Medical malpractice and personal injury issues were making the news around the country this past month. We at Whitehurst, Harkness, Brees, Cheng, Alsaffar, Higginbotham, and Jacob, PLLC like to keep up-to-date on the news and developments in the areas of law we practice. Here is a round up of some of the news we saw last month:
- The Department of Veterans Affairs was in the news throughout the month. By way of background, the VA has made the news recently as a result of its failures to timely treat patients and its attempted cover up of delays in care. Whistle blowers attempted to bring the publics attention to these and other problems at the VA, but were faced with retaliation, which the VA apologized for. Congressional hearings were held to address the systemic problems at the VA. The evidence against the VA is significant. For example, 911 calls reveal VA doctors doing nothing while a veteran coded and an ambulance was on its way. As in this article, and our personal experience in our practice, failure to diagnose common diseases such as infection and cancer are problems the VA faces on a regular basis. Some reports show that veterans wait almost twice as long at the VA than in private facilities.
- California doctors used fake hardware in spinal surgeries, according to a recent lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that the fake hardware went into the backs of thousands of injured workers throughout the state. According to the article, the screws cost $300 to make, yet were billed out at over $12,000. If a faulty screw is installed or a proper screw is installed negligently, patients may suffer the risk of infection and herniation, among other complications.
- The Milwaukee, Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reports on a jury that found over $23 million in damages for a woman who lost all four of her limbs due to medical malpractice. She lost her limbs because of a failure to diagnose an infection that spread rapidly. According to the article, the $23 million in damages could have been prevented if the doctors had caught her infection in time and prescribed a $25 antibiotic.
- The Arizona Supreme Court found that hospitals are subject to the same laws designed to protect vulnerable adults. The Supreme Court ruled that the elderly can be injured anywhere and they deserve the full protections of the law.
- A Los Angeles, California jury found $20 million in damages for a man injured in 2011 in a gas explosion. We have handled severe burn cases and know that burn injuries can be some of the most painful.
- A New York jury found $2.3 million in damages arising out a failure to diagnose infection that resulted in the need for a hip replacement for a 52 year old man. In 2012, Laurie Higginbotham and Tom Jacob tried and won a significant verdict a similar case resulting in the diagnose an infection in a child, causing his death.
Medical malpractice is a nationwide issue that requires a team of trial lawyers who have the experience and background necessary to handle the problem. Nationwide, some estimates say that preventable medical errors kill anywhere from 210,000 to 440,000 people every year. In our practice, we see not only wrongful deaths as a result of negligence, but we also see serious and life-altering injuries. If you have been the victim of medical malpractice or other personal injury, make sure you have an experienced team working on your behalf.