Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

Pharmacies serve a critically important function in our health care system as prescription medication use is more widespread than ever.

Around 5 billion prescriptions get filled every year in the U.S.  The average pharmacist fills hundreds or even thousands of prescriptions every day and this responsibility involves more than just counting out pills.

There are more prescriptions than ever.  There are also more medication error mistakes and lawsuits in Baltimore than there have ever been.  This post gives you the inside story of what you can expect in pharmacy error lawsuits in Baltimore.

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) (also known as perinatal asphyxia) is a type of brain injury that results when the supply of blood and oxygen to a baby’s brain is temporarily cut off during childbirth.

What is Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)?

Encephalopathy is a medical term used to describe various conditions or diseases that result in damage to the brain. Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is an injury to the brain specifically caused by a combination of (a) an interruption or reduction in oxygen supply (hypoxia), and (b) a reduction of blood flow (ischemia). With perinatal HIE the reduction of blood and oxygen flow to the baby’s brain takes place during or immediately after childbirth. HIE is a very dangerous condition that requires an emergency response by doctors and hospital staff. Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is one of the leading causes of infant deaths during childbirth. HIE is also a leading source of very severe and disabling brain damages.

Our law firm handles cerebral palsy lawsuits in Baltimore.  There is confusion about CP lawsuits and about cerebral palsy in general.  This post hopes to help some clear up some of the confusion and get a clear picture of the landscape of cerebral palsy in general and the litigation landscape of in CP birth injury suits.

Some lawyers and defense experts in birth injury cases want the jury to think the cerebral palsy is a disease. Cerebral palsy is not a disease.  Rather CP is a group of disorders in which the brain is unable to control muscle movement, coordination, and balance.  The term cerebral references the brain and palsy is a medical term that refers to paralysis or weakness.  CP is caused by a particular type of damage to the brain during developmental stages.

CP and its physical symptoms can vary significantly. Individuals with relatively minor cases of CP might just walk with a slight limp or awkward gait.  I have one friend who has CP who got off to a tough start but does really well and, at this point, no one knows she has CP.   A severe case of CP might leave the person completely unable to walk at all.

Medical malpractice is when a physician, or other professional, renders substandard medical care resulting in harm to the patient.  Professional malpractice is a civil wrong or “tort” for which injured patients can be entitled to legal compensation.  The damages caused by medical malpractice can be very significant.

Poor medical care can easily result in debilitating physical harm and even death.  In fact, a recent study by Johns Hopkins estimated that medical errors are the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. each year.  Baltimore has some of the best hospitals and doctors in the entire country.  But medical malpractice occurs even at places like Johns Hopkins.

Everyone always talks about how fortunate we are to have such great hospitals in Baltimore.  I’ve said that myself and felt blessed to have the treatment options I have had.  Yet Maryland ranks 48th in hospital safety in Maryland and Baltimore hospital play a big role in that ranking.

The conversation surrounding the #MeToo movement on social media has made many reconsider inappropriate behavior inside and outside of professional environments. The much-publicized trial of disgraced former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar – and his conviction on seven counts of sexual abuse– shed light on the kind of incidents experienced by many female patients. Here’s what you need to know about sexual assault by a treating medical professional.

Sexual assaults by doctors are not necessarily medical malpractice claims.  They are assaults.  But when we have these cases, we are likely going to file them as malpractice cases.  The defenses are often grounded in malpractice and we are often bringing negligence claims against the medical practice or hospital for not properly supervising the doctor in light of what is often prior complaints against the doctor.  We have a sexual battery case in suit now where the doctor required a chaperone due to prior allegations but one was not provided with our client.  The doctor eventually lost his medical license.

What Do We Consider Sexual Assault?

A Cesarean section, commonly called a “C-section”, is often performed when the baby or the mother is in distress. A C-section enables a doctor to remove the infant immediately in order to prevent an injury and then allows the doctor to provide treatment as soon as possible. Sometimes, however, there may be a delay in performing a needed c-section.

The standard of care when delivering a baby requires the obstetrician or midwife to correctly assess the fetal monitor tracings and to recognize any non-reassuring patterns. If the baby is in trouble, doctors need to take action quickly. A timely performed C-section is often the best path to protecting the child from a loss of oxygen that can lead to a brain injury or death.

There is some debate among obstetricians as to when a C-section is appropriate.  There is no dispute that the standard of care calls for cesarean sections in many cases, including, repeat C-sections,  multiple births, a labor and delivery which is expected to be challenging, when the child’s expected size is disproportionate to the mother’s pelvis, uterine tumor obstructions, or breech or transverse presentation of the neonate. Obstetricians also agree that there are cases of fetal distress or maternal disorders that mandate a C-section.

Meconium is the baby’s first bowel movement. It is probably not what you expect. These first feces consists of debris and cells from the intestinal tract and mucus and slimy fluids. Meconium is green and has no smell.

What is Meconium Aspiration Syndrome?

Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (MAS) causes respiratory distress as a result of meconium entering the respiratory tract below the vocal cords and presenting in the tracheal bronchial tree. When the baby makes an attempt to breathe in utero, before the baby is delivered, the baby can inhale meconium material into the lungs. The fear is the meconium blocking the airways.  Oxygen is critical to life for all of us.  But, during the birthing process, it is critical to have a smooth flow of oxygen to the brain and other vital organs.

Any discussion of how much money a medical malpractice case in Maryland is worth begins with our cap on non-economic damages in malpractice.  The pain and suffering cap for 2018 in Maryland medical negligence cases is $800,000.  This same $800,000 cap applies to wrongful death cases where there is only one surviving family member.  If there are two or more surviving family members, then the non-economic damage cap rises to $1 million.

What Maryland’s Damage Cap Means and Does Not Mean

Does Maryland’s medical malpractice cap mean that you cannot get more than $800,000 or $1 million as the maximum possible recovery in a medical malpractice case?  No.  What it does mean is that this is the cap limit on non-economic damages.

Hypoxic-Ischemic perinatal encephalopathy (“HIE” for short) is loss of oxygen to the brain.  In slightly less than half of the cases, HIE can cause death or brain injuries.

What Causes HIE?

Obviously, the brain is the key to neurological function.  The brain commands and controls all of our essential actions and reactions.  This includes sending messages via neurotransmitters to control all of a person’s essential cognitive and physical functions.

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