Articles Tagged with Malpractice Attorney

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Medical Malpractice occurs on a daily basis. When it happens in a hospital setting, it can be difficult to figure out who was responsible.  There are two to three nursing shifts every day, attending physicians, consulting physicians, physician assistants, and resident physicians.

Take this case, for example: Our client went to the emergency department with a broken leg. The emergency department physician evaluated her and admitted her — not for the broken leg, but for the dizziness that caused her to fall in the first place.  Then began the extensive workup and multiple consults (physician examinations from different specialists).   On day one, the broken leg was placed into a removable walking boot for the next three weeks – a simple break that needed some stability.  No orders were written about that boot, (but remember, it was a removable boot). Throughout the next five days in the hospital, the patient saw several different consulting physicians for an extensive workup to uncover why she became dizzy and fell.  The patient also had 24 hour nursing care. On a daily basis, the patient saw several different doctors who reviewed and assessed different test results, the patient’s clinical presentation, and radiology/laboratory findings.  As each physician or nurse assessed this patient, s/he was advised of the extreme pain experienced by the patient.  Each physician reviewed and agreed with the existing pain medication order or orders more/stronger pain medication – and with the medication, the patient’s pain subsides temporarily. But by day five, the pain was excruciating.  Someone finally took off that removable walking boot…only to discover that the “simple broken leg” is gangrenous.  The end result: a below the knee amputation.

So, who was responsible for the treatment and care of this patient?

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Kathryn_WickenheiserKathryn Wickenheiser    kwickenheiser@kecheslaw.com

When filing a new lawsuit, one must keep the above law in-mind.  In short, we call this “60L Notice.”

Anyone intending to file a claim for Medical Malpractice in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts must give written notice of (6) six months (182 days) to each health care provider, entity and corporation intended to be named as a defendant.  This notice shall contain a factual basis for the claim; the applicable standard of care alleged by the claimant; the manner in which the claimant alleges the standard of care was violated; the alleged action that should have been taken to achieve compliance with the alleged standard of care; the manner in which it is alleged that the breach of the standard of care was the proximate cause of the injury claimed in the notice; and the names of all health care providers that the claimant intends to notify.  The claimant must also furnish a copy of all medical records related to the claim of negligence within 56 days of giving notice.

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Suzanne_McDonoughDiabetes affects blood vessels and can impair the delivery of blood to all parts of the body – eyes, kidneys, legs, and feet.  Diabetics are especially prone to develop foot complications such as neuropathy, vascular disease, and injury. Doctors caution diabetic patients to make foot care a part of the daily routine: to watch for cuts or unusual marks; to keep the feet clean and moisturized; and to control blood sugar levels. The goal is to promote circulation and never to impair it.

Healthcare providers must aggressively treat signs of circulatory problems in the feet of diabetic patients.  Wounds must be cleaned and debrided when necessary.  IV antibiotics may need to be used and patients may need to be admitted to hospital for observation and treatment.  Wraps, like ace bandages and casts, must not be applied too tightly and must be removed periodically for foot care and inspection.  Improper foot care can lead to amputation of the foot or even the lower leg.

Because diabetics are at high risk for foot problems, it can be difficult to prove that an amputation was necessitated by medical negligence rather than the natural course of the disease.  Our nursing and legal staff can sort through your medical records to determine whether healthcare providers rendered substandard care.  We will consult with expert witnesses to figure out whether poor care led to an amputation.

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Informed Consent is required before many medical procedures. Patients sign Informed Consent forms in doctor’s offices and hospitals. There are consents for anesthesia, surgery, certain medications and diagnostic tests or treatments. The typical Informed Consent form provides the patient with a list of things that can go wrong – “risks of the procedure.” For instance, one might bleed after surgery or develop an infection.

Suzanne_McDonoughSo, what does it mean to a patient who suffers permanent harm when one of those bad things happens? What it does not mean is that because you signed the form, you may not sue a doctor whose negligence caused the bad thing to happen. When a health care provider renders substandard care resulting in harm to the patient, the health care provider may well be liable for negligence – even if the event was contemplated by a signed consent. A doctor may not negligently injure a patient and then hide behind a consent form.

If a patient is harmed because a doctor withheld material information from the patient, that may give rise to another kind of claim for damages – even where there was no medical negligence.

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images-281By: Suzanne CM McDonough

508-821-4324

Featured on November 15, 2013 in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette was Keches Law Group’s most recent medical malpractice settlement for $4.25 Million

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images-281By: Suzanne CM Mcdonough

508-821-4324

According to the CDC, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men in the United States. Nearly 30,000 men in the United States die from prostate cancer each year.

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by Claudine A. Cloutier

Congratulations to the attorneys and to the plaintiffs who were just awarded a 63 million dollar verdict in a case against Johnson & Johnson.  The plaintiff suffered horrific and permanent injuries, requiring 16 surgeries and resulting in over a million dollars in medical bills. The result is a victory, not only for the litigants, but for consumers generally.

Unfortunately, the publicity that the verdict will rightfully receive, may skew the public’s perception of what usually happens in jury trials in Massachusetts.  In 2001, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly published Superior Court Judge Patrick Brady’s article and statistics showing that plaintiffs had won only slightly more that 10% of the trials that he had tracked. See 29 M.L.W. 2103 (May 21, 2001).  Judge Brady’s tracking was only wins and losses. It did not track the size of the jury verdicts versus offers of settlement that had been made before trial. As many practitioners have experienced, a jury verdict that is a “win” can be lower than the last amount offered just as easily as it can be much larger than the last offer.

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Charlotte_E_Glinka
by Charlotte E. Glinka, Esq.

Over the last couple of decades, big corporations and insurance companies have been working hard to convince the public that there is a problem in this country with lawsuits, and that those “frivolous” lawsuits are driving up the costs of goods and services, not to mention insurance rates, and driving smaller companies out of business. They’ve spent billions of dollars to sell you this propaganda. And why? Because big corporations and insurance companies would rather try to convince you that lawsuits are bad for the country than pay money on legitimate claims brought by innocent victims who have been injured or killed due to defective products, unsafe business practices or hazardous working conditions. The effect of their efforts is to try to deprive you of your right to access our civil justice system when you have been harmed due to the negligence or carelessness of someone else. And, what’s worse, they want you to let those corporations off the hook when their products or business practices harm or kill people.

According to statistics published by the National Center for State Courts, the number of filings for tort cases (the type of case that involves a wrong committed by an individual or a company that causes injury to someone), have actually declined by 25 percent in the last 10 years. Lawsuits are expensive and time-consuming and can take years to reach a final disposition in the courts. Who would devote the time and energy to pursue such a case, and incur up to tens of thousands of dollars in case expenses, if he or she did not have a legitimate injury? The answer is that no reasonable person would do that and no reasonable attorney would take that case.

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By Charlotte E. Glinka, Esq.

Charlotte_E_Glinka
As anyone who watches pro football, or has kids who play in youth sports knows, head injuries and concussions are becoming an increasingly concerning problem.This past year, the City of Boston started its bicycle sharing program called Hubway, which allows bike riders to pick up a bicycle from various locations throughout the city to use for easy transport from place to place. Other cities have followed suit and are now starting bike sharing programs of their own. As great an idea as it is, though, one significant problem has been that there were no helmets offered with those bicycles. Recently, Mayor Menino has indicated that the city will now offer helmets to riders using the Hubway bikes. The mayor is to be commended for recognizing this important health issue and taking steps to remedy this problem. Now, Boston has implemented another initiative through a city ordinance that requires public and private schools, youth sports organizations, after-school athletic programs and community centers to have concussion training and management procedures in place before teams can take the field. More cities and towns are tackling this problem through efforts designed to protect young athletes from the hazards of head injuries.

But these injuries don’t occur only in sports. Car, motorcycle and bicycle accidents, falling objects at a retail store, slip and fall incidents, accidents at work – head injuries and concussions can occur in many different settings. For example, they can occur from the acceleration and deceleration forces associated with a whiplash injury, even where there is no direct trauma or impact to the head. Head injuries and concussions can cause a host of problems – from relatively mild problems like headaches to more severe cognitive problems such as memory loss, impaired attention and speech deficits, to even more severe problems such as depression, extreme mood swings and volatility. While these injuries may get better over a period of weeks or months, the consequences of these injuries can sometimes last much longer – something called post-concussive syndrome – that may involve ongoing medical and psychological treatment, extended periods of time out of work, the loss of one’s career, and sometimes the loss of one’s relationships with family and friends.

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