When Rehabilitation Goes Wrong: Rehab Hospital Injuries

Maryland Rehab Facility Injury Attorney

Injury rehabilitation facilities are intended to be a place of healing and recovery. People that go to rehab are typically struggling with the consequences of a severe injury or recovering from a procedure, so the fact that so many people who seek help in rehab actually end up suffering more harm is alarming. A recent study examined over 400 Medicare beneficiaries released from rehabilitation hospitals and found that nearly one-third suffered an adverse or temporary harm event during their stay. Nearly one-quarter of the adverse or temporary harm events resulted in a patient’s being transferred to an acute-care facility. These adverse events were also almost entirely preventable. What is an Adverse Event? An adverse event is a term used to describe some form of harm suffered by patients. Adverse events can include: Infections – Healthcare-acquired infections include bloodstream infections, pneumonia, gastrointestinal illness, urinary tract infections and surgical site infections. Through proper preventative measures, these infections could be reduced by up to 70 percent. Bedsores – Bedsores, also called pressure ulcers, occur when a patient is unable to move and has prolonged exposure to a surface, such as a bed or medical equipment. Bedsores can damage tissue and lead to other[…..]

Psychological Issues Arising from Cerebral Palsy

Maryland Child Injury Attorney

Cerebral palsy, or CP, arises from some type of brain injury or malformation that can occur either while in the womb, during birth, or after birth. CP actually describes a group of disorders that impair movement control, known as “palsies.” CP is a not-uncommon childhood chronic disability that develops by the age of two or three. The difficulties of dealing with a permanently disabled child can be almost unsurmountable for any parent. But problems with CP don’t stop with the physical aspects; CP can also affect mood and behavior. Frustrations and Challenges Kids are kids. They want to play, enjoy fun times with friends, and fit in with their peers. But the daily challenges and frustrations of living with CP can upset children and make day-to-day living hard for everyone in the family. Some of the reasons are internal to the CP child, and some involve the greater society in which they live: Children with CP can have brain damage that affects the pathways and neural networks carrying emotional messages. These networks can be damaged or disrupted in ways that interfere with a healthy regulation of emotions. Physical problems can mean a manifestation of emotional issues. Think about it—if you[…..]

Opioids at Crisis Level in Maryland

Maryland Opiod Injury Attorney

Our state is number one, but in a disturbing way: Maryland’s hospitalization rate due to opioids is the highest in the U.S. New federal data demonstrates the depth and breadth of Maryland’s opioid problem. Ten years of statistics from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality show that tens of thousands of people in Maryland are either admitted to a hospital or visit the emergency room because of opioid overdoses, withdrawal symptoms, or related complications. For 2014, the year with the most recently available federal numbers, there were 362 hospital admissions for every 100,000 residents in Maryland. This number is stunningly higher—over eight times higher—than Iowa’s rate of 44, and far above the national average of 225 for every 100,000 residents. Federal data also established that Maryland’s emergency room visit rate was 288 per 100,000 residents. The national average was around 178. The opioid epidemic began in the early 2000s, with overdoses and deaths really hitting the charts around 2006 and 2007. At first, the problem was concentrated in white, middle-class and upper-class suburbs, but that is not the case now. Federal researchers were shocked to discover that the Baltimore area has an extremely heavy concentration of opioid-related emergency[…..]

No-Fault Birth Injury Fund: Yea or Nay?

Cute Baby Looking Up

For the second time in two years, a state legislature task force has recommended that the Maryland legislature create a no-fault birth injury fund. The most recent endorsement occurred in December, 2015. Unlike the previous year, this time the task force included both insurance and legal representatives. The proposed fund, which would be similar to those in Virginia and Florida, would provide medical care for babies who suffer neurological injuries at birth. For a number of reasons, the birth injury fund is the subject of some controversy. Financing for the Fund at Issue The Virginia and Florida funds are financed by hospitals and insurance companies, based on a system that sets rates. However, the most recent Maryland version does not specify how it would obtain financing, which caused one medical-professional liability insurer, Medical Mutual, to refrain from voting on the funding part of the report. The insurer did, however, favor the general concept. The Maryland bill introduced previously would have established a fund paid for by hospitals to the tune of $25 million. But some estimates indicate that only about seven infants would qualify for a piece of the fund each year. Because in Maryland we could have as many[…..]

Medical Misdiagnoses Put You at Risk

Doctor Talking With Patient

In September, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine issued a landmark report that characterized incorrect medical diagnosis as a huge blind spot in our health care system. No one truly knows how many people have their medical care compromised by wrong or delayed diagnoses, but it’s clear that countless people are harmed every year. The report estimates that each of us will have at least one incorrect or delayed diagnosis in our lives, and that even one misdiagnosis could have serious repercussions. Dr. John Ball, the chairman of the Committee on Diagnostic Error in Medicine, which wrote the report, noted, “This problem is significant and serious [yet] we don’t know for sure how often it occurs, how serious it is, or how much it costs.” Finding the correct diagnosis is critical, because it is the first step in determining appropriate treatment. Without a doubt, it appears that our medical system sorely needs improvement in this area. Some of the key points in the report mentioned above show that: Each year, about one in 20 adults in outpatient care experience a delayed or incorrect diagnosis. Hospital research conducted postmortem implies that diagnostic errors contribute[…..]

Jury Awards $23 Million in Punitive Damages Because of Depakote

Pregnant Woman

Abbott Laboratories was recently ordered to pay $23 million in punitive damages to a child whose family claimed Abbott’s drug Depakote caused the Minnesota girl’s birth defects. It is the first time that a verdict has been found against the drug company for that medication. A St. Louis, Missouri, state-court jury awarded the additional, punitive damages after deciding that Maddison Schmidt’s family deserved $15 million in compensatory damages for her birth defects. The 12-year-old has spina bifida, a birth defect in which the spinal cord and backbone fail to form or close properly. Her mother took Depakote during pregnancy. Abbott now faces more than 800 lawsuits that accuse the drug maker of hiding Depakote’s links to birth defects. What is Depakote? Depakote, also known as valproate semisodium or divalproex sodium, has been prescribed since 1983. It is used to treat epilepsy, seizures, and manic episodes of bipolar disorder. It can also be prescribed to prevent migraine headaches. The drug has many known side effects, the most dangerous of them being the ones that affect an unborn child. These effects are numerous, including spina bifida and fetal death. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified Depakote as a Category D[…..]

When Doctors Miss the Mark

Doctor

A report recently released by CRICO Strategies, a division of the Risk Management Foundation of the Harvard Medical Institutions, focuses on medical malpractice cases brought because of diagnostic errors. CRICO maintains a database with information about more than 300,000 malpractice cases, both open and closed. For this study, they analyzed more than 23,000 malpractice cases filed between 2008 and 2012 to find out what kinds of medical errors led to the lawsuits. Twenty percent of them were brought by patients who alleged failure to properly diagnose their illness. Researchers found that most diagnostic failures happen in ambulatory care, as opposed to emergency department or inpatient care. As you would expect, most of the physicians involved in making diagnostic errors in the ambulatory care context were family physicians and doctors of internal medicine, rather than surgeons or radiologists. Medical Misdiagnosis What caused the diagnostic failures? Delay in ordering a diagnostic test Failure to order a diagnostic test Misinterpretation of a diagnostic test Failure to establish a diagnosis Failure to follow-up and coordinate treatment. Most Common Misdiagnoses The top three missed diagnoses, according to this study, are cancer, heart disease and orthopedic injuries. In the category of missed cancers, the most common[…..]

Fighting Lung Cancer In Maryland

Photo of Lungs

What is the most deadly form of cancer in the U.S.? Lung cancer. In fact, lung cancer accounts for about one-third of all cancer deaths — more than breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer combined, according to the American Cancer Society. And what causes lung cancer? 90% of lung cancers develop from the use of tobacco – cigarettes, pipes, cigars and even second-hand smoke breathed by non-smokers. The American Cancer Society has designated November as Lung Cancer Awareness Month, with November 20 known as the Great American Smokeout, when smokers are encouraged to make a plan to quit. There is some good news for those of us who live in Maryland. Our state is ranked 7th overall for combating the high toll of lung cancer, according to a new survey by Wallet Hub. They looked at data compiled by many sources, such as the U.S. Census Bureau, the CDC, the EPA, and the American Cancer Society, focusing on things like air quality, the price of cigarettes, taxes imposed on tobacco products, number of smokers in the state, lung cancer rates, and accessibility to cancer hospitals. Here is how Maryland scored in the Wallet Hub survey: Only 4 states ranked[…..]

Lawyer Steven H. Heisler is Representing Victims of Dr. Levy

Dr. Nikita Levy was a gynecologist at John Hopkins Hospital who allegedly took advantage of patients by secretly using a camera during examinations. An investigation is underway to determine if he set up cameras in exam rooms to film patients during procedures and exams. Many of these examinations took place at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center, but he worked out of other Hopkins medical clinics, as well. The investigation began when a fellow Hopkins employee reported that she noticed a device around Dr. Levy’s neck that may have been a camera. This simple device looked like a writing pen and could easily have been overlooked by patients. Dr. Levy took his own life during the investigation.

New Study Shows Electronic Medical Records May be Linked to Fewer Malpractice Claims

A new Harvard study reveals that malpractice claims dipped significantly after a group of Massachusetts physicians started using electronic medical records, according to an MSN.com report. In the study, researchers tracked malpractice cases for 275 physicians who were surveyed in 2005 and 2007, of which 33 were targeted by malpractice claims. Forty-nine of these medical malpractice claims took place before the physicians began using electronic health records, and only two occurred after. The researchers estimate that medical malpractice claims were 84 percent less likely after electronic medical records were adopted. The MSN.com news report does note that it is not clear, however, if the change in record-keeping was connected to the decline in claims. The study says factors other than electronic health records may account for the difference in claims; i.e. the significant changes made in the state’s healthcare system in 2006. Researchers also pointed out that the study was limited to doctors in MA who were affiliated with Harvard Medical School. Regardless, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School states that the study makes sense and may alleviate some concerns that the use of electronic health records may lead to an increase in medical malpractice. Electronic medical[…..]