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Boston Medical Malpractice and Workers' Compensation Blog

Settlements reached in nursing home negligence cases

This month, the Massachusetts attorney general announced fines and settlements with seven different nursing home facilities in the state. This is the final resolution to the allegations of "systemic failures" that injured multiple residents and cost at least five others their lives.

Under the settlements, the nursing homes must pay fines between $30,000 and $200,000. Five of the seven involved are mandated to upgrade the training of their staff in addition to the facilities' policies.

Reduce your risk of birth defects during pregnancy

No pregnant woman wants to dwell on the possibility that her baby may be born with birth defects. Yet, roughly 150,000 babies are born with one or more birth defects annually here in the United States.

In more than half of the cases, there is no way to determine the cause of these birth defects. Still, it's possible to take steps to the reduce risk of some birth defects and have a healthy baby. Mothers-to-be have to be aware of the situation and understand what they can do to help their babies get the best start in life possible. They include:

  • Breaking bad habits. Pregnant women know to eschew drugs, drinking and smoking, but some may be unaware of the dangers of caffeine to a developing fetus.
  • Take folic acid. Women of childbearing age should daily take multivitamins that contain 400-800 mcg of folic acid. Lack of sufficient folic acid in the early stages of pregnancy increases the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida occurring.

Black women face increased risk of dying in childbirth

Imagine experiencing the thrill of seeing your wife give birth to a much-loved infant, then just hours later seeing the life slip away from her as she bled out from an undetected birth injury. The distraught widower had only time to capture the baby's first moments of life with his mother before she succumbed to internal bleeding from the lacerated bladder that occurred during her cesarean section.

But the damage was done, and despite the husband pleading with the doctors for eight hours that something was amiss, her bleeding went undetected until she crashed and was rushed into emergency surgery.

Can I be fired after getting hurt on the job?

If an employee gets hurt on the job, the traditional trajectory of the incident is that they seek medical treatment, recuperate and return to work. During their recuperation period, they may draw workers' compensation benefits that supplement their income.

But sometimes, injured workers can't resume their job duties after an injury. If the damage was severe, they may not be physically able to do the job any longer. Employers must do all that they can to accommodate a returning worker in these situations.

What does your employer have to do regarding workers' comp?

As a Massachusetts employee, you know you have the right to certain types of financial support in the event you experience an injury at work. Workers' compensation benefits are available to most employees after a job-related injury, and you have the right to seek what you need to get better and move forward after a workplace accident. 

Your employer also has certain responsibilities regarding workers' compensation. In fact, if your employer does not do certain things, it can ultimately impact your ability to get the maximum amount of compensation you deserve from the insurance company. It is smart to know how you can secure the benefits you need, as well as what you can expect from your employer.

Celebrity psychiatrist sued by three former patients

You're supposed to be able to trust your psychiatrist. After all, this is the person to whom you bare your soul and share your darkest secrets and deepest fears. Yet, it's alleged that one Boston-area psychiatrist behaved anything but professionally with some of his female patients.

Celebrity psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow, who has a Northshore practice in Newburyport, stands accused by three female patients of engaging in sexual relationships with them that included degrading sadomasochistic behaviors. Three former female employees backed up the patients' claims with signed affidavits detailing his workplace sexual and emotional harassment of them as well. He allegedly struck a former office assistant while engaged in sexual intercourse with her and remarked that he desired having a master/slave relationship" with her.

Filing a safety complaint about your workplace

When you go to work each day you don't anticipate winding up in the hospital or even seriously injured to the point where you can no longer work. Workplace injuries are serious, and many of them are preventable. Employees have the right to file complaints against their employers with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) when they do not feel safe on the job.

The most effective way to file a complaint with OSHA is in writing. The complaint should be signed by the worker and/or the representative for the worker. When the complaint is signed, it makes it more likely for an onsite inspection from OSHA to take place. The written complaint can be filed online with an OSHA regional or area office.

Could your doctor be addicted to opioid drugs?

When you go to the doctor, you trust that they will use their combined skills, knowledge and experience to diagnose and treat any medical conditions you may have. To do this requires a sober mindset, however, and that could potentially become a problem.

As it turns out, there is a higher rate of substance abuse and addiction among physicians than there is in the rest of the nation's population. In comparison with the general 9 percent rate of addiction for those in the United States, the rate for doctors may be as high as 15 percent.

Could your hysterectomy kill you?

Women often have hysterectomies to remove cancerous organs or just the risk of cancer in their female parts. But there is a subset of patients whose hysterectomies actually spread their cancer throughout their bodies and kill them.

That can occur when a surgeon uses an advanced surgical technique known as morcellation. They remove the uterus through a small incision in a woman's navel. This process significantly reduces patients' recovery times from a month or longer to less than a week. It's a popular option, as approximately 11 percent of the half-million hysterectomies per year in America utilize this technique.

Your doctor should be able to recognize signs of fetal distress

As you journey through pregnancy, you may encounter numerous health challenges. From weight gain to sudden aversion to foods you normally enjoy, as well as trouble sleeping, and occasionally feeling as though you're riding an emotional roller-coaster, having a baby may be one of the most exciting, rewarding, yet difficult experiences of your life. If you've given birth in the past, you may have some idea what to expect although no two pregnancies or deliveries are exactly the same.

For this reason, it's so important to have a Massachusetts doctor you can trust. Through prenatal visits and proper attention and care during labor and delivery, you and your doctor become a team to help your baby enter the world in as safe and healthy a manner as possible. Your doctor is responsible for closely monitoring your condition and for recognizing potential problems, such as fetal distress so that he or she can take appropriate action to keep your baby and you from suffering injury.