Medical Malpractice

How We Can Help
Medical Malpractice Information
Experience
A Sampling of Cases We Have Handled
Medical Bills
How to Avoid Medical Malpractice
Some Facts About Burn Accidents
Helpful Links

How We Can Help
Medical Malpractice cases are, for the most part, complicated cases. There are many issues that must be addressed when dealing with a medical malpractice. In that regard we have, on our staff, a full time MD. He is instrumental in reviewing all of the medical records in every medical malpractice case. He is an invaluable asset and a decisive weapon in our case management and trial arsenal. Employing a physician is a substantial expense, however our firm and our clients have benefited greatly from his knowledge, insight, experience and opinions. The medical records must be obtained and referred to a doctor or appropriate medical professional so that they can determine whether or not medical malpractice has occurred. Medical malpractice is essentially a departure from an accepted standard of care. If a departure is present, we must prove that there is a connection between the departure and the unfavorable outcome. The causal connection (also known as causation) is the most difficult part of the medical malpractice case. Invariably the defendants will admit that there was a bad outcome, but they will argue that the bad outcome was not the result of his/hers/their departure from an accepted standard of care. For example, people die due to surgical complications like adverse reactions to anesthesia, they were in poor health (they had other medical problems), they were aware of known risks of the procedure, or a host of many other reasons that have nothing to do with any departures from accepted standards of care. Questions need to be addressed concerning the departures, why it happened, where it happened, when it happened and who is responsible. Experts in the appropriate fields of medicine must be located and retained. It can sometimes be difficult to retain experts locally because the medical community is a small community and doctors do not like to be a party to claims of substandard care administered by their colleagues. Insurance companies, who cover the parties responsible for the medical malpractice, are in business to make money. The way that they make money is by limiting the amount of money that they pay out on claims. More than 50% of all medical malpractice verdicts result in defendant's verdicts! That means that the injured party received nothing. There are many reasons and theories that circulate that provide some rationale for the outcome of medical malpractice cases. Some theorize that causation is very difficult to prove, some say that doctors are given great deference and the public does not want to believe that doctors are responsible for bad outcomes, while others believe that the media has sensitized the public to a "malpractice crisis". It is very important that you contact us right away because there may be documents that need to be submitted, we will need to retain the services of an expert, and the statute of limitations may be an issue.

Medical Malpractice Information
Every year thousands of people are injured as a result of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is negligence committed by a professional health care provider—a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital or hospital worker-whose performance of duties departs from a standard of practice of those with similar training and experience, resulting in harm to a patient or patients.

Most medical malpractice actions are filed against doctors who have failed to use reasonable care to treat you. The profession itself sets the standard for malpractice by its own custom and practice. Historically under the so-called "locality rule," a doctor was required only to possess and apply the knowledge and use the skill and care that is ordinarily used by reasonably well-qualified physicians in the locality, or similar localities, in which he or she practiced. But today the trend is toward abolishing such a rule in favor of a national standard of practice.

Medical malpractice suits arise under the following circumstances:
[1] Against a government agency that operates hospitals or provides specified medical care.

[2] Against a hospital for administering improper or overdoses of medication, negligent nursing care, inadequate sanitation, infection, or equipment failure.

[3] Against a physician, who in the general practice of medicine, deviates from the general accepted standards of practice in the community.

[4] Against a medical specialist who deviates from a nationally accepted standard of practice for specialists in that field of medicine.

Suits Against Physicians
In suits against the physicians, medical malpractice most commonly occurs under the following circumstances:

[1] The physician delayed diagnosis of a medical condition, or failed to diagnosis the patient's medical condition altogether.

[2] The physician properly made the correct diagnosis, and then failed to properly treat the medical condition properly.

[3] The physician failed to perform a surgical procedure properly.

[4] The physician fails to obtain the informed consent of the patient before performing a procedure or operation.

Experience
Our attorneys worked for major insurance companies as well as the City of New York before becoming plaintiff's lawyers. They know how insurance carriers and municipalities investigate, work up, negotiate and defend lawsuits. After approximately a decade of defense representation the attorneys began representing people who suffered serious injuries. They have been representing injured parties for more than 10 years.

A Sampling of Cases We Have Handled
During childbirth a fetus was deprived of oxygen (hypoxia or hypoxic event). The medical personnel failed to act/react quickly. The result was brain damage and the child is now wheelchair bound.

A woman’s colon was perforated in 2 places during a screening colonoscopy. She had severe abdominal pain with peritonitis and sepsis leading to her death. The client called her doctor to complain and the doctor told her to take an over the counter anti-diarrhea medication.

A woman had complained of a cough to her doctor on multiple occasions. She presented with finger clubbing and lab results that were not properly worked up. She eventually had an x-ray and a cat scan. A mass was detected in her lung and she was diagnosed with non small cell carcinoma. At the time of diagnosis the mass was inoperable and the cancer had metastasized.

A woman had foot surgery. After the surgery the wound failed to granulate (heal) and there was drainage from the wound. On multiple occasions the doctor failed to culture the wound. The doctor performed a second surgery to clean out the wound and he closed the wound following the second surgery. A third surgery was necessary wherein it was discovered that the infection caused several tendons to become necrotic. The client was hospitalized due to the infection and she endured several months of intravenous antibiotics administered by an infectious disease doctor.

A man went into the hospital for a Hartman's procedure. The doctors were supposed to cut out a section of his intestine, staple off the end that went to his rectum and attach a colostomy bag to the end coming from the stomach. The surgeon did the reverse. As a result, fecal matter was retained in the intestines and the error was not discovered, despite a non functioning colostomy, for 15 days. The patient developed an infection that went untreated. He died 2 months after the initial surgery from infections that would not respond to antibiotics.

A young child was hospitalized due to burns. While hospitalized she presented with multiple signs of infection. No antibiotics were administered. On discharge the nurse asked the doctor to re-examine the child. The doctor refused. The child was discharged to be followed by a nursing service. The nursing service failed to come to the home for 4 days due to an insurance issue. The child appeared lethargic and not well. The mother took her to her regular pediatrician. The pediatrician did not remove the bandages that extended from her waist to her feet, she did not perform any blood tests, and she did not refer the child to the ER. Seven days after leaving the hospital the child died from infections, dehydration, an electrolyte imbalance, pneumonia, and burn complications.

A woman went to her doctor and complained that it felt like a rope was being tied around her leg. The doctor said it was nothing and would go away. She returned 30 days later with the same complaint. The doctor told her it should go away. She returned 30 days later and saw a different doctor at the same clinic. The doctor said that she thought it might be a vascular issue. The doctor secured an appointment for the patient to see a vascular specialist in 14 days. Soon after seeing the doctor who made the referral, the patient was hospitalized because of pain in her leg. She was diagnosed with blood clots in her leg. A bypass was attempted and was unsuccessful. Her leg was amputated above her knee.

A man went to the hospital complaining about severe back pain radiating into his legs and difficulty walking. The ER doctors gave him a morphine injection and told him to follow up with his private doctor. He said that he still could not walk and that the pain was intense. They gave him a second morphine shot and he was able to walk with great difficulty. An MRI was not done. Later that night, he could not feel his legs. He was taken to a different hospital by ambulance. At the second hospital they performed an MRI that revealed that his bladder was expanded beyond its limits and that he had a cauda equine syndrome. Emergent surgery was necessary. Following the surgery, he lost the ability to control his bladder and bowel functions, he has a foot drop and requires a walker or cane, his legs have become severely swollen, he lacks penile sensation and is unable to achieve an erection.

An infant was born with significantly elevated bilirubin and eliptocytosis. He was placed under phototherapy lights for almost 2 weeks. His bilirubin levels continued to rise despite the phototherapy. His levels reached as high as 24. A blood exchange was not performed. Eventually his bilirubin levels receded. As a result of the prolonged hyperbilirubinemia the infant suffers from, brain damage, mental retardation, severe developmental delays and Kernicterus.

Due to a delay in performing a C Section, a child was born with severe brain damage and mental retardation.

During a colonoscopy a patient's colon was perforated. The perforation went undetected and untreated leading to the patient's death 3 days after the procedure.

A surgeon failed to identify and isolate a nerve during a surgical procedure. As a result the patient has a drop foot, atrophy of his muscles and difficulty walking

Surgery was done to remove a hemorrhoid. The procedure was performed incorrectly resulting in an obstructed bowel. The patient died.

Due to an improper delivery, a baby was born with Erbs Palsy.

Medical Bills
Our firm understands that your immediate goals after going through such a traumatic experience are to get the best medical care possible, make sure that your medical bills are covered, and make sure that you do not suffer financially through any lost wages. Our experienced attorneys will discuss your situation and go over the options available to you, as well as work with insurance companies and other parties involved in your case to make sure all your needs are handled quickly and appropriately. Time is short, do not delay, contact us or call us.

How to Avoid Medical Malpractice
Ask questions. Make sure you understand everything that affects your medical care. Your doctor, surgeon, pharmacist or health care professional should be open and receptive to your questions, and should be able to provide you with answers you can understand. DO NOT allow them to dismiss you or your concerns with generic answers. Continue asking questions until you are COMPLETELY satisfied and understand all of your options and the risks involved with your choice.

Understand your medications. Make sure your doctor, pharmacist and surgeon know what you are taking and why. Ask about drug interactions and learn about any side effects; if you are uncomfortable with potential side effects, ask for alternative options. Keep a list of all medications you take.

History. Make sure that you give an accurate medical history. If you are unsure of your history, ask the doctor or surgeon to contact your primary care physician and provide your authorizations to obtain all of your records.

Understand your surgery. Make sure you know exactly what procedure will be done, how long it will take, how long recovery will be and what the potential risks are. Make sure your primary care physician and your surgeon are in agreement regarding the surgery. Don't be afraid to ask how many similar surgeries the surgeon has performed, how long he/she has been practicing and whether or not someone else may be doing the surgery. You should be aware that teaching hospitals often require you to sign a form ackowledging the fact that a resident or fellow may perform your surgery.

Seek a second opinion if time pemits. Find out if there are alternatives to a particular course of treatment. If you don't have confidence in a doctor's diagnosis or feel rushed into making a decision, find another medical professional to consult with.

Understand your rights as an HMO member. If you are a member of an HMO, read your plan documentation carefully so you fully understand what benefits you are entitled to, what treatments are covered and what payments are expected. In most plans, you have the right to treatment from providers outside your HMO (normally at your expense). If you are not comfortable with the level of care your HMO provides, look into other plans or supplemental insurance.

Helpful Links
Disciplinary actions
MD disciplinary info all states
NY physician info
Federation of State Medical Boards
Ins. issues tort reform
Info source from Wikipedia
Medical News Today

Our firm represents clients located in Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, New York State and many other states (New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Georgia, Florida, Colorado, North Carolina, and California, and we will handle a case in any state provided we can do so in full compliance with court rules regarding multijurisdictional practice, association of local counsel and/or admission pro hac vice) who have suffered injuries or death as the result of medical malpractice.

If you or a loved one has been subjected to medical malpractice, CONTACT US ONLINE OR CALL US AT (516) 742-8897= (516) PIATTYS in Long Island, (212) 267-9377= (212) ANSWERS In Manhattan TO SET UP A  FREE CONSULTATION. If you can't come to us, we will come to you in the hospital or we will visit you in our mobile office.