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New Jersey Medical Malpractice and Product Liability Law Blog

Fatal error sees doctors puncture man's colon during testing

An unfortunate case of medical malpractice left the patient dead and the patient's closest living family member, his grandmother, taking legal action against the medical team responsible for the fatal error.

The incident occurred when the young man went in to get some testing done on his intestines. He had complained of digestive issues and pain in his abdomen. What doctors found was a bowel obstruction, one that was caused by a malignant tumor. But when the doctors were doing the tests to discover this malignant tumor, they punctured the man's colon. Just a day after this test an error occurred, the man passed away as a result of the complications from the botched test.

Are there viable defense strategies to medical malpractice claims?

Medical malpractice claims may seem straightforward. A patient was harmed because of negligence on the part of a medical professional, thus the medical professional musts pay for his or her substandard care. That's the way it should seemingly go. But the world of law is complex, and nothing is as straightforward as it seems. Today, let's take a look at some legitimate defense claims that a doctor could make to deflect liability or nullify a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Medical malpractice falls under the umbrella of general negligence claims, thus common negligence defense tactics can work. The defendant could say that his or her medical care was in line with medical standards, or that an error didn't occur (or wasn't the cause of) the ultimate condition that sparked the lawsuit.

The perils of doctors showing up with the flu

How would you feel if you went to get the tires on your car changed, and the mechanic who worked on it jammed some nails into your new tires? Or what if you went grocery shopping, and as you walked out of the store with your bags a store employee came up and knocked them out of your hands, ruining the groceries you just purchased?

These may not exactly be the best comparisons to a doctor showing up to work while he or she is sick, but the point these comparisons illustrate is clear. Obviously, the customer (or patient) wouldn't be thrilled by what transpired.

Surgical errors hurt people physically, mentally and emotionally

Imagine that physical labor came to define you as a person. You loved the work, and the work fit who you are as a person. Being able to work hard and accomplish your goals in this setting gave you tremendous pride and satisfaction.

This work, though, is predicated on the fact that you are healthy and physically able to perform certain distinct functions. So what would happen to this person if they were to suffer from an incident of medical malpractice, thus robbing them of their ability to perform the labor that they love?

Medical staff insults, berates sedated patient

A shocking medical malpractice case was revealed recently, and the "shock" has nothing to do with a medical error or a terrible mistake that caused physical or medical harm to the patient. Instead, the allegations involved in this case revolve around disparaging and insulting comments that an anesthesiologist and numerous other medical professionals made to, and about, the patient while he was sedated for a colonoscopy.

So how did these insults become part of public record? Well, the patient brought a recorder with him to document the pre-op instructions the medical professionals were discussing. Before he could hit the "stop" button, he was sedated, and the recorder captured the entire procedure.

Timing plays a huge role in medical malpractice lawsuits

The statute of limitations is a common idea in the world of law. Many people associate the statute of limitations with criminal cases. You commonly hear people discuss whether or not the police and prosecutors will catch their suspect before the statute of limitations runs out on the crime he or she committed. The statute of limitations is basically a window of time that the prosecutors have to file charges against someone after they have committed a crime.

Well, the statute of limitations is also integral to medical malpractice cases. You don't have an unlimited amount of time to consider your case and file a malpractice claim against a doctor and/or institution. Depending on the case and depending on the state, you could have anywhere from one to three years to file your medical malpractice claim.

What is doctor-patient confidentiality and how does it work?

When it comes to medical malpractice, it is completely understandable for you to immediately think about the horrible mistakes that some medical professionals make during procedures or treatment; or the terrible conditions that some patients have to deal with as a result of those mistakes. While these circumstances make up vast amount of medical malpractice lawsuits, there are also plenty of situations where doctor-patient confidentiality plays a role in such a lawsuit.

What is doctor-patient confidentiality? You've probably heard of it before, but this term refers to the agreement that a patient and a doctor inherently know when a patient seeks treatment with the doctor. The agreement is that the patient's information and medical record is confidential and that none of the information contained therein will be released to other parties.

Study sheds light on preventable medical errors in pediatrics

In a sense, medical errors seem like they shouldn't happen. We're talking about highly-trained and incredibly intelligent people who are performing tasks that few people in the world are able to perform. Given our ability to learn from mistakes and our penchant for improving our technology and tools to the point that things get better, and not worse, it would seem that medical errors shouldn't happen that often anymore.

And yet, medical errors are constantly happening. People suffer from them every day, and the negative effects a medical error can have on a person's health and well-being can be life changing. A recent report only reaffirms this notion, while also making it a bit more upsetting given that the study dealt with medical errors in the field of pediatrics.

Stroke after birth leaves woman paralyzed, lawsuit complete

In our last post, we talked about birth injuries and how they can absolutely devastate a family. Though you may initially think that a birth injury applies to the newborn, it can also apply to the mother. This is one of the key points from our last post, and it is also the jumping-off point for this one, as a recent medical malpractice lawsuit was won by a woman who suffered paralysis due to a stroke after giving birth.

The backstory is a bit complicated, but here it goes: the woman felt lightheaded after running the Boston Marathon in 2004. It turned out she had "brain abnormalities" that required her to be placed on a special list that other doctors could see if she ever needed medical care.

The emotional drain of a birth injury, and how to seek recourse

Giving birth to a child is supposed to be the happiest day in a family's life. This is supposed to be the day that your family becomes whole, and it is supposed to be a wonderful and wondrous occasion. Unfortunately, there are situations where this incredible day is ruined by a birth injury or a medical mistake. In these cases, the physical damage can almost be surpassed by the emotional damage caused by this unfortunate incident.

Birth injuries can affect either the newborn or the mother, or even both in truly terrible situations. Sometimes, these things happen because of a freakish natural quirk -- but other times, these things happen because a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional failed to do his or her job.

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