Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

A Georgia doctor who wanted to be known as the “dancing doctor” will no longer be a doctor in the State of Georgia. In a fantastic story by the New York Times, the dermatologist, whose name is Dr. Windell Davis-Boutte, would stop in the middle of her surgeries and perform a dance routine to popular hip-hop and rap songs. Then, the doctor would post them to her social media account, which was deleted after more than 100 patients came forward and several lawsuits were filed against the now-disgraced doctor.

Davis-Boutte advertised herself on her website as having “MASTERFUL SURGICAL EXPERTISE, having sought additional extensive training by some of the most famous surgeons in the world.” The patients who were harmed during her surgeries provide a different story. One patient, who was included in a video of the former dermatologist dancing to the song “Cut It” received a botched liposuction, breast augmentation, and Brazilian butt lift operation all on the same day. In the video, one of the 20 provided to the New York Times, the former doctor prods the midsection of the patient and then finger rolls her skin to the beat of the song. According to the newspaper, once the hook begins she starts “slicing the air with her scalpel… then making incisions, her scalpel moving rhythmically to the song.” The day after the surgery, the patient had a “collapsed lung and suffered from anemia because of her acute blood loss.”

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A new report by Christiana Care Health System showed that medication errors occurred in 47 percent of ICU Transfers. The study which followed 985 patients at almost 60 different ICUs across the East Coast who were transferred from the ICU to a non-ICU area in the same hospital or medical unit.  According to the study, an average of 1.88 errors occurred per patient transferred out of the ICU, a startlingly high number.

The report, authored by Andrea Tully and detailed in MDMag.com, found that the most common errors related to anti-infectives, hematologic agents, and intravenous fluids, electrolytes or diuretics. The patients with the highest risk of a medication error were patients taking the most medications and patients in need of renal replacement therapy. While 75 percent of these medication errors were deemed “Category C” which meant no actual harm or minimal harm caused to the patient, a full 25 percent caused harm to the patient. According to patient care advocates, these numbers are unacceptable.

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In an attempt to advance the medical field, a world-renowned heart surgeon stands accused of violating ethical rules and harming patients, according to a groundbreaking report by ProPublica. The heart doctor, O.H. “Bud” Frazier, is credited with saving thousands of lives in his obsessive, career-long drive to create an artificial heart. However, to reach his admittedly noble goal he skirted ethical guidelines, defrauded Medicare, and harmed patients in an attempt to advance his research. Perhaps most disturbingly, his clinic, Texas Heart in Houston, along with several other doctors on the staff, apparently knew of Dr. Frazier’s ethical lapses and proceeded to either do nothing or actively hide the illegal and immoral behavior, according to the newspaper’s expose.

According to ProPublica, Dr. Frazier, who quit performing surgeries last year when he turned 75, is accused of the following:

  • Inappropriately diagnosing patients with advanced stage heart failure, in an attempt to install experimental heart pumps in the patients. According to hospital records viewed by the newspaper, an internal investigation made the Board of Directors at St. Luke’s Hospital, the hospital in charge of Texas Heart, aware of the problem who wrote at the time that if “…the affiliation should be dissolved, the impact to St. Luke’s market position is unclear. It’s likely that such news would generate national attention and negatively impact our standing in the US News and World Report rankings.” The executives chose to do nothing at the time.

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New York hospitals rank among the lowest in the nation for patient safety, according to a non-profit group. The Empire State ranked 48th out of the 50 states, a one-spot improvement from last year. Overall, almost 6 percent of hospitals received an “F” for patient safety – a notable increase from the nationwide average of under 1 percent. A total of 137 hospitals in New York were graded, according to NBC New York.

The rankings, which are released every year, are released by Leapfrog Group and rank 2,500 hospitals across the country. The grades – ranging from an “A” to an “F” – are based on the rate of hospital errors (including medication errors), accidents, infections, and the number of preventable pressure ulcers, among several other factors. Leapfrog Group ranks hospitals individually and then aggregates the data and ranks each state collectively.

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Doctors and legal financing companies are pushing women into receiving unnecessary surgeries in a brazen attempt to win legal settlements, according to the New York Times. The article focuses on women who have received vaginal mesh implants – a medical procedure fraught with problems for some women. In the illuminating piece, women with these implants are contacted by legal financing companies, which offer high-interest rate loans to finance removal of the implant. In the end, the women typically receive an unnecessary, and sometimes unsafe, medical procedure that they are then forced to pay for over time, with a high-interest rate attached.

The article describes the process as follows: Women with vaginal mesh implants are contacted by a legal financing company. The women, who may or may not have any side effects from the device, are warned of impending doom – in one instance described by The Times, a company representative told the woman that her life was in danger. These women, understandably alarmed, are then told that doctors can remove the implant and the women can even receive part of any legal settlement from the supposedly malfunctioning device.

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A recent study highlighted the improving areas of medical care in the United States. Released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the study tracked seven main criteria related to healthcare between 2000 and 2014 – person-centered care, patient safety, healthy living, effective treatment, care coordination, and affordable care.

Here is the breakdown on how America’s healthcare system changed according to each of the metrics:

  1. Person-Centered Care. The study defined “person-centered care” as whether or not a patient achieves their healthcare outcomes, not merely whether a disease has been effectively treated or managed. Overall, the trend for this metric has markedly improved since 2000. A full 83 percent of patients who had visited a doctor in the last 12 months reported improvement in person-centered care. Perhaps as important, none of the patients indicated their care “worsened” on this metric during the fourteen-year period.
  1. Patient Safety. Keeping a patient safe while in a hospital or doctor’s office also saw an improvement during the study. Overall 66 percent of patients reported an improvement in this metric, which reflects broader trends of data available in this area. Between 2008 to 2014, the number of infections related to a central venous catheter dropped from 1.9 per 1,000 patients to 0.67 per 1,0000. Similar improvements in patients receiving hip joint replacement surgeries. In 2009 a full 16.4 percent of Americans undergoing this notoriously tricky procedure reported “adverse effects”, a number that dropped to 9.8 percent by 2014.

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Cindy Frey, the widow of late Eagle’s co-founder Glenn Frey, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Mt. Sinai hospital and physician Steven Itzkowitz. The lawsuit alleges the hospital and doctor were negligent in failing to properly diagnose and treat the health conditions that led to his untimely death in January 2016. Frey died at the age of 67 from complications resulting from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia, according to The Rolling Stone.

glen-frey-wrongful-death-300x158According to the lawsuit, Glenn Frey was under the care of the Upper East Side hospital and Dr. Itzkowitz between October 2015 and November 2015. The lawsuit alleges that a competent doctor, acting in similar circumstances, would have diagnosed and promptly treated the Eagles co-founder’s “ulcerative colitis and associated symptoms.” Ulcerative colitis is a form of irritable bowel disease. Further, the lawsuit filed in New York Supreme Court, the lowest court in the Empire State, a competent doctor would have assessed Frey’s respiratory problems – the ultimate cause of his death. Dr. Itzkowitz, according to the lawsuit, did not properly check for the problems, diagnose the infection, or hospitalize him. Continue reading

law-300x125Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature have finally reached a deal on medical malpractice lawsuits relating to cancer diagnosis. Under the new law, cancer patients will be able to sue doctors and other medical professionals for a wrongful diagnosis or missed diagnosis of cancer for up to two-and-a-half years from the date the patient discovered, or should have discovered, the misdiagnosis.

There will, however, still be a limit on when these medical malpractice claims can be filed. Regardless of when the patient discovered or should have discovered the wrongful cancer diagnosis, the injured cancer patient will not be able to file a lawsuit once seven full years have passed after the doctor or other medical professional’s wrongful act. The new medical malpractice law will also be limited in two unique ways. First, it will only apply to a wrongful diagnosis of cancer or a missed diagnosis of cancer, other illnesses were not included in the final version of the bill. Second, while the law will apply retroactively in a severely limited manner – wrongly injured patients whose statute of limitations ran out in the previous ten months will only have six months to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in a New York Supreme Court. Continue reading

hidden-camera-300x204A Port Authority employee filed a lawsuit alleging that she was secretly videotaped during a medical exam. The employee, Charlene Talarico, said the incident happened during an exam in August 2016. Talarico is suing for unspecified damages, according to the lawsuit filed in a Manhattan federal court last week. Alleging emotional distress, pain and suffering, and other unspecified damages, Talarico is also asking the court to certify a class action on behalf of approximately 8,000 employees whose medical exams may also have been secretly recorded. According to the lawsuit, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey covertly records employees receiving medical care at all of its facilities.

Talarico, a senior administrative secretary, claims she was recorded without her permission while having her hand examined at the Port Authority’s medical office on Park Avenue.  While Talarico remained clothed for the entire exam period, the examination area had the same “privacy curtain” typically used in hospitals and doctor offices. Therefore, it is likely the video cameras set up in the examination areas also caught other patients while they were undressed. If Talarico’s allegations are true, the covert video recording would be a violation of the United States and New York constitutions – specifically, the federal healthcare privacy laws and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, according to the lawsuit. Continue reading

Two New York City hospitals are being sued for the damages caused by the release of allegedly dangerous patients from their psychiatric wards. In the past month, two lawsuits have been filed against New York City hospitals alleging that the hospitals behaved in a negligent or careless manner when they released dangerous patients into the tri-state area. These patients then went on to physically attack the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

subway-push-victim-300x200The first case involves Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, where a Queens man is suing the hospital after one of its patients pushed her husband in front of a subway car last year. Tragically, the man’s wife died as a result of the fall. According to the lawsuit, Bellevue never should have released the patient, Melanie Liverpool-Turner. Liverpool-Turner, a diagnosed schizophrenic, was allegedly ranting about killing transit riders while on an involuntary psychiatric hold at the hospital, according to filings with a Manhattan Supreme Court. Continue reading

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