February 2, 2011

PA Patient Safety Authority Provides Tips on Choosing Healthcare Providers

The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority provides detailed information on healthcare providers throughout Pennsylvania, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and nursing homes. If you or a loved one needs medical care or will be staying in a nursing home, the Patient Safety Authority provides the following tips for choosing the best facility for your needs.

The Patient Safety Authority and other regulatory bodies provide ratings systems that evaluate the safety, quality of care, and other factors involved in giving health care. To choose the best facility for your needs, first look at the facility’s rating for the specific care you need. For example, if you need cardiac stents implanted after a heart attack, check each hospital’s ratings for stent replacement.

Also, examine the ratings that are most important to you. For instance, if you’re worried about being treated well by the staff, look at the facility’s ratings for staff friendliness and responsiveness to patient needs.

If you or a loved one needs surgery or another medical procedure, look at the number of times the hospital, physician, and surgical staff have done the same procedure. According to the Patient Safety Authority, the outcomes for patients are usually better the more times a physician has done the same procedure.

Protecting yourself and your family from medical malpractice and nursing home abuse in Pennsylvania starts with good research. However, you cannot always prevent another person’s negligence or mistreatment. If you or a loved one has been injured by a health care professional’s actions, please don’t hesitate to contact the experienced Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorneys at Cherry Fieger & Marciano LLP for a free and confidential consultation. Call 1-888-684-7192 today to learn more about your rights after a medical injury.

December 20, 2010

Patient Paralyzed After Misdiagnosis Sues Hospital

Frances Miller of Fayette County, PA has filed a lawsuit against Highlands Hospital, claiming she was paralyzed after a bacterial spine infection was misdiagnosed when she visited the hospital’s ER. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that an on-call doctor didn’t discover her infection until more than 24 hours later, which was too late.

Tragedies like these are not uncommon. An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported recently that approximately 100,000 people die every year because of medical malpractice and nearly half of these fatalities are because of emergency room errors. Medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the country.

When a misdiagnosis results in a catastrophic injury like this, victims and their families need an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney who can help them recover damages to pay their medical costs and other expenses.

In this case, the hospital was negligent, even if hospital staff members did not intentionally harm the patient. They may still be held liable since their neglect led to Ms. Miller becoming paralyzed. Failing to treat or see a patient within a reasonable amount of time (which often happens in emergency rooms) is just one example of negligence in the hospital setting. It is also imperative that hospitals properly sterilize equipment, keep proper patient records, and properly diagnose a patient’s illness. They must also order tests and procedures that are appropriate for specific illnesses.

If you or a loved one has been injured because of a physician or hospital staff member’s neglect, the Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys at Cherry Fieger & Marciano, LLP can let you know what your legal options are and help you through the process. Please call us today for a free consultation.

November 22, 2010

Plastic Surgeon's Appeal Denied in PA Medical Malpractice Case

The Delaware County Times reports that a PA appeals court denied an appeal from a plastic surgeon from King of Prussia in a Pennsylvania medical malpractice case. The family of Amy Fledderman was awarded $20.5 million after they filed a suit against Richard P. Glunk. Fledderman died from complications from liposuction surgery and the jury found Glunk liable for Pennsylvania medical malpractice.

Surgical errors are a type of Pennsylvania medical malpractice that may take place when an attending surgeon, anesthesiologist, surgical resident, or nursing staff causes an error that result in an injury. With so many surgeries being performed each year, countless patients are suffering from surgical errors, such as surgeries being performed on the wrong body part, surgical instrument related injuries, and anesthesia accidents.

Liposuction is a surgery with significant health risks, including infection, organ punctures, embolisms, nerve damage, toxicity from anesthesia, and death. The patient must be informed of all serious risks associated with the procedure, as well as those that are of particular concern to that individual patient. If a physician does not disclose the risks of a medical procedure, they could be liable for negligence. If Ms. Fledderman had known about the risk associated with the surgery, she may not have undergone the procedure.

If your a loved one has been the victim of Pennsylvania medical malpractice, the Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers at Cherry Fieger & Marciano, LLP, will help make the process as simple as possible. In most cases, a Pennsylvania wrongful death claim can be handled along with a medical malpractice claim. Please call our law office today for free consultation.

November 12, 2010

PA Woman Sues Hospital and Doctors for Medical Malpractice

The Centre Daily Times reports that Judith Meyers, a 70-year-old woman from Centre Hall, PA, filed a lawsuit against the Mount Nittany Medical Center, Healthsouth Nittany Valley Rehabilitation as well as several doctors. The lawsuit claims that they did not order tests in time that could potentially have diagnosed a tumor. An emergency surgery left her paralyzed.

Pennsylvania nedical malpractice includes misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, surgical errors, prescription drug errors, birth injuries, failure to treat diseases, delay in treatment, and negligence. People of all ages are at risk for medical malpractice, including children, adults, and the elderly.

Failure to diagnose cancer is a serious type of malpractice that costs many people their lives. Early detection and early treatment are the keys to beating cancer and preventing it from spreading. Many people are suffering needlessly because their doctors have not properly diagnosed their cancer.

Hospital negligence applies to many situations that can occur within the healthcare system. A hospital staff member may cause harm to a patient that is unintentional. However, the person who caused the harm may still be liable if he or she neglected to perform the duties of the job in a reasonable manner and that neglect caused injury to a patient. Failing to properly diagnose a patient so that he or she can receive appropriate treatment for a condition and failing to order and/or complete tests and procedures that are appropriate for a specific illness or condition are examples of negligence.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, contact Cherry Fieger, & Marciano, LLP to discuss your case with an experienced Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer right away. They may be able to recover the maximum monetary compensation for your injuries and suffering. They offer free consultations.

October 14, 2010

Media, PA Woman Awarded $5 Million in Malpractice Suit

Kimberly Reed of Media, PA was awarded $5 million in damages after she filed a suit against a Ridley Park dermatologist. According an article in the Delaware County Times, her suit claims that her cancer was not diagnosed in its early stages by her dermatologist. Her face became disfigured from multiple surgeries for cancer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are highly curable, but melanoma, the third most common skin cancer, is more dangerous. About 65%–90% of melanomas are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light or sunlight.

Medical misdiagnoses occurs when a doctor or physician fails to identify the correct ailment or disease, potentially by not giving patients enough time and attention or not listening closely to their complaints. Failure to order diagnostic tests or make a referral to an oncologist could delay a cancer diagnosis months or even years.

This is a serious type of malpractice, which can cost many people their lives. Hundreds of thousands of people die each year in the U.S. from cancer. Early detection and early treatment is the key to preventing cancer from spreading, and without proper diagnosis many people are suffering needlessly because their doctors have not properly diagnosed their cancer.

Contact Cherry Fieger & Marciano, LLP to discuss your Pennsylvania medical malpractice case with an experienced Philadelphia medical negligence lawyer right away. Our attorneys may be able to recover the maximum monetary compensation for your injuries and suffering. Cherry Fieger & Marciano, LLP offer free and confidential consultations. Contact us today.

August 6, 2010

Lancaster Wrongful Death Leads to Hospital Malpractice Lawsuit

A 70-year-old man died after he jumped out of a window at Lancaster General Hospital. According to this article, his family is suing the hospital and two doctors who cared for him.

Last summer, the man threw himself through a closed, eighth-story window at the Duke Street hospital and died. He had been hospitalized there for mental health problems. He had a history of seizures and anxiety. He threatened to leave the hospital and jump out a window.

The lawsuit claimed that the man was agitated and paranoid, and had threatened to jump out of the window five days before he did. According to the family’s attorney, the proper steps to safeguard him on the unit he was on were not taken.

The man’s medical doctor signed an order to “transfer to psych unit if OK [with] psychiatry” three days before his death. But in a later progress note the psychiatrist said he did not see indication for psychiatric admission. He likely had an underlying dementia and was recommended for neuropsychological testing as soon as possible.

Police officers found the man outside the hospital. He then was returned to his room and, according to the article, he pushed a patient care assistant across the room and threw himself out of the window. He died a short time later.

The lawsuit alleges his death was the result of negligence, carelessness, recklessness, and gross negligence.

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July 23, 2010

Patient Dies of Medication Overdose Due to Hospital Negligence

According to this article on Maineville.com, a Mayo Regional patient received 10 times the needed epinephrine.

The article reported that Timothy Harvey, 51, went to the hospital’s emergency room on June 4. He was suffering from an allergic reaction and died early the next morning from a massive overdose of medication mistakenly administered by hospital staff.

The hospital’s CEO said it takes full responsibility for this situation.

The middle-aged man went to the emergency room on June 4, with symptoms of an acute allergic reaction that included facial swelling and some thickening of the tongue. He had eaten seafood about an hour earlier that evening but had no prior known seafood allergy.

The patient was given 0.3 milligrams of epinephrine, an appropriate amount, and the patient showed signs of improvement. While he was being held for observation, some of his earlier symptoms recurred and he was given a second dose of epinephrine. It can be re-dosed in the same amount as often as necessary to address a patient’s symptoms. However, the second dose was too large.

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May 12, 2010

Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Suits Decline

A recent article in The Legal Intelligencer discusses an annual court study which reveals that a 44% drop in the amount of medical malpractice filings has occurred. This decline is attributed to reform procedures initiated by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2003. The article mentions that PA medical malpractice cases must be filed in counties where the alleged malpractice and subsequent patient harm occurred. In addition, cases must be filed with a certificate of merit from a physician reflecting a reasonable likelihood that a medical malpractice defendant digressed from the conventional and expected standard of medical care that patients should receive. These measures are meant to aid in smoothing out the litigation process so it can best serve the people of Pennsylvania.

Based on the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts’ most recent statistical data on medical malpractice litigation, the number of medical malpractice suits begun in Pennsylvania dropped to 1,533 in 2009. In 2002, the year before the reform measures went into effect, 2,904 filings were made; a number that showed significant decline in 2008 with 1,602 filings. Furthermore, Philadelphia saw a large decline in filings with 491 in 2009 in comparison to 1,365 in 2002.

According to the article, skilled attorney, Kevin R. Marciano of Philadelphia firm, Cherry Fieger & Marciano, LLP, and president of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice’s trial lawyers group, stated that the recent collection of statistics demonstrates that the rules governing medical malpractice cases are working. Kevin R. Marciano also stated that when the rules surrounding Pennsylvania medical malpractice law were being written, trial lawyers were involved with the reasonable and fair implementation of venue rules and certificate of merit requirements. In acknowledging that other changes, such as a cap on damages or specialty medical malpractice courts, would potentially throw-off “a level playing field,” Marciano said that “people’s rights are going to be infringed upon” if such alterations are introduced to a process that has already demonstrated accuracy and efficiency in its functioning abilities.

Medical malpractice in Pennsylvania can happen to anyone. Whether a medical professional’s negligence results in surgical error, misdiagnosis, prescription drug error, birth injury, or a delay in treatment; patients of all ages may be at risk of suffering serious injury or even death. This is why it is crucial for legal matters relating to medical malpractice filings and cases to be given proceeding standards that are fair and just.

March 30, 2010

Erie Hospital Ran Out of Blood, Death Lawsuit Says

A woman says that her 46-year-old husband died because an Erie hospital ran out of blood while treating him after a motorcycle crash. The man was a high school wrestling coach. According to this article by the Associated Press, the woman has sued Hamot Medical Center in Erie, PA saying the hospital had only 16 units of blood available when her husband died of pelvic bleeding after the crash on July 24, 2008.

The article stated that doctors wanted to operate on the man in Erie, but decided to transfer him to a Pittsburgh hospital because a radiologist wasn’t comfortable working on pelvic injuries. The lawsuit claims he died while waiting for a medical helicopter after the hospital ran out of blood.

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March 9, 2010

Possible Prostate Case Error at Penn Hospital

The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania reported a possible radiation error involving the treatment of a man for prostate cancer. According to this article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, a patient underwent a prostate brachytherapy procedure on Jan. 21 to implant 65 radioactive seeds to kill cancer cells in the acorn-size gland. On a follow-up scan on Feb. 23, doctors saw that the seeds were “outside the intended target.”

The incident is similar to problems at the Penn-run brachytherapy program at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center.

From February 2002 until June 2008, 97 veterans got incorrect radiation doses.

The article stated that the incident at Penn was reported to the state Department of Environmental Protection, which oversees the medical use of radioactive materials in Pennsylvania for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The incident may have been caused by a malfunction in a new ultrasound unit, which guides the needles used to place the radioactive seeds.

The problems at the Philadelphia VA raised questions about the Penn program’s quality.

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March 8, 2010

PA Hospital Sued Over Failure to Admit Patient

According to this article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania was sued in federal court for allegedly refusing to accept Marcus Murray because he lacked health insurance.

Murray needed emergency surgery to treat a tear in a major artery. Marcus and his wife, Jean, claim that Penn initially said it would accept Mr. Murray’s transfer from Underwood Memorial Hospital in Gloucester County, NJ. Then, Penn refused after learning he had no health insurance.

The article stated that the suit named a Penn cardiothoracic surgeon, Underwood, and its emergency-room doctor on the case, alleging that Underwood failed to properly diagnose Murray’s condition and did not transfer him to a hospital capable of dealing with his problem soon enough.

Murray was experiencing chest pain and weakness and went by ambulance to the Underwood ER.

A CT scan revealed a “complex dissection of the thoracic and abdominal aorta” that would require treatment by a cardiothoracic surgeon.

Underwood does not have open-heart-surgery capability, so Murray needed to be transferred to another hospital.

According to Murray’s Underwood records, Penn had agreed to accept Murray, and he would get a helicopter to transport him to Philadelphia. Records showed that after speaking with the Penn surgeon, they were told Mr. Murray was not accepted. Nurse’s notes indicated that the reason for refusal was lack of medical insurance.

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March 3, 2010

Philadelphia Doctor's License Suspended after Patient Dies

State authorities suspended Kermit B. Gosnell’s medical license, a doctor whose practice in West Philadelphia was raided by federal drug agents. According to an article on Philly.com, the suspension was issued by the State Board of Medicine and came after a search of Women’s Medical Society practice.

The suspension order says the conditions of the clinic were “deplorable and unsanitary.”

The order called Gosnell’s continued practice of medicine a danger to the public health and safety.

Law enforcement sources said the FBI, DEA, and state drug agents who executed the search warrant had been investigating Gosnell, who is in his late 60s, on suspicion of illegal distribution of prescription painkillers.

The suspension order also alleges that on or about Nov. 20, a patient died after being treated at the clinic by an unlicensed employee. The woman was in the clinic for an abortion and was given 10 mg of Demerol and 12.5 mg of promethazine. When the patient began experiencing cramping, she asked for more pain medication, and Gosnell told the unlicensed employee to administer it.

The woman allegedly was given 75 mg of Demerol, 12.5 mg of promethazine, and 10 mg of diazepam, and later more anesthetic in preparation for the abortion.

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February 25, 2010

FDA Orders National Review of Hospital Scanners

Patients not only have their health to worry about, but they also have to concern themselves with the medical devices that are used to diagnose and treat their ailments. According to an Latimes.com report, the well publicized CT Scan malfunction which resulted in accidental radiation overdosing to patients could be a national dilemma.The FDA found that a 3rd L.A area hospital, Providence St. Joseph, has overdosed 34 patients over a 20 month interval. The patients, who had gone to the hospital to have a brain scan performed, were found to have been exposed to unsafe levels of radiation.

The CT Scan, which scans those who have suffered a stroke, aids hospital officials in determining how much damage has been done to the brain. Another issue that raises concerns for FDA officials and the public is that the problem with the first two hospitals involved scanners from GE, but the scanner in the third hospital is manufactured by Toshiba. A doctor who is the acting director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health said, “Given the fact that we are dealing with two manufacturers and multiple institutions, we wouldn’t be surprised if there are more problems at other institutions”.

Hospitals throughout the country have been directed by the FDA to review radiation dosing guidelines when a CT perfusion scan will be performed. This means that CT technologists must be trained to check the display on the scanner prior to the scan. According to the FDA, an estimated 150,000 CT brain perfusion scans are carried out yearly throughout the country. It is of the utmost importance for all the machines to be checked properly and hospital personnel must be accurately trained to operate them as soon as possible. The FDA is continuing their investigation as to whether the overdoses are a result of human error, defective machines, or both.

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February 23, 2010

Cedars-Sinai Overdoses at Least 206 CT Scan Patients With Radiation

Most Pennsylvanians have heard the news of a hospital in Los Angeles, California that accidentally exposed CT scans patients to dangerous levels of radiation. Officials believe that patients received up to 8 times the prescribed dosage at the Cedars-Sinai hospital.

The troubling revelation has many experts proclaiming that there is too much reliance on medical machinery in the health industry and that this is a growing problem of modern technology.

Chief medical officer for Siemens, a manufacturer of CT scanners, said, “It’s in your face on the screen,” when describing the radiation levels during a CT scan. Investigators are trying to figure out why no one noticed the problem for 18 months. Director of the Center for Radiological Research said, “It’s pretty mystifying to me.”

The state Department of Public Health and the FDA are investigating while Cedars-Sinai claims that the overdoses happened as a result of the hospital reconfiguring a scanner in order to improve physicians’ capability to see blood flow in the brain. Cedars-Sinai released a statement that said they have “added double-checks to our process whenever a protocol is changed.”

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February 9, 2010

Family to Sue Aria Over Waiting-Room Death

The family of the late Latino musician Joaquin Rivera is preparing to sue Aria Health System. According to an article in the Philadelphia Daily News, the state Department of Health released a report detailing numerous staff policy violations that occurred on Nov. 28, the night Rivera had a fatal heart attack in the waiting room of Aria Health’s Frankford campus.
Rivera, 63, sat dead for more than 40 minutes and was robbed by three vagrants before hospital personnel noticed.

Investigators found an extensive list of hospital errors that took place before, during, and after his death.

Rivera, a father of three who worked for years as a guidance counselor at Olney High School, complained of pain on his left side when he entered the hospital at 10:45 p.m.

Surveillance footage showed that he stopped moving 11 minutes later. According to the state report, a triage nurse called his name at 11:03 p.m. and noticed that he was staring at a wall and not moving.

However, the report shows neither the nurse nor other hospital personnel checked to see if Rivera was in need of help.

The report also shows that staffers responded to Rivera only when another patient said that he had died.

State investigators learned in subsequent interviews with the hospital staff that many were unaware of protocol that requires them to check on patients in the waiting area.

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October 9, 2009

Trial Begins in Medical Malpractice Suit for Penn Student's Meningitis Death

The trial is going to begin in a medical malpractice lawsuit following the death of a University of Pennsylvania sophomore. She died in September 2007 of meningitis. According to an article on Philly.com, her family claims that the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania was negligent in performing a lumbar puncture on a patient with brain swelling, and that her brain herniated, killing her.

The hospital maintains that the sophomore received outstanding care and that the lumbar puncture, commonly known as a spinal tap, is the standard test for meningitis.

The suit is being heard in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court.

If you or someone you love has been treated with substandard care by a doctor or healthcare provider and has suffered an injury or disability as a result, that patient has been the victim of medical malpractice. Misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, surgical errors, prescription drug errors, birth injuries, failure to treat diseases, delay in treatment, and negligence are just a few examples of medical malpractice. People of all ages are at risk for medical malpractice, including children, adults, and the elderly.

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August 24, 2009

Patient Sues N.J. Oncologist Over Hepatitis Infection

A patient sued a New Jersey oncologist who health officials suspect was responsible for a hepatitis B outbreak this year. According to this article by the Associated Press on Philly.com, one man from Manchester, NJ said he contracted the disease after being treated for prostate cancer at the office of suspected doctor this year and last year.

The affected man sued the doctor for medical malpractice in a state court in Ocean County, NJ in July. His attorney said that the man was tested before the doctor treated him and was not infected with the virus.

The state warned nearly 3,000 of the suspected doctor’s patients in March to get tested after five cancer patients tested positive for hepatitis B, which is transmitted through exposure to infected blood and can cause serious liver damage.

According to the article, the state Health Department refused to say how many more patients tested positive after the warnings were issued.

The oncologist’s medical license was suspended in April because of conditions at his Toms River office. There was blood on the floor of a room where chemotherapy was administered, blood in a bin where blood vials were stored, open medication vials, and unsterile saline and gauze.

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August 6, 2009

VA Hospital Errors Affect Vets, Claims Being Filed

An attorney from Nashville is preparing to file claims with the VA for about 60 veterans. According to this article by the Associated Press on Philly.com, he is going to ask the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to pay disability benefits and damages for hospital mistakes that may have exposed veterans to infectious body fluids.

The veterans have tested positive for HIV and hepatitis and others have suffered emotional distress after the VA provided them with initial positive blood tests for infections that turned out to be wrong. Other veterans among the roughly 10,000 affected former patients at VA hospitals in Murfreesboro, Tenn., Miami and Augusta, Ga., are likely to seek compensation beyond the VA’s offer of free medical care.

The attorney is planning to file medical malpractice and emotional distress claims with the VA within 30 to 45 days. The claims process differs from a traditional malpractice lawsuit because the VA is a federal agency. The patient’s claim first must be reviewed by a VA regional attorney.

The VA has offered free medical care to the affected veterans, but the attorney said it is no more than they already expected. The requested compensation will vary greatly, depending on the veteran’s age, ailments, and other factors.

Records show that among the patients who have heeded VA warnings to get follow-up blood checks, eight have tested positive for HIV. Twelve former patients have tested positive for hepatitis B and 37 have tested positive for hepatitis C.

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July 30, 2009

Lawsuit Against Dentist Who Dropped Tools Down Man’s Throat

A Florida dentist is being sued for allegedly dropping tools down the throat of an elderly patient - twice. According to an article, relatives of the 90-year-old man recently filed the suit in circuit court accusing the dentist of negligence.

The lawsuit that the elderly man’s family filed claimed that the doctor dropped an “implant screwdriver tool” in 2006 and a “mini-wrench” in 2007. The suit also says that the victim underwent several medical procedures to remove the tools but never fully recovered. He died in 2007.

The dentist was fined $17,000 by the state a year later. He was found negligent in a settlement.

When a patient has been treated with substandard care by a doctor or healthcare provider and has suffered an injury or disability as a result, the patient has been the victim of medical malpractice. Misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, surgical errors, prescription drug errors, birth injuries, failure to treat diseases, delay in treatment, and negligence are just a few examples of medical malpractice. People of all ages are at risk for medical malpractice in Philadelphia and throughout the nation, including children, adults, and the elderly.

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July 24, 2009

Settlement Reached for 2nd Kentucky Widow Over Husband's VA Death

Darla Marshall, the second of two Kentucky widows, settled a federal lawsuit over surgical care she said killed her husband at an Illinois Veterans Affairs hospital. Major surgeries at this hospital have been halted for nearly two years after a spike in patient deaths.

According to an Associated Press article that appeared on Philly.com, the terms of the settlement over 61-year-old James Marshall’s July 2007 blood infection death six days after his lymph node biopsy at the VA hospital in Marion were not disclosed. Marshall sought $10 million in her wrongful-death lawsuit.

Another widow, Katrina Shank of Murray, Ky., settled for $975,000 last year for her lawsuit involving Robert Shank III, an Air Force veteran who was 50 when he bled to death in 2007 —one day after undergoing gallbladder surgery at the Marion site.

Both were patients of surgeon Jose Veizaga-Mendez, who resigned in August 2007 three days after Shank died.

Within a month of Shank’s death, surgeries at the Marion site, which serves veterans from southern Illinois, southwestern Indiana and western Kentucky, were halted after the VA found that at least nine deaths between October 2006 and March 2007 were “directly attributable” to substandard care there.

The article said that the VA’s findings of medical malpractice did not put the sole blame on Veizaga-Mendez, but Shank’s lawsuit said many or all of those who died were his patients. According to the article, of an additional 34 cases the VA investigated, 10 patients died after receiving questionable care that complicated their health.

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July 8, 2009

Pa. Doctor in VA Cancer Treatment Probe Testifies

Dr. Gary Kao, an oncologist blamed for botching cancer treatments at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, said he is not the type of physician he’s been portrayed to be. According to this article on www.delcotimes.com Kao testified on June 29 at a congressional hearing at the medical center in Philadelphia. Kao says the treatment, which involves implanting radioactive seeds in the prostate, “was and still is an evolving field.”

According to a Nuclear Regulatory Commission report, 92 veterans received incorrect radiation doses at the hospital over a three-year period. The NRC is investigating the cases of medical malpractice in Philadelphia.

Although, Kao said he never falsified results or covered up mistakes, U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter called the hearing after learning of the treatment problems. Specter himself is a cancer survivor.

When patients, such has the VA hospital cancer patients, have been treated with substandard care by a doctor or healthcare provider and in turn suffer an injury or disability as a result, the patient has been the victim of medical malpractice.

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June 25, 2009

Chelation Heart Disease Study Investigated by Government

The government is investigating if heart attack survivors enrolled in a controversial federal study of an alternative treatment were told about possible health risks.

According to this article, the $30 million study with 1,500 participants, is one of the largest alternative medicine experiments. It tests high doses of vitamin and mineral supplements and chelation, a treatment used for lead poisoning. It has not been proven safe or effective for heart disease and has the potential to cause drug injury.

Last August, the federal Office of Human Research Protections began a probe into whether the people in the study were being fully informed of risks and adequately protected. Researchers then suspended enrollment.

Chelation involves intravenous doses of a drug, in this case disodium EDTA. Proponents claim it can flush out calcium that has built up in artery walls.

According to the article, the study’s consent form does not tell participants that others have suffered wrongful death from chelation. More than half of the doctors running the study make money by selling chelation treatments, which is a conflict of interest.

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May 27, 2009

$2.185M PA Medical Malpractice Award Due to Unread X-ray

On May 13, a jury awarded Rosalyn James $2.185 million in a Philadelphia medical malpractice suit against St. Joseph’s Hospital and two emergency-room physicians. Her husband, Zachary James, died at the North Philadelphia hospital when his heart stopped beating on April 20, 2006.

According to this article in the Philadelphia Daily News, Mrs. James filed a lawsuit claiming her husband’s death may have been preventable if someone had just looked at his X-rays before he died.

James, 51, began experiencing chest, back, and leg pains on April 20. He called 9-1-1 and was transported to St. Joseph’s in Philadelphia. James was seen by the attending emergency-room physician, Dr. Thomas Powell, within a half hour, who ordered several lab tests, including X-rays and echocardiograms, but it took almost two hours for some of the tests to be performed.

Powell left the hospital to attend a corporate meeting, leaving a physician who was serving his first day on the job at St. Joseph’s. The emergency-room physician did not review the X-rays before they were sent to radiology, as per hospital procedure.

Zachary James died at 7:05 on April 20 from a dissecting aortic aneurysm, a condition in which blood gets between the layers of the aorta wall and fills up the sac surrounding the heart, constricting it until it's unable to pump. The X-rays and other tests would have revealed this condition before James had to suffer a wrongful death in Pennsylvania.

According to the article, the hospital and doctors pursued two defenses at trial. One was that Zachary James had a history of hypertension and “chronic noncompliance” in taking his blood-pressure medication.

The other was that quickly identifying James’ condition still may not have allowed enough time to properly transfer him to another hospital where the necessary surgery could have been performed. The defense argued that he was never given the opportunity to survive and the jury found both doctors and the hospital liable.

When a patient like Zachary James has been treated with substandard care by a doctor or healthcare provider and has suffered an injury or disability as a result, the patient has been the victim of medical malpractice. Misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, surgical errors, prescription drug errors, birth injuries, failure to treat diseases, delay in treatment, and negligence are just a few examples of medical malpractice. People of all ages are at risk for medical malpractice, including children, adults, and the elderly.

Medical malpractice is a distressing situation, and the Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers at Cherry, Fieger, and Marciano, LLP, will make the process as simple as possible for you. If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice in Pennsylvania, please contact Cherry, Fieger, and Marciano, LLP today for a free consultation with a skilled Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney.

May 19, 2009

Medical Malpractice Suit over Massachusetts 4 Year Old Overdose

A medical malpractice tribunal will decide whether a lawsuit can move forward against a psychiatrist who prescribed powerful drugs for a 4-year-old girl who later died of an overdose.

According to this article in USA Today, Michael and Carolyn Riley are awaiting trial on murder charges for their daughter, Rebecca’s 2006 death. The psychiatrist is accused of intentionally overdosing the girl to keep her out of the way.

A lawyer for Rebecca’s estate argued in March that Dr. Kayoko Kifuji should be held responsible in her death, claiming that Kifuji diagnosed her with bipolar disorder too quickly and did not monitor her condition closely.

When a patient, such as Rebecca Riley, has been treated with substandard care by a doctor or healthcare provider and has suffered an injury or disability as a result, the patient has been the victim of medical malpractice. Misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, surgical errors, prescription drug errors, birth injuries, failure to treat diseases, delay in treatment, and negligence are just a few examples of medical malpractice. If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice in Pennsylvania, please contact Cherry Fieger and Marciano, LLP today for a free consultation with a Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney.

In severe cases of medical malpractice when a patient dies as a result of the negligence by the healthcare provider, the patient has been the victim of medical malpractice and wrongful death. In most cases, a Pennsylvania wrongful death claim may be handled along with a medical malpractice claim.

May 12, 2009

Medical Malpractice Suit Filed by Russian father against Oklahoma City Surgeon

Paul Frankel, an Oklahoma City surgeon has been accused of medical malpractice in a lawsuit. According to this article, a father is suing over the death of his son, a Russian teenager who died after a risky brain stem operation.

This lawsuit is one of seven suits filed in Oklahoma County District Court against Frankel so far this year. He stopped practicing in December while he is under investigation by state medical officials.

Frankel performed a free surgery on Russian David Kurbanov in October 2006 to remove a tumor on his brain stem. Kurbanov slipped into a coma and never recovered. He died at the age of 16 in June of 2007.

Sabit Kurbanov, the boy’s father, said that the surgeon used his boy as a “guinea pig” for publicity. The lawsuit alleges that the care and treatment of David was below acceptable medical standards.

In another lawsuit against Frankel, a patient accuses the doctor of using the wrong size rods in 2007 during surgery for a herniated disc. The patient complained he had to have two more surgeries but ended up with permanent injuries.

If a patient, such as David Kurbanov, has been treated with substandard care by a doctor or healthcare provider and has suffered an injury or disability as a result, the patient has been the victim of medical malpractice. Misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, surgical errors, prescription drug errors, birth injuries, failure to treat diseases, delay in treatment, and negligence are just a few examples of medical malpractice. If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice in Pennsylvania, please contact Cherry Fieger and Marciano, LLP today for a free consultation with a Philadelphia PA medical malpractice attorney.

In severe cases of medical malpractice, when a patient dies as a result of the negligence by the healthcare provider, the patient has been the victim of medical malpractice and wrongful death. In most cases, a Pennsylvania wrongful death claim may be handled along with a medical malpractice claim.

April 30, 2009

Parents' Hospital Lawsuit Says Teen was "Killed" for Organs

The parents of an 18-year-old boy who suffered a brain injury in a 2007 snowboarding accident say his doctors “intentionally killed” him to harvest his organs. According to an article that appeared on www.abcnews.com, Michael and Teresa Jacobs of Ohio filed a lawsuit in March in the U.S. District Court of Western Pennsylvania, claiming that doctors “hastened” their son Gregory’s death by delaying treatment and ultimately pulling his breathing tube.

Mr. and Mrs. Jacobs said their son had not been formally declared brain dead when surgeons began the transplant procedure and are seeking $5 million in damages.

The medical malpractice lawsuit in Pennsylvania said that he would have lived, or, at the very least, his life would have been prolonged. The family claims that if their son had been properly treated, he would have had a chance of substantial recovery.

They have charged doctors at Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pa., and a representative of the Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE) in Pittsburgh.

The Hamot Medical Center and the organ center maintained that the treatment administered was “timely, appropriate and well-documented.”

The suit also alleges that the Center for Organ Recovery and Education benefited by obtaining Gregory Jacobs’ organs “for transfer and sale to other individuals, who then paid money, a portion of which went to CORE, for the wrongful procurement of the organs.”

It also alleges that Mr. Jacobs was pressured into signing a do-not-resuscitate order and authorizing the organ transplant. The teen's heart, liver, and kidney were donated.

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April 27, 2009

Man Awarded $1 Million for Doctor Error

A LaSalle County, Illinois jury awarded $1 million to Jack Hughes Sr., a Tonica, Il. man who sued an orthopedic surgeon for medical malpractice for mishandling his knee surgery.

According to an article in USA Today, Hughes sued Dr. Mark Kelley of Peru for allegedly being negligent in performing a total knee replacement that required seven surgeries over 2 years.

Dr. Kelley argued that a prosthetic device used in the initial surgery was appropriate. According to the article, Hughes was unable to return to his job as a vocational automotive instructor at Streator Township High School because of a chronic pain syndrome.

When a patient has been treated with substandard care by a doctor or healthcare provider and has suffered an injury or disability as a result, the patient has been the victim of medical malpractice. Misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, surgical errors, prescription drug errors, failure to treat diseases, delay in treatment, negligence, and birth injury in Pennsylvania are just a few examples of medical malpractice. People of all ages are at risk for medical malpractice, including children, adults, and the elderly.

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April 23, 2009

Estate Can Sue Hospital that Discharged Killer

On April 6, 2009, a federal appeals court ruled that a Michigan hospital can be sued for medical malpractice for releasing a man who killed his estranged wife with an ax 10 days later.

According to this Associated Press article that appeared on Philly.com, this decision reinstates a lawsuit filed by the estate of Marie Moses Irons against Providence Hospital.

The 3-judge panel cited a federal law that requires hospitals to stabilize patients if an emergency condition exists and said that it applies to “any individual” who suffers personal harm.

When a patient has been treated with substandard care by a doctor or healthcare provider and has suffered an injury or disability as a result, the patient has been the victim of medical malpractice. Misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, surgical errors, prescription drug errors, birth injuries, failure to treat diseases, delay in treatment, and negligence are just a few examples of medical malpractice. People of all ages are at risk for medical malpractice, including children, adults, and the elderly.

Marie Moses Irons brought her husband, Christopher Howard, into the Emergency Room at Providence Hospital in December 2002 because he was physically ill, making threats, and showing signs of mental illness.

Although a doctor recommended that Howard be transferred to a unit for the mentally ill, the transfer never occurred. Howard eventually was discharged and 10 days after he was released, he murdered Irons while she slept at her home. Howard is now serving a life sentence for first-degree murder.

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March 11, 2009

Pittsburgh Nursing Home Abuse of Alzheimers Patient Results in Conviction of Nurse

Mary Ann Bower, a former nurse in a Pittsburgh-area nursing home was convicted of abusing a 94-year-old patient with Alzheimer’s disease. She will have to pay a fine of $300 and she may lose her nursing certificate in this personal injury lawsuit.

According to an article from Wfmj.com, Bower was convicted after employees at the Kane Regional Center in Glen Hazel, Pa said that she flicked water in the face of Thelma Bryant. The article also said that Bower was a night supervisor at the facility and that she did not stop any abuse or reprimand the other nurses who were also involved.

The other nurses are facing more serious charges for allegedly hitting the patient in this personal injury lawsuit.

The most common forms of nursing home abuse in Pennsylvania are physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. When a nursing home professional takes advantage of their power to withhold care from an individual, extort money or property from them, or abuse their bodies, an intolerable and cruel situation can arise.

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September 24, 2008

Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Suits May Be Option For VA Medical Center Cancer Patients

Over the past 6 years, 114 prostate-cancer patients at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center may have been given radiation doses below what was prescribed. According to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, these men were undergoing brachytherapy, where radioactive rods or seeds were implanted in or around the prostate to destroy cancer cells. Two patients have since died. Many patients who undergo this type of treatment are those with a low-risk prostate cancer. A hospital spokesperson told officials they are conducting an investigation to find out if hospital negligence contributed to the errors.

According to Dr. Eric Horwitz, clinical director of the radiation/oncology department at Fox Chase Cancer Center, the worst case scenerio is that the patients’ cancer was not adequately treated, and it never went away or came back.

Officials are also investigating a separate incident at the VA Medical Center where patients had blood drawn without their consent and were placed in a research study. Marc Holmes, an Air Force Veteran, was one of 6 patients who had his blood drawn and then placed in a study without his knowledge. The hospital later claimed they were conducting a study on Warfarin Dosing and it was approved by the hospital institutional review board as a “noninvasive, retrospective view of records.” Because this study did not receive federal funding, the rules for conducting the study were not as strict. However, according to bioethics Professor Jon Merz of the University of Pennsylvania, ethical lines were crossed.

Spokesmen for the hospital claimed that the 2 incidents are unrelated and caregivers are taking steps to fix both problems. However, the VA is being questioned on its current quality control issues.

Medical malpractice and hospital negligence are serious and distressing situations. Cherry Fieger and Marciano, LLP are experienced Philadelphia PA medical malpractice attorneys. If you feel you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, please call for a free consulation. Our Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers will answer your questions and/or put you on a list to update you with information.