Archive for the ‘Medical Malpractice’ Category

Weight Loss Surgery: New Year’s Resolutions and Complications

Weight Loss Surgery - Medical MalpracticeWe are well into the new year of 2018: did you make a New Year’s resolution? According to the online polling website YouGov, two out of three Americans do, and the top resolution that people make is to lose weight. Though eating better and exercising more are the safest and most-frequently followed pathways to weight loss, some people opt for weight loss surgery, which is usually accomplished either through an adjustable gastric band, a sleeve gastrectomy or gastric bypass. Though these surgeries are increasingly common that does not necessarily mean that they are always safe. There have been many instances in which people have suffered severe injuries or even died as a result of complications due to medical malpractice.

When patients opt for weight loss surgery, they are asked to sign numerous forms acknowledging that the procedure is inherently dangerous. Though these forms are intended to protect surgeons and medical facilities from being sued in case something goes wrong during the surgery, a signature does not give them permission to act negligently. Healthcare professionals are expected to perform with a degree of care at all times when providing medical care, and if their actions are deemed substandard, reckless or careless, it is considered medical malpractice. They can be held legally and financially responsible for the harm that they do.

There are a number of common injuries suffered by weight loss surgery patients that are indicative of medical malpractice. These include:

  • Failure to respond to reports of patient pain, leading to patient injury, illness or death
  • Failure to advise a patient against the surgery as a result of pre-existing conditions that add risk
  • Failure to diagnose postoperative infections or bleeding leading to patient injury or death
  • Postoperative leakage
  • Failure to treat postoperative leakage
  • Intra-abdominal hemorrhage
  • Gallstones
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Stomach perforation

Failure of a weight loss surgery to provide you with the weight loss you had hoped for does not constitute medical malpractice: patients have a responsibility to adhere to doctor’s orders and even an operation does not provide a magical effect: losing weight is still hard work. But if the doctor fails in his medical technique or in some other way falls short of the level of care that is expected as standard from others in the field, they can be held responsible for any resulting damage or loss.

If you or someone you love has been hurt as a result of medical malpractice, the attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers can help. Call us today to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.

SIDS – Advances in Prevention

SIDSSIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is one of the most devastating and heartbreaking events that a family can experience.

Roughly 3,000 infants die each year while they are asleep, and though there have been some advances in our understanding of the causes, there has been no decrease in the overall death rate since the 1990s.

Most of the improvement that was seen at that time is a result of better parent education and understanding of what constitutes a sleep environment and healthy positioning during sleep. But there are causes of SIDS that have nothing to do with the child’s environment, and which sometimes warrant a wrongful death lawsuit against those involved in the child’s prenatal care and birthing process.

A Safe Sleeping Environment

The biggest advances in SIDS prevention have come with improved recommendations on infant positioning and bedding. Parents are advised to:

  • Use skin-to-skin contact for newborns
  • Position infants on their back to sleep
  • Use firm sleep surfaces in cribs
  • Share room with parent
  • Always have infant on a separate sleep surface, designed for infant use
  • Avoid soft bedding
  • Do not use blankets
  • Avoid overheating
  • Avoid smoking during pregnancy
  • Avoid exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs
  • Breastfeed
  • Follow recommended schedule for immunization
  • Use a pacifier
  • Keep sleeping infants away from couches and armchairs

Malpractice and Wrongful Death in SIDS

SIDS can sometimes be caused by birth injuries or prenatal distress that had previously been undetected and are only discovered on autopsy.  These can be as a result of:

  • If blood is detected in the spinal cord, it suggests injury caused by trauma during birth
  • If lungs are found to be damaged, it may be a result of limited oxygen in the womb
  • If brain damage is discovered, it can be a result of stress in utero during a difficult delivery

The loss of a child is devastating, and the search for answers is painful, especially when faced with the possibility that the death could have been prevented. The wrongful death attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers are compassionate and understanding but also dedicated to helping you get the truth. If you suspect that your child’s death from SIDS is a result of negligence, contact us today. We will conduct a thorough investigation aimed at getting you the answers you need and the justice your baby deserves.

Pharmaceutical Errors that Happen at a Pharmacy

Pharmaceutical Errors For most patients, once they receive a script for medication, they go to the pharmacy to have it filled. Considering a doctor has ordered it and there are instructions on the script, few think about the potential errors that can happen at a pharmacy. In fact, many patients may be under the impression that once they hand over their script, little to nothing can go wrong. This can often be attributed to not feeling as though they are in a medical office and the grunt work of proper medication has already been completed by the doctor.

In reality, this is not true. In fact, there is more that can go wrong at the pharmacy as they are the ones handling the medication from dispensing, reading the script properly, and so on. Pharmacy errors account for a large amount of medication errors that cause injury to patients. Considering the damage many of the more powerful drugs can incur, handling such medication and providing proper warning as a pharmacist holds a lot of weight.

Pharmacy Errors

There are many examples of potential pharmacy errors. Dispensation errors account for nearly a fifth of all medication errors. This type of error is considered any error that happens in a pharmacy, as this is where the medication is dispensed. Despite its straightforward term, dispensation errors are far from simple.

This type of error can include a pharmacist misreading the script from the doctor or not entering the information accurately into the internal system. It is a simple oversight that can happen due to human error, but the consequences can be dire. For some pain medications, this can mean an increase in dosage that could lead to adverse interactions or worse. Many times, pharmacists assume they understand writing that is not legible from a doctor, leading to an assumed dosage or script that could be vastly different from the intended medication.

With proper training, most medication-related errors are preventable. Through double-checking and setting protocol and a company culture of rechecking scripts and calling medical offices for follow-up, pharmacists can help keep patients safe and ensure they have the right medication. If you feel you have been injured or harmed due to the negligence of a pharmacy, contact us today for a free consultation.

What Leads to Medical Errors in Healthcare?

medical errorsMedical errors occur as a series of events that lead to harm to a patient that could have been avoided. While many factors lead to a medical error, they stem from a lack of proper communication, lack of knowledge or planning. When a medical mishap is unavoidable, it is not considered an error, making errors completely avoidable. Despite being avoidable, it is estimated that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. However, this figure could be more daunting than realized, as many medical errors are never reported.

When you or someone you love has been harmed in a preventable event, the first thing that crosses most people’s minds is how this could have happened.

Poor or Lacking Communication

Good communication comes down to good documentation. In healthcare, everything should be written down. Even when professionals feel they can remember something, they should never rely on it due to how hectic a healthcare environment can be. Even further, it can still lead to medical errors since there are others working with patients as well. Something you do for a patient could influence how someone else works with the patient, unbeknownst to the first practicing physician.

Further, there is a saying in medicine that if it wasn’t written down, it wasn’t done. When recording treatment, it’s important to write what has already been done, what still needs to be done, and the overall plans for a patient or client to avoid mishaps. Reviewing notes is important in healthcare as the smallest mistake can have devastating effects on the life of the patient.


Being honest with your own skill and knowledge level in healthcare is imperative for everyone’s safety. To best help patients, healthcare professionals should take regular, honest assessments of the areas in which they need improvement, which everyone has. The key to avoiding unnecessary medical errors and injury comes down to honesty and receiving the guidance and resources necessary to overcome shortcomings in knowledge.

Exercising Judgment

In the medical field, using the best judgment can be a tall order since calls are made without all the facts or using information that has many potential interpretations. As such, it’s important to ask for help, use good planning such as different options depending on certain outcomes, and being attentive both to your patient and the treatment process.

With so many factors, it comes as no surprise that medical errors are common. If you or someone you love have been victim to a medical error, contact our team today for more information about your legal options.

When is it Considered a Medical Error?

medical errorSimply put, a medical error is when an “adverse effect or harm” occurs that could have been prevented, but its application is much less simple. In fact, whether something counts as a medical error comes down to how a series of events unfolds rather than a definitive definition. This begins with a lack of communication, inattentiveness or poor planning, which leads to an adverse effect or type of harm, leading to a preventable event.

The first and last part of the series events are what define whether it constitutes as a medical error and not a mishap. The main four categories to pay attention to in order to avoid a medical error include knowledge, attention, communication and planning. If these four areas are properly addressed, even if there are mishaps in a healthcare environment, it won’t be considered a medical error. Some errors happen more frequently than others. Understanding these more common errors can help healthcare professionals avoid legal issues in their careers

Common Medical Errors in Healthcare

While there is no reliable data on how common medical errors are in general due to underreporting and logistical issues, there is a lot of data on which errors are the most common.

  • Errors in treatment such as a treatment or a procedure being performed poorly or incorrectly. This could be anything from not positioning a patient correctly or using the wrong medical instrument.
  • Infections that are not treated properly or come as a result of personnel not following the proper control protocols. An example of this is doing a simple dressing change on a wound improperly, leading to infection.
  • Error in medication such as the wrong drug being administered or an incorrect dosage being measured out or dispensed.
  • Laboratory errors include test results being incorrectly reported or not being reported in a reasonable amount of time, which led to harm of a patient.
  • Falls can also be considered a medical error when they come as the result of a CNA not following proper protocol or procedure. Research on patient falls has concluded nearly all falls can be prevented.
  • Inaccurate or delayed diagnosis of a medical condition can also be considered a medical error.

Were you the victim of a medical error? Contact our team today to find out if you have a pursuable case.

10 Percent of U.S. Deaths Attributed to Medical Errors

medical errors malpractice In 2016, a John Hopkins University study revealed that medical errors had become the third leading cause of death in the United States, with only heart disease and cancer coming ahead in cause for death. That year, 251,000 preventable deaths were the result of a medical error. The study also showed that the CDC’s data was not accurate as it lacked a method to collect national health statistics that would properly classify medical errors as the cause of death on death certificates. This means medical error deaths are widely unreported, as they are often attributed to illnesses in which the patient sought care rather than the error that caused death.

The new study sparked a renewed interest in the topic of medical errors. This year at AAPA, a conference for the American Academy of PAs, Tatsiana Singh, MPAS, PA-C, Indiana State University Sycamore Center for Wellness, explained some efforts have been made that healthcare providers are aware of, despite the lack of reliable information. In the Institute of Medicine’s report in 1999, it was estimated that 98,000 people had died due to medical errors, which is what many articles had been referring to in the past, despite it being 30-year-old data.

This is due to a lack of attempt to review the information, with only a handful of attempts since on a national scale. A smaller-scale attempt that was published in the Journal of Patient Safety in 2013 revealed an estimate of 200-4000,000 annual deaths due to medical errors. Even further, there is a 10-20-fold higher, or 2 to 4 million people annually, of patients that suffer serious consequences due to medical errors but do not die. Looking at this information, it appears medical errors easily qualify as the third leading cause of death in the United States. These numbers could be a gross underestimate as the information is based on reviewing medical charts, which could be inaccurate.

Even further, there are some studies that suggest 10 – 30% of autopsies reveal misdiagnoses after the patient has died. The leading medical errors, based on the data from the Joint Commission, are operating on the wrong patient, doing the wrong surgery, or the wrong body part, followed by unintentional retention of a foreign object during surgery and delay in diagnosis. This means patients in the ICU and undergoing surgery are at the highest risk for medical error.

If you or a loved one have suffered consequences due to the negligent acts of a doctor, contact our team today to find out your legal options.

What Happens After a Medication Error by a Doctor?

medication errorWhile physicians have the background and knowledge to help people when they fall ill, they are fallible human beings. Even further, not all physicians have the same background and level of expertise, especially for more specialized conditions. In some cases, they may think the medication will help solve a medical issue and it winds up being the wrong choice. In other cases, there may be a clerical error in writing the script.

Prescribing medication is arguably the most important thing a doctor does. While seeing the patient has its importance, the end goal is to find the right medication or recommendation to help the patient fight off the ailment. However, when the wrong medication is administered, it does more than put a hitch in the proper regime needed. Instead, it puts the patient at risk for an adverse reaction, including allergic reactions and death.

The types of errors that can occur are widespread. Even when the medication is correct, the dosage could be wrong, which can have its own poor effects. For instance, if a patient has too much of certain drugs, they could be at much higher risk for complications and side effects. When a patient is not given enough, it may be the same as though they were not on medication at all. Depending on the ailment, this could have devastating effects. Even worse, when the wrong medication is prescribed, a patient could have an allergic reaction they otherwise would not have suffered.

Consequences of Medication Errors for Physicians

Writing an inaccurate prescription is considered negligence and could be grounds for a medical malpractice. In Connecticut, there are strict laws and regulations that protect patients from negligent acts. These laws aim to give fair compensation to patients that are victim to a negligent doctor. For patients who die as a result of the medication error, a wrongful death case is nearly the same as a medical malpractice lawsuit but is used in cases where the victim dies.

However, medication error lawsuits are difficult to prove. The first part of a medical malpractice suit is to prove that negligence occurred, which means the right person must be named. This means knowing who prescribe and issued the medication. This could be many different staff members. At our law firm, we do the right research and have the resources to uncover who is liable for injury suffered by an unknowing patient. Contact us today to find out how our team can help your case.

Properly Negotiating with an Insurance Company

negotiation insuranceAfter a claim, whether it is a personal injury or auto accident or even a malpractice claim, you will have to submit a demand letter to the insurance company. Once that step has been completed, it’s time to gear up for negotiations. Ideally, you will have a legal team on your side for negotiations. Even if you do have a lawyer, it’s important to understand what goes into a negotiation to be best prepared for how things will proceed.

The Negotiation Process

The first call is always the hardest in any negotiations. The adjuster will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the claim and offer a settlement for an amount lower than the demand letter. At that point, a counter offer will be made that is higher than the adjuster’s amount but lower than the demand letter. Due to this, it’s important to have a high enough number in the original demand to lower during negotiations. On average, it takes two or three phone calls to reach a figure that is between the two offers.

A reservation of rights letter will come after the negotiations have begun. This letter simply protects the insurance company from the claimant saying the insurance policy covers the accident because negotiations began. The letter isn’t meant to trick the claimant but rather protects the insurance company from having to pay out a settlement before agreements are made.

Know Your Settlement Amount Ahead

As mentioned, the original demand letter should have an amount that is higher than what you expect to receive. To have that amount, you must first determine the lowest settlement you are willing to take. This should be based on your own information and should not be revealed to the adjuster at any point. Of course, you don’t have to stick with this figure. If the adjuster makes points that lower the figure that you didn’t consider, lowering the figure could benefit your claim in the long run.

Don’t Accept the First Offer

Just as you are high-balling your offer to get more money, the adjuster’s job is to low-ball the first offer to try to pay out less. This is also done to see if you know what you are doing, or may be a somewhat reasonable offer but is lower than what you will accept. If it does seem reasonable, immediately make a counteroffer that is lower than your demand but a bit higher than the offer. This will show you are trying to be reasonable and could get to a quicker final settlement.

Ask for Justification

If you get a very low offer, ask the adjuster how they got to the offer. Rather than making a counteroffer, asking for a justification can reveal if they are using a tactic to get you down lower. Be sure to take notes on the reasoning. At this point, write a brief letter responding to the points. This will act as an unofficial secondary demand letter. You can lower the demand by a bit but it is advised not to lower too far to see if they adjuster will budge on the amount.

In the next phone call, ask for a reply to your letter. At this point, you should receive a more reasonable offer that is easier to bargain with and arrive at a reasonable offer. However, this won’t always work. In some cases, the adjuster will try to continually wear down your offer. Having a well-seasoned lawyer on your side can help. If you are entering negotiations of an offer from an insurance company and feel you are being unfairly treated, contact our team at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers today.

Wrongful Death Claims in Connecticut: Important Questions Answered

There are few times in life more emotionally-charged than losing a loved one due to the negligence or wrongful act of another person. Despite the emotions, it’s important to have the right information and important questions answered before pursuing legal action. While many will want to immediately hold the person accountable, it can pay off to take a step back and full understand what comes with the territory of a wrongful death claim.

What is a wrongful death claim?

The compensation gained from a wrongful death claim is meant to help financial aid family members following a fatal accident. This is often when the family members had been financially and emotionally dependent on the deceased.

Who can seek damages?

A good rule of thumb is whether the person is part of the estate. Surviving spouses and children are the most common, but surviving parents and other family members may also be able to seek damages.

What damages can be covered?

Damages following a wrongful death fall into two categories: economic and noneconomic. Economic damages include monetary losses and the expenses that came as a result of the death such as funeral arrangements and medical bills. Noneconomic damages cover losses and injury that are harder to quantify, such as lingering effects of injuries.

Can I be compensated for pain and suffering?

In a wrongful death suit, pain and suffering may be sought when the victim did not die instantaneously. Collecting for your own pain and suffering is much more difficult to claim.

Can I claim emotional distress as a bystander?

In some circumstances, damages can be sought as a bystander. Family members who witnessed the death or saw their loved one at the scene of the accident may be able to collect compensation for their emotional distress. They might be compensated for emotional and psychological injuries that would be expected from the loss of a loved one.

Can I seek damages for loss of consortium?

When your spouse passes away and you have children, you are losing your parenting partner. In Connecticut, you can seek compensation for the loss of the ability to enjoy their companionship such as the spouse’s affections, companionship and sexual relations.

If you have lost a loved one suddenly due to the careless actions of another person, contact the Connecticut wrong death lawyers at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers to find out how we can help.

How Adjusters Calculate Pain and Suffering After an Injury

Connecticut Slip and Fall LawyerWhile it may seem difficult to put a numeric value on the pain and suffering one goes through after an injury, compensation for damages has to be calculated. This type of damages is classified as compensatory damages. The compensation is calculated based on a variety of factors, including the severity and duration of pain, along with the symptoms of lingering pain and emotional distress. Unsurprisingly, lingering symptoms can be difficult to prove in general, and even more difficult to reflect in a court-of-law.

When looking to prove you have been through pain and suffering following an injury, it is important to understand how an insurance adjuster will calculate pain and suffering.

Calculations Used

After you have completed your medical treatment and therapy, coming up with the monetary amount for medical care is relatively easy. However, putting a monetary amount to your pain and suffering is much more difficult. So how do adjusters do it? The basic method used is the 1-5x multiple system, where one is the lowest pain and suffering, whereas five is the highest amount. They will consider the following aspects:

  • Severity of an injury. Soft tissue injuries tend to stay within 1 – 2x the full amount of your care. However, harder injuries, such as a broken collarbone, will likely be between 2 – 3x as much. Brain damage, however, will be put at 5x or more of the amount.
  • Liability of the insured person. If the victim is partially at fault or a third-party intervened in such a way that contributed to the accident, the question of liability may affect compensation.
  • Future prognosis. When extended medical treatment is clear and evident, the amount of pain and suffering is increased. This is because having to go through long-term treatments adds to the emotional distress of the ordeal, making the award much higher.
  • History of jury verdicts. Many find it surprising that other awards could influence their award. Geographic location plays a huge role in this aspect of calculation. Someone injured in the Midwest will likely have a lower award than someone in NYC, which an adjuster takes into consideration.
  • Exceptions. When the aftereffects of an injury are high but the cost of medical care was low, the case will be considered under its own merits.

Don’t let an adjuster be the full force in deciding what you deserve after a personal injury accident. Our Connecticut personal injury lawyers at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers understand how adjusters work and how to present a better case for a more profitable outcome.