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Providence, Rhode Island Medical Malpractice Blog

Family claims woman woke up in morgue after being pronounced dead

Most medical malpractice lawsuits filed in Providence that involve a misdiagnosis usually claim that such an error lead to a patient’s suffering or death. Yet what if the misdiagnosis is death? In all seriousness, there is a reason why a qualified medical professional is required in order to pronounce one dead. Yet these professionals are subject to error just like any other medical provider, and as outlandish as it may seem that they might mistakenly diagnose someone as being dead, there is a precedent for such cases.

A California family is currently dealing with such a case themselves. They had originally brought a lawsuit claiming that their mother’s body was mishandled after she was found face down inside a morgue freezer with cuts, bruises, and a broken nose. Yet they now have reason to believe that the woman was not dead, despite being pronounced so by doctors following her heart attack. Their belief is supported by a pathologist who testified during their original lawsuit that the injuries to the woman occurred trying to free herself from the freezer. It’s believed now that she froze to death inside of the freezer. The family has now filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Rampant prescribing of medications lands doctor in jail

The number of people in Providence and throughout the rest of the U.S. who’ve struggled with addiction to prescription drugs has grown steadily in recent years. This alarming trend is well-known by many, with some even arguing that patients and/or their family members have a moral responsibility to safeguard themselves and their loved ones from such abuse. Yet it can’t be overlooked that without a willing healthcare provider to prescribe the drugs, the abuse cannot happen. While a doctor’s priority should be to address the needs of his or her patients, he or she also should be able to spot situations of abuse. A failure to see such abuse, or worse yet, an indifference towards it, could certainly be classified as negligence.

A doctor in Illinois is currently facing criminal penalties for contributing to such abuse in his patients. He stands accused of running a “pill mill” out of his practice, rampantly prescribing powerful drugs such as hydrocodone to patients despite being warned by fellow doctors of these patients’ abuse. In some cases, patients experienced dangerous side effects, with some even dying after having taken the drugs combination with others. While he hasn’t yet faced charges in conjunction with those deaths, he was sentenced to a year in prison for his practices in top of having his license suspended.

Radiologistís error believed to have caused infantís death

The doctors who practice in Providence bring both a unique blend of education and experience to each case that they see. Patients hope that knowledge serves those doctors well in diagnosing the various maladies that they’re suffering from. While doctors aren’t immune to error, the standard of care is that they will make the best decisions regarding their patients’ care based upon the clinical evidence before them. If obvious signs of trouble in a patient are missed or overlooked, the question then becomes why the doctor failed to recognize it. Often, such failures lead to accusations of negligence.

Such was the case in a medical malpractice lawsuit recently filed in Michigan. The plaintiffs allege that the radiologist who read their infant daughter’s x-ray failed to report that the tip of a catheter inserted to help nourish the child had actually ended up in her heart, despite the fact that it was clearly visible on the radiological images. The feeding solution fed through the catheter is believed to have created a fluid buildup around the girl’s heart, which caused her to go into cardiac arrest and die. A subsequent autopsy showed that not only had the girl’s lungs collapsed, but that there were also traces of the solution around her heart.

Woman sues providers who failed to diagnose motherís appendicitis

Patients in Providence place a great deal of trust in their healthcare providers. Advances in imaging studies, laboratory science, and other diagnostic services leave many under the impression that a definitive diagnosis is all but certainty any time they present to their doctors with problems. Yet even with these tools, doctors are still often left with having to diagnose patients off of their signs and symptoms. It’s at this point that their advanced education, training, and years of experience come in handy. While no doctor is infallible, the standard of care is that they should be able to properly diagnose the patient or at least refer him or her to another specialty provider who can. A failure to meet this standard may be met with accusations of negligence.

Some may believe it to be unfair to expect doctors to always be correct in diagnosing problems or conditions that they can’t directly see. Yet the devastating potential of a failure to diagnose a condition demands such an expectation. A lawsuit filed against a physicians group as well as against the hospital in which they practiced highlights this point. In it, a woman alleges that the doctor’s failure to properly diagnose her mother’s appendicitis led to the mother dying from it.

Lawsuit claims hospital failed in handling of patientís drug test

Most in Providence would assume that all lawsuits filed against hospitals involve negligent care that resulted in a patient’s injury. Yet one aspect of healthcare that’s often overlooked is patient rights. While doctors, nurses, and other medical staff are charged with treating their patients’ physical ailments, they are required at the same to respect patients’ rights to make all of the decisions involving their care. Providers open themselves up to accusations of medical negligence should this right not be recognized, even in cases where there is no physical harm to the patient.

A Pennsylvania woman recently filed a lawsuit against a local women’s hospital based upon this alleged negligence. Her lawsuit claims that shortly after having given birth to her baby, she was questioned by hospital staff about possible drug use. It was later learned that a drug test had revealed the presence of opiates in her system. While the likely cause of the positive test was from her having eaten poppy seed bread prior to delivering, the woman claims that she never gave consent for the drug screen nor did she knowingly provide a urine sample to test. Yet because of the positive test, the woman was reported to state agencies and was forced to undergo regular drug testing over the next three months.

Detention center medical staff at the center of malpractice suit

While one does indeed forfeit many of his or her rights upon incarceration, the right to receive adequate healthcare is not one of them. Medical staffs operating in detention centers in Providence and throughout the rest of the country are still charged with delivering care that meets the highest of medical standards. A failure to do so can endanger the lives of inmates and detainees. It also opens up the healthcare providers on the staff and the facility itself to accusations of medical negligence.

Such accusations are currently being leveled against the company operating in immigration detention center in California. Lawyers have brought a medical malpractice lawsuit against the company over the death of inmate in 2012. The lawsuit alleges that negligence on the part of the center’s medical staff led to the patient dying of multi-organ failure brought on by pneumonia. The company’s denial of the accusations wasn’t supported by a report issued by the Department of Homeland Security, which cited the medical staff’s failure to properly treat the patient is response to his symptoms and complaints, as well as a failure to transfer him to an off-site facility to treat his worsened conditions in a timely manner as having contributed to his death. Attorneys from both sides are scheduled to resume proceedings later this month.

Eighteen patients exposed to deadly brain disease during surgery

Most have a strong confidence that the hospitals, medical centers, and clinics throughout Providence devote a lot of effort into making sure that their patients are treated in the most sterile environment possible. The expectation is that standards are in place to ensure that every room is properly cleaned and every instrument is sterilized prior to use. Such expectations may seem like a “no-brainer,” yet the truth behind those standards is that they were often created as a result of past surgical errors. Even with the strictest protocols in place, there’s still nothing that can prevent human error from causing such a standard to not be met again.

A group of 18 patients recently treated at a North Carolina medical center appear to be the victims of such an error. Each was informed that they were exposed to a deadly brain disease during their recent surgeries. Hospital officials confirmed that instruments used on a patient that was later found to have the disease weren’t properly sterilized following the procedure. The equipment in question continued to be used for the next 19 days before the error was finally uncovered. Hospital officials estimate that the chances of any of these patients actually developing the disease are remote. Yet that speculation does little to help assuage the stress and anxiety that bioethics experts agree these patients must be going through.

Pharmacy mix-up sends woman home with the wrong prescription

Prescription medications can work wonders in combating pain, illness, and infection. They do this by suppressing the effects of certain chemical responses that occur in designated systems of the body. Those in Providence taking prescription medications probably put more thought into the effects the drugs have on them than how they actually deliver that effect. Yet taking incorrect medications can trigger chemical responses within the body that can be harmful or, in some cases, even fatal.

Healthcare workers are relied upon to know how to avoid mistakes when it comes to prescribing and dispensing medications to patients. The most basic of those expectations should be that they ensure that the right medication goes to the right patient. A failure to meet this seemingly simple task can have grave consequences for those who, through no fault of their own, end up with the wrong prescriptions.

Doctors found liable after misdiagnosis leads to woman's death

Patients in Providence rely on their healthcare providers being as thorough as possible when attempting to diagnose their ailments. Even in situations where an element of a diagnostic test may be harmful to a patient, alternative methods to detect the suspected condition should still be discussed. Simply ruling a condition or cause out because it wasn’t tested for may be viewed as a failure to meet an established standard of care. Patients may end up paying the ultimate price for such an omission.

A Michigan jury recently decided that was the case in a lawsuit involving the misdiagnosis of a local woman. She died following a visit to a local emergency room. During the visit, doctors allegedly didn’t test for the aortic dissection that eventually killed her because she said she was allergic to one of the substances typically used in the diagnostic test. Despite her allergy, her attorney argued that doctors should have sought other means to test for the condition. The jury ultimately agreed, awarding the woman’s family a $750,000 judgment from the physicians group whose doctors had misdiagnosed her.

Woman alleges nurse-midwife performed procedure without consent

Most would assume that injuries that occur during childbirth are more likely to affect the baby. While that remains true in a number of cases, it should also be remembered that the mother goes through quite a bit of stress, as well. Procedures performed to assist with delivery can take their toll on a woman. Most women would likely agree to anything that would help ensure a safer delivery. However, that assumption should never be made by clinical staff. The woman or her representatives should still be involved in any decision making before a procedure is performed.

An alleged lack of informed consent is at the center of a recent lawsuit involving care given at an Army hospital in Kentucky. The patient claims that the nurse-midwife supervising her delivery chose to perform an episiotomy without first informing her of the decision or asking for consent. While such a procedure is not uncommon during childbirth, the woman’s attorney indicated a desire on her part to have been able to discuss alternatives. She was never given that chance. Unfortunately, her incision failed to heal properly, leading to health issues that have threatened her career as an opera singer.

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Cases of Interest

  • $15.7+ Million - Class Action Lawsuit Settlement
  • $10 Million Settlement - Brain Injury
  • $8.7 Million Verdict - Loss of Limb
  • $5,200,000. - Infant Brain Injury
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  • $2.65 Million Settlement - Failure to Diagnose Brain Swelling
  • $1,607,000. Verdict - Negligent Prescription of Drug
  • $1,500,000. Verdict - Negligent Prescription of Drug
  • $1,250,000. Settlement - Failure To Treat Infection
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  • $1.2 Million Settlement - Emergency Room Negligence/Wrongful Death
  • $900,000. - Physician Failure To Transfer Child With Life-Threatening Condition to Proper Hospital
  • $850,000. Settlement - Birth Injury
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  • $375,000 Settlement - Auto Accident
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