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New Jersey Medical Malpractice and Product Liability Law Blog

Hold medical professionals responsible after a birth injury

The birth of a child is supposed to be the happiest moment in a family's life. There's supposed to be a beautiful shimmer of sunlight in the background, and all of the people in the delivery room are supposed to be in awe of this newborn baby that you have just welcomed into the world. There may not be triumphant, heartwarming music playing while this amazing moment happens, but despite all of this hyperbole, the truth is that the birth of a baby is a tremendous moment. Nothing should ruin it.

And yet far too often, unfortunate mistakes during a birth occur at the hands of doctors, surgeons or nurses. These mistakes not only ruin this moment, they potentially could ruin the newborn's life -- and devastate the family as a result.

Who can be sued when medical malpractice occurs?

A couple of months ago, we wrote a post about patients who are affected by medical malpractice, and how those patients need to prove that medical malpractice occurred. It's not as simple as it sounds, but it's one of the most important steps in the process of filing a medical malpractice suit.

But let's say you have the evidence and information to establish this fact. Then the question becomes "who can you sue?" What parties, entities and people can be held liable for the pain and suffering you endured as the result of a medical error, or a botched surgery, or some sub-par medical care?

Cruise liners now open to liability for medical errors on ships

What if you were to be injured in a serious fall, and when you arrive at the hospital, the care you receive is so poor that you slip into a coma and, later, you pass away from your injuries? Your loved ones would pursue every legal action at their disposal to hold the medical staff and medical institution responsible for your unfortunate death.

But now imagine if this exact scenario happened while a person was on a cruise ship. Yes, those huge cruise ships have medical facilities, doctors and nurses on board. However, the care may not be quite up to many people's standards and, worse yet, for many years the cruise line industry was basically shielded from liability if a medical error or poor medical occurred on their ship.

Medical malpractice caps can limit your compensation

Imagine that you have just had surgery. It's not a major surgery (although any surgery is a big deal) but it's still invasive enough that you have to stay in a hospital overnight. As you rest in your hospital bed, you start to feel nauseous. Then, things take a turn for the worst and your doctors and nurses are scrambling to stabilize you. In the end you're okay -- but the whole ordeal happened because your surgeon made a mistake, causing complications.

The extra time and procedures necessary to help you recover from this surgical error leads to many more medical bills and costs associated with your care. You, understandably, are upset and eventually sue for medical malpractice.

Medical malpractice case settled for $3,825,000

A malpractice case has been settled after defendant pediatricians, nurses, and hospital charged with the care of an eighteen month old child failed to take necessary action to address the child's rapidly deteriorating condition.

Study: improved communication cut down on medical errors

What many people may not realize about the medical field is that the days of extremely long shifts are basically over. When we say "extremely long," we're talking about 36-hour shifts. These used to be very common, and most medical professionals expected these shifts, and had to prepare for them by resting up prior to -- or even resting during -- the shift.

These extreme conditions have given way to shifts that usually end after 14 hours. That's still a long day, but it's much more manageable. And as a potential patient, you're probably happy to hear this. After all, shorter shifts would seem to imply that medical professionals are better rested, more alert and, thus, more able to perform their job.

Report finds numerous mistakes in Rivers' medical treatment

As many New Jersey residents are aware, two months ago comedic legend and celebrity personality Joan Rivers passed away after undergoing a fairly routine surgery. In the weeks that followed Rivers' death, there were questions about how the procedure was performed, and there were some not-so-subtle hints that River's daughter Melissa was considering filing a lawsuit against the clinic and doctors responsible for her mother's care.

Now that potential lawsuit, which is believed to be en route in the next month, has some more firepower. A federal inquiry into Rivers' death has found that the clinic and the doctors handling Rivers' surgery made numerous errors relating to safety protocols and Rivers' care.

Prop 46 follow-up: medical malpractice measure voted down

A few weeks ago, we wrote a blog post about a specific proposition in the state of California which would have forced doctors to have intoxication screenings, while also increasing the amount of money that a person could obtain through a medical malpractice lawsuit. Though it doesn't have anything to do with New Jersey law, the proposal -- called Proposition 46 -- was an important litmus test for the medical field to see if such radical (but necessary) changes had support.

Well, election day has come and gone. And the voters in California have made their voice heard: they voted Prop 46 down, eliminating the chance, at least in the immediate future, to increase medical malpractice payouts and hold their medical professionals to task for any alcohol or substance abuse they may be guilty of.

Medical malpractice liability has little to do with medical costs

One of the arguments that is made against medical malpractice lawsuits -- and it is a similar argument that is made to explain why costs relating to medical care are so high -- is that doctors and medical institutions have to order "defensive" tests and medical procedures to protect themselves from liability.

In other words, they have no choice but to double- and triple-check things and to hold patients in the hospital for longer to make sure they didn't make a mistake in treating the patient. That way, the patient has little-to-no legal recourse against the doctor or medical institution when their care is complete. This argument gets trotted around like it is fact -- and thankfully, there is new evidence that contradicts this line of thinking.

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