact a Westport medical malpractice attorney today.

Diagnostic Error: Number One Reason for Medical Malpractice Claims

October 20th, 2014 at 7:00 am

diagnostic error, misdiagnosis, permanent disabilities, Westport medical malpractice attorney, malpractice claimsA study conducted by researchers at John Hopkins University School of Medicine reveals that the most dangerous and costly mistakes made by doctors are diagnostic errors. According to the study, more than 160,000 people die in the United States each year because of physician misdiagnosis.

A diagnostic error can hamper the treatment of a patient’s condition and can cause serious injury or even death.

The research team examined more than 350,000 paid-out malpractice claims which had occurred between 1986 through 2010. They obtained the information from the National Practitioner Data Bank. The majority of the claims paid outX—28.6 percent—were due to misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose on the part of physicians. These claims typically resulted in extreme harm to the patient.

These claims were also the highest paid out claims and accounted for 35 percent of the total amount of medical malpractice claims paid. The payout of diagnostic error claims totaled almost $40 billion.

There were 69 percent of outpatient diagnostic error claims and 31 inpatient claims. There were more deaths that occurred for the inpatient claims.

The majority of diagnostic errors analyzed in the study were classified as failed diagnosis, with misdiagnosis errors coming in second. Errors involving neurological diagnosis were the most common.

The head of the research team, Dr. David E. Newman-Toker, an associate professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University, estimates that diagnostic errors occur in almost 15 percent of patients on their initial visit to a doctor for a new medical issue.

Dr. Newman-Toker said of his team’s findings, “Overall, diagnostic errors have been under appreciated and under-recognized because they’re difficult to measure and keep track of owing to the frequent gap between the time the error occurs and when it’s detected. These are frequent problems that have played second fiddle to medical and surgical errors, which are evident more immediately.”

If you have suffered permanent disabilities or illness due to a diagnostic error, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an experienced Westport medical malpractice attorney to discuss your legal options.

How Safe Are Outpatient Surgeries?

October 13th, 2014 at 7:00 am

comedienne Joan Rivers, malpractice attorney, medical malpractice, outpatient surgeries, surgical error, Westport medical malpractice attorneyAccording to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the number of outpatient surgeries went from approximately 11 million procedures in 1996 to 57.1 million procedures in 2006. Many of the surgical procedures that are now being done in doctors’ offices were once only performed in hospitals. However, along with the increase in outpatient surgeries comes the increased risk of surgical errors and other medical malpractice incidents.

Much of the increase in outpatient surgery can be attributed to the difference in costs for insurance companies when a surgical procedure is done in a doctor’s office compared to the same procedure being performed in the hospital. That difference can be as much as 65 to 70 percent. Many insurance companies, and even Medicaid, will pay only a lower reimbursement fee for hospital-stay procedures, compared to a full-rate for office procedures.

As more and more surgical procedures are classified as outpatient procedures, the number of fatalities will also continue to rise. According to research from John Hopkins University, there are over 4,000 “never events” that occur each year in the United States. The National Patient Safety Agency defines never events as “serious, largely preventable patient safety incidents that should not occur if the available preventative measures have been implemented.”

Other statistics from the CDC reveal that of those outpatient procedures performed in 2006, the majority of patients—20 million—were women. The most common procedure performed were endoscopies of either the large or small intestines. In 2006, there were 9.3 million outpatient endoscopies performed.

Endoscopies are often done to examine the vocal cords, esophagus, stomach, or part of the small intestine in order to obtain a biopsy or for treatment. The safety of outpatient endoscopy, especially in elderly patients, has come under scrutiny recently, with the death of comedienne Joan Rivers who stopped breathing while having the procedure done as an outpatient.

According to the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), complications from the procedure are not common; however, there are risks associated with it and include the perforation of the gastrointestinal tract lining. Some medical professionals have pointed out that the disadvantage of performing the surgery in an outpatient clinic is that the necessary medical equipment and medical expertise to resuscitate a patient should they go into respiratory or cardiac arrest is not available.

If you suspect that you or someone in your family has been a victim of medical malpractice or surgical error in Connecticut, the most important first step is to seek the counsel of a malpractice attorney. Contact an experienced Westport medical malpractice attorney for a free initial consultation today.

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