In "WALL OF SILENCE: The Untold Story of Medical Mistakes That Kill and Injure Millions of Americans," author Rosemary Gibson discusses how medical mistakes kill 100,000 Americans each year -- equivalent to a 747 plane crash daily. Rosemary explains the most common types of mistake and gives tips on how you can avoid becoming a statistic. Special issues for hospice and terminal care include the importance of watching medications closely and how the hospice interdisciplinary team may be a good model for how to prevent errors in other health care settings.
Approximately 80,000 people die in the United States each year due partly to medical malpractice - based only on hospital statistics, in an extensive study entitled "Patients, Doctors and Lawyers: Medical Injury, Malpractice Litigation, and Patient Compensation in New York," published by the Harvard Medical Practice Study in 1990, a report to the State of New York -- and not including deaths from missed diagnoses, or medical negligence that occurred in clinics, private doctors' offices, or other treatment facilities.... Mark A. Schuster, M.D., Ph.D., Elizabeth A. McGlynn, Ph.D, and Robert H. Brook, M.D., Sc.D. revealed that autopsy studies showed rates between 35 and 40% of missed diagnoses with most resulting in death. Numerically, this is more than three fully loaded jumbo jets crashing every week with no survivors.
At the same time, surprisingly only 2% of people injured by physicians' negligence seek compensation through a lawsuit (according to a 1991 article in the New England Journal of Medicine). ....."Our data make clear, then, that the focus of legislative concern should be that the malpractice system is too inaccessible, rather than too accessible, to the victims of negligent medical treatment."
Many people do not realize that their physician is not required to be insured. If not insured, there is little hope of collecting compensation if the doctor injures an innocent patient through malpractice.
There is little effective regulation of quality by the state licensing board. Only about 2,000 doctors (one-third of 1%) are disciplined each year. Usually, the charges involve substance abuse or financial fraud. Rarely is a physician disciplined for injuring a patient through medical malpractice.
(Excerpted from Consumer Law site at http://consumerlaw.com/medical-malpractice.asp )
Anyone who has spent time in a doctors waiting room may eventually notice a young man or woman, smartly dressed, carrying a sample case on wheels, waiting to see the doctor. They usually get immediate access. These are ethical drug sales representatives who will be leaving free samples and pushing their product line. In an article in the New York Times (nytimes.com) by Paul Krugman on December 18th, it is noted that there seems more than a casual relationship between doctors and ethical drug and medical equipment sellers. If you go into your regular doctor, he or she will probably prescribe the latest drug hawked by the drug salesperson, whether or not it works on your symptoms. Curing the cause of your ailment is another matter which often occurs as result of invasive surgery or as a result of the bodys own defenses. Today we are an overmedicated society which may be better served holistically than by shoving another drug down a patient's throat. If you listen to TV commercials advising you to ask your doctor for a free drug sample, be sure to listen for the side effects, including death, from the pills youre encouraged to pop. The drug industry profits regardless of whether you get better.
Reprinted article first published on PRLaw Inc Lawyers and Business Executives website, on 1-4-06 at http://prlawinc.typepad.com/, ghost-written by Lori Carangelo to promote attorneys who defend victims of malpractice and civil rights violations.
Get a free, personalized drug interaction/dosing/safety check of your medication profile at: http://www.medicationadvisor.com
Medical errors are a leading cause of death and injury in the United States, and they can happen to any patient, even children. But there are some simple practices that can keep children out of harm's way. Here are some:
Excerpted from CBS News (cbsnews.com) 2-27-03 report
A website called "98,000 Reasons" sponsored by malpractice attorneys refers to the 98,000 patients who die annually because of medical negligence in the United States. That, according to the group, is the equivalent to two 737 airliners crashing every day.
Given the large number of victims, it would be unfair to limit the right to bring medical malpractice cases as a part of health care reform, but at this writing, government is making it more and more difficult to compel doctors to pay for their mistakes.
In the 1970's, California and 35 other states since placed a "cap" or maximum amount for damages in medical malpractice cases. California's "cap" is $250,000 for pain and suffering. You are still entitled to sue for any lost wages, medical expenses, etc. The problem with the "pain and suffering" award is that it's completely arbitrary.
If $250,000 is not enough to compensate a company’s chief executive officer for one year, is it enough to compensate for “pain and suffering” a permanently injured survivor of medical malpractice for the rest of his or her life? To the average medical malpractice insurance company CEO, a multi-million dollar salary equals about $5,200 a day for managing a company – for attending board meetings, wooing investors and trying to boost a profit margin. Unless a victim of medical malpractice has suffered "catastrophic" injury or death, or can show huge loss of wages and huge medical costs, they will not find a medical malpractice attorney willing to take their case due to the cost of bringing a medical malpractice case to trial versus the $250,000 maximum award where the injury was primarily "pain and suffering."
George Washington's doctors killed him as result of several medical errors. Passage of time has not eliminated incidents of medical malpractice. In January 2011, President Obama said he wanted to look at reforms to medical malpractice and other options ....by "tweaking" health care, rather than repealing the Health Care Reform bill. At this writing, TV commercials sponsored by AARP are warning seniors that goivernment seeks to take away their Social Security benefits instead of eliminating unnecessary funding, loopholes and other government waste.
According to a Seattle Post-Intelligencer report, 12-4-01, Donald Church mystified security guards at Sea-Tac Airport in Washington State when he set off metal detectors just a few weeks after having surgery to remove a stomach tumor. However, an X-ray machine would have shown why. That's because surgeons left a 13-inch-long, 2-inch wide retractor inside the Seattle man.
A Florida man had the wrong leg amputated. And a young boy died after his anesthesiologist fell asleep during surgery.
From ABC News/Health online, by Lisa Stark, 6-21-09. When Dr. Robert Ricketson found he had no titanium rod to use for the back surgery he was performing, he opted to stick in a screwdriver instead. Three corrective surgeries later, his patient was left a bedridden paraplegic. It turned out Ricketson had previously lost his medical license in Oklahoma and Texas, but was still able to find work in Hawaii
California, with a population of over 37-million plus a seasonal visitor population, attracts more doctors (over 100,000 currently) than most other states. Consequently, California may have more Medical Malpractice cases than other states, as well as more Medical Malpractice attorneys who wouldn't exist without victims. Unfortunately, the larger legal firms that can better afford to advance costs in malpractice lawsuits either represent the doctors or take only "catastrophic injury" (loss of limb, brain damage etc,) or "death" cases due to the statutory "caps" on damages awarded, including a "cap" of $250,000 for "pain and suffering." It can cost a law firm at least $100,000 when a malpractice case goes to trial.
ALFRED SIMENTAL, MD at Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda, CA, removed my Thyroid, due to Cancer, on 9-23-10. But he missed the Parathyroid Adenoma which he had also planned to remove at the same time and which tests prior to surgery indicated was right behind the Thyroid. DR. SIMENTAL also disappeared right after my surgery. No one knew he was gone. No doctor came to see me post-surgery during my 2-day hospital admission. Neither I nor nursing staff knew what had been done or not done to me. They just kept saying "ask DR. SIMENTAL when he comes to see you on rounds." Two weeks later, DR. SIMENTAL informed me I needed to have to have a "re-surgery" with greater risks to me and expense because DR. SIMENTAL could not complete the surgery the first time, and wrongly believed the reason he couldn't find the tumor in my neck was that it "must be in the chest." I got a second opinion. On 5-26-11, STUART BARTON, MD, at Eisenhower Medical Center, Rancho Mirage, CA, removed the Parathyroid Adenoma that DR. SIMENTAL had missed and it was exactly where tests prior to my first surgery by DR. SIMENTAL indicated it was to be found and shoulod have been removed the first time.
Of the 100 Medical Malpractice attorneys I contacted by email and phone calls, about 20 informed me they would have a "conflict of interest," about 50 did not even respond, and a few wanted me to advance from $1500 to $25,000 for "expert witness fees" etc., despite that Medical Malpractice cases are typically handled "on contingency" - for a percentage of the amount won, or "no win, no pay." So, instead, I filed a claim against the surgeon directly, via Loma Linda's Risk Management Department and Claims Adjuster. Fortunately, in the meantime, my HMO decided to cover thousands of dollars bills for the "re-surgery" that had previously been billed to me. This was good news, as the hospital's response to my claim was denied, stating that DR. SIMENTAL had met the "standard of care," a broad term that seems to permit doctors a certain number of screwups and "kills."
As to "standard of care," JAMES NORMAN, MD, the nationally recognized authority who has done thousands of "re-surgeries" to correct other surgeons' parathyroid surgery mistakes, emailed me his opinion, part of which is as follows: "The bar is set too low for standard of care. It's not malpractice, it's shitty surgery. These bozos don't know how to do this surgery. It happens in every hospital; and I see it every day." I attached Dr. Norman's e-mail to my complaint to the Medical Board of California. DR. NORMAN has a very informative website at http://Parathyroid.com.
Kaiser Permanente, being such a large HMO, seems to incur the most Medical Malpractice Cases. Attorney Jeff Milman, a member of the Advocate Law Group Network who has been practicing law for over 26 years and specializes in Medical Negligence cases states on his advocate web page.
“I see all different sorts of cases and I can’t really point you to one type. Kaiser, by virtue of the fact that it’s an HMO handling a lot of patients, seems to draw claims. Many of the claims are due to a patient’s inability to get treated.” Here is one of several websites citing multiple Medical Malpractice claims against Kaiser in California: http://horror.kaiserpapers.org/cancerstories.html
$21-Million Dollar Award, Largest in CA, for Lifetime Medical Care from Birth Injury (You Tube Video of a tv news interview): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rs_GcFOWyUQ
California was probably the first state to coin the term "cosmetic surgery," transforming "general dentists" and "general practice doctors and surgeons" into "cosmetic surgeons" and enhancing their annual incomes. It also created more Medical Malpratice Horror Stories, such as those currently posted on the Consumer Wartchdog's California Malpractice Story Library:
In “CHOSEN CHILDREN,” at least 32 cases, from 1989 to 2009, are detailed of adopted children who were injured and/or killed during "Re-birthing" and other deadly "Attachment Therapy" assaults on children advanced by professionals as a "cure" for "Reactive Attachment Disorder" commonly diagnosed when adopters simply don't like their adopted children, or when adopted children don't like their adopters and so can't "attach" or bond. Candace Newmaker was one of those adopted children. She died during her 70-minute session in which she was wrapped in a blanket from head to toe and surrounded by pillows. Despite her cries that she was suffocating, the "therapists" continued to push on her in an attempt to simulate uterine contractions - for adopters who believed the "as born to" myth of adoption. The episode had been videotaped and was used in court against the therapists who were convicted of Reckless Child Abuse Resulting in Death and sentenced to 16-48 years in prison in 2001, when Colorado passed "Candace's Law" -- the first state to ban "Re-birthing."