Medical Malpractice

June 2016

What you should consider before you file a malpractice suit

By | June 16th, 2016|Medical Malpractice|

On behalf of Paul J. Ganim P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Thursday, June 16, 2016. If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered harm because of the action or inaction of medical professionals, you should at least consider the possibility of taking legal action. With a malpractice lawsuit, you can seek compensation for expenses, lost wages and other damages. Moreover, you can hold the responsible medical parties accountable. A malpractice suit, like any legal action, should not be taken lightly. There are multiple factors to consider. Of course, you first need to determine whether you have a case. Just because harm was done, that doesn't mean that it was due to medical negligence. An experienced Connecticut medical malpractice attorney can offer advice, sometimes after consultation with medical professionals, on whether you have a viable case. He or she can also answer other questions that can help you determine whether or not you want to move forward with legal action and, if so, against whom. It's essential that you take action against the appropriate personnel and/or facilities. This can improve your chances of prevailing. Once you and your attorney have determined whether you have a case, how strong the evidence is and whom you'll be taking on, it's important to step back and determine whether you're emotionally ready. Medical malpractice suits can be lengthy and difficult -- particularly if you're going up against a hospital with considerable financial and legal resources. Because you'll likely be dealing with personal health issues, you need to be certain that you're comfortable discussing those with strangers and possibly in open court. The cost of bringing a lawsuit is also an important factor. Many medical malpractice attorneys don't charge their clients a fee until and unless they get a recovery for them. That can help mitigate the costs considerably. It's essential to know what the statute of limitations is for bringing a medical malpractice suit. Too many people never receive the compensation or justice they deserve because they waited too long to pursue action. In Connecticut, in most cases, the statute of limitations is two years from the date the alleged malpractice was discovered, with a maximum of three years from the date of the incident. Therefore, regardless of what you decide, it's best to seek guidance sooner rather than later. Source: Huffington Post, "6 Things You Should Consider Before Filing a Suit for Medical Negligence," Toby Nwazor, accessed June 16, 2016

May 2016

The rich and famous aren’t immune from medical malpractice

By | May 31st, 2016|Medical Malpractice|

On behalf of Paul J. Ganim P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Tuesday, May 31, 2016. In this country, the quality of medical care that people are provided is, sadly, often linked to how much money they have. People with considerable wealth can afford the best doctors, treatments, medications and facilities that are out of the question financially for most of us. However, as we saw two years ago with comedienne Joan Rivers, wealth doesn't always guarantee good medical care. Rivers died after what was supposed to be a routine out-patient procedure called an endoscopy went wrong, causing a lack of oxygen and brain damage. Her family won a wrongful death suit against the Manhattan clinic where the procedure was performed and some of the medical personnel involved in the procedure. Other famous people with enough resources to seemingly get the best care available have also been victims of medical malpractice. Julie Andrews' singing career was essentially ended after a 1997 operation damaged her vocal cords. The surgery was being done to remove nodules from her throat. She reached a settlement with the doctor three years later. In 1998, when comedian Dana Carvey underwent double bypass heart surgery, the surgeon operated on the wrong artery. He reached a settlement with the heart surgeon, which he then donated to charity. He told the press that the suit "was about accountability and doing everything I could to make sure that it wouldn't happen to someone else." Many people may not remember this, but famed artist Andy Warhol died in 1987 just two days after having surgery to repair a hernia and remove gallstones. The hospital settled with his estate four years later. We hear a lot about the dangers of healthcare-associated infections, or HAIs, which patients can contract at medical facilities if proper precautions aren't taken. That's how legendary sportscaster Dick Schaap died. He had hip replacement surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York in 2001, which is when he contracted an HAI. He died several months later. His family received an award of nearly $2 million in that case. Even routine surgeries can go horribly wrong for any number of reasons. It may be difficult, if not impossible, for a victim or surviving family members to find out what really happened and if it could have been prevented. Experienced Connecticut medical malpractice attorneys know how to work to get all of the necessary information to determine whether medical personnel and/or facilities should be [...]

Why the post-hospital discharge period can be the most dangerous

By | May 5th, 2016|Medical Malpractice|

On behalf of Paul J. Ganim P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Thursday, May 5, 2016. Numerous and potentially fatal errors can occur when someone is hospitalized. However, did you know that patients are actually most in danger in the period following their discharge from the hospital? That's especially true for older patients with complex and multiple medical conditions who are transitioning from the hospital to a nursing home, rehabilitation facility or at-home health care. Medication errors are among the most common reasons for complications that occur in the period after hospital discharge. In fact, they've been called a "public health issue." Congress authorized $30 billion for electronic medical records to help reduce prescription drug and other errors that result when care is coordinated among multiple providers. However, none of those funds were earmarked for rehabilitation facilities, home health agencies or nursing homes. Even when a patient isn't being cared for by others after a hospital discharge, errors can happen. Sometimes they result from simple lack of communication to the patient. According to government statistics, less than 50 percent of patients report that they have confidence in their understanding of their after-care instructions. One tragic case is evidence of the consequences of poor coordination, error and negligence among those involved when a patient is released from the hospital. A woman who was hospitalized for congestive heart failure was mistakenly given a cancer drug rather than a diuretic when she was discharged. She died as the result of its toxic effects. The medication error was made by the pharmacy while taking the woman's prescription orders from a nurse at the medical center where she'd been hospitalized. However, the woman's daughter says that the prescription error "should have been caught about five different ways." The woman's home health nurses also reportedly failed to note that she was taking the wrong medication. The family won a suit against the pharmacy and reached a settlement with the medical center. It can be challenging to determine who should be held liable when a patient is harmed or killed due to mistakes or negligence when a patient is discharged from the hospital. An important aspect of a medical malpractice attorney's job is to investigate the situation fully and determine what individuals and entities should be held responsible. Source: The Washington Post, "Hospital discharge: It’s one of the most dangerous periods for patients," Jordan Rau, April 29, 2016

March 2016

High depression rates a danger to U.S. nurses and patients alike

By | March 7th, 2016|Medical Malpractice|

On behalf of Paul J. Ganim P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Monday, March 7, 2016. Nurses play an integral role in our nation's health care system and are often the most experienced medical practitioners when it comes to anticipating, monitoring and providing for patients' care and needs. While, in recent years, there's been more focus on the physical health of nurses with regard to preventing back and other musculoskeletal injuries, not all injuries can be diagnosed via a physical exam or MRI. According to the Mayo Clinic, individuals who suffer from depression are likely to experience a range of disruptive symptoms including sadness, hopelessness, fatigue, sleep problems, anxiety, agitation, trouble concentrating and psychosomatic ailments. These symptoms are often highly disruptive and can negatively impact an individual's private and professional lives. Nationally, an estimated nine percent of the U.S. adult population is believed to suffer from depression. However, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative, depression rates among U.S. nurses are closer to 18 percent. Given the high-stress conditions associated with the health care and nursing profession, it’s no wonder that so many nurses experience signs of depression and the resulting complications. Individuals with depression are more prone to be overweight, report pain and illness, develop problems with substance abuse, isolate socially and experience relationship difficulties. These serious complications coupled with the known side effects of this serious mental health disorder put the health and wellbeing of both the nurses who have depression as well the patients they treat in danger. In an effort to shed light on this important issue, health care advocates encourage hospitals and nurse managers to raise awareness among nursing staff members about the signs of depression and encourage that they get help. Additionally, many hospitals are taking steps to develop programs that have been proven effective in helping nurses reduce and manage stress. Source: FierceHealthcare.com, "Depression: A silent epidemic for nurses: Nurses suffer from depression at twice rate of general population," David Ferguson, March 4, 2016

February 2016

Study attempts to make case for lifting medical resident work-hour restrictions

By | February 11th, 2016|Medical Malpractice|

On behalf of Paul J. Ganim P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Thursday, February 11, 2016. Due to the medical miracles they often perform, physicians are among the most-respected of all professionals. While doctors certainly play a significant role in improving and saving the lives of patients, it's important to keep in mind that they are still human beings who have the same biological needs and limitations as the rest of us. Until 2003, medical residents were routinely expected and required to work long and grueling hours and back-to-back shifts which often took a heavy physical and mental toll. Then, in 2003, amid mounting concerns and evidence of the harmful effects of sleep deprivation with regard to patient outcomes and residents' health, working hour restrictions were enacted. Now, those restrictions are in jeopardy of being rolled back.   A study was recently conducted in which the working hour restrictions for residents in "58 surgical residency programs" were lifted. The patient outcome results of these residents were then compared against those of residents in 59 programs who abided by the restrictions. When comparing patient outcomes, the study's authors concluded that "patients suffered no additional harm when doctors training to be surgeons were allowed to work longer shifts." Directors of residency programs throughout the country have long been in favor of rolling back the restrictions, often arguing that residents were forced to hand-off patients mid-operation and that the resident-patient relationship suffered. However, proponents of the restrictions, which include the American Medical Student Association, believe that residency work-hour restrictions are necessary to protect the safety and health of patients and residents alike. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, getting too little sleep can negatively impact an individual's mood, performance and health. Specifically, sleep deprivation has been linked to concentration problems, delayed reaction times, lack of coordination, making poor decisions, forgetfulness and increased errors. When thinking about these possible side-effects in relation to a resident who is overly tired while operating on a patient, most people would likely agree that they support the current work-hour restrictions. Source: NPR.org, "Study Suggests Surgical Residents Can Safely Work Longer Shifts," Jordan Rau, Feb. 2, 2016 American Academy of Sleep Medicine, "Sleep Deprivation," Feb. 11, 2016

January 2016

Study reveals that an alarming number of doctors don’t perform physical exams

By | January 4th, 2016|Medical Malpractice|

On behalf of Paul J. Ganim P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Monday, January 4, 2016. Many Connecticut residents have likely heard troubling stories of patients whose baseball-sized cancerous masses went undiagnosed or whose late-term pregnancies were ignored as contributing to worrisome symptoms. While these types of gross medical oversights seem inexcusable, increasingly, they appear to be an unforeseen and unfortunate byproduct of doctors’ increasing reliance on modern medical technologies. While the value of medical equipment like X-rays, CT scans and MRIs cannot be overstated; there's growing concern within the medical field that some physicians are relying too heavy, and in some cases solely, upon the results of these tests. A recent study that was published in the American Journal of Medicine details 208 incidences in which doctors admitted to relying chiefly on the results of diagnostic tests. Consequently, obvious clues and symptoms that could have been easily been discovered via a physical exam weren't noticed until after patients received a misdiagnosis or underwent often invasive and costly procedures. According to the study, 131 out of the 208 medical mistakes detailed were the result of a doctor’s failure to perform basic physical exams. The majority of the remaining errors were attributed to "misinterpreting or overlooking physical signs." The negative effects of these arguably inexcusable medical errors included 65 percent who experienced a delayed diagnosis, 27 percent who were incorrectly diagnosed and 18 percent who underwent unnecessary treatments. If you are dealing with painful or other disruptive physical symptoms, all you want to know is what's wrong and what can be done about it. In cases where a doctor misses obvious physical symptoms which result in you or a loved one suffering a delay in diagnosis, misdiagnosis or unnecessary treatments; it's wise to consult with an attorney. Source: Standford Medical: Scope, "Medical errors caused by doctors not examining their patients," Tracie White, Dec. 21, 2015

October 2015

Is your loved one safe in a nursing home?

By | October 30th, 2015|Medical Malpractice|

On behalf of Paul J. Ganim P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Friday, October 30, 2015. According to The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 24,200 people in Connecticut are residents at certified nursing home facilities. Additionally, thousands of more people live at assisted living facilities or rely upon the assistance and care of in-home nursing aides. These individuals tend to be elderly, physically disabled and have special medical and care needs. Nursing home residents, and their family members, trust and rely upon nursing home administrators and individual staff members for their safety and care. Unfortunately, there are times when a nursing home and its staff members fail to address the specific and unique health and safety needs of individual residents. When these types of oversights and infractions occur, residents are at risk of suffering painful and debilitating injuries. Recently, Connecticut's Department of Public Health issued fines to five nursing homes in relation to serious injuries suffered by residents at the facilities. At one facility, a resident who was left alone while using the restroom fell and suffered broken ribs and a broken leg. In another incident, a resident was hospitalized after suffering "dehydration and acute kidney injury," while in the care of the nursing home. The DPH also issued a citation to one skilled nursing home after a resident suffered serious burns over the hand and abdomen when coffee spilled. Nursing home residents are a vulnerable population the safety and wellbeing of which must be respected and protected. In cases where an individual has concerns about a loved one's physical and mental health and how a nursing home is addressing these concerns, it's wise to consult with an attorney. This is especially true in cases where a loved one has suffered injuries that are believed to be related to neglect or abuse. Source: CTwatchdog.com, "Five Ct Nursing Homes Fined Following Injuries To Residents," Kate Farrish, Oct. 21, 2015

September 2015

Have you or a family member been the victim of a diagnostic error?

By | September 28th, 2015|Medical Malpractice|

On behalf of Paul J. Ganim P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Monday, September 28, 2015. When an individual is experiencing odd symptoms or feeling ill, he or she may seek the advice of a doctor to figure out what’s wrong and how to fix or make it better. Medical doctors are highly trained and experienced professionals upon whom patients blindly trust and rely to figure out what's wrong and how to make it better. However, in many cases, figuring out what's wrong is much more complicated and difficult than both a patient and doctor anticipate or would like. Unfortunately, today's fast-paced healthcare environments often don't afford doctors or patients the opportunity to take their time and get it right. Consequently, every year in the U.S. millions of men, women and children receive a diagnosis that is wrong. At times, these diagnostic errors, and the resulting delays in treatment, can have negative and even dire outcomes that adversely affect the health and lives of patients and their families. A recent report released by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine estimates that five percent of U.S. adults "who seek outpatient care," are the victims of diagnostic errors. This number is likely even higher as most doctors and hospitals don't have any type of feedback or notification procedures in place to track when a diagnosis ends up being incorrect. The actual diagnostic process is highly complex and difficult and is rarely given the time, attention and thought that's warranted. Additionally, the report's authors point to several factors that contribute to the large number diagnostic errors including communication failures between vital and invested parties, increasingly complex medical systems and restrictive and punitive healthcare environments. Connecticut residents who have suffered adverse health events due to a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis may choose to discuss their case with an attorney. Source: The Washington Post, "Most Americans will get a wrong or late diagnosis at least once in their lives," Lena H. Sun, Sept. 22, 2015

August 2015

Why patients would be wise to check these websites before undergoing surgery

By | August 6th, 2015|Medical Malpractice|

On behalf of Paul J. Ganim P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Thursday, August 6, 2015. When presented with several options, most people likely do a fair amount of research prior to making a major or costly decision like buying a car or hiring a contractor to complete a kitchen remodeling project. However, when it comes to one's health and potentially one's life, few patients research their options with regard to surgical procedures and surgeons. Two websites that were recently launched provide statistical data on the surgical outcomes of nearly 67,000 U.S. surgeons. Checkbook.org was developed by the nonprofit Consumers' Checkbook/Center for the Study of Services and provides ratings based upon the number of patients who, after having a specific procedure performed by a specific surgeon, experienced death, serious complications or hospital readmittence within 90 days. Individuals who are eager to learn how their own or a loved one's surgeon compares to other surgeons in a geographical area who perform the same surgical procedures can compare the doctors’ records to discover basic information with regard to rates of bad outcomes including deaths, volume of surgeries performed, medical school attended and board certifications. While the checkbook.org website only includes information about high-performing and recommended surgeons, another website launched by the nonprofit ProPublica, provides information about both high and low-performing surgeons. Through the nonprofit's projects.propublica.org/surgeons/ website, individuals are able to view how many times a surgeon has performed a specific procedure and discover his or her surgical complication rate for that procedure. While both websites contain important disclaimers with regard to how statistical data is collected, reviewed and scored; both are among the first of their kind to provide healthcare consumers with this type of important information. In past decades, most healthcare consumers didn't even think to inquire about a surgeon's experience and success rate. Today, through technological advancements, much of this information exists and increasingly, consumers are demanding it. Source: Fierce Healthcare, "New sites allow patients to compare surgeons based on outcomes, complication rates," July 14, 2015