Jury Disregards Medical Malpractice Panel Findings

For the first time in NH, a Hillsborough County jury ignored the unanimous decision of a medical malpractice panel, and sided with the family of William Landry Jr., a 36 year old factory worker who died from heart disease in 2005.

Previously, Landry had visited his cardiologist three times after fainting spells and was told there was nothing wrong with him from a cardiac stand point. An autopsy revealed lesions on Landry’s heart and the Medical Examiner estimated that he had developed heart disease in 2004. The lawsuit charged that the cardiologist didn’t perform the right tests.

Medical malpractice panels are made up of a retired judge, physician and a lawyer. They hear the case in secret and the decision is non-binding. If the decision is unanimous, the jury can be told about the decision if the plaintiff decides to go forward with a trial. The process is designed to encourage the parties to settle; however, the lawyer for the cardiologist didn’t offer to settle once the panel gave it’s decision.

Ultimately, the jury disregarded the findings of the review panel and awarded the family $1.5 million.

Read the entire story by Mark Hayward, for the Union Leader.

If you have sustained medical injuries due to the error of medical professionals, a consultation with an attorney experienced with Medical Malpractice matters can make all the difference. The Lawyer Referral Service has specific standards for attorneys who receive these referrals from LRS. Call 603-229-0002 or fill out the online referral request form.

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No Thing Left Behind in a Patient

Every year there are an estimated 4000 cases of surgical items left behind in patients after surgery, and the vast majority of them are sponges used to soak up blood.  Doctors often use dozens of them inside a patient to control bleeding.

Many different items are mistakenly left behind in patients such as clamps and scalpels, but sponges account for about two-thirds of the items.

When balled up, soaked in blood and tucked inside a patient, a 4-by-4-inch cotton sponge is easy to miss, especially inside large cavities. Abdominal operations are most frequently associated with retained sponges, and surgeons are more likely to leave items in overweight patients.

Hospitals traditionally require that members of a surgical team, usually a nurse, count — and then recount, multiple times — every sponge used in a procedure. But studies show that in four out of five cases in which sponges are left behind, the operating room team has declared all sponges accounted for.

In recent years, new technology and sponge-counting methods have made it easier to remedy the problem. But many hospitals have resisted, despite the fact that groups like the Association of Operating Room Nurses and the American College of Surgeons have called on hospitals to update their practices.

As a result, patients are left at risk, said Dr. Verna C. Gibbs, a professor of surgery at the University of California, San Francisco.

“In most instances, the patient is completely helpless,” said Dr. Gibbs, who is also the director of NoThing Left Behind, a national surgical patient safety project. “We’ve anesthetized them, we take away their ability to think, to breathe, and we cut them open and operate on them. There’s no patient advocate standing over them saying, ‘Don’t forget that sponge in them.’ I consider it a great affront that we still manage to leave our tools inside of people.”

Now hospitals have a more technological approach at their disposal. They can track sponges through the use of radio-frequency tags. In a study published in the October issue of The Journal of the American College of Surgeons, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill looked at 2,285 cases in which sponges were tracked using a system called RF Assure Detection. Every sponge contained a tiny radio-frequency tag, about the size of a grain of rice. At the end of an operation, a detector alerts the surgical team if any sponges remain inside the patient. In the U.N.C. study, the system helped recover 23 forgotten sponges from almost 3,000 patients over 11 months.

Read entire story by Anahad O’Connor of the New York Times.

When doctors and nurses make mistakes, it can have a devastating effect on your life.  The Lawyer Referral Service of the New Hampshire Bar Association can help with a referral to an experienced attorney who has maintained specific education and experience standards in Medical Malpractice law.  Call 603-229-0002 for a free consultation, or fill out our online request form.

ABC News is Being Sued Over “Pink Slime” Reports

Beef Products, Inc., a South Dakota meat processing plant has filed a 1.2 million dollar defamation suit against ABC News, accusing it of misleading viewers into believing that “pink slime” is unsafe.

In court papers, the company said ABC falsely told viewers that its beef product was not safe, not healthy and not even meat, resulting in the 31-year-old company’s loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in profit and roughly half its employees.

“The lawsuit is without merit,” Jeffrey Schneider, senior vice president of ABC News, a unit of Walt Disney Co, said in a statement. “We will contest it vigorously.”

Six individuals were also sued, including ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer and the reporters Jim Avila and David Kerley.

ABC conducted a “sustained and vicious disinformation campaign,” Beef Products’ lawyer Dan Webb, chairman of Winston & Strawn and a former U.S. attorney in Chicago, said at a press briefing.

“To call a food product slime is the most pejorative term that could be imagined. ABC’s constant repetition of it, night after night after night, had a huge impact on the consuming public.”

The other defendants are Gerald Zirnstein, a former U.S. Department of Agriculture microbiologist credited with coining the term “pink slime;” former USDA employee Carl Custer and former Beef Products employee Kit Foshee. All appeared or were quoted in ABC’s reports.

William Marler, a lawyer for Zirnstein and Custer, said: “The complaint is completely bogus and frivolous, and we will defend these public employees vigorously.”

Read entire story by Jonathan Stempl at Reuters.com

Beef Products, Inc. has accused ABC of interfering with it’s business dealings with grocery chains and of product disparagement.  If you feel your business has been negatively impacted by false or misleading statements by others, the Lawyer Referral Service of the New Hampshire Bar Association can help with a referral to a competent attorney who specifically handles defamation matters.  Call 603-229-0002 or complete the online request form.

Ground Beef

Is Your Dog a Blacklisted Breed?

A pet owner is responsible for his/her dog’s behavior, regardless of whether or not the animal was provoked.  That’s usually where home owner’s or renter’s insurance comes in to play.  These policies typically cover the liability of the pet owner in the event of a dog bite or attack on the owner’s premises.

These standard policies cover most dogs. However, your pooch’s breed may be blacklisted by some home insurers. Many insurers classify Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes, Presa Canarios, Chow Chows, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Pit Bull Terriers, Rottweilers and Siberian Huskies as potentially dangerous.

Each year, almost 5 million Americans are bitten or attacked by dogs. According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowner’s insurance liability claims paid in 2010, totaling $412 million; the average claim was $26,166. Dog bites are the No. 5 reason for visits to the emergency room, and more than half of these bites occur on the dog owner’s property.

Given those statistics, it should come as no surprise that homeowner’s and renter’s insurance companies are as vigilant about dog bite claims as a watchdog that’s guarding a house.

To find out what you can do if your dog doesn’t qualify under your home owner’s or renter’s insurance, read the rest of the story by Michele C. Hollow at insurancequotes.com.

If your pet is accused of biting or attacking someone, the Lawyer Referral Service of the New Hampshire Bar Association can help with a referral to an attorney experienced with dog bite defense cases.  Call 603-229-0002 or request an online referral.

 

 

 

Generic Drugs Immune to Lawsuits

Debbie Schork, a deli worker at a supermarket in Indiana, had to have her hand amputated after an emergency room nurse injected her with an anti-nausea drug, causing gangrene. She sued the manufacturer named in the hospital’s records for failing to warn about the risks of injecting it. Her case was quietly thrown out of court last fall.

That result stands in sharp contrast to the highly publicized case of Diana Levine, a professional musician from Vermont. Her hand and forearm were amputated because of gangrene after a physician assistant at a health clinic injected her with the same drug. She sued the drug maker, Wyeth, and won $6.8 million.

The financial outcomes were radically different for one reason: Ms. Schork had received the generic version of the drug, known as promethazine, while Ms. Levine had been given the brand name, Phenergan.

 

Read the entire story by Katie Thomas of the NY Times.

If you have been harmed by a legal drug (generic or not),  call the Lawyer Referral Service of the NH Bar Association at 603-229-0002 for a free consultation with an attorney experienced with handling pharmaceutical drug injuries, or request an online referral.

Did Delayed 911 Response Contribute to Man’s Death?

When Joyce Collins of Brookline, NH dialed 911 for her husband James Collins, the police officer on duty was at the Communications Center in Hollis and did not have the automated external defibrillator with him as was his department’s protocol.  As a result, the officer had to return to the police station to retrieve the AED before going to the Collins’ residence, delaying potential lifesaving treatment for James Collins, who died of an apparent heart attack.

Police protocol requires an officer to place the department AED in the cruiser at the start of the shift and to run through a checklist that includes the AED, flares, batteries, weapon, and other items, before leaving the station.

Read the entire story by Hattie Bernstein, Staff Writer at the Nashua Telegraph.

Perhaps it will never become clear whether Mr. Collins’ life could have been saved in this instance; however, the uncertainty alone can plague survivors and add to their sorrow.  In a case where wrongful death is suspected due to the actions or inactions of another, a consultation with an attorney can help alleviate doubt and clarify legal options.   The Lawyer Referral Service of the NH Bar Association can help by referring you to competent and experienced attorneys to review your case and go over your options.  Call LRS at (603) 229-0002 or request an online referral.

Mysterious Illness Afflicting Teenagers in Le Roy, NY

15 teenagers in Le Roy, NY have been afflicted with Tourette-like symptoms, causing some to wonder if it is linked to possible groundwater contamination from a 1970 train derailment, just three miles from the high school attended by the teens.   Environmental activist, Erin Brockovich has launched her own investigation, as reported by ABC News.

Most of the teens have been diagnosed with conversion disorder — a psychological condition that causes physical symptoms like jerky tics, convulsions and even paralysis. But Brockovich suspects groundwater contamination from a chemical spill from more than 40 years ago may be behind the Tourette-like symptoms.

“They have not ruled everything out yet,” Brockovich told USA Today. “The community asked us to help, and this is what we do.”

Don Miller, whose 16-year-old daughter, Katie, still suffers from debilitating tics, said his sister contacted Brockovich for help.

“We’re just trying to eliminate everything, and she wants to eliminate that it’s the environment,” said Miller. “It’s a possibility and she wants to either prove it is or it isn’t something in the environment.”

Read the entire story at ABC News.

If you believe you or members of your family have been injured by environmental hazards near your home or school, the Lawyer Referral Service of the NH Bar Association can refer you to environmental law attorneys in New Hampshire.  Call 603-229-0002 or request an online referral.

2010 NH Workplace Deaths Lowest in the US

As reported by Kathleen Callahan, in the NH Business Review, December 16th, 2011: 

“New Hampshire had the fewest number of workplace deaths in the country in 2010, according to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.”

“Five people — all men — died on the job in New Hampshire last year, which was the fewest number of workplace fatalities in the Granite State since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began tabulating them in 1992.”

“That’s one fewer than the six who died on the job the previous year, and is down significantly from the 23 recorded in both 1997 and 1998 — the state’s highest years on record since 1992.”

To read the entire article, go to http://www.nhbr.com/businessnewsstatenews/943442-257/n.h.-workplace-deaths-lowest-in-u.s.-in.html

If you have been injured on the job, you may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation.  LRS can refer you to competent attorneys who specifically handle Workers’ Compensation matters.  Call LRS today at (603) 229-0002 or request an online referral.

 

FDA Urged to Update Chantrix Warning Label

“Scientists say the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should take warnings about the stop-smoking drug Chantix up a notch, citing data showing that the drug increases suicidal behavior and depression far more than other drugs and methods designed to help smokers quit,” as reported by ABC News correspondant, Carrie Gann.

“Chantix, also called varenicline, has been hotly debated since 2007, when experts first raised questions about the long-term safety of the drug and its connection to cardiovascular problems and vision lapses. Since then, studies have reported that patients taking Chantix are at increased risk of depression and suicidal thoughts. Anecdotally, patients report wild dreams, inexplicable violent behavior and other psychological disturbances while on the drug.”  To continue reading, go to http://abcnews.go.com/Health/chantix-dangers-government-attention-study/story?id=14868835#.TrmZwXLup9N.

Drugs and pharmaceuticals are often at the center of product liability cases.  Drug manufacturers have a duty to test the medicines before releasing them to the market and a duty to warn users about known side effects. 

If you believe you may have been harmed by a drug that you were legally prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner, The NH Lawyer Referral Service can refer you to competent  attorneys who have experience with pharmaceutical liability cases.   Call LRS now at 603-229-0002 or request an online referral at https://www.newhampshirelawyerreferral.com/contact-us.

Personal Injury Overview

“Personal Injury” is a blanket term to describe any number of legal claims in which a plaintiff (the party who sues/brings a legal action) files a civil lawsuit against a defendant (the opposing party/respondent in a legal action or lawsuit).

This term can refer to anything from a slip and fall or accident case to a medical malpractice or wrongful death case. The unifying theme of personal injury cases is that there is a harmed – physically, mentally, emotionally, or financially – party that wishes to recoup compensation – normally monetary – to make up for the damage caused.

 

Common Types of Personal Injury Cases

Asbestos Injuries

Assault Injuries

Auto Accidents

Breast Implant Injuries

Bus Accidents

Defamation

Dental Malpractice

Drug/Pharmaceutical Injuries

Dog Bites

Home Accidents

Lead Paint Injuries

Libel/Slander

Medical Malpractice

Motorcycle accidents

Product Liability

Psychiatric Malpractice

Slip and Fall

Sports & Recreation Injuries

Toxic Mold Injuries

Train Accidents

Wrongful Death

The following represents common elements which must be proven in a personal injury case:

  • the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care
  • the defendant breached the duty of care owed to the plaintiff
  • the breach by the defendant caused harm to the plaintiff
  • the plaintiff now suffers from a permanent disability or suffered major harm due to the acts of the defendant

 

Fee Structure
Attorneys in personal injury cases generally work on a “contingency basis,” which means that the attorney’s fee is a percentage of damages awarded rather than an hourly rate over the course of the trial process.

If you have been injured in a scenario which involves a potential personal injury case, you should speak to an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.   An experienced attorney may help you receive compensation while also helping to preserve your legal rights. The Lawyer Referral Service can refer you to attorneys in your area. Contact us today.