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Boston Medical Malpractice Blog

Massachusetts construction worker dies ta work site

Many Boston, Massachusetts, construction workers are able to successfully do their work without getting hurt. Others, however, get hurt in construction-related accidents. Those who do may be able to secure workers' compensation.

One construction worker, who was at the Woburn Library construction site, was killed while working recently. The Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, known as MassCOSH, released a statement saying that the death shows how dangerous the construction industry is.

What you need to know: Appealing a workers' compensation denial

You’ve been hurt on the job. Your injuries are preventing you from living the life you once did. You worry that there will always be pain. What if you can’t work again? Or, what if you can work, but not in your chosen field? With all these worries and questions already in your mind, learning that your workers’ compensation claim was denied can feel like such a crushing blow.

If your claim was recently denied, though, now is not the time to give up. Rather, now is the time to further investigate appealing the denial.

Cerebral palsy can be due to pregnancy and labor problems

For expectant Boston, Massachusetts, mothers, childbirth is supposed to be a blessed time when their baby daughter or son finally gets to emerge into the world after nine months of preparing to do so. Unfortunately, in some cases, medical malpractice may result in pregnancy-related injuries. Those injuries may severely affect the long-term health of the child. Parents who find themselves in that situation will of course want to secure alternative medical care for their baby. After that, they will also want to secure an attorney to pursue damages that will allow them to pay for that care.

One result of poor work by attending medical personnel during pregnancy can be the baby having cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is often caused by conditions before or after the baby is born. Key among those conditions is a lack of oxygen, referred to as asphyxia, during labor or delivery. That lack of oxygen can cause serious damage to the baby in a short period of time, damage which can manifest as cerebral palsy.

Can you prevent a surgical 'never' event from happening?

In health care, a "never event" is a serious, preventable error that should simply never happen. If it does, it indicates significant problems with the procedures designed to ensure patient safety.

Some of the most classic -- and horrifying -- examples of never events include surgical procedures that are preformed on the wrong body part or wrong patient altogether. Classic examples include things like patients who receive right-knee replacements instead of left-knee replacements or a patient scheduled for a hernia operation being confused with another patient who needs cardiac surgery because they share a similar name.

Why hospitals can be held liable for their doctors' malpractice

Doctors aren't the only ones that can be sued for medical malpractice. It's possible to sue anyone who comprises your medical team including nurses, physician assistants, and anesthesiologists. You can sue rehab facilities, pharmacists, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies as well. At the crux of any medical malpractice lawsuit is the ability of a plaintiff to prove provider negligence.When it comes to hospitals, they can be held liable for both their own negligence as well as that of their employees. As for how or why a hospital can be held liable for their employees' actions, it has to do with the fact that they're expected to conduct risk assessments of their employees. If they fail to properly investigate their employees' education, licensing or training, they can be considered negligent.A hospital also has the responsibility to thoroughly investigate individuals with whom it is affiliated. For example, it's important for a hospital to thoroughly investigate the record of a physician before awarding him or her rights to treat patients at its facilities.It's also important that hospital administration stay abreast of state staffing minimums and any shortages that may exist. Many states have certain requirements in place that dictate what the staff-to-patient ratio should be in both hospitals and other health care facilities. A lot of resources have gone into determining what ratio is necessary to ensure that their patients receive the highest quality care.Hospitals also have as a responsibility to ensure that patients receive care that is aligned with what their personal physician ordered for them. If they fail to do so, they can be held liable for the consequences of not having done so.

If you've suffered an injury as a result of some type of suspected surgical error, you should discuss the details of your case with a Boston medical malpractice attorney. Only then can he or she advise you as to whether your case is a provable one.

Rare cancer misdiagnosis leads to chemotherapy, hysterectomy

Picture going through months of chemotherapy – even having a life-alerting surgery – all to treat the cancer that you did not really have? It’s a hard image to even process, but it’s a reality that some women are going through.

ABC News recently published an article looking into the frequency of cases involving women who are misdiagnosed with a rare form of cancer due to elevated HCG levels.

Spinal surgery malpractice statistics

The Spine Journal recently published a study that tracked medical malpractice cases involving spinal surgery between 2010 and 2014. Of the 103 lawsuits during that time frame that were listed in the WestlawNext databases, the following statistics were identified, with adjusted values for 2016 inflation:

  • Seventy-five percent of the cases ended in favor of the spinal surgeon.
  • The average settlement of cases where the plaintiff won and the case was heard by a jury was $4.9 million.
  • The average settlement of cases where the plaintiff won was $2.3 million.
  • Cases that involved nerve injury and orthopedic surgeons had much larger awards.
  • Informed consent was missing in 34 percent of cases. The average compensation in those cases was $2 million.
  • Cases that involved intraoperative complaints averaged $3.6 million in compensation.
  • Lower compensation was associated with wrong level surgeries.
  • Cases that ended in favor of the plaintiff took an average of 4.34 years. Those that ended in favor of the defense to 5.5 years on average.

The study authors concluded by saying, "Surgeons can protect themselves and optimize care of patients through clear and documented patient communication, education and intraoperative vigilance to avoid preventable complications."

2 Lessons to learn from $750k Massachusetts workplace injury case

A Massachusetts’s man was recently awarded $750,000 for injuries sustained on the job. The 52-year-old was removing ice and snow from a commercial roof during the winter of 2015. He slipped, landed on his feet and fractured his heel.

The man's attorney argued that her client wouldn’t be able to walk normally again. There was also concern that he would have issues finding future work due to his injuries. The jury agreed and awarded the man $750,000, pending appeal.

Just how bad can a slip and fall at work really be?

Slip-and-fall accidents are the bane of just about every workplace. It doesn't matter if you work in an office or an industrial plant -- you run the risk of falling on the job and losing precious time at work and the income that goes with it.

Slip-and-fall injuries aren't a common cause of occupational fatalities -- although they do sometimes happen. However, they are the primary cause of lost time from work and are the number one reason for a workers' compensation claim. They're also the number one factor behind occupational injury claims among workers aged 55 and up.

Patients should learn about health care-aquired infections

When Boston, Massachusetts, residents go into hospitals, they hope that they will emerge healthier than when they went in. However, in cases of hospital negligence, people often emerge from hospitals in worse condition than when they went in. Those cases include patients getting infections while in the hospital. For that reason, everyone should be knowledgeable about health care-acquired infections, also known as HAIs.

HAIs are appallingly common and are a profound threat to patients throughout the country. Nationwide, tens of thousands of people die because of these infections. Over a million people get the infections each year, a situation that incurs costs of billions of dollars.