Are You Certain You Need a Cesarean Section?

Holly Grim’s first labor at a noted California hospital in December 2013 was long and painful. The delivery ended with a cesarean section that required a lengthy stay in the hospital. This labor was different – a different hospital, a different obstetrician and a different outcome. Following this vaginal delivery, she had no restrictions on lifting or driving and she didn’t experience severe pain. Some 20 percent of babies are delivered by C-section. While that’s a lower rate from 10 years ago, only 12 to 14 percent are deemed medically justified. Furthermore, women who previously had a C-section are 75 percent more likely to have a second procedure. Yet, most of those women could safely deliver vaginally.

C-Section for delayed labor

One of the main reasons obstetricians perform C-sections is because labor is prolonged or failing to progress. However, there are less invasive approaches to stimulate labor such as—medication, massage, warm shower or carefully rupturing the membranes surrounding the fetus. Another reason is that doctors and patients think of cesareans as a convenient way to time the birth. However, experts warn that a C-section is a major surgery that carries significant surgical risks. These include serious inflammation and infection, blood clots, and longer recovery period.

Of course there are instances where C-sections maybe medically necessary – such as lack of oxygen to a baby or a baby in breech position. Then again, the disparities imply that some decisions are not medically derived – like time constraints for the doctor or malpractice concerns.

Reductions in C-sections result in better health to mothers and babies and lower costs

Cost comparisons between C-sections and vaginal births document the savings. While surgical births can cost as much as $19,000, vaginal births cost $11,500. Furthermore, over the last few years insurance companies have coordinated a push to cut C-section rates across the country and in births covered by Medicaid.

Compensation for serious injuries due to medical negligence

To avoid an unnecessary cesarean delivery, ask what is the obstetrician percentage of cesarean versus natural deliver? Also inquire about the doctor’s willingness to use nonsurgical steps first. If you are seriously injured due to health care provider’s mistakes, contact a skilled attorney from Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath to represent you. Our firm represents victims throughout Florida and nationwide. If you have any questions on this blog or need information on other personal injury queries, please call the Law offices of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath located in West Palm Beach at 1-800 4-RIGHTS (1-800- 474-4487) We welcome your call and look forward to helping you.

Medical Malpractice: Did you know?

Medical malpractice cases can be both serious and frightening in nature. It may be difficult for you to believe some of the shocking cases that emerge. Listed below are six interesting facts about malpractice:

1. Medical malpractice ranks third in the leading causes of death in the United States.

The Journal of the American Medical Association has reported that medical malpractice follows behind cancer and heart disease as reasons for death in America. Related to this statistic, 2014 marked the second consecutive year that malpractice payout amounts rose, creating a trend of increasing payout amounts.  In Florida, payments increased by 18.97 per cent from 2013. That amounts to $236.204,600 in total payouts.

2. Between 25,000 and 120,000 deaths happen because of medical negligence

Surprisingly, these numbers do not include the number of deaths caused by medical accidents which, according to the Civil Justice Resource Group, range between 65,000 and 200,000 each year. That’s 26,000 more than the number of car accident-related deaths reported in the United States annually.

3. Only one in four injuries or deaths resulting from medical malpractice gets registerd in medical records.

This could mean as much as four times more injuries and deaths occurring each year than what are listed above.

4. Diagnostic errors are the most frequent type of medical malpractice case.

In 2014, 33 percent of malpractice suits are related to diagnosis. Surgical malpractice follows closely behind, comprising 24 percent of malpractice cases. Treatment errors make up 18 percent, and obstetric cases make up 11 percent. Medication, monitoring, and anesthesia comprise 3 to 4 percent each of all malpractice cases.

5. Less than 5 percent of U.S. doctors are responsible for half of the malpractice suits in the country.

This means that the same few doctors are repeatedly making serious and life-threatening mistakes. Fortunately, a malpractice lawsuit can prevent others from receiving similar dangerous treatment. By waging a lawsuit, victims can raise public awareness of medical malpractice and prevent a negligent doctor from practicing medicine in the future.

6. Over half of all medical malpractice cases are dropped or dismissed.

In most claims, the parties reach a settled before trial and 7% go to trial to reach a verdict. According to most reports, defendants are favored in 88% of cases. Note that patients frequently abandon claims because as they gather more information, plaintiffs realize that their cases may not be as strong as they initially thought. An attorney skilled in malpractice law suits and open communication with hospitals and health care providers are essential elements of a successful malpractice case.

If you are seriously injured due to inferior health care or you’ve lost a loved one because of a health care provider’s mistakes, contact a skilled attorney from Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath to represent you. Our firm represents victims throughout Florida and nationwide.

If you have any questions on this blog or need information on other personal injury queries, please call the Law offices of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath located in West Palm Beach at 1-800 4-RIGHTS (1-800- 474-4487) We welcome your call and look forward to helping you.

Top 5 Most Interesting Medical Malpractice Lawsuits of 2014

Lexis/Nexis, a legal news provider, compiled a list of the Top 10 medical malpractice verdicts of 2014 across the country. Here we present a summary of 5 of the most interesting from the list.

  1.  Florida jury awards the family of a women who died of cervical cancer $15.6

A technologist at Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (LabCorp) misread Darian Wisekal’s pap smear result. Three years later, Wisekal died of cervical cancer. The family claimed that due to the misinterpretation of the pap smear, the cancer spread and became untreatable. The jury rejected LabCorp’s argument that the disease which caused Wisekal’s death was not subject to diagnosis at the time and therefore, even if the LabCorp cytotechnologist had interpreted the relevant Pap smear as atypical, it would not have save Wisekal’s life.

  1. New York State Jury awards $172 Million to Girl Who Suffered Brain Damage From EMS Negligence

12-year-old Tiffany Applewhite suffered an adverse reaction to a steroid shot that her home healthcare provider administered to aid her eye condition. Tiffany went into anaphylactic shock which caused her heart to stop. It took 20 minutes for a private ambulance equipped with advanced life support to arrive. As a result of the delay, Tiffany suffered significant brain damage. A jury heard the claims against EMS and the City of New York and returned a verdict for the plaintiffs. This amount included $65,000,000.00 for Tiffany’s past and future pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. In addition, the award included over $ 90,000,000.00 for future medical care and expense.

  1. Connecticut State Jury Awards $12 Million for delayed diagnosis

Vivian Gagliano suffered a perforated colon during an elective laparoscopic hernia repair. In the medical malpractice suit, she argued that her doctors at Danbury hospital did not timely diagnose and treat her perforated colon. As a result of the delay, Vivian went into profound septic shock; suffered acute respiratory failure, metabolic encephalopathy with coma, and prolonged intubation and ventilator support.

  1. Georgia JuryAwards $8.4 Million to an Infant who Suffered Hypoxic Ischemic Brain Injury at Birth

Heather Medley spent 12 hours in labor at a Georgia hospital. Prior to delivery, doctors noted the baby’s heart rate decelerating and variable. Later, J.M. was born severely depressed with below normal APGAR scores and metabolic acidosis. Doctors delayed intubation for 8 minutes as J.M.’s condition continued to deteriorate and eventually he coded. Although the doctors succeeded to resuscitate, J.M. developed cerebral palsy. The jury found the Medical Center liable for medical malpractice due to the delay in treatment.

  1. Illinois StateJury Awards nearly $2 Million to a Man who Alleged Surgeon Negligently Removed His Testicle during Hernia Surgery

35-year-old Carl Edwards filed a medical malpractice action against a doctor for failure to perform an adequate physical examination prior to surgery. Edwards required surgical repair of a left inguinal hernia. During the surgery, Edwards maintained that the surgeon removed his testicle without a legitimate medical reason and without obtaining appropriate consent. As a result of the alleged negligence, Edwards is unable to have children and he developed a testosterone deficiency, which causes increased fatigue, sweating and a decreased libido. The verdict included the damages for the following: disfigurement – $ 175,000.00, disability – $ 1,250,000.00, and pain and suffering – $ 385,000.00.

Medical malpractice is hard to prove. The attorneys at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath have the skill, experience and knowledge to get you the compensation you deserve.

If you have any questions on this blog or need information on other personal injury queries, please call the Law offices of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath located in West Palm Beach at 1-800 4-RIGHTS (1-800- 474-4487) We welcome your call and look forward to helping you.

Most Common Patient Allegations against Emergency Doctors

Emergency physicians are often at the frontline to provide acute care to patients who present without an appointment. The unplanned nature of patient arrivals means that emergency doctors can face broad spectrum of illness and injures while under a considerable amount of pressure. Some conditions may be life-threatening and require a doctor’s immediate attention.   A medical malpractice insurer conducted a study of 332 emergency medicine claims revealed the four most common patient allegations:

  • Diagnostic-related concerns —Physicians failed to establish a differential diagnosis or failed to consider available clinical information
  • Inadequately managing treatment — For example, the doctors failed to stabilize an accident victim’s head which then resulted in paraplegia
  • Improperly performing a procedure or treatment — this included intubation of the respiratory tract
  • Failing to order appropriate medication — such as not initiating a specified therapy for a stroke victim within the recommended time frames

According to the study, 57 percent of cases involved inadequate patient assessment which researchers noted as the number-one contributor to failures in diagnosis. This included not using available clinical information. Other factors that were identified as contributing to patient injury included:

  • Patient factors, such as obesity, which sometimes caused delays in treatment due to inadequate equipment, for example in treating or evaluating obese patients and having the properly sized gurney for transportation.
  • Communication among providers, including failing to review the medical record.
  • Communication between patient or family members and the provider, including inadequate follow-up instructions or language variances.
  • Insufficient or lack of documentation, including inadequate documentation about clinical findings.
  • Workflow and workload complaints that included limited staff or services available at night, on the weekend or on holidays.

Emergency medicine practitioners are usually the first to diagnose and the first to make the wrong diagnosis. The results of this study highlight the areas where providers can improve on patient safety. As a patient, you can reduce your risks of misdiagnosis by providing your physician with a complete and thorough medical history. Contact a skilled Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney for more information. If you have any questions on this blog or need information on other personal injury queries, please call the Law offices of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath located in West Palm Beach at 1-800 4-RIGHTS (1-800- 474-4487) We welcome your call and look forward to helping you.

Top Procedures Doctors Perform Unnecessarily

Any medical treatment has its risks. The Institute of Medicine estimates that up to 98,000 people die each year as a result of preventable medical errors. Among these errors are misdiagnosis, errors in performance during operations, inappropriate dosage to treat illness, equipment failure, and others. Unnecessary interventions can actually do more harm than good. Your risk for harm increases each time you undergo a medical treatment. Here is partial list of the most common procedures that doctors tend to over-perform.

Cataract Removal

Cataracts cause a clouding that reduces visual acuity. Unless the cataract hinders your daily activities, an operation may not be necessary. You might benefit from the surgery if the cataract reduces your visual acuity to 20/50 even with glasses. If you suspect you have cataracts, you may want to avoid having your initial evaluation performed by an ophthalmologist whose practice consists mainly of cataract surgery

Lower-Back Surgery

Surgery for low back pain is rarely justified in the early stages. Even pain caused by a herniated disk—the most common cause of persistent low-back pain—resolves on its own within a year. Other types of back pain can be controlled with therapy and medication. Overall surgery provides back pain relief for 85 to 90 percent of patients. For some, the relief lasts temporarily.

Gallbladder Removal

Only 10 percent of Americans have gallstones. Yet, the increasing number of Laparoscopy procedures done each year suggests that some doctors use the surgery to prevent severe gallbladder attacks. While Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive approach, a doctor can accidentally severe the bile duct during the procedure and permanently damage your liver. Statistics show that this happens in nearly 2 percent of laparoscopies—three times more often than in open surgery.

Hysterectomy

One of every three women has her uterus removed. About 16 percent of hysterectomies are deemed not justified and that the symptoms can be resolved using another course of treatment. A hysterectomy leaves scar tissue that eventually can cause intestinal obstruction. Furthermore, the loss of estrogen can trigger premature menopausal symptoms thereby increasing the risk of coronary disease and osteoporosis for some women.

To avoid undergoing unnecessary medical procedures, be sure to ask your doctor these questions:

  • If I decline or postpone surgery will my condition worsen or possibly improve?
  • What nonsurgical or less intrusive procedures are available?
  • What are the chances of failure or complications of the surgery?

If you are seriously injured due to inferior health care or you’ve lost a loved one because of a health care provider’s mistakes, contact a skilled attorney from Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath to represent you. Our firm represents victims throughout Florida and nationwide.

If you have any questions on this blog or need information on other personal injury queries, please call the Law offices of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath located in West Palm Beach at 1-800 4-RIGHTS (1-800- 474-4487) We welcome your call and look forward to helping you.

Unnecessary Surgery – Medical Malpractice

Dozens of patients filed suit against three cardiologists at an Indiana hospital for performing unnecessary procedures that amount to medical malpractice and, in some instances, wrongful death.

Debra Davidson has a scar to constantly remind her of the open heart surgery that she claims she never needed. Serious health challenges haunt Steve Mayerak after the doctors performed multiple heart procedures that he later discovered were unnecessary. Lynn Blosky blames the doctors for the death of her 33 year-old son who received a pacemaker he actually never needed. These complaints and others like them, help substantiate the findings that 75 percent of heart procedures performed at the hospital was unnecessary.

Money, the likely motive

Money may be the driving force behind the doctors’ actions. The doctors are listed as the top cardiologist for Medicare reimbursements in Indiana and nationally. As they performed more procedures, the doctors can generate more income. Note that cardiology is not the only specialty where procedures are performed unnecessarily.

Studies show that approximately 10-20% of procedures across specialties were not necessary. In these cases, the specialist either did not have medical support for the procedure or they diverted from the standards of care to explore non-surgical treatments. That amounts to millions of dollars in improper Medicaid and other insurance payouts.

Costly payouts to victims

Since 2005 over one-thousand doctors made payments to settle or close medical malpractice suits that involved allegations of unnecessary procedures. Most of the payments involved serious and permanent injury or death. And, since the claims often included multiple plaintiffs, the toll of victims may total several thousands.

Let experienced attorneys prove your case

If you are uncertain of a procedure recommended by your doctor, request a second opinion. Don’t fall prey to the predators that enrich themselves by bilking you for medical procedures that are not medically warranted. Contact our staff of skilled medical malpractice attorneys to secure just compensation for your injury.

If you have any questions on this blog or need information on other personal injury queries, please call the Law offices of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath located in West Palm Beach at 1-800 4-RIGHTS (1-800- 474-4487) We welcome your call and look forward to helping you.

Wrong Diagnosis Leading Cause for Catastrophic Malpractice Payouts

Each year nearly 12 million adults are misdiagnosed during outpatient care. In half of those cases, the misdiagnosis potentially results in severe harm that warrants medical malpractice awards. In fact, researchers recently reviewed all pain related malpractice claims made between 2004 and 2010. The researchers identified key risk factors for catastrophic payouts – claims for over $1million. The results indicated that misdiagnosis represents 8 percent of all paid malpractice claims and that the greatest percentage of catastrophic payouts occur from errors in diagnosis. The authors made note that healthcare systems in the United States must focus more resources that ensure diagnostic accuracy to improve patient safety and lower medical malpractice awards.

Misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis

While a slight distinction exists between these terms, the result still translates to over 6 million patients suffering harm. Misdiagnosis describes an occurrence when a doctor informs you that you have a particular condition or illness, however the doctor’s information is incorrect. Your doctor might diagnose you with influenza, but you really Lyme disease, for example. Missed diagnosis, on the other hand, describes an instance where your doctor fails to provide a diagnosis. This usually means you do not receive treatment or the treatment is inaccurate.

How you can get an accurate diagnosis

Here are some tips on what you can do, as a patient, to improve your chances of being diagnosed accurately:

  • Explain your medical history thoroughly and clearly to your doctor and in chronological order. Your physician needs to hear the clues.
  • Share details of your family’s medical history, such as a sibling with cancer, this information may be helpful for the doctor to take into consideration.
  • Follow up and be sure to get your test results – no news is not necessarily good news.

Also be aware of the symptoms doctors most frequently miss or misdiagnose. The top aliments that were actually symptoms of a more serious condition include coughing, shortness of breath and abdominal pain.

Safeguarding just compensation for your loss

Be sure you get every dollar from your insurance claim that you are due from those who were responsible for your injury or your family member’s death, . If you due to inferior health care or lost a loved one because of mistakes made by a health care provider or facility, contact a Florida medical malpractice attorney  to represent you. You may be eligible for compensation to cover your medical bills, loss of income and pain and suffering. We represent medical malpractice victims throughout Florida and nationwide.

If you have any questions on this blog or need information on other personal injury queries, please call the Law offices of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath located in West Palm Beach at 1-800 4-RIGHTS (1-800- 474-4487) We welcome your call and look forward to helping you.

Proving a Wrongful Death Claim

Amtrak resumed passenger train service between Philadelphia and New York City just a week following the deadly derailment at Frankford Junction. Reports revealed that Train 188 was traveling at 106 m.p.h. when it derailed. As a result, eight people were killed and over 200 others injured. Without admitting culpability, an Amtrak spokesman announced that the railroad installed an automatic train-control system on the tracks to limit speed approaching the curve to 45 m.p.h.

Several lawsuits against Amtrak were filed. Litigation experts predict that the claims against Amtrak will likely exceed the $200 million cap that was imposed in 1997 to help Amtrak regain financial stability. Thanks to a bill introduced by Florida Senator Bill Nelson, the ranking Democrat on the Transportation Committee, families of the accident victims may be eligible for higher payments. “We can’t allow anyone to suffer additionally due to an outdated cap based on mid-1990 dollars,” Senator Nelson said.

How to win a wrongful death lawsuit?

There are two main points that a catastrophic attorney needs to prove to win wrongful death claim:

  1. The death was caused by negligence or harmful intent on the part of another

Like the Amtrak derailment, negligence is often part of the cause for many accidental deaths. In general, negligence is a person’s failure to use the degree of reasonable care expected to minimize the risk of harm to another. You can file a wrongful death lawsuit in various situations, including:

  • Train, auto, boating, or airplane accidents
  • Exposure to hazardous substances on the job
  • Fatal injuries during sports and other supervised events
  1. The surviving immediate family suffered a financial loss

You may suffer financial loss due to the wrongful death of a family member, including:

  • Loss of income
  • Incurred medical expenses
  • Cost of burial
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of paternal guidance
  • Mental anguish

If a member of your family was killed as a result of another person’s negligence or recklessness, you may file a wrongful death lawsuit. At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, we have 24 years of experience helping families navigate the complicated world of wrongful death lawsuits. If you have any questions on this blog or need information on other personal injury queries, please call the Law offices of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath located in West Palm Beach at 1-800 4-RIGHTS (1-800- 474-4487) We welcome your call and look forward to helping you.

Amputation: Insurance woes

14 years ago, Laura Brumund lost her leg in a car accident. Today she is eager to get an improved prosthetic leg housed with a computerized knee. However, her insurance carrier has repeatedly denied her for coverage. The insurer claims that the knee is experimental and unnecessary. To Laura, however, the new knee is vital to help her keep up with her active 4-year-old son.

Accident victims, like Laura Brumund, who suffer serious injuries that require limb amputation or limb reconstruction, can incur extensive medical bills for recovery and rehabilitation. While technology aspires to restore amputees to an independent lifestyle, the rising cost of these advancements coupled with insufficient insurance coverage is sure to thwart progress.

The cost

The average cost of prosthesis directly relates to the type of procedure subsequent to the fitting. Studies calculate the cost over $81,000 for patients treated with reconstruction and over $91,000 for patients who had their limb amputated. Moreover, these studies project the lifetime healthcare cost at $509,275 for patients who undergo an amputation. The cost for patients treated with limb reconstruction is three times higher at $163,282. Inclusive in the cost is maintenance and replacement of the prosthetic device. Keep in mind that most devices must be replaced every three to five years.

Inadequate Insurance Coverage

Insurance companies tend to cap coverage of prosthetics at $1,100 for the lifetime of an amputee. Usually coverage does not include repairs or replacements. So, a prosthetic to fit an above the knee amputation — which includes a full prosthetic knee, foot and socket — the insurance does not come close to covering the total cos of nearly $40,000. The socket is the most expensive part because it is customized.

The Amputee Coalition of America continues to lobby state governments to write legislation which require insurance companies to cover prosthetics. The insurance industry, argues against such laws contending that they amount to healthcare mandates. Furthermore, It claims that by covering expensive artificial limbs for small group of people would only boost health care costs for the larger insured population. So far, only a few states have passed such bills.

Experienced Florida legal team

Insurance companies are in business to make huge profits; it takes an experienced legal team to induce them to pay appropriate settlements. If you’ve been hurt in an accident, contact us. It is crucial that a person who has suffered an amputation receive full compensation from the negligent party. If you have any questions on this blog or need information on other personal injury queries, please call the Law offices of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath located in West Palm Beach at 1-800 4-RIGHTS (1-800- 474-4487) We welcome your call and look forward to helping you.