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Providence Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Largest medical malpractice verdict ever awarded in Rhode Island

Unless or until people are personally affected by a preventable medical injury, it can be difficult for them to fully appreciate the impact that such an incident can have. Medical malpractice victims and their families can face immediate and long-term financial difficulties as a result of issues like excessive medical expenses and loss of income. Beyond that, the emotional toll of these types of injuries can be profound as well. It is for that reason that medical malpractice financial awards often account for multiple types of damages.

The Rhode Island Hospital, which is located in Providence, recently admitted to providing substandard care to a patient six years ago. Not only did the medical facility express regret for the incident but it also admitted that several staff members acted negligently in diagnosing a head injury.

The disturbing link between surgery mistakes and distractions

As people’s every day routines and lifestyles continue to be impacted by the increasing use of mobile phones and other devices, more concerns are being raised over user distraction and accident rates. For instance, it is now widely understood that issues relating to cell phone use and distracted driving can have catastrophic consequences for motorists. Similar concerns are being raised by patient advocates and members of the medical industry, and revolve around distractions that occur in the operating room.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, approximately two thirds of surgeons across the country use their cell phones in operating rooms and intensive care units. In fact, physicians are increasingly incorporating the use of personal cell phones and other digital devices into their professional practices. A cell phone camera can be used to take pictures of an active medical procedure, while the device can also serve as a music player during surgery. It is for that reason that some are questioning the use and safety of such technologies in the operating room.

Recognizing heart attack symptoms and misdiagnosis concerns

Rhode Island cardiologists, emergency room doctors and other medical professionals are trained to promptly and accurately identify the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. After all, they understand that the nature and severity of heart attack symptoms can vary from case to case, and that a number of tests are available to confirm a heart attack diagnosis. If you or a loved one suffered a heart attack and were not properly diagnosed or treated, it is important to understand that your worsened medical condition may have been prevented. That is why the attorneys at DeLuca & Weizenbaum are committed to advocating on behalf of our clients and medical misdiagnosis victims.

The Mayo Clinic explains that a number of factors can come into play when considering the nature and severity of symptoms heart attack victims can experience. For instance, it is not unusual for elderly adults and people with diabetes to experience mild to no symptoms at all. Similarly, women often present different heart attack symptoms than men. Chest pain, for instance, is not as common in female heart attack patients. Instead, they are more generally known to experience everything from unusual fatigue to shortness of breath to back pain.

Understanding central line-associated bloodstream infections

When patients in Rhode Island go into emergency departments, doctors’ offices or other medical facilities, they rarely expect to develop worsened conditions due to doctor errors or negligence. In health care facilities of all kinds, central-line associated bloodstream infections, or CLASBIs, are a common issue. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, there are anywhere between 84,551 and 203,916 central line-associated bloodstream infections each year. These often develop in addition to the conditions that patients were initially being treated for, and commonly result in worsened conditions and, in some cases, even death.

Often, patients require the placement of central venous catheters, or central lines, to administer medications or fluids, or to collect blood. These catheters are generally placed into large veins in the neck, chest or groin. CLASBIs are serious infections that may develop when bacteria or viruses enter into the bloodstream through these lines. As a result of these infections, patients may experience fevers, chills, or redness or soreness around the catheter’s insertion point, or become very ill.

Do forceps deliveries pose birth injury risks?

Sometimes, women in Rhode Island, and throughout the U.S., may require assistance giving birth. When this happens, physicians use special tools in order to help guide the baby out of the birth canal. Among these tools are forceps, which look similar to two large spoons. While forceps can be helpful tools in these cases, their use may pose serious risks.

There are a number of reasons why physicians may opt for the use of forceps during deliveries. In some cases, a mother may be too tired to continue pushing, or a medical issue may make pushing too risky, according to MedlinePlus. Furthermore, in cases when the baby is showing signs of stress and needs to come out faster than a mother can push on her own, her health care provider may use forceps to speed the process.

Couple goes to court for son who received corrective surgery

There are a large number of potential situations that can be considered medical malpractice. While most people first thing of surgical error, some of the lesser-known categories of medical malpractice are beginning to get attention in recent years.

One landmark case involves an intersex child from South Carolina. His adopted parents have recently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit on his behalf. This is due to the fact that surgery was performed on him after his birth parents lost custody of him. While he was under the care of social service, it was decided between social service and doctors that the child would have corrective surgery. This surgery made him look like a girl. While his adopted parents initially raised him as a girl, they stopped when he continued to insist that he was a boy and began to look into the case.

Issues that fall under the medical malpractice umbrella

Medical malpractice is a large umbrella term. It is used identify anything that goes wrong in a medical setting that can cause a person temporary or permanent harm. Because it is such a large term, you will find that there are many different facets of malpractice, injury and harm that can be covered.

There are several smaller umbrella categories that are used to narrow down the area of medical malpractice that you are personally experiencing. Some of the smaller categories include:

  •          Misdiagnosis
  •          Hospital errors
  •          Cardiology malpractice
  •          Nursing home negligence
  •          Cancer errors
  •          Primary care physician malpractice
  •          Birth injuries
  •          Walk-in clinic malpractice

Are breast biopsies reliable?

Cancer is a scary word. When the possibility of the disease is brought up by a physician, most patients are anxious to initiate all necessary tests. The results of these tests, however, may not always be accurate. When a pattern of inaccuracy in medical tests is discovered, it may result in changes to the way in which diagnoses are determined.

According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the results of breast biopsies may not be as accurate as previously believed. Over 1.5 million breast biopsies are performed on women in the United States every year. Approximately 80 percent of these return results of normal tissue. The reliability of the remaining 20 percent is being called into question by medical researchers. When pathologists were tested for accuracy, they only produced the same result as experts in approximately 75 percent of cases.

Rhode Island malpractice suits must be initiated within 3 years

The National Conference of State Legislatures explains that all states have established laws under which patients may pursue medical malpractice claims. The NCSL also notes that all states have created statutes of limitations for such lawsuits. If a statute of limitations runs out on a claim, the victim cannot pursue legal action against a healthcare provider. As such, it is important for Rhode Island residents to understand how long they have to bring a malpractice lawsuit.  

According to Rhode Island state law, medical malpractice lawsuits have a statute of limitations of three years. The clock for this time limit generally begins counting down when the incident which caused the injury occurred.

What is a “never event” surgical mistake?

Not all instances of medical malpractice are the same. In some Rhode Island cases, healthcare providers may make errors that result in minor harms. On the other hand, certain types of medical interventions are at high risk for serious injuries. The invasiveness of surgical procedures, for example, increases the chance that an error will lead to a severe complication. As such, strong steps should be taken to eliminate all preventable surgical errors, which are also known as “never event” surgical mistakes.

According to a study published by Johns Hopkins Medicine, about 80,000 never event errors were committed from 1990 to 2010. The study found that in 6.6 percent of cases, these errors resulted in patient fatalities. In 32.9 percent of cases, patients were left with permanent injuries. Included in the never event category are the following types of errors:

  • Leaving foreign objects in a patient
  • Incorrect surgical procedures
  • Removing the wrong body part or organ
  • Operating on the wrong area

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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
  • $4,700,000. - Failed Spinal Surgery
  • $4.5 Million - Birth Injury Settlement
  • $4,000,000. - Wrongful Death Verdict For Failure to Diagnose Cancer
  • $3.6 Million Settlement - School Bus Negligence
  • $3,500,000. - Construction Site Injury Settlement
  • $3,000,000. - Construction Site Injury Settlement
  • $2,900,000. Settlement - Failure To Properly Treat Eye Cancer
  • $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
  • $1,250,000. Settlement - Failure To Diagnose Fracture In Cervical Spine
  • $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
  • $700,000. Settlement - Failure to Advise Patient of Medical Finding
  • $300,000. Verdict - Slip and Fall
  • $375,000 Settlement - Auto Accident
  • $375,000 Settlement - Premises Liability
See all Cases of Interest

DeLuca & Weizenbaum, LTD.

DeLuca & Weizenbaum, Ltd. | 199 North Main Street | Providence, RI 02903 | Phone: 401-354-7233 | Toll-Free: 888-876-9415 | Providence Law Office Map

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