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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A jury recently awarded $48 million to Gizzell Ford's family, finding that Chicago pediatrician Dr. Norell Rosado was medically negligent in treating 8-year-old Gizzell during a molestation exam a few weeks prior to her tragic murder.
Last month, the Texas Supreme Court agreed to hear a case in which a Houston-based obstetrics and gynecology practice and one of its physicians argue that there was legally insufficient evidence to support a $9.6 million jury award in favor of a woman who sustained a permanent brain injury as a result of alleged medical malpractice. In September 2004, Shannon McCoy was admitted to Woman's Hospital of Texas to give birth to her first child. Upon admission, Ms. McCoy's baby had already died in utero due to placental abruption. Ms. McCoy also developed complications and ultimately suffered brain damage requiring around-the-clock care for the remainder of her life. In 2006, Ms. McCoy's husband filed suit against Debra Gunn, M.D. and her practice, Obstetrical and Gynecological Associates (OGA). According to the lawsuit, Dr. Gunn's negligence in failing to make adjustments to the administration of blood and blood products caused Ms. McCoy's permanent brain injury. A jury returned an 11-to-1 verdict in favor of the McCoys as to Dr. Gunn's negligence and awarded the McCoys $9.6 million. The Houston Fourteenth Court of Appeals upheld the jury award in December 2015.
Julie and Douglass Mittleider have operated nursing homes in several states, including Georgia. Court records show complaints of inadequate care, including issues with mold, snakes, roaches and rodents. Residents have also complained of untreated bedsores and not getting enough food. The Mittleider's have agreed to pay $1.25 million to settle allegations that for several years, they fraudulently billed Medicare and Medicaid by providing "effectively worthless services."
A Georgia-based non-profit and associated companies have agreed to pay $1.25M for claims that they provided effectively worthless services to residents in a Mississippi nursing home. The lawsuit was filed against nursing care conglomerate owners, Julie and Douglas Mittleider, and their companies for rendering prison-like conditions to elderly residents. A string of former complaints, and even a state-wide ban in Massachusetts, precedes the Mittleiders' reputation for providing substandard care that has left residents severely injured and dead.