Articles Posted in Biomechanics

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Pharmacy Rx symbol

Pharmacy Rx symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

More than 1.5 million people are injured each year in the U.S. due to medication errors, and about 7,000 are killed. When doctors or pharmacists makes a mistake with prescription medications, the consequences can be fatal.

Claims for prescription errors are often based on simple negligence, but can be attributed to professional malpractice. The following are the most common mistakes made by both doctors and pharmacies:

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According to ABC News, the family of a Californian toddler will receive $10 million a medical malpractice settlement.

In November of 2010, the  two year old’s parents took her to a Sacramento Hospital with a fever, skin discoloration, and weakness. After waiting five hours without seeing a specialist, she was flown to another healthcare facility. The second healthcare provider determined she was suffering from streptococcus A bacteria. Due to the extended wait, the bacteria had invaded her blood and organs, leading to a necessary amputation.

The settlement with the Sacramento hospital and its parent company, Catholic Healthcare West, ranks among the largest in California history, according to medical malpractice attorneys.

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According to the CBS Evening News, GlaxoSmithKline- a British pharmaceutical company- has been ordered to pay $3 billion in a settlement after an investigation of its sales and marketing practices.

The Washington Post stated that the investigation spanned seven years, with analysis of marketing practices for 10 well-known GlaxoSmithKline drugs. The investigation also questioned possible Medicaid reimbursement fraud.

“The settlement [is] the largest yet in a wave of federal cases against pharmaceutical companies accused of illegal marketing, surpassing the previous record of $2.3 billion paid by Pfizer in 2009,” as reported by New York Times.

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Teva Parenteral Medicines, Inc., Baxter Healthcare Corp., and McKesson Corp. have been ordered by a jury to pay at least $20.1 million for packaging and selling an anesthetic in a way that proved harmful to patients. The jury concluded that the companies wrongfully sold Propofol in vials large enough to be used on multiple patients. Consequently, three colonoscopy patients contracted Hepatitis C. The plaintiffs sought $25 million in actual damages over the incurable liver disease. Punitive damages have yet to be decided.

Teva faces almost 300 lawsuits stemming from a Hepatitis C outbreak three years ago. The company has argued that the infections were caused by “improperly sanitized medical equipment, not reused Porpofol containers.”

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Hip ReplacementA recent report warns that metal-on-metal hip implants are failing at an alarming rate. Hip implants such as the DePuy Pinnacle Ultamet and the DePuy Orthopedic ASR, which have been recalled, fail in one-third of patients. Metal-on-metal hip replacement devices were designed to be more durable than traditional hip replacement devices; however, they have a significantly higher early failure rate than hip replacement devices made with ceramic and plastic components.

Artificial hips are typically expected to last 15 years before replacement is needed. Some reports indicate that all-metal hips are failing after only five or six years. Failure of a hip implant device often causes extreme pain and mobility issues, and may require the patient to undergo revision surgery which comes with an added risk of complications.

A concern with all-metal hip replacement devices is that debris can come loose from the joint and be absorbed by the patient’s soft tissue surrounding the joint, creating a condition known as metallosis. The uncertain effects of any release of cobalt and chromium ions into the patient’s blood are also a concern.

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A teenager was left permanently paralyzed from the waist down after an epidural anesthetic was left in her spine for too long. The young woman was 14 years old when she went in for a routine operation to remove gallstones.

During the patient’s hospital stay, the hospital staff had been told that the numbness had spread to both her legs and she was unable to move her feet. The anesthetic was not removed until 48 hours after the patient’s operation, by which time it had entered the girl’s spinal cord and damaged the membrane.

The girl’s attorney said that the hospital’s full admission of liability now paves the way for a settlement of this medical malpractice claim that will provide the girl with the financial support she will need to pay for specialist care and equipment for the rest of her life.

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Four years after undergoing aortofemoral bypass surgery in January 2004, an 85-year-old woman underwent a second surgery to remove a surgical sponge previously left behind.  Throughout those four years, the woman suffered from pain in her back and the lower left quadrant of her abdomen, weakness, dizziness, numerous infections that were treated with antibiotics, nausea, and a foul odor coming from her body that would not resolve itself with showering or other attempts at personal hygiene. Finally, a CT scan revealed a mass near the woman’s colon that turned out to be an old laparotomy pad.

In December 2009 a suit was filed alleging negligence and malpractice against the surgeons who performed the original procedure and the hospital where the procedure was performed.  The patient offered to settle with the responsible parties for $250,000.  This offer was rejected and the case continued in the court system until the hospital admitted all liability, cleared the surgeons of any blame and settled the case for $375,000.

If you are dealing with an injury due to the negligence of a physician and are uncertain about your rights and how to seek compensation, contact McAleer Law.