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Medical Malpractice. It's All We Do. 206-443-8600

The CMG Voice

Failing to properly monitor blood thinning after surgery an all too common error.

Posted Thursday, March 7, 2013 by Tyler Goldberg-Hoss

Blood is naturally able to clot, and that’s a good thing. Otherwise, our cuts and scrapes wouldn’t stop bleeding, and our bruises would keep getting bigger and bigger. But sometimes it’s a very good idea to hinder this clotting process, particularly in people at an increased risk of developing clots that can break off and travel to the brain, lungs or heart. In these people, blood thinning drugs are used to prevent such things from happening. However, devastating errors can occur when patients are not monitored on these medications, or not given these medications at all when they need them most.

It appears Mr. Clemons’ family is alleging that Clarence, saxophonist for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, is alleging this very thing.

E Street Band saxophonist’s death due to medical negligence, claims family

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Tele-ICUs: The Future of Medicine is Here (Actually Somewhere Else)

Posted Tuesday, October 30, 2012 by Tyler Goldberg-Hoss

The use of telemedicine in the intensive care setting is a relatively new phenomenon and rare in Washington State. However, as our population ages, the burdens on our ICUs will go up and if there is not a corresponding increase in critical care and intensivist physicians to meet this need, we may be seeing more such systems in place.

Read more here: link text

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Do Your Own Focus Groups!

Posted Tuesday, October 30, 2012 by Tyler Goldberg-Hoss

Focus groups, or Jury Research Projects, as David Ball calls them, are a useful tool in trying to figure out what potential jurors might think about your case or elements of it. However, there are times when the economics of a case don’t justify hiring a professional. In such situations, it may be useful to use a more cost-effective method for determining elusive juror attitudes, like running your own focus group. You can do it.

Read more here: link text

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Estimates of Annual Deaths From Medical Mistakes Grow Higher

Posted Sunday, September 23, 2012 by Gene Moen

A study in the current issue of the Journal of Patient Safety says the number of deaths that occur because of preventable errors and mistakes in a hospital may be between 210,000 and 440,000 patients each year.

Here is a link to the article:

A New, Evidence-based Estimate of Patient Harms Associated with Hospital Care

That would make medical errors the third-leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease, which is the first, and cancer, which is second. And these are deaths resulting from preventable errors in hospitals. No study has yet estimated the number of deaths that occur because of outpatient negligence, such as misdiagnoses in clinics or prescription errors, or the even greater number of serious injuries that occur. The amazing thing is that, if even a faction of this number died from auto accidents or airplane crashes, there would be a huge effort by the U.S. to find the root causes of the tragedies, and massive efforts would be made to correct the problems. Yet some in Congress still want to restrict the rights of patients to bring lawsuits that would at least identify some of the errors that lead to deaths and injuries from medical negligence. In effect, they want to grant immunity to a medical system that produces appalling statistics as outlined in the Journal of Patient Safety article.

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What Malpractice Crisis?

Posted Sunday, August 19, 2012 by Gene Moen

For the last several decades, the medical associations, pharmacy companies, and the insurance companies for both, have contended that there is a “malpractice crisis” in the United States. As a result, they have said, medical costs are escalating and doctors are leaving their medical practices. The intent has been to do two things: to push state and federal legislatures to impose draconian “tort reform” laws, and to influence juries in medical negligence cases to side with the defense to avoid what they are told are bad results of verdicts for plaintiffs.

None of the allegations are true. Where “tort reform” measures have been passed, as in California and Texas, the cost of health care has not decreased. The number of doctors moving to those states after the laws were passed did not increase beyond what would be expected with population growth. “Defensive medicine,” which is claimed to be a major factor in health care costs, has never been shown to influence such costs. Independent studies have shown that the cost of malpractice insurance coverage is less than one percent of health care costs in the U.S. Furthermore, a recent study by Public Citizen has shown that the number of malpractice cases filed has been steadily decreasing over the past 10 years. The imagined “crisis” that was used to push legislatures to restrict the right of injured patients simply does not exist.

During this same period, however, independent studies have shown that 90,000 people die every year in hospitals because of preventable medical errors. And that does not count the permanent injuries suffered during hospitalizations OR the death and injuries occurring during outpatient care. With that figure in mind, why has the number of malpractice filings actually decreased? A simple answer: the risks and costs of pursuing a medical negligence claim are huge and many valid claims cannot be brought. Because of the negative jury attitudes resulting from the medical and insurance company propaganda, juries are reluctant to side with the injured patient. At the same time, the hospitals and doctors have unlimited amounts to spend defending medical cases, so the claimant has to spend very large amounts to take a case and to present it at trial.

Almost all medical negligence cases are handled on a “contingent fee” basis, which means the attorney gets nothing for her efforts unless there is a recovery. That means attorneys must screen cases very carefully to determine if there is a reasonable possibility - in light of jury attitudes and the large costs - of achieving a settlement or prevailing at trial. When medical groups and insurance companies claim there are too many “frivolous” lawsuits or people are playing the “litigation lottery,” ask yourself why an attorney would take on a frivolous case in light of the risks and costs of doing so?

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