Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

The emergency room is never a place any of us want to visit, but most of us will see the inside of an emergency room at some point in our lives. Do you also know the leading reasons why? There are seven procedures that account for 80% of all emergency room trips. The study, published in JAMA Surgery, identified the following seven procedures:

  • Partial Colectomy
  • Small-bowel resection

It’s been almost three months since your brothers convinced you to check your mother out of MedStar and place her in a nursing home, and ever since, you’ve been wracked with guilt. When you go to see her, it’s as though a light inside her has been switched off. You’ve noticed that she barely speaks when you talk to her, and whenever you get too close to her, she flinches.

Could her actions be a sign of something more than just becoming accustomed to her new surroundings? Could the home actually be hurting her?

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Watch a few Hollywood actors and you’d guess that everyone having a heart attack looks and reacts in the same way. However, in real life, your reaction might be very different when a heart attack strikes.

No two heart attacks are the same. Women tend to have very different symptoms than men, and people of different ages and fitness levels experience different symptoms. Some studies show that race even plays a factor in the way a heart attack presents itself.

It’s confusing to know what a heart attack should look and feel like. Therefore, it is hard for you to know for sure what you’re experiencing when it happens. That’s why you rely on your doctor to properly diagnose your symptoms and run the necessary tests to determine what is happening in your body.

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Once again, you’re headed back to Suburban Hospital to see your doctor. After three months of suffering with the same pain, this will be your tenth visit. At this point, you’ve become a pro at biding your time in the waiting room. You know all the nurses by name and you’ve even picked out your favorite room. Although it’s nice to be welcomed every week, the pain in your side is no longer bearable and a reasonable diagnosis for treatment should not take this long.

So what is the problem? Why have you had to suffer for so long and repeatedly come back to the hospital, only to consistently get told, “it could be this, so let’s rule that out first” or “let’s see if this works,” without getting a solid answer on what is truly happening?

Intentionally Drawn-Out Treatment Malpractice Is Financially Beneficial for Providers

Doctors aren’t infallible; sometimes an injury, illness or ailment isn’t immediately recognizable and your doctor must weed out the most dangerous and severe possibilities before accurately diagnosing your condition. However, some doctors may take advantage of this “weeding out” system to intentionally prolong treatment for financial purposes.

How does this work? Your primary care doctor, specialist, hospital, and even your pharmacist may all have financial incentives not to give you the treatment that will clear up your condition:

  • More visits mean more co-payments and exam costs.
  • Additional diagnostic costs for MRIs, x-rays, CTs, and other procedures can run anywhere from $500 to $5,000, and will be billed to your insurance or paid out of your pocket.
  • Treatment costs skyrocket with each additional “potential problem,” creating more and larger hospital bills.

Now, just because your doctor is being thorough doesn’t mean he’s intentionally preventing accurate care. However, if you feel that your pain, injury, or illness hasn’t been correctly diagnosed or treated in a reasonable amount of time, or that you may be given the runaround with tests and diagnostics, seek a second opinion and contact an experienced lawyer to discuss your case for medical malpractice.

If another physician or expert witness can verify that a competent doctor should have been able to diagnose your issue earlier, or that expensive testing and diagnostics weren’t needed, you could have grounds for an intentional medical malpractice case.

Don’t allow your doctor’s greed, incompetence, or negligence to cost you everything. Contact us now for a free consultation. Let us convince you how our experience, knowledge, and diligence can work to get the settlement and justice you deserve. Call or contact us today!

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You’ve been putting it off for a week now, but today is the day that you try to figure out the proposed amount for your malpractice claim. Between appointments at Suburban, talking to different lawyers, arguing with insurance companies and attempting to manage your pain, assigning values to your suffering has become an almost impossible task.

How exactly can you assign a monetary value to your pain, in order to determine an estimated value for your non-economic damages when you’re currently overwhelmed by the pain itself? What can you do to make it easier on yourself and your claim?

Tiers of Pain and Sacrifice

When estimating an overall compensatory value for your pain, suffering and all other non-economic hardships, it’s best to split them up into tiers ranging from high priority to low value in order to get a better sense of what to expect in a settlement.

  • Tier 1: Psychological and physical pain that not only affects your life but your family’s lives as well
  • Tier 2: Future problems; decreased quality of life
  • Tier 3: Long-term emotional suffering
  • Tier 4: Inconvenience

This tier system can also help you put your pain in perspective and allow your lawyer to better argue the overall claim. The best way to do this is to start with major issues for tier 1 (the issues with the most value) and then work down to the minor issues which may not have as much significance. This way your lawyer can argue each tier in order to get you the best settlement amount.

We know how frustrating it can be to wait for a settlement decision, especially when you’re unsure of how much you may be receiving for compensatory damages. Let us help take the worry and uncertainty out of filing your malpractice claim.

Our vast experience and knowledge can not only help you get the best settlement available, but we’ll also walk you through the process step-by-step so you’re not blindsided by the decision. Contact us today for a free consultation and case evaluation. We’ll be waiting for your call.

Hospitals in DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia use the da Vinci Robotic System to perform a variety of surgical procedures including prostatectomies, gynecological surgeries, and heart-bypass surgeries. Hospital websites claim that robot-assisted surgery as being is more precise and less invasive, so patients experience less pain, fewer scars, and a faster recovery.

However, the da Vinci surgical robot has also been associated with serious complications including excessive bleeding, burns, infection, scarring, organ perforations, severed nerves, and punctures to blood vessels and arteries. If your doctor is suggesting robotic surgery, these reports may make you very nervous.

The truth is that there are risks with both traditional and robotic surgery. You and your doctor will need to decide which type of surgery is best for you. Here are some questions that can help you make that decision.

Eight Questions to Ask Your Doctor Before Undergoing Robotic Surgery

  1. Who will perform the surgery?
  2. How much training have you had in robotic surgery?
  3. How many of these procedures have you performed?
  4. What are the complications associated with this type of robotic surgery?
  5. What are the advantages of robotic surgery compared to other procedures?
  6. Are there any other procedures that will treat my condition?
  7. What are the risks associated with each type of procedure?
  8. Do I have any medical conditions that would make some procedures risky?

Make sure that you are informed about all the risks before making a medical decision. If you suffer complications, don’t hesitate to get a legal opinion. Contact Lewis and Tompkins to schedule a free consultation.

It’s 2:00 A.M.

Your child has a temperature of 104 and he won’t stop vomiting. You are heading to the emergency room. The emergency room that you choose could make a big difference to the health of your child.

When it comes to children, not all emergency rooms are created equal. In 2005, doctors at Johns Hopkins University assessed emergency procedures at 35 emergency rooms in North Carolina. The doctors found that many emergency room doctors could not adequately stabilize a critically injured child during a mock drill. The doctors were not able to recognize signs of medical distress and failed to order necessary treatments.

These weren’t bad doctors; they were simply used to working with adults. But children are not small adults. The signs of injury may be very subtle in a child, and a child’s condition can deteriorate rapidly. Most importantly, children can’t always communicate how they feel. A doctor who is not trained in pediatric emergency medicine may miss the signs of a life threatening condition in a child.

Children account for one-third of emergency room visits; however, less than 10 percent of emergency rooms have pediatric medical supplies and trauma doctors who are trained to work with children. This means that children are at risk of misdiagnosis, medication errors, and medical mistakes. Children are more likely to get the treatment they need in a pediatric emergency room.

Children’s Emergency Rooms in the Washington Metro Area

Washington D.C.

  • Children’s National Medical Center, Emergency Medicine and Trauma Center (EMTC)
    Children's National Medical Center at Sheikh Zayed Campus for Advanced Children's Medicine
    111 Michigan Ave, NW
    Washington, DC 20010
  • Children’s National Emergency Department at United Medical Center
    1310 Southern Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC 20032

The Children’s National Medical Center serves as the regional referral center for pediatric emergencies. The center provides a full range of trauma response and emergency diagnostic treatment for pediatric patients and has consulting physicians in all pediatric specialties.

Maryland

  • The Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children's Center at John Hopkins Hospital
    Pediatric Emergency Department
    Bloomberg Children's Center, Ground Level
    Johns Hopkins Hospital
    1800 Orleans Street
    Baltimore, MD 21287

The Bloomberg Children's Center’s Pediatric Emergency Department is the official pediatric trauma referral center for the State of Maryland. The center is staffed with pediatric surgeons, pediatric anesthesiologists, and pediatric critical care doctors. Nurses are also trained and certified in pediatric emergency medicine.

Virginia

  • Inova Children's Emergency Center—Fairfax
    Inova Fairfax Medical Campus
    3300 Gallows Road
    Falls Church, VA 22042

The Inova Trauma Center is based at Inova Fairfax Hospital and is Northern Virginia’s only Level 1 trauma center for both adults and children. The trauma center is staffed with board-certified pediatric emergency physicians and physicians in all pediatric specialties.

Although pediatric emergency rooms offer the best treatment for children, there are times when heading the nearest emergency room is the best choice. If your child has a life-threatening illness or injury, go to the nearest hospital. You can request a transfer to a children’s hospital once your child’s condition is stable. Always get a second opinion from your pediatrician after an emergency room visit.

Have you had an experience with emergency room doctors not recognizing or treating your child’s illness or injury? Tell us about it. Leave a comment below.

When you discovered you had a child on the way, you likely had visions of a bright future filled with happy memories. Instead, you received some of the worst news a parent could hear: Your baby has cerebral palsy. How did this happen? What went wrong? Most importantly, why did this happen? Your mind goes through a series of

tragic questions that you think you’ll never find the answers to. Here, a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer discusses the condition.

Understanding Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a medical term for a number of neurologic disorders that hinder movement and muscle coordination. Most children who have the condition are born with it, but the diagnosis may not be made for several years after they are born. The condition is considered to be “non-progressive,” which means that as serious and debilitating as it is from the onset, it won’t get worse over time.

Types of Cerebral Palsy

There are several types of cerebral palsy. Three of the most common include and are described as follows:

  • Spastic Cerebral Palsy – This type accounts for about 80 percent of all cerebral palsy cases. It is classified by stiffness and difficulty moving. Those who have this type often have difficulty holding onto and letting go of objects.
  • Athetoid Cerebral Palsy – Athetoid cerebral palsy makes up about 10 percent of all cases, and is typified by involuntary movement, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing and poor muscle tone.
  • Ataxic Cerebral Palsy – This form of cerebral palsy typically presents tremors, problems with depth perception, distorted sense of balance, and difficulty with coordinated muscle movements.

One of the most unfortunate aspects of cerebral palsy is that it may have been prevented. The law offices of Lewis and Tompkins understand the grief you are feeling and want to help you find the answers.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation with a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer, and find out what we can do for you and your family.

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Do you know the difference between cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery? Oftentimes, these two are used interchangeably when someone is talking about having that tummy tuck done before getting ready for bathing suit weather. However, your plastic surgeon and your cosmetic surgeon are not the same! Knowing the difference between the two, along with a few helpful tips, may actually prevent a medical mistake from happening to you.

Plastic Surgery vs. Cosmetic Surgery

Plastic Surgery refers to corrective surgeries that are conducted most commonly for reconstructive or repairing purposes. These surgeries are performed to medically fix birth defects, burns, physical trauma, or even some diseases. Plastic surgeons are required to go through a medical residency and operate in accredited facilities.

Cosmetic Surgery is elective, because the alterations are typically made on body parts that still function, but simply lack some sort of aesthetic appeal. However, your cosmetic surgeon does not have to undergo a residency in cosmetic surgery. In fact, your surgeon could actually be an OBGYN, ophthalmologist, dermatologist, or other medical doctor.

There isn’t any law in the U.S. that requires a doctor to practice in his/her specified medical field. So, it’s important to know exactly who’s performing your surgery before you go under.

Other Tips to Help Avoid a Cosmetic or Plastic Surgery Medical Mistake

  • Do your research. Look for accreditations, certifications, or licensures from the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, or the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery for Virginia, Maryland, or the District of Columbia.
  • Check your potential doctor’s surgical history. Look to see how many identical procedures your surgeon performed in the past. What’s the success rate? Is there a medical malpractice history?
  • Have your PCP refer you to a surgical specialist if possible.
  • Be skeptical of cheap bargains. Pay attention to how many staff members work at the facility. These can indicate the quality of medical work you might receive.
  • Make sure to get the right type of surgeon for the type of surgery you need. Don’t compromise expertise and qualifications for price.

Plastic and/or cosmetic surgeries are supposed to make your life, and appearance a little better, but sometimes, however, they don’t. In some cases, patients’ medical conditions or lives can end up worse than ever before.

Don’t let your dream of a “brand new you” turn into a nightmare. Be proactive before you undergo corrective surgery, and you could spare yourself a lifetime of physical, emotional, or medical health trauma. Do you find this article helpful? Please feel free to share it on Facebook or Twitter, and help us get the word out.

Veteran’s Affairs (VA) operates one of the nation’s largest health care systems, advertising that they promote quality medical care for our country’s finest heroes. But, the VA has made national headlines yet again as more revelations surface of delayed patient health care having devastating effects on our disabled, injured, or retired veterans.

This most recent case, which stems from a VA hospital in South Carolina, echoes numerous cases over recent years of VA clinics around the country, including Maryland and Virginia, delaying medical care, patient misdiagnoses, and prescription errors. By the time some patients have actually received the medical care needed, their medical conditions have advanced/worsened, requiring more difficult or risky treatment, putting their lives in jeopardy.

What are the medical errors that our Vets are experiencing?

  • Extended waits (in excess of multiple waits) for e-rays, colonoscopies, endoscopies, etc.
  • Misdiagnoses of tumors labeled as benign or eradicated.
  • Delayed chemotherapy treatments.
  • Insufficient number of patient beds available at hospitals or clinics.
  • Physicians treating symptoms only without identifying the underlying causes of symptoms.
  • Prescription errors and communication problems between physicians and pharmacists.

The U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs reported that at least 19 veterans have died because of delays in receiving basic medical screenings like endoscopes or colonoscopies. These findings, which followed patients throughout 2010 and 2011, focused primarily on cancer patients. These patients were among dozens who have already died, are dying currently, or have suffered serious injuries, as a result of delayed care.

When patients find that they are begging their VA physicians for additional screenings or treatments, and must wait in excess of half-a-year or more to receive diagnosis screenings, their medical conditions can unnecessarily worsen. For too many of our veterans have died when their conditions could have been treated in the early stages.

If you, or someone you love, have willingly served our country, we’d like to extend our greatest appreciation for you, because you are owed so much for your sacrifice. No veteran should ever be denied treatment, or forced into delayed care. If you’ve been seriously injured due to delayed treatment at a Maryland VA hospital, you may be entitled to compensation. We may be able to help. Contact us today for more information.