New Fla. Law May Deter Medical Malpractice Suits


Posted on 3rd July 2013 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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Here’s one way to discourage people from filing medical malpractice suits: Allow the doctors and hospitals they want to sue to have access to all their medical records, violating their privacy.

A new law in Florida, being challenged by several trial attorneys, permits defendants in medical malpractice cases to get access to a plaintiff’s health care records, from all their health care providers, according to Insurance Journal. In five different lawsuits, trial attorneys argue that this violates the patient privacy safeguards in the federal Health Insurance Portability ad Accountability Act.

The trial lawyers, rightly so, maintain that this law will stop patients from filing malpractice suits, for fear that sensitive personal information about them will be made public, according to Insurance Journal. This law is so heinous, it permits potential defendants to contact health care providers even before a suit is filed, without consent of the would-be plaintiffs.

The trial lawyers suing are seeking an injunction to stop enforcement of the law, which they allege violates patients’ rights.

What kind of information would a patient be wary about becoming public?

Well, one woman whose child was born with a seizure disorder is considering filing a medical malpractice suit, Insurance Journal reported. But she was raped during her pregnancy, and she wants that information kept confidential. So because of the new law, she may not sue now.

Quadriplegic Suffers Traumatic Brain Injury When Ventilator Dislodges


Posted on 29th November 2010 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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Here’s a textbook lesson in how nurses should not care for a patient.

You have quadriplegic patient who is on a ventilator. His ventilator accidentally becomes disconnected, setting off a warning light at a nurses’ station. You don’t notice the flashing light, and for 24 minutes the man’s brain is deprived of oxygen. The patient suffers traumatic brain injury and develops a seizure disorder. You get sued.

That’s the case in hand.

The family of Robert Knowles has filed suit in Suffolk County Supreme Court against the Medford Multicare Center on Long Island, N.Y., over the March 21, 2009 incident, according to the New York Post. The state Attorney General’s office is also investigating the incident. 

Knowles, an ex-truck driver, broke his neck when he fell from a ladder on Dec. 30, 2007. But he did not let his paralysis daunt him. He got around using a wheelchair that he controlled using a strawlike device that he would blow into. But then Knowles was admited to the Medford facility, and his life took another sad turn. 

When Knowles’ ventilator got detached, it set off a blinking green light on a computer screen. But for 24 minutes, none of the medical staff noticed that the warning light was on. According to the Post, there is a video from a surveillance camera that shows medical staff  “fiddling around” as the light flashes.  

Not surprisingly, Medford officials didn’t return the Post’s phone calls seeking a comment.

St. Vincent’s Hospital Closure In New York Leaves Those With Malpractice Suits In ‘Legal Limbo’


Posted on 13th May 2010 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan has closed, creating a quandary for hundreds of plaintiffs that have medical malpractice suits pending againt the shuttered facility, the New York Daily News reported Thursday.

These New Yorkers, an estimated 260 people, have been left in what The News calls “legal limbo” in terms of their litgation against the now bankrupt hospital.

 These victims may never collect damages against St. Vincent’s, because the hospital’s assets are now in Bankruptcy Court. 

The pending lawsuits include cases where babies suffered brain damage during delivery, according to The News. 

St. Vincent officials decided to close the hospital, creating a furor in its Greenwich Village neighborhood, because the facility is in debt for $1 billion. The hospital then filed for bankruptcy.

The News reported that St. Vincent’s was self-insured against medical malpractice suits, and had set up a trust fund to pay for successful claims.       

But that fund “is underfunded by $150 million to $250 million — and its holdings would first be doled out to priority creditors rather than potential victims,” according to The News.  

A number of the malpractice suits are either in the pretrial or trial stage.

So these the unfortunate familes of victims, those who died and those still living, have no recourse, and must bide their time to see if St. Vincent’s real estate generate enough money to ultimately reach them.