Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

surgery_eye_health_operation-1024x681Undergoing a surgery is always a nerve-wracking experience. You want to be able to trust that your surgeon conducted and reviewed the appropriate pre-operative tests. Can a surgeon be held liable if he or she fails to review the results of the pre-operative tests before performing the surgery? 

Roger Burchfield was admitted to Willis-Knighton Medical Center to receive non-emergency surgery on his gallbladder. Before the surgery, Burchfield’s surgeon, Forrest Wright, ordered a chest x-ray and EKG. However, Wright did not review the results prior to performing the surgery. If Wright had reviewed the tests, he would have seen Burchfield had congestive heart failure and multiple other possible heart issues. Burchfield himself did not know he had these heart issues. 

The surgery was successful, and Burchfield went home. However, about a day later, Burchfield started experiencing swelling. He went to the emergency room and was admitted into the hospital. The hospital found Burchfield had suffered a heart infection, respiratory failure, heart failure, and other issues. He was put in a medically induced coma before undergoing a heart transplant. Although Burchfield recovered from the transplant, he was no longer able to work as a mechanic and requires medical care for the transplant for the rest of his life. 

time_tiempo_count_day_0-1024x683If the trial court does not rule in your favor, you might find yourself considering filing an appeal. However, just like filing an initial lawsuit, there are strict time limits for filing an appeal. If you do not comply with these time limits, the appellate court will be unable to consider the merits of your appeal, and you will be stuck with the trial court’s ruling. 

Aimee Lasseigne filed a lawsuit against Eastern Jefferson General Hospital and two doctors for damages that resulted from a spinal tap and related medical treatment she received at the hospital. The hospital and doctors filed exceptions of prescription, arguing Lasseigne did not file her request for a medical review panel until over a year from when the alleged medical malpractice occurred. The trial court granted the hospital and doctor’s exceptions of prescriptions and dismissed Lasseigne’s lawsuit on January 29, 2018. That same day, the clerk mailed a notice of the judgment’s signing to all the parties’ attorneys. 

On April 16, 2018, the trial court issued its written reasons for judgment. Lasseigne filed her appeal on May 11, 2018, seeking review of the trial court’s January 29, 2018, judgment, with the reasons issued on April 16, 2018. The hospital and doctors filed a motion to dismiss, claiming Lasseigne’s appeal was untimely.

medical_appointment_doctor_563427-1024x683In the face of the profound loss that accompanies the passing of a family member, the impact can be particularly agonizing when that loss follows the anticipation of medical intervention, such as a transplant. The immediate inclination might be to explore legal avenues through a medical malpractice claim, yet the determination of whether negligence played a role can be an intricate matter for the average individual. This Louisiana case shows how important it can be to obtain expert testimony to help show malpractice occurred. 

The medical malpractice case brought by Jarrard Green and his sister Bernadine Green arose from complications after a donated kidney failed post-transplant. Jarrard donated his kidney to Bernadine, who suffered from end-stage renal disease. The transplant was performed by one of the defendants, Joseph Buell. Several days after the transplant, the kidney failed and needed removal. Jarrard initiated a Medical Review Panel process which rendered an opinion in favor of the defendants stating there was no breach in the standard of care. 

A medical malpractice and lack of informed consent lawsuit followed. Defendants Dr. Joseph Buell, Dr. Douglas Slakey, and Tulane University Hospital filed a motion for summary judgment stating the Greens lacked the necessary expert testimony to support the allegations. The motion was granted by the trial court dismissing the claims. The Greens appealed. 

paramedics_doll_hospital_medical-683x1024The prospect of undergoing medical procedures carries inherent risks; sometimes, unfortunate incidents can lead to injuries. In such cases, individuals can pursue medical malpractice claims to seek compensation for damages. A crucial aspect of these claims is presenting the appropriate evidence and adhering to procedural requirements. A telling illustration of the importance of these procedures is found in a lawsuit involving Elliott R. James and Lakeview Medical Center, LLC. This case underscores the significance of following legal protocols and obtaining substantial evidence to bolster a medical malpractice claim.

Elliott R. James entered Lakeview Medical Center, LLC d/b/a Lakeview Regional Medical Center (“Lakeview”) for an exploratory laparotomy. A procedure where an endotracheal tube was inserted into him was completed with no complications. While he recovered for the next few days, James began experiencing nausea and vomiting. James returned to Lakeview, where Nurse Dinah Justilian attempted to place a nasogastric (NG) tube through James’s nose to reach his stomach. James alleges that Nurse Jusitilian did not contact his treating physician Dr. Darren Rowan before attempting to insert the tube. Nurse Justilian had difficulty inserting the tube. The tube encountered some resistance while being slid down Mr. James’ throat but was eventually able to be inserted successfully. Mr. James stated he felt severe pain in his throat during the process. 

A few days later, when the NG tube was removed, James still experienced pain in his throat. On November 4, 2010, Lakeview discharged James despite him still complaining of throat pain. James decided to obtain a second opinion about the pain from a specialist. The specialist found that his right vocal cord appeared damaged and would either heal within a year or was permanently damaged. Since then, James alleges his throat injury never healed. However, on July 16, 2014, a Medical Review Panel (MRP) rendered its findings on the situation. They found that the NG tube was placed correctly despite the discomfort, and there was no evidence that the NG tube was the likely cause of James’s injury. The MRP concluded that the evidence did not support James’s claim that Lakeview failed to meet the applicable standard of care. 

inside_ambulance_ambulance_lighting-1024x576When medical emergencies strike, the rapid response of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) can mean the difference between life and death. However, the high-pressure nature of their role can also give rise to complex legal questions when outcomes take a tragic turn. Richard Miller’s case sheds light on the intricate landscape of EMT liability, illuminating the balance between legal protections afforded to these healthcare professionals and the pursuit of justice for patients and their families. It also helps answer the question: Can an emergency medical technician or their employer be held liable when things go wrong? 

Richard Miller was injured in a motorcycle crash. Following the crash, emergency medical technicians employed by Northshore Emergency Medical Service transported Miller to Riverside Medical Center, where he was found to be in critical condition. Northshore transported him there before contacting Louisiana Emergency Response Network, a clearinghouse used to determine which medical center can best provide for a patient. Because Riverside did not have the proper resources to treat Miller’s severe injuries, the emergency room doctor had to contact the Louisiana Emergency Response Network to determine where to transport him. While in transit to the new hospital, Miller’s condition worsened. Unfortunately, he passed away when he arrived at the new hospital. 

Miller’s estate and family filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against numerous companies and individuals, including Northshore, the company that transported him to Riverside initially. Northshore filed a summary judgment motion claiming Northshore was not liable to Miller for his injuries. The evidence it provided included an affidavit from the Northshore paramedic, medical records, and deposition testimony. The trial court granted Northshore’s summary judgment motion and dismissed Miller’s case. Miller appealed. 

medical_instruments_examination_424729-1024x768In the realm of medical malpractice, the intricacies of the legal process can often appear daunting, especially when juxtaposed against the heart-wrenching backdrop of a stillborn baby’s tragedy. K Arceneaux found herself entangled in this very confluence of circumstances, seeking justice for her devastating loss while grappling with legal procedure demands. As the mother’s quest for accountability unfolds, a crucial question emerges: Can a plaintiff prevail in a medical malpractice case without the indispensable backing of expert testimony?

K Arceneaux’s baby died in utero while she was hospitalized. The baby had hydrocephalus, or excess fluid in the brain. Arceneaux claimed the child’s death partly resulted from a failure to monitor its heart rate. She also claimed that the Lafayette General Medical Center (“LGMC”) nursing staff forced her out of bed after delivery. She claimed she fell on the floor, injuring her neck. 

Arceneaux filed a medical malpractice claim against LGMC and Dr. Bobby Nevils. The medical review panel determined there was no breach of the required standard of care. She then filed a lawsuit against LGMC. 

disabled_disabled_human_being-1024x734Many of us provide support to elderly folks in our lives through our time and money. We expect the utmost attention and respect when we send a loved one to a care facility. Sometimes accidents happen, whether by negligence or by accident, that result in injury to patients. Regardless of the cause of injury, a lawsuit can help hold medical professionals responsible for the type of care they provide. The difference between a tort and a medical malpractice claim for nursing home injuries is examined in the following case. 

John Lee was a resident at Woldenberg Village nursing home located in New Orleans. Lee was labeled a fall risk and therefore had a fall-detecting device attached to his wheelchair that would sound if he attempted to stand up. When installed correctly, the device is not accessible to the wheelchair user. A nurse found Lee lying on the ground with the alarm device in his hand. Lee’s hip was injured and required surgery due to the fall.

Lee’s estate filed a tort lawsuit against Woldenberg for damages relating to the fall. Woldenberg filed an exception of prematurity because the claims related to medical malpractice and were therefore required to undergo investigation by a medical review panel before litigation. Lee’s estate appealed the lower court’s findings of prematurity.

time_take_time_cosmetics-1024x652When it comes to medical malpractice, time can be both a friend and a foe. Trusting doctors to safeguard the well-being of our loved ones makes the process of bringing a lawsuit challenging and emotionally charged. Yet, within the legal field, there exist specific time frames and procedural intricacies that can make or break a case. Once the clock runs out on a particular timeframe, a lawsuit is deemed barred, leaving individuals without recourse. In the midst of this intricate dance between justice and time, the story of Rita Foster and her family shines a light on the importance of understanding legal procedures and seeking qualified legal representation.

In August of 2012, Rita Foster was hospitalized, during which time Dr. Olisa, a physician at Ochsner Health System, ordered that Foster have a CT scan of her chest. When a 2-centimeter speculated appeared on her lung, Olisa recommended that Foster have a follow-up CT scan in three to six months. Foster’s children (plaintiffs) claimed there was no documentation of this recommendation in any medical records and thus contributed to Foster not obtaining the recommended follow-up for the CT scan of her chest. 

In the following days and years, Foster was treated for other issues by multiple physicians and healthcare providers working within and outside the Ochsner Health System, with no other communication to order a repeat CT scan.

building_hospital_within_931281-1024x683Amid the potential chaos and life-or-death scenarios in a hospital emergency room, “negligent credentialing” might not immediately come to mind. It’s understandable; after all, numerous nightmare scenarios occupy our thoughts. However, negligent credentialing is an incredibly significant matter that hospitals face regularly.

So what is “negligent credentialing”? It all comes down to whether your doctor has the legitimate credentials to practice medicine at that hospital.

Imagine a chaotic life-or-death situation where someone you love has been rushed into the ER. Your first thought isn’t going to be, “Hm, I wonder if this doctor is board certified?” It’s assumed that if someone’s doing a professional job, they’re qualified to do it. You trust the mechanic changing your car’s oil knows what they’re doing, right? Or that your kid’s teacher has the right qualifications to teach. And your dentist—you’re pretty sure they’re qualified and accredited to poke around your mouth.

examining_patients_dvids112692-1024x680Medical malpractice claims typically involve allegations of negligence during a medical procedure. However, the following case presents a unique scenario where the alleged injury occurred after the procedure was completed. It examines the legal considerations and challenges in such situations, emphasizing the importance of evidence and expert testimony in establishing a breach of the applicable standard of care.

Kay Hanagriff received two punch biopsies at Dr. Shondra Smith’s dermatology office. While receiving the biopsies, Hanagriff told Smith she felt queasy. Smith told the nurse to put an ice pack on Hanagriff’s neck. After the nurse placed the ice pack on her neck, Hanagriff said she was feeling better. After the procedure, Smith told Hanagriff to lie flat on the exam table and had her staff monitor Hanagriff. Hanagriff ignored the staff’s instructions not to try to get off the exam table without assistance and claimed she fell and hurt her neck. 

Hanagriff filed a complaint with the Louisiana Patient’s Compensation Fund. The medical review panel found neither Smith nor her staff breached the appropriate standard of care in their treatment of Hanagriff. Hanagriff then filed a lawsuit against Smith and her professional liability insurance carrier. At trial, the jury found against Hanagriff. Hanagriff appealed. She claimed the jury erred in finding Smith and her staff did not violate the applicable standard of care, and the evidence did not support the jury’s findings. 

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