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Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Make Hospitals Safer

Study Finds : “Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Make Hospitals Safer”

The most common medical errors are not surgical errors, labor-and-delivery errors, or drug mistakes. The medical mistakes that lead to the most medical malpractice lawsuits and payments are diagnosis mistakes.
Researchers* used the National Practitioner Data Bank, an organization that records all actions taken against health care professionals by state licensing boards, to determine that 28.6 percent of medical malpractice lawsuits are for mistaken diagnosis, delayed diagnosis, and other diagnosis errors.

Diagnostic mistakes accounted for 33.8 percent of disabilities and nearly 40 percent of deaths that led to medical malpractice payments. There were more than 100,000 payments as a result of diagnostic mistakes from 1986 to 2010. The senior author of the study, Dr. David E. Newman-Toker, who is an associate professor of neurology of Johns Hopkins, said, “This is a major health problem . . .. There’s a lot of room for improvement. You can’t get the treatment right if you don’t get the diagnosis right.”

Error relating to medical treatment and surgery were the second and third most common causes of medical payments stemming from lawsuits. Obstetric, medication, monitoring, anesthesia, and the rest accounted for 20 percent of medical malpractice lawsuit payments.

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To set up an appointment with an experienced New York medical malpractice injury lawyer, contact our office online or call us toll free at 888-519-6400. Your first consultation is free of charge.

How Do I Know When a Medical Professional has been Legally Negligent

How Do I Know When a Medical Professional has been Legally Negligent

When you seek compensation because of the carelessness of a doctor or nurse, your lawsuit will typically be based on an allegation of negligence. The legal theory of negligence assumes that everyone has a duty to use a certain level of care in their daily activities. When people fail to use the requisite level of care, and someone else suffers injury, they can be liable for any losses sustained.

The standard of care for most of us is simply one of reasonableness. We must act as a reasonable person would, given the circumstances. The law does not identify exactly what that standard looks like, but allows a jury to determine on a case-by-case basis whether a defendant acted reasonably.

The standard in medical malpractice cases is different, though. When a doctor is performing a complex medical procedure, we want them to use more can than an ordinary person with no medical training. So we hold them to what is commonly referred to as the “medical standard of care.” The medical standard of care says that a medical professional (doctor, nurse or technician) will be held to the same standard as a:

  • reasonably competent and skilled health care professional
  • with similar background
  • in the same medical community
  • would have done in the same circumstances

Accordingly, a general practitioner will be held to the standard of a general practitioner, and a specialist (surgeon, therapist, anesthesiologist, etc.) will be held to the standard found in that specialty. Furthermore, a specialist in New York will be held to the standards found in New York, not in California (although they may actually be the same).

The law does not set forth the behaviors that meet the medical standard of care, but requires that the plaintiff establish the appropriate standard of care during the course of litigation. This is typically done with expert testimony. The defendant may challenge the standard proposed by the plaintiff with his or her own experts.

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To set up an appointment with an experienced New York medical malpractice injury lawyer, contact our office online or call us toll free at 888-519-6400. Your first consultation is free of charge.

How to Recognize Nursing Home Malnutrition or Dehydration

How to Recognize When a Nursing Home Resident Suffers from Malnutrition or Dehydration

Maintaining proper diet and hydration can be challenging for many senior citizens. Many forget to eat or take in enough liquids. Others simply have little or no appetite. However, inadequate nutrition or poor hydration can present serious health risks, including greater susceptibility to falls, as well as bedsores. Poor nutrition typically leads to a weak immune system, which can interfere with the healing of wounds, and increase the likelihood of infection.

As a result, nursing home operators and their employees have a duty to take reasonable steps to ensure that residents receive and actually take in appropriate nutrition and liquids. Unfortunately, with the staffing challenges most nursing homes face, this duty is frequently overlooked or ignored. Here are the telltale signs that your loved one may not be getting the food or beverages necessary to stay healthy.

The Warning Signs of Malnutrition

Experts agree that the telltale signs of malnutrition may be difficult to see. An obvious red flag is any unplanned weight loss. Other indicators include wounds that take a long time to heal, greater susceptibility to bruising or black and blue marks, and problems with gums or teeth.

The best way to determine whether a loved one is not getting adequate nutrition is to spend time with them. Look for evidence of uneaten food. If they dine in a cafeteria, go with them and observe how they eat. If they are fed in their room, stop in at mealtime and pay attention to their eating habits. Do they eat everything on their plate? Do they get a balanced diet?

It’s also important to understand that many of the medications senior citizens take can affect appetite, or make it difficult to digest food or absorb nutrients. Work closely with medical personnel, as well as nursing home staff, to ensure that your loved one is getting the right medications at the right time.

How to Spot Dehydration in a Nursing Home Resident

A 10% reduction in fluids can have serious negative health consequences for an older person—a 20% reduction can be potentially fatal. Here’s what to look for:

  • A dry sticky mouth—is your loved one constantly licking his or her lips or smacking their jaws together to try to generate saliva?
  • Decreased urine output or urine that is very dark
  • Dry skin
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Constipation
  • Headache or dizziness

Contact Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP

To set up an appointment with an experienced New York nursing home neglect lawyer, contact our office online or call us toll free at 888-519-6400. Your first consultation is free of charge.

Pain and Suffering after Wrongful Death

In the state of New York, when your loved one dies as a result of someone else’s wrongful act, you can be severely limited in what you may recover. The New York legislature enacted laws that allow death cases to be filed, but has significantly limited the damages available to survivors. Surviving spouses and family members cannot seek compensation for loss of consortium or companionship, or for grief or loss. The only damages available are for the actual pain and suffering your loved one experienced as a result of the accident, and before death, as well as any lost financial support the person would have provided.

With respect to lost financial support, there are a number of factors to consider. You will want to include adjustments for projected promotions or advancements the decedent might have attained. In addition, any fringe benefits, such as health insurance or pension/retirement funds, will also be factored into a damage award. The defendant in a wrongful death action can successfully contend that some portion of fringe benefits and earnings would have been used by the deceased.

With respect to pain and suffering of the deceased before death, you must demonstrate that your loved one was actually aware of the pain. If they were rendered unconscious until death, or died almost instantaneously, the measure of damages may be minimal or non-existent. Any evidence of suffering can be admitted to demonstrate conscious awareness of pain, including screams, moans or writhing movements. You may also benefit from the testimony of a medical expert, regarding what qualifies as a sign of consciousness.

At the law office of Sackstein, Sackstein & Lee, LLP, we bring more than 60 years of experience to people who have suffered personal injury. We represent individuals who have lost a loved one because of the careless or negligent acts of others. For a private meeting with an experienced New York wrongful death lawyer, contact our office online or call us toll free at 888-519-6400. Your first consultation is without cost or obligation.

Car Accidents—Whiplash and Other Soft Tissue Injuries

Though motor vehicle accidents often result in serious and catastrophic loss, some of the most painful and debilitating injuries sustained in car crashes don’t involve broken bones, head or spinal cord injury, burns or amputation or loss of limb. The impact of a collision with another vehicle can cause whiplash, or can lead to tears, inflammation or other damage to muscles, ligaments and tendons, making it extremely difficult or painful to perform many of the simplest tasks of your daily life. Unfortunately, these soft tissue injuries can take a long time to heal, and can prevent you from working, taking care of your home, or enjoying recreational activities.

Whiplash

Whiplash typically occurs when your neck snaps forward (and/or backward) upon impact with another vehicle. The magnitude of the impact stretches neck muscles and ligaments beyond their typical range of motion, and can result in tears, pulls or inflammation. Whiplash customarily first manifests in neck pain and stiffness, as well as headaches, but can also include dizziness, blurred vision and fatigue. Other indicators of whiplash include uncommon irritability, memory problems, difficulty sleeping, ringing in your ears, and problems with concentration or focus.
Other Types of Soft Tissue Injury
The impact of a collision can throw you against a steering wheel, dashboard, window or other interior component of a car. In these instances, you can sustain bruises (known medically as contusions) to muscles, extremities, chest, back or head. A contusion usually involves swelling, as well as some sensitivity to touch in the area of the bruise.

A motor vehicle accident can also cause you to hyperextend knees or elbows, or to herniated or rupture a disk in your back. You may pull or even tear a muscle, either bracing yourself in the crash or as a result of being thrown across the interior of your car.

Mark-H.-Sackstein-Esq.

Sackstein, Sackstein & Lee, LLP offer free consultations and has offices in Flushing- Queens, Brooklyn, Garden City and Bronx. To contact us, call 888 519-6400.

Prescription drug related mistakes

One of every two heart patients make one or more prescription-drug-related mistakes

According to the study, led by Dr. Sunil Kripalani, of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, sometimes patients just forget to take a specific drug. Other times they take an incorrect dosage. Side effects can range from minor problems like constipation to serious lowering of blood pressure. In two percent of cases, the mistakes are life threatening.

The study also found that while the average heart patient didn’t experience benefits from the extra pharmacist intervention, those patients who were on many drugs or who had other difficulties digesting the complexity of health information did indeed benefit.
The hospitals taking part in the study were making efforts to prevent medication mistakes, including having a pharmacist take the time to help the patient understand how to take the medication once at home.

One of every two heart patients make one or more prescription-drug-related mistakes after they have left the hospital. Extra guidance from pharmacists on how to take the medicine did not appear to reduce errors, reports a new study.

This is a good step for hospitals, but perhaps not enough. For instance, a landmark study by the Institute of Medicine in 1999 reported that medical mistakes were responsible for up to 98,000 deaths and more than one million injuries a year in the U.S. Most of these mistakes were entirely preventable.

How to Be Smart About the Medication You Are Taking

Keep a list of all medications you are given, along with the times when you are supposed to take them. Make sure to take them at the appropriate time. Carry this list with you. The list must include drug doses and reasons you need to take that medicine. Give that list to your pharmacist. Do not assume that he or she knows the medicines you are on.
Medical Malpractice Attorneys That Care in New York City

Sackstein, Sackstein & Lee, LLP offer free consultations and has offices in Flushing- Queens, Brooklyn, Garden City and Bronx. To contact us, call 888 519-6400.

Your Injuries are Serious – Challenge of Proving it!

The Challenge of Proving Your Injuries are Serious

Some of the most debilitating injuries can often be most difficult to observe with the naked eye Often, in the aftermath of an accident, as you take steps to move forward with your life, one of the biggest challenges is demonstrating to a judge and jury the serious nature of your injuries.. For example, back or neck trauma that limits your motor skills or limits your ability to stand, sit or lie down comfortably may be hard to show to a jury. While pain is something you feel, no one else can see your pain. They can only see the impact of your pain, in a grimace or the inability to put weight on an arm or leg. Even with injuries that have physical manifestations, such as burns or the loss of a limb, it can be hard to get other people to understand the full measure of your suffering.

To get full and fair compensation for the serious injuries you have suffered, you want an experienced personal injury lawyer who knows how to work effectively with expert witnesses, particularly medical specialists. Your attorney will want to systematically document the full extent of your injuries, as well as the impact that your injuries will have on every aspect of your life

  • Will you be able to return to your job without experiencing significant pain or discomfort?
  • Will you need physical therapy or rehab to learn how to perform many of the day-to-day tasks in your life?
  • Will you need ongoing medical care for months or years?
  • Will you need to retrofit your home or car to accommodate your injury?
  • Will your injury make it difficult or impossible to live without regular or constant pain?

You can expect that defense counsel will produce medical experts who will seek to diminish the seriousness of your injury. Consequently, it’s critical that your experts be highly credible, and that your attorney carefully introduce the medical evidence is ways that are understandable and compelling.

Sackstein, Sackstein & Lee, LLP offer free consultations and has offices in Flushing- Queens, Brooklyn, Garden City and Bronx. To contact us, call 888 519-6400.

Death From Prescription Errors in the United States

Thousands of people die in the United States every year because of Prescription Errors

If you have been injured or ill, and need to visit a doctor or go to the hospital, chances are pretty good you will be prescribed medication to deal with your condition. Unfortunately, mistakes are not uncommon when it comes to the administration of pharmaceutical products. A doctor or physician may make an error when writing the prescription, or a pharmacist may fill the prescription with the wrong drug. There can also be mistakes regarding prescribed dosages. In hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices, where you must rely on someone else to administer the medication, many other errors can occur. Nurses or other caregivers may fail to properly screen you to determine allergies to medication. Hospitals may have poor systems in place, such that you get the wrong drug, get too much or too little, or are forgotten entirely.

A study published by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2006 concluded that up to 7,000 people die in the United States every year because of medication errors, from adverse reactions to drugs to failure to obtain necessary medication. The study identified those drugs that most frequently result in injuries. Approximately 8 percent of drug errors involve Insulin, whereas more than 6 percent result from the use of anticoagulants. Aspirin, Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen are also high on the list.

If you have suffered needless injury because of the negligent administration of medication, you may have a claim for damages. You must show that the medical professional or organization had a duty to use a certain standard of care, and failed to do so. You must also show that the failure caused you injury.

At the law office of Sackstein, Sackstein & Lee, LLP we bring more than 60 years of experience to people who have suffered personal injury, including people who have been injured because of medication errors. We will help you seek damages for all your losses, including wages and income, medical expenses, loss of companionship or consortium, and physical pain and suffering. We handle all types of injury claims, from infections to paralysis to heart or vital organ damage. We also take wrongful death cases.
For a private meeting with an experienced New York personal injury lawyer, contact our office online or call us toll free at 888-519-6400. Your first consultation is without cost or obligation.

New York Construction Accident Claims Under NY Labor Law 240

New York Labor Law 240

Sackstein, Sackstein & Lee, LLP, have won a $850,000 Settlement

The attorneys at Sackstein, Sackstein & Lee, LLP, have won an $850,000 settlement in a New York construction accident claim. The firm represented a construction worker who was climbing a straight ladder at a job site. As the laborer went up the ladder, he grabbed a two-by-four which was nailed to a plywood wall. The two-by-four came loose, causing him to lose his balance and fall a distance of seven feet. As a result of the fall, he suffered a lumbar fracture and lumbar disc herniations.

The lumbar vertebrae are the five largest and strongest vertebrae in your spine, making up your lower back. Lumbar fractures can often lead to chronic and debilitating pain, and those suffering lumbar fractures often need bracing for extended periods of time. A lumbar disc herniation, sometimes referred to as a slipped or ruptured disc, occurs when the jelly-like center of a disc is pushed against the outer ring. A lumbar disc herniation can also lead to chronic pain or discomfort, and can make it difficult a person to work in any capacity that requires lifting, pulling, twisting or bending.

Sackstein, Sackstein & Lee, LLP, provides comprehensive counsel to people who have suffered a construction accident injury, handling claims involving:

  • Labor Law 240 and 241 injuries, involving ladders or scaffolding & other worksite hazards
  • Injuries suffered from falling objects or debris
  • Injuries caused by the collapse of a building or structure
  • Injuries sustained because of malfunctioning equipment, tools or machinery
  • Construction vehicle accidents
  • Falls from buildings, platforms or beams

As a construction worker in New York, you are not limited to remedies under the workers’ compensation laws. You may file a third party claim against parties other than your employer, if their negligence or wrongful acts resulted in your injury. This can include owners or general contractors who have a duty to provide a safe workplace.

At Sackstein, Sackstein & Lee, LLP, we have aggressively protected the rights of construction accident injury victims since 1952. We understand the complexity of these cases, as well as the seriousness of most injuries sustained on a construction site. We use our skill, knowledge and considerable experience to help you get full and fair compensation for all your injuries, from lost wages and income to medical expenses to physical pain and suffering.

Who is responsible for Sidewalk Injuries in New York

Who is responsible for Sidewalk Injuries in New York

New York City is a city of walkers. Unfortunately for some, the sidewalks can be laden with unpleasant surprises that an unsuspecting pedestrian would not be able to anticipate. These include:

  • Uneven sidewalks
  • Obstructed sidewalks
  • Trapdoors in sidewalks including open trapdoors
  • Icy sidewalks or snowy sidewalks
  • Bricks or cobbles sticking out above the rest of the sidewalk
  • Cracked sidewalks
  • Sidewalks with holes in them
  • Broken manhole covers in sidewalks

The owners of property adjacent to sidewalks are charged with maintaining the sidewalks. The law says that the property owner must maintain the sidewalk in a timely manner. Not all property owners comply with the laws. When a dangerous sidewalk is not maintained, people can slip and fall and seriously injure themselves.

If you have suffered an injury as a result of a slippery, cracked, or otherwise dangerous condition on a sidewalk in Manhattan, Brookyln, Queens, or elsewhere throughout New York City or state, the law is on your side. You can seek compensation from the property owner at fault to pay for medical expenses and other accident-related damages.

Injured by a Sideawalk Trip and Fall? Contact Our Injury Attorneys in NYC

For more information about the law, the legal process or how we can help you get the compensation you deserve after an accident, schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys by calling us toll free at 888.519.6400 or, if you prefer, fill out our intake form, and we will contact you. Let our family fight to get your family the compensation you deserve.