Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

Washington residents, who go to the doctor or to a hospital to receive required medical treatment, expect a high standard of care. Patients never believe or imagine that in getting the help they need, a procedure or surgery would leave them with greater injuries. However, this is the reality of medical negligence. Although mistakes made by medical professionals do not always result in serious injury, several incidents of misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose a condition, incorrect dosage of medication, or surgical error, do end up severely harming a patient.

Some of the most catastrophic of medical negligence incidents cause patients to suffer grave injuries. Far too many patients experience unnecessary surgery, pain and suffering, and additional treatment because of a doctor’s error or negligence. Birth injuries may also occur, leaving a baby, and potentially the mother, with debilitating injury.

Whatever the nature of the medical negligence that has negatively affected you and your family, you need the help and guidance of a skilled and knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney who will help protect your rights. Please remember that you need to choose an attorney carefully. You must choose a Seattle medical malpractice lawyer who is not only experienced and knowledgeable in these types of cases, but also one who has access to resources and experts in the medical field to help bolster your case. Such a lawyer will help secure the compensation you rightfully deserve for the injury, and the pain and suffering you have had to experience as a result of someone else’s negligence.
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A surgeon in Orange County, California, operated on the wrong part of a child’s body this week, according to a news report. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, this is the Children’s Hospital of Orange County’s third such surgical error in the last four years. The child was set to undergo a procedure to loosen a small fold of tissue behind the upper lip. What the surgeon did was to loosen the tissue underneath the child’s tongue.

According to The Joint Commission, which monitors hospital safety and quality across the country, nearly 120 wrong-site surgeries took place nationwide just in 2008. The error at this particular hospital occurred in spite of safety procedures that were put in place after two prior wrong-site surgeries. In January 2006, a child had to undergo additional surgery after the surgeon cut into the wrong side of the child’s skull. In June 2007, the surgeon inserted tubes into both of the child’s ears instead of only the right ear. Wrong-site surgery is in fact the most common surgical error that occurs and most often, it is because of a breakdown in communication among the surgical team or between the surgeon and the patient or his or her family members.
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Errors that occur during surgery can sometimes have devastating consequences and change a person’s life forever. Seattle personal injury attorneys have represented a number of injured clients who have suffered permanent disabilities or have had to undergo unnecessary procedures, pain and suffering, and medical expenses as a result of surgical errors.

According to a news report in the North Platte Bulletin, a couple recently filed a lawsuit against the doctor who they say performed an unnecessary and botched surgery that damaged the woman’s vocal chords permanently. The complaint states that the doctor recommended removing all or part of the woman’s thryroid gland to treat a goiter. During the procedure, the doctor explained to the woman that he would do the necessary monitoring to prevent nerve and vocal chord damage.

However, after the surgery, the woman started to have symptoms such as hoarseness and shortness of breath. After getting a second and third opinion, it was determined that the doctor who performed the thyroidectomy did not employ a monitoring device. As a result, the woman had to have additional procedures to correct the botched surgery and has still been left with damaged vocal chords, permanent shortness of breath and scars from the additional procedures.
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A Washington cosmetic surgeon is being accused of unprofessional conduct by the state agency that licenses doctors. According to an Associated Press news report, the agency states that the Seattle doctor in 2005 botched a breast reduction on a 15-year-old girl. The Washington Medical Quality Assurance Commission states that the doctor should not have performed the procedure because he did not have the education and training required for the job. The doctor apparently put the teen’s nipples back in the wrong place giving it an “aesthetically odd and unnatural appearance.”

He is also said to have performed liposuction on the 15-year-old exposing her to risk of serious infection. The girl and her parents approached the doctor because she was a high school athlete and the size of her breasts impeded her performance as an athlete and caused her to have neck and back pain, the report states. The same doctor was also previously fined by the state agency in connection with the death of a cosmetic surgery patient who stopped breathing under anesthesia during surgery.
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A recent story about a 15-year-old autistic boy who died shortly after undergoing dental work at Seattle Children’s hospital has left parents feeling shocked and outraged. According to a article, the boy was discharged from the hospital on March 9 and was discovered dead the next day. The cause of this tragic death was linked to a drug overdose of fentanyl administered by a pain patch that is usually given to patients who suffer from chronic pain. The FDA notes that fentanyl is not meant to be given as a pain reliever for mild surgical procedures. In fact, fentanyl is actually intended for those who commonly take narcotic pain medication.

Although Seattle Children’s hospital has publically apologized for their serious medical error, many parents are wondering if their children are safe in the supposed caring hands of physicians and other medical professionals. Hospital officials have said that they are taking necessary steps to ensure that such a mistake never occurs again. The question still remains though as to why such a powerful medication like fentanyl was given to the teenager in the first place. It is also unnerving that the medical mishap is said to not have been the fault of one particular medical professional, but was instead the failure of multiple individuals.

Based on the story, the Medical Director of Seattle Children’s stated, “We can never bring back this child or fully understand to what level we have devastated their family….We are deeply sorry for the family and will everything in our power to ensure this never happens to another child at Children’s.”

In learning of this serious incident, it may not surprise most people that the family of the deceased teenager has filed a wrongful death lawsuit, claiming that reckless and negligent behavior on the part of the two dentists and Seattle Children’s was responsible for the teen’s death. With the assistance of a medical malpractice lawyer in Seattle, the family may receive compensation for their loss.
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$40.1 million was awarded by a Snohomish County Superior Court jury to a man whose heart was ruined by a malfunctioning machine during an operation at an Everett hospital.

Lawyers stated that the jury award is the largest in county history and thought to be one of the state’s largest personal injury verdicts.

54 year old Paramjit Singh’s lawyers had asked for up to $38 million in damages to as compensation for Singh, who had to undergo a heart transplant and is suffering other problems as a result of the injury. He also has to take anti-rejection drugs.

The company that manufactured the defective device, Edwards Lifesciences Corp. of Irvine, Calif., said it is willing to pay reasonable damages, but not as much as Singh’s lawyers were seeking.
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Charles Momah, a former obstetrician and gynecologist in the south Seattle area, was convicted of raping four patients in 2005. He was also charged with taking indecent liberties with the patients. Momah had clinics in Burien and Federal Way.

Three of the women who said they were sexually abused by Momah were awarded more than $2.2 million by a King County jury this week.

Complaints against Momah include his making passes at former patients, giving prescription drugs in exchange for sexual contact, and using a vaginal ultrasound in a sexual manner.

Following an uproar over attempts to keep the public from learning of serious medical errors, the Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) has reversed its position on reporting mistakes.

According to The Spokane Review, the WSHA now advocates the disclosure of errors, such as operating on the wrong part of the body, as long as the report includes an explanation of why and how the mistakes occurred. This is a change that would require legislative action.
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According to the Millennium Research Group (MRG), medical errors are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. The report states that there are approximately 98,000 deaths caused by medical errors annually. MRG conducted the analysis through the acute care clinical information system (CIS). CIS is a computer based inpatient system that is designed to collect, store, manipulate, and make available information that is important to the health care process. When medical professionals use CIS they are able to access and use information pertaining to a patient’s medical history and profile.

David Plow, a senior analyst at MRG stated, “Medical errors in the healthcare system arise from miscommunication, physician order transcription errors, adverse drug events, or incomplete patient medical records.” He goes on to say, “Generally, medical errors are caused by overcrowded, understaffed clinical areas with complex workflow patterns and incomplete or inefficient communication between clinic areas.” According to MRG, the use of CIS will help medical facilities provide adequate, timely care and help to reduce the amount of preventable errors.

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A Glendale Superior Court jury decided 9-3 to award $15 million to a child who developed a serious neurological disorder caused by untreated jaundice. Aidan, born March 24, 2003 at Verdugo Hills Hospital in California, reportedly exhibited several risk factors for a neurological disorder called kernicterus when he developed jaundice after birth. Jaundice is a sign of the buildup of bilirubin, a yellow bile pigment. Aiden’s parents were told that the jaundice would go away by itself and were handed a pamphlet that stated that jaundice did not produce a serious medical risk. Aiden’s attorney’s stated that the hospital and Aiden’s doctor should have been attentive and given him appropriate treatment to reduce the buildup. Lawyers for Verdugo Hills Hospital argued that Aidan was born healthy and was still in excellent health when he discharged from the hospital. Aidan was no longer the hospital’s responsibility.

Aidan, now four 4 years old, has normal intelligence but can’t control a single muscle in his body. He is unable to do such things as walk and feed himself and is in need of constant medical attention. His lawyers argued in court that this was all preventable. The current value of the award, $15 million is expected to reach $96 million over the course of his life to cover all future medical treatment. Lawyers for both Verdugo Hills Hospital and Aidan’s doctor said they would appeal the award. California does have a $250,000 cap on medical malpractice awards so it is now unclear how this would affect the jury’s award.

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