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Medical Malpractice Archives

Woman Eaten by Scabies

According to the autopsy, 93-year-old Rebecca Zeni died of "septicemia due to crusted scabies" while a resident Shepherd Hills Nursing Home, which is operated by Pruitt Health. The family has filed suit. State health officials were notified about the scabies outbreak at the facility, but it was never inspected.

Antipsychotics Found to Be Overprescribed in Nursing Homes

Human Rights Watch published a study finding that approximately 179,000 nursing home residents are medicated with antipsychotic drugs, even though they do not have schizophrenia or other serious mental illnesses.

Lawsuit Filed After Woman "Eaten Alive" by Scabies Mites at Nursing Home

A woman was literally eaten alive by parasitic mites while the staff at her nursing home looked on. In 2015, forensic pathologists found 93-year-old Rebecca Zeni had died from "septicemia due to crusted scabies" after millions of parasitic mites, known as scabies, essentially ate Zeni alive over several months or possibly years while the nursing home did nothing to stop it. The forensic pathologist described her death as "one of the most horrendous things [he's] ever seen in [his] career" and believes she died a most painful death.

Psychiatric Hospitals and Their Safety Records Regarding Suicide and Assaults

A local newspaper reviewed several public records and lawsuits and found that around half of the psych hospitals in the Dallas-Fort Worth area have had at least one major safety incident since 2011. A major safety incident was defined as a suicide or significant attempt, a report of unwanted sexual contact, or a serious physical attack.

Recent Report Says Diagnostic Errors are Largest Source of Medical Malpractice Claims

According to a recent report, errors related to diagnostic studies were the largest source of medical malpractice claims across a five-year period. The report was prepared by Coverys, a malpractice services provider. In preparing the report, the authors reviewed 10,618 medical malpractice claims made from 2013 to 2017. The authors found that 33% of malpractice claims were related to errors made during patient diagnosis and more than half of those claims involved poor clinical decisions. Claims involving surgical procedures came in second at 24% followed by medical management claims at 14%. Of the 10,618 claims, researchers noted that 54% of diagnoses-related claims were high-severity and 36% resulted in death. Researchers noted that vulnerabilities in the diagnostic process can begin with the first patient visit and continue all the way through to the follow-up phase after evaluation, testing, and treatment. For example, 33% of diagnostic-related claims occurred because the doctors failed to appropriately evaluate the patient, including obtaining a detailed patient and family history and performing a physical examination of the patient. Approximately 52% of claims involved diagnostic tests and lab tests, including errors in ordering, performing, transmitting. and interpreting the tests. Coverys researchers found that the majority of diagnosis-related claims stem from general medicine (24%), followed by hospital and facility-related claims (19%), radiology (14%), medical subspecialties (11%), emergency medicine (11%), and surgery (9%). According to the report, of the 3,466 closed claims from 2013 to 2017 with diagnosis-related allegations, claims involving cancer were the most prevalent, followed by infections, cardiac/vascular conditions, fractures/dislocations, and myocardial infarctions. To improve accuracy in making diagnoses, the authors recommended a team-based approach in which doctors are encouraged to discuss clinical cases with others.

Doctor was Accused of Performing Unnecessary Surgery

Cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Christopher Stone, was hired to treat patients for the Medical College of Wisconsin. It is alleged that just before he was to start, another physician informed the dean that there were allegations against Dr. Stone that he had performed unnecessary surgery at another hospital.

Antipsychotics Found to Be Overprescribed in Nursing Homes

Human Rights Watch published a study finding that approximately 179,000 nursing home residents are medicated with antipsychotic drugs, even though they do not have schizophrenia or other serious mental illnesses.

Two Lawsuits Claim Dallas Mental Health Hospital Held Patients Against Their Will

According to recent lawsuits, two patients claim that they were held against their will at Dallas Behavioral HealthCare Hospital, a well-known mental health hospital operating in DeSoto, Texas. Alexandra Hansen claims that she went to the facility in January 2016 to obtain information on outpatient assistance for severe anxiety. Ms. Hansen says that she was detained after only a brief consultation with a doctor through an iPad. Her mother was reportedly ushered out of the facility as Ms. Hansen was escorted through several doors that locked behind her. Ms. Hansen's family spent nearly two days trying to secure her release from the facility. According to the lawsuit, the facility claimed that they had a court order to involuntarily commit Ms. Hansen, although the order was never presented to the Hansen family. In a similar lawsuit filed last week, D'Undria Warren claims that went to the facility in March 2016 to obtain information about grief counseling following the recent loss of her a child. Ms. Warren alleges that she was involuntarily committed to the facility after a brief iPad consultation with a doctor. Ms. Warren was released nearly 24 hours after she arrived at the facility after repeated requests to sign an "Against Medical Advice" form.

Nursing Home Care Suffers Due to Corporate Mishandling

In 2009, Martha Jane Pierce's son took a sock off of his 82 year-old mother's foot. He discovered rotting flesh. According to her daughter, "It looked like a piece of black charcoal," and smelled "like death." Mrs. Pierce was ultimately transferred to the hospital, where a surgeon had to amputate much of her leg. She filed suit against Allenbrooke Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Awards & Recognition

  • 2016-2017 Equal Access to Justice Champion

    The Equal Access to Justice Champions Program was started by the Houston Bar Association in 2006, to help ensure placement of Houston Volunteer Lawyers cases with pro bono volunteers. Originally, firms were tiered according to size, and firms within each tier committed to accept a certain number of pro bono cases from HVL each year for five years.

  • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers

    The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 is an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state or region who meet stringent qualifications as civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense trial lawyers. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase objective and uniformly applied process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research.

  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum

    Established in 1993, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum (which includes the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum) is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. There are over 4000 members throughout the country. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers America | Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz | 2017

    Recognition by Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review. Their methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area.

  • Lead Counsel Rated

    In order to earn the Lead Counsel Rating, an attorney must not only demonstrate significant legal experience, but must also receive multiple peer recommendations advocating his or her ability. This is a key component in the screening process.

  • Texas Super Lawyers | Texas Monthly

    Each year, Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in Texas via a patented multiphase selection process involving peer nomination, independent research and peer evaluation. The Texas lawyers who receive the highest point totals during this selection process are further recognized in Texas Super Lawyers Top Lists.

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