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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.

An audit of Westchester Medical Center (WMC) found company executives were paid millions of dollars in bonuses between 20013 and 2015. State Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli’s office found that $4.6 million dollars were to paid to 18 employees without sufficient record keeping as to why the payments were made.  The hospital was audited because it is a public authority, meaning it follows different state laws than the state’s nonprofit hospitals. The audit did find that some largest bonuses, paid to the CEO and CFO, followed state regulations; the two top executives were paid a total of $2.7 million in bonuses over three years.

WMC officials disagreed with many of the findings and noted they will be implementing a new bonus payment program in order to better comply with the state law and regulations cited in the report. The health system stated they maintain their total compensation approach and salary withhold process are in compliance with the incentive guidelines set forth by the Comptroller’s office. Auditors noted that in the past, state regulators have required an evaluation program with specific criteria and other rules. Continue reading

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released their new hospital grading system in July, called the Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating. The system rates hospitals in a way similar to movie theater ratings prompting criticism from a group representing care centers in New York.

The first report was released in July after a three month delay due to hospitals and other medical groups questioning of the methodology used. The new system focuses on rating areas that were not previously available to the public, such as hospital safety and mortality ratings. The ratings will be published quarterly and will include new measures and remove retired measures. Continue reading

Coney Island Hospital (CIH) received a one-star rating on The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid’s (CMS) new rating system, after city officials boldly defended the facilities quality of care. The CMS released their first report card in July 2016 on the 3,600 hospitals in the country, after a three month delay due to criticism. The system grades hospitals on a one-to-five star scale, based on the following seven categories: mortality, safety of care, readmissions, effectiveness of care, timeliness of care, uses of medical imaging and patient experience.

CIH is a one of 11 city-run public hospitals, which all received low ratings on the grading system; eight of the hospitals received a rating of one-star while the remaining three received two-stars. Over the past year, there have been several articles published on the less than favorable care the hospital provided, including the death of a patient due to misdiagnosis in the emergency-room. Dr. Ramanathan Raju, President and CEO of NYC’s municipal-hospital system, fought against these accusations by saying he has used CIH himself for 15 years and sends his children there. In May 2016, Raju told hospital staff not to be “distracted by misguided attempts to tear down the essential work of the public-hospital system.” Continue reading

Delfino Cuautle, a 46 year old resident of Brooklyn, NY lost his right leg due to medical malpractice and flaws in management that resulted in a 13 hours of agony. Cuautle was leaving work on September 22, 2015 around 6 A.M. when he was struck by a car; EMS arrived within three minutes of receiving the call and taken to Coney Island Hospital for medical treatment. Within an hour of being at the hospital, doctors determined there was no blood in his right leg which was cold to the touch. A C.T. scan showed Cuautle was in need of emergency vascular surgery in order to rescue the limb.

Coney Island Hospital does not have a vascular surgeon so a call was made to the emergency number at Kings County Hospital. The emergency number is supposed to be answered within three rings, however no one picked up forcing them to leave voicemails. Cuautle was transferred to Kings County Hospital after 2 P.M. but Coney Island Staff forgot to send the C.T. scan with him. Despite the cities new $1 billion electronic medical records system, they could not send the scan electronically causing another C.T. scan to be done at Kings County Hospital delaying surgery for another three hours. Continue reading

According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report, the United States (U.S.) has the highest vehicle crash death rate of 19 high-income nations, such as Belgium, Slovenia, Spain and France. In 2000, each of those countries had a death rate of 14 per every 100,000 people. The U.S.  rate decreased 31%, however this paled in comparison to the 59% decrease of other comparable countries. The greatest reduction was seen in Spain with a decrease of 75% from 2000 to 2013; Slovenia also reduced their rate by 62%.

limo-accident-1439099In 2013, the U.S. had the highest death rate, remaining in the double digits at 10.3 per 100,000 while other nations significantly reduced their rates. Belgium remained at second highest, however their rate significantly lower at 6.5 per 100,000. The year 2013 also saw the loss of 33,000 U.S. lives year due to motor vehicle related crashes.  The nearly 33,000 people who died in car crashes in 2013 is almost 10,000 more than all of the vehicle-related deaths in all comparable 19 countries, while the U.S. population does not amount to the total population of those countries.  If the U.S. was able to maintain the same death rate as Belgium, approximately 12,000 lives would have been saved that year and $140 million in medical expenses avoided.

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In 2011, a researcher from the Triple AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety published a report on the death rate in pedestrian-car accidents based on federal study of car crashes from 1994-1998; the study found the faster a car was going or the older the pedestrian, the deadlier the outcome of the accident. Lena Groeger, the author of the cited article, created an interactive chart based on the Triple AAA data, showing the correlation of speed and the age of a person, which is available on the link below. The interactive chart shows a 30 year old hit by a car going 45 mph has about a 50% chance of being killed, while a 70 year has a 50% chance of dying when hit by a car going 35 mph. Although these percentages are not exact, they show that age makes a significant difference.  In addition to age playing a role, the chart shows that cars going over 20 mph rapidly become more deadly.

According to the Triple AAA data, a person is 70% more likely to be killed when struck by a car going 30 mph versus 25 mph. In 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio decreased the speed imageNew York City (NYC) speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph. NYC saw the fewest traffic accidents in 2015 since 1910; there were a total of 231 deaths with 134 of them being pedestrian.  Many saw the decrease in the speed limit as unnecessary and annoying but it makes a difference in the survival rate of those who are hit. Tobias Niebuhr, a statistician at the University of Hamburg who studies pedestrian risk recently published a study showing oldespeed imager people are more likely to seriously injured or killed at all collision speeds. Continue reading

A pediatrician recently recounted his experience at Coney Island Hospital as a resident to the New York Post.  The MD reportedly witnessed terrible patient care, especially for children. The physician wished to remain anonymous as he discussed the negligence, substandard care and poor supervision he observed at the hospital during his three years of residency. The physician was warned by colleagues about how unsafe the hospital was and it was not long before he realized that it was especially dangerous for children.

A fellow physician was working his usual shift when a frantic father ran into the pediatric clinic holding his son five year old son.  The boy appeared almost gray, was not breathing and had a dangerously low pulse. The father was not able to explain what happened because he did not speak English and a translator was not available. After a few moments, the child’s pulse stopped. The doctor began CPR immediately and ordered the nurse to get an IV and an adrenaline shot from the crash cart. The nurses looked at the doctor with a blank stare because they did not know what he needed or where to find it; and the supervising doctor was nowhere to be found. Continue reading

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.

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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.

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