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America medical errors, Chicago medical malpractice lawyerThe risk of medical errors is a concern for a majority of patients in the United States. According to a Wolters Kluwer Health survey conducted in 2012, 73 percent of patients expressed concern about potential medical errors. Nearly 30 percent of those surveyed reported either they or a family member had been a victim of a medical mistake.

Common causes of negligent medical care include:

  • Miscommunication among hospital staff;
  • Doctors, nurses and other medical personnel being in a hurry;
  • Staff fatigue; and
  • Staffing shortages at hospital.

People seeking medical care should feel confidence in doctors and hospitals and their capabilities to provide care in the patient’s best interest. This occurrence of medical misconduct is not acceptable and it is causing Americans to delay necessary medical procedures.  The survey lists almost one in five people rescheduling a procedure to avoid the weekend or end of the week, so that the doctor may be better rested.

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Graco stroller recall, Chicago product liability lawyerChild safety is the number one priority for all parents. They are dependent on products that have been adequately tested and approved for use. When manufacturers fail to meet these requirements, they must be held responsible for damages. Graco, a popular baby product company, recently had almost five million of its baby strollers recalled due to the threat they pose to infants.

This recall affects 11 models of Graco strollers from over the past decade. An investigation by ABC News has revealed that there have been at least 11 cases of finger injuries, including fingertip amputations and lacerations, reported to Graco so far. Millions of families remain in danger due to the availability of these strollers.

It is illegal to sell recalled products. However, baby merchandise, such as these defective strollers, are easily obtainable for resale. Graco has informed stroller owners to contact the company for a free repair kit, but where does that leave families in the meantime? They have a product unsafe for use and in some cases, they may not even be aware of the risks.

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missed diagnoses in Chicago, Illinois medical malpractice attorneyThere have been several studies published in recent years that shine light on aspects of health care that are considered increasingly unsafe. In particular, there is concern about the level of care performed by medical providers on the weekend compared to on a weekday.

A study published in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery concluded that pediatric surgical patients who underwent common urgent operations during the weekend faced a higher risk of mortality, blood transfusion, and surgical complications.  Another Johns Hopkins Medicine study revealed the same type of “weekend effect” for head trauma victims. Its review of more than 38,000 patient records reflected a higher mortality rate in older adult patients who sustain head trauma injuries over a weekend than those hospitalized on a weekday.

These findings have been previously documented in cases of heart attack and stroke, but now have been linked to head trauma care as well. Researchers surmise that there is not a medical explanation for these statistics, but rather a hospital operational insufficiency due to reduced staffing and lack of accessibility to specialists during the weekend.

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medical malpractice lawsuits, Chicago medical negligence lawyerWhen the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) ranked the consequences of medical malpractice, the DOJ listed death as the most common injury in medical malpractice cases, followed by injuries such as:
  • Organ damage/infection;
  • Brain or head injury;
  • Chronic pain; and
  • Back/neck injury.

The Institute of Medicine estimates that recorded deaths due to preventable medical errors every year exceeds the number of deaths linked to breast cancer, AIDS, and motor vehicle accidents. However, the amount of filed medical malpractice cases are significantly less.

A law review article published by the Northern Illinois University College of Law explores and debunks four myths regarding medical malpractice lawsuits:

  • Plaintiffs file frivolous medical negligence lawsuits;
  • Premiums are on the rise due to skyrocketing jury awards;
  • Access to healthcare is restricted; and
  • Doctors fear negligence liability.

Medical errors occur at a rate that is not matched by statistics of court-filed claims. The first of the listed myths is debunked by research that states that the majority of medical errors do not result in a lawsuit. The second myth is contradicted by research which shows that most victims of medical malpractice are never compensated for their injuries.

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medical negligence in Illinois, Chicago malpractice attorneyMedical negligence occurs far more often than the number of cases reported for litigation. According to research published by Northern Illinois University College of Law, an estimated 4,325 patients die in hospitals in Illinois every year from preventable medical errors. Of this number, 96 percent of medical malpractice victims never pursue a claim.

Cornell University Law School Professor, Theodore Eisenberg surmises in his 2012 paper, “The Empirical Effects of Tort Reform,” that people who do not sue as a result of a medical error do not recover costs. Prof. Eisenberg shares that a possible contributing factor to the high rate of medical errors is due to the fact that most patients victim to medical malpractice do not file a claim. Therefore, doctors do not expect they will be responsible for full costs as a result of their negligence.

Our law firm is here to help victims understand their legal rights when it involves medical malpractice. It is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible regarding an incident in which medical error was involved due to the statutes of limitations applied by the state.

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plane crash liability, Chicago negligence attorneyThe importance of a manufacturer recall when a product is proven to cause harm is to protect the safety of public consumers. In a series of articles published by USA Today earlier this year, the investigation found repeated occurrence of defects in small airplanes and helicopters over the past five decades that have led to an estimated 45,000 deaths.

Extensive review of crash victim autopsy reports reveals that while many pilots and passengers survive the initial impact of a plane or helicopter crash, they often die from fires and smoke inhalation caused by unsafe or defective fuel tanks and exhaust systems.  While airplane and helicopter manufactures have known about the dangers of post-crash fires for decades, and in spite of the availability of leak-proof and fire-retardant fuel and exhaust systems, the manufactures have refused to install the safer fuel and exhaust systems in their aircraft.

USA Today performed an extensive review of internal manufacturer records and government documents that cited the following examples of defects leading to general aviation fatalities:

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Stryker hip implant settlement, Chicago product liability attorneyA settlement involving a minimum award of $1.43 billion has been reached in ongoing product liability litigation against Stryker Orthopedics. The 3,000-plus clients represented in the Stryker hip implant lawsuit will each receive a base amount of $300,000 with additional compensation for those who suffered revision surgery complications to remove the defective hip implant.

Stryker manufactured and promoted its Rejuvenate and ABG II Modular-Neck Hips implants as having the capability of providing longer life and greater range of motion for patients. The FDA approved Stryker’s Rejuvenate Modular hip system in 2008 as part of a 510(k) premarket application, which determined the hip implant was “substantially equivalent” to pre-approved, legally marketed medical devices.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 332,000 hip replacements in 2010. Two years later, Stryker issued a recall of its Rejuvenate and ABG II Modular-Neck Hips implants due to dangers resulting from the poor design and improper testing of the device. Studies showed that patients faced health risks including:

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Chicago medical malpractice accountability, Illinois injury lawyerAs of 2011, Illinois ranked in the top 20 of medical state licensing boards’ serious doctor disciplinary action rates. The state reported 143 cases, resulting in an average of 3.45 serious actions per every 1,000 physicians from 2009 to 2011.

Doctors called into question for medical malpractice face the possibility of having their license suspended or revoked. However, this only limits medical practice in the state they are currently licensed and a doctor under investigation can still obtain licensure in other states.

According to a Bloomberg report, a general practitioner surrendered his license in Missouri “in lieu of discipline” for violation of several drug laws as part of a settlement agreement in 2009, but secured a license to practice in Illinois as he was being investigated.

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medical malpractice cases rise, Chicago malpractice attorneyThe Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) study “To Err is Human” was published over a decade ago with medical malpractice statistics showing that between 44,000 and 98,000 patients are killed in hospitals every year as a result of medical errors, leading up to $29 billion in costs every year.

The study reported errors at different points of care, including the following examples:

  • Error or delay in diagnosis;
  • Error to act on results of testing or monitoring;
  • Error in administering treatment; and
  • Error during operation or procedure.

Fast forward 15 years and patient safety issues are still a rising concern in hospitals across the country. Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published an article summarizing that, “on any given day, approximately one in 25 U.S. patients has at least one infection contracted during the course of their hospital care.”

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car airbag defects, Chicago product liability lawyerThe rise of vehicle recalls has grown over the past few months due to defective air bags in over 14 million vehicles and 11 car manufacturers. In a published online insight by The New York Times, the article reveals that defective air bags manufactured by Takata have been a concern for the past decade with the first reported incident occurring in 2004.

In this instance, the air bag exploded, shooting out metal fragments and causing injury to the driver of the Honda Accord. There was no recall issued at the time and Honda and Takata officials identified it as an isolated incident. Injuries reported have been due to shrapnel or chemicals coming from the faulty airbags. More than 30 of these injuries have been linked to flaws in Honda vehicles.

According to Honda officials, Takata reported that its plant workers had an unreliable, handwritten system for marking which air bags might contain defective parts. Another possible “explanation” of the faulty air bags was that machine operators working in the plant in 2001 could have unintentionally switched off the function that separates out poorly made devices, a problem corrected in 2002 with systems upgrades, according to Takata records.

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electronic medical records, Chicago malpractice attorneyAccording to an article published by the American Academy of Family Physicians, doctors follow a risk management protocol when it comes to dealing with concerns surrounding possible cases of medical malpractice. The article refers to the “4 Cs” of risk management:

  • Compassion
  • Communication
  • Competence
  • Charting

The article, written by Richard G. Roberts, MD, stated that the greatest charting mistakes occur when physicians forget or fail to note what is important about a patient’s condition. A patient’s chart is the main source of information and a large part of the communication between medical providers on the case. A medical record oversight could lead to disastrous results.

For the past few years, the Obama administration has supported the idea of doctors and hospitals converting completely to electronic medical records. The goal is that electronic records make medical reporting more efficient and less costly. The government has already given billions of incentive dollars to hospitals for implementation of the conversion.

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chicago-police-body-cameras

Section 1983 of the U.S. Civil Code is often referenced in media reports regarding police misconduct.  This federal law permits private citizens to sue local and state entities for the deprivation of constitutional rights.

Part of the Code states: “...any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress…”

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low-t-drug-claims

Testosterone therapy drugs are prescribed to men who suffer from “low-T” or low testosterone, a condition that can lead to a decrease in bone and muscle mass, loss of libido, and depression. Since the early 2000s, the use of testosterone therapy has quadrupled for men in their 40s. In the United States, testosterone therapy has risen to a $2 billion industry.

In 2013, The New York Times published an article that reportedmarketing for testosterone therapy targeted men with common aging symptoms, such as lack of energy, rather than those tested for hypogonadism or “low-T.” Research has questioned whether men who are prescribed testosterone drugs all suffer from the “low-T” condition and if the benefits of testosterone outweighs the risks.

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plavix stroke riskPlavix is the brand name for clopidogrel, a drug prescribed to help prevent blood clots from forming in the arteries. It has been prescribed to more than 115 million patients worldwide. Bristol-Myers Squibb-Sanofi Pharmaceuticals is the drug manufacturer that markets the drug’s ability to:

-Increase blood flow to the legs;

-Prevent mini-strokes; and

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falling debris church lawsuitIt has been reported a lawsuit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court this month by Lance Johnson, the boyfriend of the woman who was hit by a falling church stone, an incident which resulted in her death. Johnson was walking with the victim, Sarah Bean, when part of a stone gargoyle fell from the church, hitting her in the head.

Johnson is suing both the Second Presbyterian Church, a Chicago South Loop church, and the Presbytery of Chicago. Claims of the lawsuit state that there was negligence in ownership of the church building by allowing the wall’s exterior to “exist in a dangerous and unrepaired condition.”

Negligence is defined as a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have implemented under the same conditions. Chicago city records show a history of violations reported about the church’s structure from 2007 to 2011 including failure to maintain an interior stairway system and failure to remove obstruction from building exits.

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stryker hip replacement recallThe American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has reported more than 285,000 hip replacements are performed each year in the U.S. Stryker, a medical device manufacturer, marketed metal-on-metal artificial hips as having the capability to last longer in patients and provide a broader range of motion. The design of metal-on-metal hips involves both the ball and socket components being made from metals such as chromium or cobalt.

In 2011, these artificial hips accounted for approximately one-third of hip replacement procedures. However, due to product failure, Stryker voluntarily issued a hip recall for its ABG II and Rejuvenate hip devices and shut down global distribution of these products in 2012.

According to The New York Times, as patients continued to encounter problems with their artificial hips, the FDA ordered studies of all artificial hip producers to address concerns and determine whether the hip implants were shedding an exorbitant amount of metal debris.

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Families with concerns about placing their relatives in long-term care may soon be given an extra sense of security. A new Illinois bill proposed earlier this month has the potential to give families, whose loved ones are in nursing homes, extra peace of mind through video monitoring.

If approved, the law would allow the installation of video cameras or audio recording devices by families in their relative’s nursing home room. Consent would be required of residents who are monitored.

States including Maryland, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Washington all have passed similar laws. When a family member cannot make an in-person nursing home visit, video access will allow them to check-in on their relatives throughout the day.

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JOLIET PATCH

A year after the Diocese of Joliet released a list of priests who were credibly accused of sexually abusing children, more documents detailing abuse allegations are coming to light.

As part of a legal settlement, the Catholic Diocese of Joliet last year began releasing internal documents related to the accused priest — including files that show that for decades, bishops had been aware of the sexual abuse accusations. More than 7,000 documents were to be released.

Attorney Mark McKenna, whose firm Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C. represents 15 alleged victims who have cases pending against the diocese, said a list created by the diocese's review board shows that the diocese has been keeping track of allegations against priests at least since the 1960s.

On Wednesday, files for the following priests were made public:

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Today the Diocese of Joliet released more of its internal documents relating to sexual abuse by its priests. This is part of the ongoing disclosure required as part of a legal settlement last year.

This most recent batch of documents sheds more light on 16 of the 34 priests included on the diocese's list of credibly accused clergy, and includes a 438-page file on Rev. James Burnett. Burnett was accused of molesting an 8 year-old boy while serving at St. Mary Catholic Church in Mokena. He later served as rector at the Cathedral of St. Raymond in Joliet.

It is tragic to read how much the church knew about clergy sex abuse, and even more tragic to realize how little it did to protect the most vulnerable members of its flock. Yet the unprecedented disclosures are empowering more victims to acknowledge the harm they suffered and to demand their rights.

CBS TV CHICAGO

It didn’t take long for the Chicago Archdiocese’s release of confidential files on pedophile priests to lead to a new lawsuit, this one accusing a former priest and a former boy scout leader of molesting boys at the same church in the 1970s.

WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, two days after thousands of pages of church documents were released, revealing decades of efforts to hide priest sex abuse cases, attorney Chris Hurley filed a lawsuit on behalf of three men, against former priest Norbert Maday.

Maday was convicted in 1994 of molesting two altar boys while on a church outing in Wisconsin. He has since been released from prison, but is a registered sex offender, living in Wisconsin, according to the National Sex Offender registry. 

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