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Bergen County Medical Malpractice Law Blog

My doctor didn't order a biopsy. Should he or she have?

The first step in successfully treating a patient for cancer or other serious illnesses is acquiring a correct diagnosis. In most cases, patients can trust their physicians to take all steps necessary to acquire this diagnosis and then create an appropriate treatment plan. However, failure to diagnose medical conditions do still happen. In fact, misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose accurately is one of the most common reasons patients turn to medical malpractice litigation.

While medicine has made many amazing strides throughout its history, it is still an inexact science, which means diagnostic mistakes occur even from dedicated doctors. Despite this, physicians must be held responsible when they fail to abide by industry diagnosing standards, especially when the patient turns out to have cancer. The efficacy of cancer treatment is time-sensitive, meaning a speedy diagnosis is crucial.

Wrongful birth injuries: Their causes and consequences

Injuries to the tiniest of America's citizens -- newborn infants -- is a topic that no one wants to think about. Obstetricians and other medical personnel involved in the birth of babies care about what they do and no doubt work hard to ensure a safe delivery. However, birth injuries do still occur and some of them are caused by error rather than unpreventable circumstances.

Many times, an infant injured during birth will get better with time, experiencing no long-term effects. At the same time, some of these injured infants will never get better and may suffer from developmental delays, permanent physical conditions or even death.

Patient wins defamation and medical malpractice suit

When people hear the term "malpractice," most automatically envision grave injuries or even death. However, a shocking story shows that people can be harmed without experiencing bodily injury. The story centers on a male patient who inadvertently recorded the events that transpired during his colonoscopy procedure. The results are both shocking and a gross display of lack of professionalism.

The patient reportedly merely meant to record the doctor's post-procedure instructions, but what he captured was a slew of insults and mockery instead. Some of the derogatory comments he recorded include calling the patient a derogatory word for a mentally-challenged person, expressing a desire to punch him in the face, saying a rash on the patient was syphilis and stating he had "tuberculosis of the penis."

Are hospital infections in Bergen County caused by negligence?

In many cases, yes, some form of negligence could cause hospital-acquired infections to occur in New Jersey facilities. As hospitals hold a large number of sick people, germs may spread from person-to-person, especially if the staff becomes complacent about standard sanitary procedures. However, there are other ways negligence might cause a patient to acquire an infection during a stay in the hospital.

In progress reports provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it appears that three main types of infections might arise due to hospital negligence.

Medical malpractice case highlights issues of gender identity

American society is slowly but surely coming to accept the idea that gender can be fluid - including biological gender. While the vast majority of children are born with clearly male or female genitalia, there is a significant minority of children who are born intersex.

But gender is not just defined by a person's sex organs. There are also complex components of personality and social identity, and these components may not solidify for years. For this reason, many medical professionals now believe that gender assignment surgery at a young age is inappropriate, and could lead to significant problems for individuals who were surgically assigned one gender but identify as the other.

Preventing medication errors in New Jersey hospitals

In our last post, we discussed a recent report showing that New Jersey Hospitals rank fifth in the nation in terms of patient safety. The Leapfrog Group, a non-profit hospital watchdog, was behind the rating.

On the whole, the fact that New Jersey hospitals rank highly is great news for patients. But there is always room for improvement. In today's post, we'll discuss a common problem that many New Jersey hospitals continue to struggle with: medication errors.

New Jersey hospitals get high marks for patient safety in 1 study

For decades, Americans have been unable to "shop" for their medical care in the way they could shop for other goods and services. The hospital you chose was often chosen by geographic proximity.

In small communities and for emergency care, Americans are still largely unable to choose hospitals based on anything but geography. But increasingly, we do find that we have more choices in health care, which is why hospital ratings and safety scores have become important consumer tools. These rating systems also help states assess the quality of healthcare overall.

Federal bill includes troubling medical malpractice provision

In a medical malpractice lawsuit, expert testimony is often crucial for plaintiffs. Typically, the experts giving testimony are fellow medical professionals with substantial experience in the same field as the doctor being accused of negligence. Through their testimony, they attempt to show that the defendant failed to meet the standard of care which the patient was supposed to receive.

Establishing and meeting standards of care are obviously important in health care, which is why such standards are increasingly being tied to doctor pay. Government insurance programs like Medicare and Medicaid as well as provisions in the Affordable Care Act have set clear goals of paying doctors based on quality and value rather than just the number of services provided.

Tort reform stories in the media often reported without context

Several of our recent posts have been focused on the debate over "tort reform," specifically as it applies to medical malpractice lawsuits. The common argument made by tort reform proponents was that doctors were ordering expensive and unnecessary tests because they feared being sued for medical malpractice if they missed something or made a mistake. The practice is referred to as "defensive medicine."

Unfortunately, this is a myth that persists despite significant evidence to the contrary. And the media may be largely perpetuating this misinformation (though probably unintentionally). Two contrary articles put out within the last year suggest that certain news outlets report stories with little regard for the broader context.

Reduce lawsuits by addressing medical malpractice at the source

For years, influential figures in medicine, politics and insurance have worked to institute "tort reform" laws. They allege that America is too litigious, especially when it comes to things like medical malpractice. These so-called reforms promised to rein in the costs of healthcare by making it harder for patients to sue physicians/hospitals and by putting caps on damage awards.

The financial promises of tort reform have not been fulfilled, and many are now wondering if the proponents of these laws were trying to distract from the real problem. In a recent guest news article written by the president of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, Robert Weissman discusses an astoundingly simple idea that was largely left out of the tort-reform rhetoric. Instead of taking away patients' rights to sue and to be fairly compensated, why not just find ways to reduce medical errors?

$7.4 Billion Medicaid Recovery

Breslin and Breslin, PA, Donald A. Caminiti, Esq., was one of six law firms selected by the Attorney General of the State of New Jersey to act as special counsel to represent it in its lawsuit against the tobacco industry to recover Medicaid and other health related costs incurred by the state resulting from tobacco related illnesses.