ESTATE OF NEW JERSEY MAN WINS OVER $1 MILLION IN MED MAL LAWSUIT

When patients entrust their care to physicians, they do not expect that their doctors will be able to cure them of any and all afflictions. However, they do expect that their healthcare providers will exercise their full expertise in diagnosing and treating them. When physicians fail to uphold this duty, they may be held liable for medical malpractice.

A recent New Jersey case of medical malpractice involving a physician’s failure to diagnose a patient correctly has resulted in a verdict of over $1 million. Tragically, the verdict was paid to the patient’s estate because he died as a result of the mistake.

The man was originally admitted to the emergency room for chest pain and breathing trouble. The consulting physician diagnosed him with a virus and sent him home. After the man’s symptoms worsened, he was so deeply concerned that he drew up and signed his own will.

Shortly thereafter, he collapsed after losing consciousness. He was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital. He had died due to the presence of a pulmonary embolism. The physician was held accountable for failing to diagnose and treat the embolism.

Doctors cannot give weight to every symptom, nor can they catch the emergence of every condition. However, when treating a patient, they are obligated to exercise their expertise in a manner consistent with their licensing and training. When physicians fail to diagnose conditions that they should have perceived and patients are harmed as a result of this negligent behavior, doctors may be held accountable for damages.

PRESCRIPTION ERROR AT NEW JERSEY PHARMACY AFFECTS MEDS FOR 13 KIDS

We have previously written about the dangers of accidentally dispensing the wrong prescription medications to the wrong patients. Pharmacies are carefully designed and regulated in order to avoid making these crucial mistakes.

For this reason, it is especially troubling to hear about a pharmacy making a major prescription drug error. Investigators are currently trying to discover why one pharmacy in northern New Jersey mistakenly dispensed incorrect and potentially dangerous medication to the families of as many as 13 children.

Investigators say that a CVS pharmacy in Chatham experienced a mix-up wherein orders for fluoride tablets were dispensed with another medication included. The similar-looking medication is called Tamoxifen, and it is frequently used to help fight certain kinds of cancer.

The company originally worried that as many as 50 patients may have been given the wrong medication. A statement from the director of public relations for CVS revised and lowered that estimate. He said that an investigation by the company causes them to “believe 13 prescriptions for 0.5 mg fluoride pills were dispensed with a few Tamoxifen pills mixed in due to a single medication restocking issue at our pharmacy.”

Thankfully, there have not yet been any reports of injury or illness associated with the mix-up, and the CVS representative said the company has contacted most of the families who may have received incorrect medication.

But state agencies are not taking chances. The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office is conducting a thorough investigation and has ordered CVS to turn over relevant information and documents.

With increased record keeping and safeguards in place, it is somewhat rare to have a prescription error of this magnitude. But because these protections should be in place, an error this size is especially unacceptable.

Hopefully, any patients who suffer injury as a result of the mix-up will seek out and be awarded appropriate compensation.

Toyota Recall: Two Die in Fatal Car Accident

Toyota has had three recalls in the past three years that have affected millions of vehicles and consumers. These particular recalls surround defective gas pedals and accelerators that would sometimes cause cars to speed up on their own.
In the past ten years, there have been over 3,000 reported car accidents related to sudden acceleration in Toyotas. Recently, another car accident occurred that took the lives of two individuals, the driver and his son’s fiancée. They, along with two others, the driver’s wife and their son, were traveling in a 2008 Camry when they crashed into a wall.
Investigators are working with Toyota to determine whether a faulty accelerator was the cause of the crash. It is not certain at this point, but according to witnesses it appeared that the driver attempted to brake but could not. There was nothing that pointed to faulty brakes.
There is no concrete information at this point as to whether the driver had complied with the two initial recalls for his Camry. According to the report, he did however respond to the third recall and brought his car in to be repaired. If the investigation finds that his car was in fact repaired, this raises concerns about whether Toyota’s repairs are safe.
For the two survivors, they may have a claim against Toyota if the crash was caused by a defective accelerator. At this point, the article states only that the two suffered injuries from the crash; the extent of the injuries remains unknown and isn’t disclosed by their detroit personal injury lawyers.

Wal-Mart to pay $10 million for a slip and fall accident

Most of us have tripped at a store. Tripping at the store is usually the result of a misstep or untied shoelace, but many people are injured every year because some Delaware store owners maintain unsafe premises. An example of unsafe premises is a grocery store that fails to promptly clean up a spill or leak despite employees being aware of the problem. Many stores also fail to properly shovel and salt their parking lots during the winter months which results in many customers and employees suffering preventable slip and falls.

Wal-Mart recently had a large premises liability lawsuit decided against it. A jury ordered the nation’s largest retailer to pay $15 million to a truck driver who slipped on a combination of grease and ice while making a delivery. The truck driver suffered severe back injuries from her fall and had to undergo three surgeries to repair problems with her spine. The trucker’s injuries highlight the serious consequences that can arise out of a store’s failure to maintain safe premises throughout the entire year.

Wal-Mart initially denied the presence of grease outside of the Colorado store where the trucker fell, spurring a truck accident lawsuit in Philadelphia. Wal-Mart also claimed that the jury award was excessive. The Colorado Supreme Court disagreed and awarded the trucker $10 million after reducing the verdict for that state’s limit for non-economic damages. The trucker was able to produce city records indicating a grease leak from a device that was supposed to keep deli grease from infiltrating the sewers.

The trucker’s attorney said that justice was served by this verdict and Wal-Mart refused to comment on its defeat in court.

Sober Drivers Stopped for DUI: How Often?

We occasionally note in our blogs what we regard as a critically important balance in a democratic society, namely, this: the tempering of the state’s power to stop, question and arrest members of the public with an individual’s legal right to be treated with fundamental fairness in his or her interactions with law enforcement officials.

As we have previously noted, this is certainly true in the realm of Bellingham DUI-related charges and drunk driving arrests. In this area of law, due process concerns are always present; additionally, they are sometimes magnified by factors such as machine and equipment failures (e.g., see our September 27 blog on the Washington State Crime Lab) and other problems that are simply inherent in the system and that can work to compromise a just result.

Take the case of a Texas man and his recent experience, for example – a story that is hardly news to defense attorneys and that occurs with varying twists across the country with regularity.

David Hammock – a Dallas resident – was stopped recently by a police officer who saw him hit a curb. Hammock was 100 percent sober at the time and told the officer that, but the officer asked him to perform a battery of sobriety tests. Hammock says that the stop unnerved him; he failed the tests. He says that being tall and uncoordinated didn’t help.

He was subsequently patted down, cuffed and taken to jail, where he spent several hours. The breath test he took there came back with a 0.00 reading, and he was released – after he paid to get his impounded car back.

How typical is this? Bellingham DUI attorneys say it happens frequently, because investigatory tools – such as sobriety tests – are far from infallible.

Hammock was obviously happy to leave the jail. “The officer said I blew a 0.00 and I thought hallelujah,” he said.

Changes made to expungement wording in Colorado’s ‘Katie’s Law’

Everyone makes mistakes, but that does not mean those mistakes should haunt a person forever. Thankfully, under Florida DUI law, qualifying crimes can be expunged from a person’s record. When a record is expunged, the information is legally destroyed, so details regarding Florida criminal charges cannot be accessed for general law enforcement use.

In some situations, information on a person’s file – even if they are not convicted – could be used against them in other situations. One example is with the way “Katie’s Law” is currently worded. Thankfully, a new change in the bill will fix the mistake in the original wording.

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Baton Rouge Man Killed in Motorcycle Accident

Last Monday, a fatal car accident claimed the life of one Baton Rouge man. According to reports, Andre Anderson, 43, was pronounced dead from injuries obtained when his motorcycle collided with another vehicle on the road late Monday night.
According to a recent WAFB-TV report, Anderson’s Suzuki motorcycle slammed into the passenger side of a Ford Taurus while driving east on Burbank Drive (LA 42). Courtney Jones, 20, of Baton Rouge was the driver of the other vehicle involved. The crash occurred when Jones drove the opposite direction on the roadway and was attempting a left turn onto Pecan Tree Drive.
Police on the scene reported that Anderson was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash but it was not properly secured. Following the crash, Anderson was rushed to Our Lady of the Lake Medical Center but his injuries proved to be too severe and was pronounced dead shortly after.
Jones only suffered minor injuries and was treat on the scene. Natasha Jones, 19, of Miami, FL was in the vehicle with Jones at the time of the crash but only suffered minor injuries and was taken to Baton Rouge Medical Center.
Currently, no charges have been filed but Louisiana State Troopers are still investigating the crash.
Related, a recent Governors Highway Safety Association study recently found that motorcycling fatalities in the U.S. had dropped 10 percent in 2009. They estimate that motorcycle deaths declined from 5,290 in 2008 to 4,762 or fewer in 2009.

New Louisiana Seat-Belt Campaign Aims to Reduce Fatal Car Wrecks

Louisiana law enforcement and highway safety agencies are teaming up to increase the enforcement and education of seat-belt use. As part of Louisiana’s “Click It or Ticket” campaign, which began this week and runs through June 6, law enforcement officials will be more strictly enforcing seat-belt laws in an attempt to educate Louisiana motorists on the importance of seat-belt safety. The goal of the program is to raise Louisiana’s seat-belt use to the national average and reduce the number of fatal car wrecks cause by unbelted motorists.

To support the program, the state of Louisiana will add more patrols by local and state police and place more than 2,500 new “Buckle Up, America” signs on state roadways.

According to a WBRZ report, Louisiana’s seat-belt use rate has remained consistent since 2004 at 75 percent. Comparatively, the national average for seat-belt use in 2008 was 83 percent. State officials estimate that every percentage point between 75 percent and 83 percent represents eight lived lost from misuse or non-use of seat-belts.

The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission estimates that the state’s cost for all traffic injuries and fatalities last year was around $1.23 billion. These costs include medical costs, public services, property damage and employer costs. The commission and authorities believe that this program will help save lives but also save the state money, which they can use for more needed programs.

According to the WBRZ article, 65 percent of the nearly 900 people that died in traffic accidents in 2008 were not wearing their seat-belts properly. The commission believes that seat-belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passengers in car by 45 percent and back-seat passengers by 60 percent.

The commission provided law enforcement agencies statewide with $1.3 million in state funds to pay officers overtime to conduct seat-belt enforcement in their communities during the campaign.

 

 

State Plans to Reduce Car Wrecks on Louisiana Highway

There are certain conditions that make some stretches of road more dangerous than others. Louisiana’s Highway 90, located on the westbank of the state, is one of those perilous roadways.
Sources report that the danger on Highway 90 stems primarily from the fact that that stretch of road is populated by a great number of trucks on a daily basis. The road goes through an area where two landfills, a marina and multiple Corps of Engineers projects are located.
Some Louisiana drivers complain that the trucks drive irresponsibly, as if they own the roadway. Drivers claim some truckers drive too fast and fail to grant the right of way to other cars on the highway.
The 6 mile stretch of Highway has no traffic signals, a fact that some identify as another prime culprit leading to the 800 accidents and 4 deaths that have taken place on Highway 90 in the past 4 years.
A lack of traffic lights is not helped by the high number of U-turn openings within the short stretch that do not have a proper turning lane. Drivers who need to turn around basically hold their breath and hope that traffic behind them will see their turn signal in time to go around the stopped vehicle.
As you can likely imagine, with the average speed on that highway being above 55mph, drivers do not always see the car in time and cause serious car wrecks. State authorities in Louisiana are waking up to this danger on Highway 90 and plan to address the problem of the dangerous U-turn setup by eliminating 8 of the openings.
Some Louisiana drivers, including employees from a landfill on the Highway 90 stretch, feel that traffic lights are needed to further increase driver safety in the area. The state has no current plans, however, to accommodate that recommendation.