Archive for the ‘ Medical Malpractice ’ Category

The Most Common Errors Hospitals Make

Posted on: July 26, 2016 by in Medical Malpractice
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Several times each day in the U.S., innocent people are injured due to the negligence or carelessness of a healthcare provider. Medical malpractice costs the United States more than $3.6 billion every year. The worst malpractice incidents lead to serious injuries or rapid declines in health, permanent disability, and sometimes even death. Medical malpractice often involves more persons than just the doctors. When someone employed by a hospital is responsible for medicinal malpractice, typically the hospital itself rather than the individual will be named as a defendant in a medical malpractice claim.


Medical malpractice happens when a patient is injured by a physician or by another healthcare professional who fails to provide the accepted standard of care, that is, the level and type of care that a reasonably competent and skilled healthcare professional, with a similar background and in the same medicinal community, would have provided under the circumstances that led to the alleged wrongdoing. In Southern California, an experienced Pasadena medical malpractice attorney can help someone determine if a specific incident does or does not constitute medical malpractice.

Of course, simply because a doctor or nurse makes a mistake, or simply because a patient is unhappy with the outcome of a medical treatment or procedure, it doesn’t necessarily mean that medical malpractice has taken place. To satisfy the legal definition of medicinal malpractice, there must be negligence on the part of a healthcare provider, and that negligence must be the direct cause of the patient’s injury or damage. What are the most common kinds of medical malpractice that take place in hospitals in the United States?


The overwhelming majority of medicinal malpractice incidents are linked to a misdiagnosis or to the failure to diagnose a medical condition. In fact, every year, about twelve million adults in this nation are misdiagnosed in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and medical clinics. Failing to diagnose a serious medical condition or misdiagnosing a severe illness and recommending the wrong treatment can cause even more harm to an already-sick patient and can be the basis for a medicinal malpractice claim. Delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis probably are responsible for the largest percentage of medical wrongdoing claims.

When a doctor misdiagnoses or fails to diagnose a serious medical condition, the patient misses out on opportunities that could have improved or healed his or her condition. In order to prove a medical malpractice claim based on a misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose, a medicinal malpractice attorney must contrast what the physician did (or failed to do) with what a reasonably competent and skillful physician in the same specialty would have done in the same situation. If a reasonably competent and skillful doctor in the same situation would not have made the diagnostic error, the medical malpractice claim is likely to prevail.


Birth injuries including cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, and Klumpke’s palsy can be caused by medical malpractice. Although birth injuries may happen for a variety of reasons, the top cause of birth injuries is a lack of oxygen. Yes, a child may be born suffering oxygen deprivation, but when healthcare providers do not instantly recognize oxygen deprivation and take action, medicinal wrongdoing – and injury or death – can happen. Cerebral palsy or brachial plexus palsy are often a consequence of oxygen deprivation during birth. Other birth injuries include fractured or broken bones and temporary paralysis. Common medical errors during childbirth include:


  • the failure to react to indications of fetal distress
  • the failure to order a cesarean section when appropriate
  • the incompetent use of forceps
  • the failure to anticipate complications caused by a baby’s size or a tangled umbilical cord

Birth injuries can also be caused by a doctor’s negligence long before the delivery. If negligent treatment is offered throughout the pregnancy, it could harm the child, the mother, or both. Some examples of negligent prenatal care include the physician or obstetrician’s failure to diagnose a mother’s condition such as such as hypoglycemia, preeclampsia, anemia, Rh incompatibility, or gestational diabetes. Other common medicinal errors during pregnancy include:

  • the failure to identify birth defects
  • the failure to identify ectopic pregnancies
  • the failure to diagnose a disease such as genital herpes or neonatal lupus that could be contagious to the child


Every year, about 1.5 million people in the United States are affected by medication errors. A patient might be injured if a doctor recommends the wrong prescription. If a medicinal condition has been originally misdiagnosed, a prescription based on that misdiagnosis could conceivably be dangerous. In a hectic hospital scenario, the right medication might be administered to the wrong patient. However, the most common medication mistakes involve dosages – too much or too little.


Surgical errors are actually quite rare, although these are the medicinal malpractice cases that make the headlines. If a physician removes or operates on the wrong organ or body part, punctures an internal organ, or leaves a surgical instrument inside the body, it’s usually a clear-cut case of medical wrongdoing. A nursing staff’s negligence in providing post-operative care – allowing for complications like a serious infection, for example – might also be medicinal malpractice.



Anesthesia mistakes can often be more dangerous than surgical errors. An anesthesiologist can commit medical malpractice by giving a patient too much anesthesia, failing to monitor a patient’s vital signs, improperly inserting a tube in the trachea to assist with breathing, or by using equipment that is defective. The tiniest error by an anesthesiologist can cause permanent injury, brain damage, and in some cases, death.


Medical malpractice cases are governed by laws and legal rules that vary from state to state, so it’s imperative for the victims of medicinal malpractice to seek advice or legal representation from a local attorney with experience handling medical malpractice lawsuits. If someone has been victimized by medical malpractice, an insurance company will usually fight hard to avoid paying what the claim is worth. Medical wrongdoing victims need the help of an experienced medicinal malpractice lawyer who will fight just as hard or harder on their behalf.


In Southern California, an experienced Pasadena medical malpractice attorney can probably help a victim of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice victims in the state of California are entitled to full reimbursement for all of their additional, malpractice-related medical expenses, all lost wages, and all other malpractice-related costs. However, California limits awards for malpractice-related pain and suffering to $250,000.

Five Myths About California’s Medical Malpractice Restrictions

Posted on: June 23, 2016 by in Medical Malpractice
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California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975 – MICRA – was supposed to reduce medical malpractice liability insurance premiums for healthcare providers in this state by decreasing their potential tort liability. The real effect of MICRA, however, has been to limit the rights of medical malpractice victims and their ability to receive compensation for injuries caused by medical negligence. MICRA’s provisions were challenged in the courts in the 1970s and 1980s, but most of its provisions have been upheld by the Supreme Court of California or the California Courts of Appeal.

Since 1975, the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act has capped non-economic damages at $250,000 in medical malpractice cases, capped attorneys’ fees, reduced the statute of limitations period for bringing medical malpractice claims, and allowed healthcare providers to pay judgments over a lengthier period of time. In many instances, the law also compels malpractice injury victims to submit to binding arbitration, which in practice may provide reduced compensation sums and more favorable results for healthcare providers.

Pasadena medical malpractice attorney Gregory Vanni, managing partner at Thon Beck Vanni Callahan & Powell, says the law is unfair to injury victims: “Every day,” says Vanni, “we turn away righteous cases of medical negligence because California’s medical malpractice laws are rigged against the victims who are harmed by careless doctors and hospitals. Lawyers can’t afford to take on such powerful and well-funded adversaries like medical doctors and hospitals because of the severe restrictions on suing them.”


Still, a number of myths and misperceptions persist in California regarding medical malpractice victims’ rights and their legal options, the cost of malpractice premiums, the effect of damage caps, and the definition and role of “defensive” medicine. Here is a brief look at five lingering myths – and the real truth – regarding medical malpractice and its victims in the state of California:

Myth #1: Limiting victims’ rights reduces malpractice premiums for doctors.

The truth is that malpractice premiums for healthcare providers increased for thirteen years after the passage of MICRA in 1975. What reduced malpractice premiums was the passage in 1988 of Proposition 103, the strongest insurance rate regulation law in the nation. “Prop 103” led to a rate rollback and lowered premium costs for all kinds of insurance including medical malpractice insurance.

Myth #2: Injured patients are still compensated for their medical expenses because only “non-economic” damages are capped.

The truth is that many injured patients receive little or no compensation. Typically, only the victims with large wage losses or extensive medical bills are able to find medical malpractice attorneys who will risk representing them. The severe injury or wrongful death of a child or a retiree due to medical malpractice typically does not result in “economic” damages because there is no basis for projecting a future earnings capacity. In these cases in California, there may be no way to hold negligent healthcare providers accountable.


Myth #3: A compensation cap is fair because injury victims may be awarded unlimited economic damages.

By law, California juries are not told about the cap on non-economic damages, so they sometimes award judgments without realizing what the law actually allows. One example is the case of Harry Jordan, a Huntington Beach man, who was hospitalized in 1982 at Long Beach Community Hospital to have a cancerous kidney removed, but the surgeon removed the healthy kidney. The error was blamed mostly on doctors reading Jordan’s X-rays backward.

A trial jury awarded Jordan over $5 million, but the verdict was reduced to $250,000 due to California’s cap on non-economic damages – plus a mere $6,000 in “economic” costs. Jordan’s ultimate court costs, not including attorney fees, amounted to more than $400,000 and his medical bills, which kept piling up after being rejected by insurers, eventually totaled more than $500,000. Harry Jordan’s case is just one example of what can happen to medical malpractice victims in California.

Myth #4: Caps on malpractice damages benefit doctors and lawyers.

The real truth is that caps on malpractice damages benefit greedy HMOs and managed care corporations. One shocking example is the case of Steven Olsen. Steven Olsen suffers blindness and brain damage today because his family’s HMO plan did not permit the $800 CAT scan that might have saved him from permanent injury when he was two years old. The child fell on a stick in the woods while hiking with his family. The hospital gave him steroids and sent him home with a growing brain abscess even though his parents requested a CAT scan.


The very next day, the child was rushed to the hospital in a coma. A jury eventually awarded the family $7.1 million in “non-economic” damages, but once again, California law forced the judge to reduce the amount to $250,000. The jurors only learned that their judgment had been reduced when they read it in the newspaper. Thomas Kearns, the jury foreman in the case, later wrote that, “Our medical-care system has failed Steven Olsen … I think the people of California place a higher value on life than this.”

Myth #5: “Defensive medicine” drives up the cost of medical care.

Those who want to continue to limit the compensation rights of California’s medical malpractice injury victims claim that too many healthcare providers practice too much defensive medicine, driving up healthcare costs because doctors are afraid of lawsuits. But in this era of managed care, HMOs are actually seeking to reduce costs, and unnecessary tests and procedures are actually relatively rare.

Moreover, “Defensive medicine is not always bad for patients,” according to a report from the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment. The report concluded: “Malpractice reforms that remove incentives to practice defensively, without differentiating between appropriate and inappropriate defensive medicine, could also remove a deterrent to providing too little care at the very time that such mechanisms are needed.”


The victims of medical malpractice in California face a number of obstacles when they seek justice, and there’s no particular relief in sight. As the nation’s most progressive state, it’s probably time for California and its lawmakers to revisit the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975 because, as Pasadena medical malpractice attorney Gregory Vanni says, “More and more victims of medical carelessness go totally unrepresented and uncompensated because of the unfair MICRA law.”

Don’t Spoil The Joy

Posted on: October 2, 2015 by in Medical Malpractice
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The holidays will soon be here again. Every year, despite the precautions taken by parents, retailers, and government agencies, some toys end up injuring children. Don’t spoil the joy by purchasing a toy that can cause an injury. If your child is injured while playing with any toy, after obtaining medical care for your child, discuss your legal rights and options at once with our experienced Pasadena medical malpractice lawyers.

At least one child dies from choking every five days in the U.S. Choking is the most common reason why children suffer fatal injuries playing with toys. Never give small children balloons, marbles, or tiny plastic balls. Always read any warning labels that come with toys. Strangulation is another frequent cause for children’s fatalities. The drawstrings on “hoodies,” for example, can strangle a small child. Don’t purchase clothes for children or any other products with strings or cords. The tiny “button batteries” and magnets that now come with many toys, when swallowed, can cause permanent injuries – or death – if a child swallows one. Button batteries are even found on greeting cards now, so be vigilant about keeping these items from children. You also should avoid any toy with lead or PVC plastic; toymakers started phasing these out around 2009, but older toys can still pose a hazard.

When a child is injured by a recently-purchased toy, the manufacturer or distributor is probably guilty of negligence, and the parents may choose to file a product liability claim. An experienced product liability lawyer can help families acquire the compensation they need to care for a child injured by a hazardous or defective toy. The right lawyer will advocate aggressively on your family’s behalf for the maximum possible compensation. If your child is injured while playing with a dangerous or defective toy in southern California, speak to an experienced Pasadena medical malpractice lawyer immediately.

Misdiagnosis Constitutes Malpractice

Posted on: September 23, 2015 by in Medical Malpractice
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Medical malpractice is the negligence of a medical professional that results in the deterioration of a patient’s medical condition, additional injury to the patient, or wrongful death. While surgical mistakes get the news headlines – when a doctor amputates the wrong limb or removes the wrong organ – the fact is that most malpractice cases aren’t even linked to surgeries. Every year in the U.S., about twelve million adults with kidney disease, diabetes, and other progressive conditions are misdiagnosed in hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices. Misdiagnosing a severe condition and – on the basis of that misdiagnosis – prescribing the wrong medication or treatment can cause great injury to someone who is already sick. Misdiagnosis is medical malpractice. In Los Angeles County or anywhere in southern California, if you have been misdiagnosed, and the misdiagnosis has caused you additional illness or injury, speak right away to an experienced Pasadena medical malpractice attorney.

Fortunately, simple blood tests will detect kidney disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and a number of other conditions, but the symptoms of these conditions are often subtle, especially in the early stages, and the failure to identify certain symptoms can mean that proper treatment is denied or delayed. If diagnosed early and treated properly, kidney disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure can usually be managed, and most patients can live a more-or-less normal life. If a healthcare provider fails to order adequate tests or fails to follow up on an abnormal test result, that failure constitutes medical wrongdoing.

If your health has deteriorated because of an inaccurate diagnosis, you may have grounds to file a medicinal wrongdoing lawsuit. With assistance from reliable medical experts, a medical malpractice attorney can determine if a misdiagnosis constituting malpractice occurred. If it did, your attorney can fight aggressively on your behalf for the compensation and justice you deserve. Don’t hesitate to arrange a consultation at once with our experienced Pasadena medical malpractice attorneys if you believe that you have been the victim of medical malpractice in southern California.

Food Poisoning And Your Rights

Posted on: September 16, 2015 by in Medical Malpractice
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With thousands of restaurants, supermarkets, caterers, and other nourishment providers, food poisoning is certain to happen sometimes in southern California. If you become a victim of food poisoning, it is imperative to know what to do. Symptoms may include nausea, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. These symptoms can start immediately, a few hours later, or even several days after consuming contaminated nourishment. If a fever persists, or if you have difficulty speaking or swallowing, blurred vision, or blood in the stool, immediately obtain medical attention. After you’ve been seen by a doctor, speak at once with our experienced Pasadena product liability attorneys. You can file a claim against a restaurant or a nourishment manufacturer if you’ve been injured by food poisoning just like you might file a claim for negligence if you’re injured in a car accident.

A product liability claim generated by a food poisoning incident must charge that the nourishment was contaminated and that the contamination caused injuries. If a death results from food poisoning, a victim’s family may file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, because nourishment rapidly deteriorates, proving that someone has suffered food poisoning can be quite difficult. When nourishment can’t be tested, you’ll need a lab test proving that a parasite, virus, bacteria, or poison was present in your body. That’s why you must seek immediate medical attention after any suspected food poisoning incident. Nourishment can be contaminated during processing, packaging, shipping, storage, or preparation, so if you file a product liability claim, your attorney will investigate every part of the distribution chain to find the party responsible for the contamination.

A good product liability lawyer can comprehensively evaluate your case, provide reliable legal guidance, and fight aggressively on your behalf for the compensation you deserve. If you prevail – and if you can prove your food poisoning case, you will prevail – you may be compensated for your medical treatment, lost days at work, and other food-poisoning related expenses. If you’ve been injured by food poisoning in Pasadena, Los Angeles, or elsewhere in southern California, speak with an experienced Pasadena product liability attorney right away.

Let The Viewer Beware

Posted on: August 26, 2015 by in Medical Malpractice
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The popularity of television doctors has boomed in recent years. The TV doctors are charismatic and entertaining. On some subjects – exercise and diet, for example – they offer a lot of helpful, sensible information. But when the subject is your own medical condition, the advice you need probably will not be handed out by a TV doctor. You must be seen by a real physician and examined in a real doctor’s office or medicinal facility. When it comes to heart and lung diseases, kidney diseases, and other serious, long-term medicinal conditions, you simply can’t rely on the doctors you see on television.

Patients struggling with heart, lung, or kidney disease don’t need inaccurate, imprecise medicinal advice from TV physicians or from real-life doctors either. In fact, if you have been misdiagnosed, wrongly diagnosed, or prescribed the wrong medicine, you may be a victim of medical malpractice. If so, discuss your case at once with an experienced Pasadena medical malpractice attorney. If your medical condition has deteriorated because of malpractice, you may be entitled to reimbursement for your added medicinal treatment as well as compensation for your unnecessary suffering and pain.

The American Medical Association (AMA) is in the process of issuing disciplinary and ethical guidelines for television physicians. The guidelines will insist that television doctors abide by professional medicinal protocols and disclose whether their advice is based on published evidence or personal opinion. The AMA is also recommending disciplinary actions for media physicians who offer suspect medicinal advice.

“The Doctors” and “Dr. Oz” have about six million regular viewers. Many follow the recommendations and report health benefits. But if you struggle with a serious, long-term medical condition, you need more than a sound bite. You need to see a doctor, and if you are a victim of medical malpractice, you need justice. Don’t delay. If your medical condition has deteriorated because of a misdiagnosis or an inappropriate treatment, speak immediately to our experienced Pasadena medical malpractice lawyers who can fight for your rights and for the compensation you need.

The Quiet Crisis

Posted on: August 8, 2015 by in Medical Malpractice
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Medical malpractice can happen in several ways, but it seems that we only hear about the most tragic surgical mistakes. When a doctor removes the wrong kidney or amputates the wrong leg, it’s a sensational news story. But there’s a malpractice crisis that you don’t hear much about, and it impacts approximately twelve million of us every year in the United States. That’s how many adults in our nation are misdiagnosed in hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices. The inaccurate diagnosis and wrongful treatment of a serious illness can severely injure someone who’s already sick and vulnerable. It can also be the legal grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. In Los Angeles County, if you are the victim of a misdiagnosis that has caused you additional injury or sickness, discuss your legal rights and options at once with an experienced Pasadena medical malpractice attorney. You may be entitled to compensation for the injury you’ve suffered.

A 2013 report concluded that medicinal misdiagnosis of cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, and meningitis may contribute to 160,000 deaths a year. Johns Hopkins University researchers, who published their research findings in the journal BMJ Quality and Safety, concluded that, “Among malpractice claims, diagnostic errors appear to be the most common, most costly and most dangerous of medical mistakes.”

A bad diagnosis can hurt anyone. However, a good medical malpractice lawyer can identify the facts, work with the experts, and fight aggressively for the compensation and justice you need and deserve. Misdiagnosis can mean that the appropriate treatment for your medicinal condition was delayed, possibly leading to even more severe injuries or medicinal complications. It may also mean that the wrong medication was prescribed for you or the wrong procedures were performed. If you are hurt or injured by a medical misdiagnosis in southern California, take action immediately to protect yourself. Make the call as soon as possible to an experienced Pasadena medical malpractice attorney.