Dedicated Aggresive
Legal Representation

The attorneys at Gallivan & Gallivan provide effective, aggressive representation to individuals injured in the New York area. Our priority is to maximize the recovery of our clients injured due to the neglect of others.

On May 6, 2016 six rallies were held throughout the state of New York by the Nurses Association to gain support for a bill that will create a standard for nurse to patient ratios. The bill, called Safe Staffing for Quality Care, calls for higher levels of staff at hospitals in an effort to provide better care for patients. The bill was introduced to the Assembly by Aileen Gunther, Assemblywoman of Forestburgh in Orange County. Gunther stated that the issue of safe staffing is very important to her as she is the only registered nurse in the Assembly; she also speaks with nurses who believe this bill would have a significant positive impact by improving patient outcomes, reducing nurse injuries and saving hospitals money.

If the bill were put into legislation, hospitals and nursing homes would be required to have nurse-to-patient ratios, develop minimum staffing requirements and staffing plans that would be submitted to the state Department of Health yearly as a pre-requisite for license renewal. Nurses will have the option of refusing work if proper staffing were not in place.  The nurse to patient ratio would vary depending on each situation, for example, one nurse to an operating room might be sufficient but one nurse to six patients might be sufficient in a well-baby nursing unit. Public access to staffing plans would also be required and civil penalties will be given if the plans are violated.

Continue reading

Recent research has found that medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United States. An analysis published by the BMJ last week showed that medical errors in hospitals and other health care facilities are very common, resulting in 251,000 deaths per year; more deaths than respiratory disease, accidents, stroke and Alzheimer’s. The study was led by Martin Makary, a professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Makary said the category of study includes everything from bad doctors to systematic issues such as breaks in communication when patients are transferred from one department to another. He also stated that people are dying from the care they are receiving rather than the disease they are being treated for.

med errorPatient safety has been an important topic within the last few years. In 1999, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report that labeled preventable medical errors an “epidemic”. This title shocked the medical community and sparked conversations about what could be done to stop this. The IOM’s report was based on one study that estimated 98,000 deaths a year occur as a result of medical error. The study conducted by Makary is based on four large studies taking place between 2000 and 2008. Continue reading

NYU Langone Medical Center was investigated by the state after a patient caught fire during surgery; the facility was cited due to lapses in safety procedures and communication.  The fire took place in December 2014 when a medical instrument accidentally reacted with the patient’s oxygen and sparked a fire. The Department of Health inspected the hospital and declared an “immediate jeopardy” situation due to the gaps in safety procedures and communication.  The New York Post was able to obtain the report on the incident through a Freedom of Information Law request,  however the report was heavily redacted.

The name of the patient, nature of surgery, and type of instrument that caused the fire were not revealed in the report, making it unclear as to what injuries the patient sustained. The operating room staff told investigators that a fire-risk assessment was conducted prior to the surgery, but they did not provide any details of the strategies or actions of prevention that were discussed. The operation room fire occurred at the beginning of December, but there was no evidence that the hospital took remedial steps to implement prevention protocols until the after the state inspection later that month.

Continue reading

A recent Triple AAA Foundation for Traffic (“Triple AAA”) study draws attention to the risks of distracted driving. Distracted driving refers to drivers who talk, text, and dial, including hands-free devices, while operating a motor vehicle.  It can also include those that eat or drink while driving.  Triple AAA’s study illustrates that driving while distracted is very dangerous and plays a significant role in motor vehicle accidents.   Continue reading

Americans file approximately 17,000 medical malpractice claims a year. Studies have shown that 75% of doctors in low-risk specialties have faced a medical malpractice claim in their career with the number shooting up to 99% of doctors in high-risk specialties.  A report by the American Medical Association in 2010 found that specialists, such as general surgeons and OB-GYN’s, are five times more likely to be sued than pediatricians and psychiatrists. This information suggests that being sued is a real possibility for many doctors, including your own.

There are several resources available that provide information on doctor’s licensure and malpractice suits. One resources is the state medical board that licenses doctors to practice in their state and handle disciplinary matters such as license revocation.  Many state boards have websites on which you can find information regarding whether your doctor has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, as well as malpractice suits. A second resource is the state department of health services, which provides information on hospitals including any complaints that were made against the facility. A third resource is court records which will contain whether your doctor has ever been sued in the state; copies of these records can be obtained online or in paper for a fee unless they are confidential.  For example, ecourts is one such resource in New York where one can search for plaintiffs and defendants in lawsuits.  The fourth resource is the Internet, where you can search your doctor’s name and keywords such as “medical malpractice” “malpractice suit” or “patient complaint” along with their name and location.

Continue reading

Ethel Easter of Harris County, Texas was wary of the doctor who would be performing a hernia surgery after some harsh comments he made to her. Easter was told by her doctor she would have to wait two months before her surgery could be performed.  She pleaded that she could not wait that long as she was terribly ill.  The doctor responded, “Who do you think you are? You have to wait just like everybody else.” After this comment, Easter decided to secretly tape record her surgery. Easter placed a small recorder in her hair extensions before entering surgery, when she played the tape back she was shocked at what she heard.

The surgeon began to criticize her immediately after she went under stating, “She is a handful.” He continued to mimic her, saying that she would contact a lawyer and file a complaint for having to wait longer than two weeks to book her surgery; the comments were followed by laughter of other staff in the room. She heard a female voice make fun of her belly button and a male voice saying “Precious, meet Precious.”; Easter believes this is in reference to actress Gabourey Sidibe’s overweight character in the movie Precious. Continue reading

On March 24, a train accident occurred in Mentz, NY resulting in the death of a passenger in the vehicle. The accident occurred at the North Main Street railroad station when a work van drove around the flashing lights and horizontal bars that signaled a train coming; one person was ejected from the vehicle and died. The accident occurred at approximately 6:50 a.m., leaving one line open for the passing of freight trains with both lines being open by 12 noon; the two sets of tracks are major routes with 50-60 freight and Amtrak passenger trains passing through daily.

Rob Doolittle, communications director for the CSX railroad, stated that the Federal Railroad Administration estimates that every three hours a person or vehicle is struck by a train. In 2015, there were 31 incidents in New York where a train struck a vehicle at a railroad crossing.  These accidents resulted in eight deaths and 59 injuries. Doolittle said the deaths were unfortunate and that people should pay attention at all times. People who live near train tracks may think they know the train schedule; however, it is never a good idea to ignore the warning signs because trains today travel quickly and are much quieter.   In some instances, drivers may not realize that as one train passes another could be passing in the opposite direction.

Continue reading

On April 1, a young construction worker fell to his death while working on a two-family house in Brooklyn. Alex Santizo, 21, of Queens was working on the second floor of the home when a piece of debris struck him in the head and caused him to tumble through an air shaft from the second floor of the building to the basement. NYPD arrived at the scene around 2:15 pm in response to a call reporting an unconscious person. A witness said that when EMS workers removed him his face was covered in blood; he was taken to the hospital, but could not be saved.

Santizo’s family gathered at the job site on Saturday in remembrance of him. His mother was deeply upset as she left her apartment in Queens, saying she was very sad and was going to be with her family. The family did not have any details about the tragic loss at the time, his mother said she heard it was an accident.

Continue reading

A report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) suggests that pedestrian cell phone use is almost as deadly as texting and driving. The report found a 10% increase in the amount of pedestrian deaths in the first six months of 2015; the largest year to year increase in those types of deaths within the last four decades. GHSA stated that this increase may also be due to lower gas prices resulting in more road trips being taken than in 2014. However, cell phones are known for having a strong hold on people’s attention that could be severely harmful.

walking textingRichard Retting, co-author of the report released by the GHSA, stated that there has never been a 10% increase in only one year. He also stated that the amount of cell phone data used on a regular basis is “explosive” which factors into the elevation of pedestrian deaths.  Studies have shown that people using their cell phones while walking have slower reaction times and pay less attention to their surroundings. As of January 2014, 9 of 10 adults in the United States owned a cell phone, which prompted lawmakers to ban texting while driving in 46 states and the District of Columbia. Continue reading

In a report released January 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found that there were 10,388 severe workplace injuries in 2015; 7,636 of those injuries resulted in hospitalization and 2,644 resulted in amputations. The manufacturing industry has the highest reported accidents, accounting for 57% of all amputations and 26% of all hospitalizations, followed by the construction, transportation and warehousing industries. This data was collected by OSHA from 26 states with higher safety standards than federally mandated.

The report came as the result of new regulations that require companies to report serious workplace accidents within 24 hours. This new program took effect on January 1, 2015 in an effort to reduce the amount of workplace injuries; currently there are 30 severe work-related injuries a day. OSHA stated that during investigations of fatal injuries they often find a history of serious injuries at the site, which was a wake-up call that safety issues were being disregarded. Continue reading