On June 20, 2016, George Walker, then 75 years old, called the VA's American Lake Division and complained of shortness of breath and chest pain. Mr. Walker was directed to go to the American Lake Urgent Care. Mr. Walker went as instructed the following day. The staff at American Lake Urgent Care had him transported by ambulance to the VA's Seattle Division. He was diagnosed with aortic stenosis, which is a hereditary narrowing of the aortic valve; he needed a replacement. The VA scheduled his surgery for July 5, 2016, and sent him home. On July 1, Mr. Walker died at home. His widow, Peggy Walker, sued.
Carla Miller has sued Vanderbilt University Medical Center and alleged the hospital operated on the wrong kidney during surgery. Ms. Miller claims that Vanderbilt doctors were supposed to implant a mesh tube from her left kidney to her bladder. However, physicians mistakenly implanted the tube in her right kidney. As a result of the error, Ms. Miller has claimed her urinary system was permanently damaged and she will now require dialysis for the rest of her life. Ms. Miller has asked for $5.5 million in compensatory damages and another $15 million in punitive damages.
A federal jury in Miami awarded the family of a passenger who died on an Alaskan cruise $3.38 million. The Wisconsin man, Richard Puchalski, was with his family on the cruise ship in 2016 to celebrate his 70th birthday. While on the cruise, Puchalski began to experience shortness of breath and sought medical treatment from the ship's doctor. Puchalski was treated and later sent back to his cabin where he had a heart attack and collapsed. The complaint alleges that the ship's medical staff made serious errors in Puchalski's treatment that turned a serious cardiac incident into a fatal heart attack.
A report by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services revealed a pattern of blood labeling errors at St. Luke's in Houston during the past year. The report followed a yearlong investigation by both the Houston Chronicle and ProPublica that had documented several lapses in patient care.
Ending up in the hospital can often be stressful and expensive, but it shouldn't be dangerous, as well. That's why the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is reducing its payments to 751 hospitals as a penalty for their poor patient safety statistics. Medicare will cut its 2018 reimbursement rates by one percent for the lowest-ranking quarter of hospitals based on a battery of patient safety measures-potentially a loss of millions of dollars, for some hospitals.
The National Practitioner Data Bank records 2017 as having the lowest number of payments made by physicians' insurers since it began collecting data in 1990. According to the NPDB, payments peaked in 2001 at 19,773 reports of medical malpractice payments, whereas 2017 only had 11,260 reports of medical malpractice payments across all healthcare providers, despite a dramatic increase in adverse action reports against healthcare providers. In the same time period between 2001 and 2017, adverse action reports have risen from 24,230 actions to 49,016. Are frivolous malpractice actions on the rise or is malpractice itself down?
Each year, 250,000 patients die from medical errors - more than motor and air crashes, suicides, falls, poisonings, and drownings combined - according to John Hopkins published research. Medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States, yet a study shows most doctors would not tell patients or accept responsibility for their mistakes.
A jury found Dr. Thomas Myers, a neonatologist, was negligent and has caused ongoing health problems for Tinley Parker, now five years old. They awarded more than $23 million to the family. According to the family's attorney, Tinley suffered massive blood loss at birth and was not fully transfused for approximately three hours after her birth. As a result, Tinley suffered brain damage and now has ongoing health problems, including cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
Carmen Alexander, a 43-year-old school teacher, died Feb. 21, 2012, just two days after being admitted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Her death was connected to a serious bacterial infection known as necrotizing fasciitis (NF), which can spread quickly through the body, destroying its soft tissue.
In January 2015, the family of Michael Powall filed suit against the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Hillcrest Hospital, Dr. Jack Lissauer, and Dr. David Weinerman. The family has alleged that the doctors caused the death of Mr. Powall, then 78-years-old, during a medical procedure.