Twenty years of defending doctors and hospitals in medical malpractice cases has made me into a nervous patient. When you see the worst, you look for it. At least I do. That’s why when I was scheduled for a minor elective procedure, I was nervous. I set aside the day, canceling all of my depositions and planning to spend the day on emails and phone calls. My specialist’s office texted ...

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On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger disintegrated shortly after liftoff, resulting in the death of the entire seven-person crew. The subsequent investigation revealed that a joint in the right solid rocket booster failed during liftoff, which occurred due to the inadequacy of the O-ring seals. It was about 28-degrees on the morning of the space shuttle launch, and the O-ring seals were not designed to perform at such ...

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A New Mexico woman, suffering from Dercum’s disease (adiposis dolorosa) which causes painful fatty tumors, is suing a Santa Fe hospital and an emergency physician claiming she was the victim of two negligent acts in 2016. One, according to the Albuquerque Journal, she told hospital personnel she was allergic to Dilaudid but went into cardiac arrest after receiving an injection of the drug. Two, despite the presence of a lawfully ...

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An excerpt from Wrongful Deaths. “We will name Memorial Hospital, Dr. Julie Stone, Dr. Vijay Gupta, and ICU nurse Tracy Miller in a malpractice suit involving the wrongful death of Ivy Jackson.” Venjer appeared apologetic. “But Dr. Torrins is correct. It ...

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I’m struggling — truly struggling. This year has been beyond hard. I honestly never thought this time last year that I would be in this predicament. Things were good, I had a great job, and I was working on our fixing up our dream retirement home. We had great vacations every year. Yes, the home remodel wasn’t quite on track, but we were making progress. But then, my world fell ...

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The medicine I practiced between 1974 to 1992 is gone. Evidence is the coin of the realm in the courts of modern medicine. The rule “first, do no harm” demands a corollary — be paranoid. We receive extensive training and licensure to “touch” patients. Any person who is not a physician who cuts into another person commits a very serious crime. The same is true for merely talking with a person, ...

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I do not feel that I truly survived my lawsuit. Sure, I am alive, but the emotional toll it took on me during the four years that we co-existed was tremendous. That being said, I do feel that it taught me several things that may be helpful to others. My lawsuit occurred very early in my career. The series of events that led up to it happened when I was a ...

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In July, 2009, the family of Massachusetts teenager Yarushka Rivera went to their local Walgreens to pick up Topomax, an anti-seizure drug that had been keeping her epilepsy in check for years. Rivera had insurance coverage through MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid insurance program for low-income children, and never ran into obstacles obtaining this life-saving medication. But in July of 2009, she turned 19, and when, shortly after her birthday, her family ...

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What is evidence? How do we gather evidence of patient harm? More importantly, what is the evidence that counts? A research paper dating back to 2004 suggests that besides research evidence, clinical and patient experiences, as well as contextual information also constitute evidence. However, the only currency of science is data collected through systematic and rigorous research. But when it comes to the business of medical error,
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Several years ago, a colleague of mine did a procedure on my daughter. What was supposed to be routine has become a nightmare for her.  When he saw her post-op, he told her she was fine.  Because of this obfuscation, years went by before she really understood how damaged she was. By then, the statute of limitations had lapsed and she had no recourse. Still seeking closure on this disaster, my daughter ...

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