Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

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Bekman, Marder, & Adkins and pharmacist-attorney, Aaron L. Moore have filed one of the first lawsuits in the country against Insys Therapeutics, Inc.  BMA is also investigating additional similar lawsuits.

If you or someone you know has been prescribed the powerful narcotic Subsys, also known as oral Fentanyl spray, call us now at 410-539-6633.

Subsys is a medication that is 100 times more potent than morphine.  It is a fentanyl-based opioid mouth spray intended to treat cancer patients suffering intense episodes of breakthrough cancer pain.  Subsys should not be prescribed to patients who do not have cancer, but we have found there are many doctors prescribing it to patients off-label, who do not have cancer.

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Please join Bekman, Marder & Adkins in congratulating partners Emily Malarkey and Dale Adkins, who recently obtained a $1,017,000 verdict on behalf of our client, who underwent an unnecessary major thoracic operation, suffered a herniation of lung tissue through his ribcage as a result, required another major surgical repair five years later, and experienced a painful and difficult case of post-thoracotomy pain syndrome.

Our client’s medical misadventure began when his radiologist improperly diagnosed him with a “wide mouthed” hernia of the diaphragm.  Our client never had a hernia, which the radiologist admitted during trial.  However, the radiologist presented testimony at trial that in Cecil County, the term “wide mouthed hernia” is used synonymously with the medical condition known as an “eventration.”  The problem is that a hernia is a condition requiring surgery, but an eventration is not.  Our client’s surgeon relied upon the radiologist’s diagnosis of hernia and proceeded with the wholly unnecessary surgery.

All issues were hotly contested at the trial, which involved testimony from ten physicians and a number of fact witnesses.  Trial lasted ten days and the jury deliberated for eight hours over the course of two days.  The jury’s verdict of $1,017,000 compensated Malarkey and Adkins’ client for his past medical expenses, past lost wages, and the pain and suffering he has unnecessarily had to endure.

 

 

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Following a four-week jury trial, SCBMA Partners Paul D. Bekman and Wendy L. Shiff obtained a verdict on behalf of their clients in a medical malpractice case tried in the Supreme Court of Dutchess County in Poughkeepskie, New York.

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Dutchess Supreme and County Court, Poughkeepskie, New York

Bekman and Shiff represented  a resident of Dutchess County who underwent a cardiac catheterization and stent placement at a Dutchess County Hospital.  Following the procedure, nurses at the hospital failed to recognize that the patient was exhibiting signs and symptoms of a stent re-occlusion and myocardial infarction (heart attack).  No EKG was performed, nor was a physician contacted about the patient for approximately 6 hours.  As a result of the dely, the client sustained significant heart damage necessitating a heart transplant.

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The Court of Special Appeals, Maryland’s intermediate appellate court, today upheld a $1.3 million verdict in a case tried by SCBMA partners, Michael Smith and Ryan Perlin, in an unreported opinion.  The medical malpractice case was originally tried in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County for one week in April 2014.  After two days of deliberations, the jury issued a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs for $2.13 million, which was automatically reduced because of Maryland’s statutory cap on noneconomic damages.

Mr. Smith and Mr. Perlin represent the Watt family in the case.  Suit was originally filed on their behalf in 2012, after Mrs. Watt underwent surgery to repair a persistent hiatal hernia.  The first operation failed and her surgeon attempted a revision procedure.  During the revision, the surgeon negligently utilized a synthetic, plastic mesh to hold the hernia in place.

Mr. Smith and Mr. Perlin presented evidence through well-credentialed, board-certified general surgeons that it was negligent for the defendant surgeon to use the plastic mesh in the first place because it was well-known to erode into the body’s tissues and cause serious, possibly fatal, complications.  The experts also testified that the mesh was applied by the surgeon improperly.  As a result of the negligence, the mesh slowly eroded into and through Mrs. Watt’s esophagus, preventing her from eating other than through a tube.  She lost a significant amount of weight and required numerous subsequent surgeries and procedures.  She has also required at least six endoscopic gastrointestinal procedures during which a laser is inserted into her esophagus to burn away the eroded mesh.  Despite all of the procedures, Ms. Watt still has mesh in her chest and esophageal tissues.

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Today, on behalf of over 750 victims and family members, SCBMA filed a lawsuit against The Rockefeller Foundation, the Johns Hopkins Hospital, the Johns Hopkins University, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Johns Hopkins Health System Corporation, alleging that they were the primary driving force behind illegal and immoral human experiments in which vulnerable populations of Guatemalans were deceived, and intentionally exposed to syphilis, gonorrhea and other venereal diseases without treatment in the 1940s and 1950s.

The experiments targeted school children, orphans, psychiatric hospital patients, prison inmates and military conscripts.  In 2010, the Obama Administration apologized to Guatemala for the experiments and created a Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues to investigate them.

The Presidential Commission issued its findings in September 2011 along with a Study Guide.  There has also been considerable research and scholarship about the circumstances which led to the human experimentation, such as this article by Kayte Spector-Bagdady, J.D., M. Bioethics, and Paul Lombardo, Ph.D, J.D., who are, respectively, the Associate Director and a Senior Advisor to the Presidential Commission.

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Bekman, Marder & Adkins, L.L.C. is proud to announce that it has been named to the U.S. News and World Report “Best Law Firms” list.SCBMA Best Lawyers  Nationally, SCBMA was named to the Third Tier of the Best Law Firms in the are of Admiralty and Maritime Law.  In Maryland, SCBMA was named to the First Tier in the areas of Admiralty & Maritime Law, Arbitration, Mediation, Plaintiffs’ Medical Malpractice, Plaintiffs’ Personal Injury, and Plaintiffs’ Product Liability Litigation.

For the 2015 “Best Law Firms” list, U.S. News and World Report uses a rigorous evaluation process that includes client evaluations, lawyer evaluations, and peer review from local and national leading attorneys.  Additionally, before any law firm can be named in the “Best Law Firms” list, it must have at least one lawyer who is included in the U.S. News “Best Lawyers” list.  Our firm is proud to have four attorneys named to the “Best Lawyers” list including Paul D. Bekman, E. Dale Adkins, III, Daniel M. Clements, and Stuart M. Salsbury.

Our firm takes great pride in being selected by our peers and colleagues as one of the best law firms in Maryland.  If you would like to discuss a possible case with our lawyers, call us at 410-539-6633.

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Last week, a federal jury in West Virginia awarded an Illinois couple $3.27 million in a transvaginal mesh case.  The plaintiff suffered from stress urinary incontinence, and, in 2011, underwent surgery to implant Johnson & Johnson’s transvaginal mesh sling.  Within a year, the sling had to be removed because it was causing her pelvic pain and pain during sexual intercourse.  The couple filed suit alleging that the mesh was defectively designed and that Johnson & Johnson had failed to warn physicians and patients about the risk of the mesh eroding.

Women were told that these mesh products would be a simple and easy fix for problems such as pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence repairs.  What they were not told, however, were the significant complications that can arise after surgery.  One of the largest risks of these products is that mesh implants—both transvaginal and bladder slings—have been found to erode or shrink after they have been implanted in the patient.  This can cause serious complications including infection, chronic pain, and pain during sexual intercourse.  As a result, thousands of women from across the country have filed lawsuits similar to the one brought by the Illinois couple.  These cases have been consolidated into several multi-district litigations in West Virginia, and the $3.27 million verdict is a promising sign for plaintiffs.

The attorneys at Bekman, Marder & Adkins are currently handling cases for women who have suffered serious side-effects from transvaginal mesh and bladder sling implants.  If you believe you have experience serious-side effects from either of these mesh products please contact us today.

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Following up on a previous post regarding the reporting of preventable adverse events and transparency for patients choosing medical and hospital care, USA Today has today reported that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will resume reporting data on eight different “hospital acquired conditions,” including air embolism, blood incompatibility, catheter-associated infections, falls and trauma, retained foreign objects, pressure ulcers (bedsores), uncontrolled blood sugar levels, and urinary tract infections. CMS had stopped publicly reporting this data in early August of 2014, but recently changed course, demonstrating the power of the patient safety and transparency movement.

As consumers in the information age, we do research before making any significant purchase — houses, cars, schools, even refrigerators — so why not research our health care options? Choosing a doctor with whom you will have a relationship for many years, deciding whether to undergo a surgery, or deciding which nursing home to admit a loved one are important decisions that merit the same amount of investigation as other choices we make. Although information on health care quality and options is sparce, there are some sources out there, and we hope to see more of them in the coming years. For now, check out CMS’s Hospital Comparison Chart, which includes information collected by CMS regarding patient safety and quality of care at Maryland hospitals.

If you know of any other sources, share them with us!

 

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Here’s a link to Oklahoma Senator (and physician) Tom Coburn’s recent report on his investigation of Veterans’ Administration hospitals.  According to Senator Coburn, “Over the past decade, more than 1,000 veterans may have died as a result of the VA’s misconduct and the VA has paid out nearly $1 billion to veterans and their families for its medical malpractice.”

Here at SCBMA we are often asked to investigate, and do pursue cases against our local Baltimore VA Hospital, as well as at area military medical institutions such as Walter Reed.  Bringing medical malpractice claims against the VA is a highly specialized area of the law, and if you are thinking of doing so, it is critical that you hire lawyers who are experienced and knowledgeable about the legal deadlines and other special requirements in cases against the federal government and the VA.

Indeed, just last year, Paul Bekman and Michael Smith of our office succeeded in winning a $345,000 verdict in U.S. Federal Court against the VA Hospital in Baltimore.  The case involved the wrongful death of a 50 year old Veteran from acute blood loss caused by an undiagnosed aortoenteric fistula.  We successfully argued that the VA was responsible for the negligent acts of, among others, resident physicians affiliated with the University of Maryland Medical Center by virtue of a “resident agreement” in which residents treat Veterans at the VA Hospital.

 

 

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A few days ago, the Baltimore Sun reported on the under-reporting of serious medical errors, known by hospitals as “preventable adverse events,” and which, according to a recent journal article for doctors published in the Journal of Patient Safety, kill more than 400,000 Americans every year (and seriously injure 10-20 times as many).

According to the Journal of Patient Safety article: “[O]ur country is distinguished for its patchwork of medical care subsystems that can require patients to bounce around a complex maze of providers as they seek effective and affordable care.  Because of increased production demands, providers may be expected to give care in suboptimal working conditions, with decreased staff, and a shortage of physicians, which leads to fatigue and burnout.  It should be no surprise that [Preventable Adverse Effects] that harm patients are frighteningly common in this highly technical, rapidly changing, and poorly integrated industry.”

The Sun reported what we at SCBMA already know to be true: that because of the “mostly confidential” and broken system of error-reporting currently in place in Maryland and throughout our country, the truth about many patients’ injuries only sees the light of day once lawyers are hired and are able to investigate adverse medical events through our court system.  Indeed, we see this in our practice every day: patients who do not receive ordered medications, worrisome test results that are not properly transmitted or not properly acted upon, and unnecessary surgery that causes serious harm are only some examples of cases we are routinely asked to investigate.