Florida Supreme Court Rules In Favor of Consumers In Med Mal Battle

A man sitting in the hospital with a broken legShould a person who’s suffered a grievous injury due to the mistake of a medical professional or hospital have the right to sue for the disfigurement, pain, and suffering (called non-economic damages) of that mistake?

That’s a question that has roiled the nation for years and led some states to consider capping damage awards.

Where does the concept of capping originate?

Doctors and hospitals have long advanced the idea. They claim such awards add immense costs to healthcare.

The State of Florida enacted such a cap in 2003, one intended to limit damage awards for just these kinds of losses.

Was that law appropriate, fair or constitutional?

The Florida Supreme Court has just issued a decision in this matter in a case involving a woman who had her esophagus mistakenly perforated during a surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome.

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Would Your Hospital Admit A Medical Mistake?

Hopsitals' admission to medical mistakesIt’s estimated that medical errors cost the United States $19.5 billion a year – most of it in added medical costs. And that estimate is considered by many experts to be low.

It is also estimated that physicians in this country make 12 million serious diagnostic medical errors a year… and knowingly prescribe powerful and often toxic drugs that are ineffective 80% of the time.

The truth is that medical mistakes and malpractice are the third leading cause of death in this country[1].

Can anything be done to improve this situation?

Well what if your hospital had a strict policy of admitting when errors and medical malpractice occurred?

Actually – there are a few that do that voluntarily.

MedStar Health – a company operating 10 hospitals in the Baltimore, Washington D.C. area has a stated policy that “if the [need for further] care was preventable, we’re waiving bills…”

Sounds remarkable – right?

Sadly few hospital systems in the U.S. operate in such a transparent fashion. Sadder still is the cost to patients.   What happens to those people?

The fact is that of the many tens of thousands injured by medical mistakes each year – only a tiny percentage file a lawsuit to recover their losses.   For the vast majority – the cost of medical and rehab costs for the mistakes of their physicians and hospitals falls to them, the injured – often with catastrophic financial consequences.

“You would expect if [health-care providers] make the mistake, they would make you whole,” said Leah Binder, president of the Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization that grades hospitals on their record of preventing errors, injuries, accidents and infections. “But that is not what happens. In health care, you pay and you pay and you pay.”

Well there is a tiny glimmer of hope… some insurers are requiring that hospitals handle mistakes by providing all follow-up care for free. The industry group America’s Health Insurance Plans is one such group pushing for this reform.

Interestingly – research indicates that when healthcare providers are transparent about mistakes – patients are much less likely to sue… and that’s good for everyone.

If you or a loved one is ever the victim of a surgical error, a defective drug, the improper prescription of a drug therapy, over-exposure to medical radiation, a hospital acquired infection, a fall while in the hospital, a preventable blood clot, a misdiagnosis, or any form of medical malpractice, call a qualified Connecticut medical malpractice lawyer. A knowledgeable malpractice attorney can help to ensure that your rights are protected.

RisCassi & Davis has handled hundreds of medical malpractice cases over our 60 years serving the people of Connecticut.

What’s more, our Connecticut medical malpractice lawyers have received local and national recognition for our handling of these cases.

We have a great team of legal experts dedicated to medical malpractice in Connecticut.   Please contact us if we can help you. The consultation is free and there is no obligation of any kind.

 

[1] MEDICAL MALPRACTICE – BY THE NUMBERS, CENTER FOR JUSTICE & DEMOCRACY. 2015

RisCassi & Davis Wins New Honors

best_law_firms_2016_RisCassi_davisFor the 7th year in a row, the Connecticut personal injury law firm of RisCassi & Davis has been named a Tier 1 Best Law Firm in personal injury litigation for Hartford by U.S. News and World Report and Best Lawyers.

The U.S. News and World Report – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in the field, and a review of additional information provided by other law firms as part of the formal submission process. To be eligible for a ranking in a particular practice area and metro region, a law firm must have at least one lawyer who is included in Best Lawyers in that particular practice area and metro. RisCassi & Davis is proud to have 10 of 12 attorneys listed by Best Lawyers.

Why do honors like this one matter?

Choosing a personal injury lawyer is a daunting task in Connecticut. With so many law firms aggressively vying for these cases – identifying the truly qualified personal injury attorney for your case is difficult. That’s why we believe it’s so important to do your homework and ask some tough questions when interviewing attorney candidates.   Continue reading “RisCassi & Davis Wins New Honors” »

A Step That Saves Lives. Does Your Hospital Use It?

The aviation industry used it first.  Then the nuclear industry.  Years later it was tried for surgical cases.  Now all hospitals are encouraged to use them with all inpatients.

What is “it”?

Safety checklists.

Sounds simple and obvious, right?  And research shows they save lives and reduce the length of hospital stays.

Guess what.  The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates only 25% of U.S. hospitals currently use them.  And those hospitals that do, struggle to implement even basic, often paper-based checklists.

How is all this possible?  Lives are at stake…

Well – experts believe the difficulties arise from “a failure to create an organizational culture of safety”.

But why?

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Prescription Drug Deaths On The Rise In U.S.

Drug abuse in the U.S. has more than doubled, coinciding with a tenfold increase in the number of opiate painkiller prescriptions written for patients.We’ve talked a lot in the past about how big corporations like GM, Ford, Guidant and others sometimes act in ways that are helpful to corporate profits but harmful to consumers. Did you know that in just the past decade, people dying from prescription drug abuse in the U.S. has more than doubled, coinciding with a tenfold increase in the number of opiate painkiller prescriptions written for patients?   The CDC reports that prescription drug misuse now kills more people in this country than car accidents and firearms – and calls this current drug epidemic the worst in U.S. history.

Drugs that used to be prescribed for cancer and surgical patients are now routinely prescribed for patients with mild pain – especially older patients.  In just the last eight years, opiate prescriptions written for patients 60 years old and older has increased by 32%.  Sadly and perhaps tellingly – the United States (less than 5% of the world’s population) consumes 80% of the world’s supply of painkillers and more than two million are addicted.

How is this happening?

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Do You Have a Parent Who Suddenly Seems Out of It?

Does your parent suddenly seem out of it? They could be victim of medical malpractice.Do you have a parent who has suddenly become zombie like?  Have they recently seen their doctor?

According to U.S. government figures, physicians are increasingly prescribing two classes of dangerous and addictive drugs to the elderly – opiates for pain and benzodiazepines – psychiatric medications such as Xanax and Valium often used for anxiety.

According to one report, 55 million opioid prescriptions were written in 2012 for patients 65 years of age and older – a 20% increase in just the last five years. The number of prescriptions for drugs like Xanax has risen 12% in the same time period.

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