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Orange County Wrongful Death Law Blog

Pregnant woman's death subject of medical malpractice suit

A timely diagnosis is key to treating a wide variety of diseases and illnesses. For especially vulnerable patients in California -- such as children, the elderly and pregnant women -- a failure to diagnose a serious health concern can prove to be fatal. The family of an out-of-state woman who died from preeclampsia complications filed a medical malpractice suit for the attending doctor's apparent failure to diagnose the serious condition.

While pregnant with her and her husband's first child, the woman began to experience some troubling symptoms. Although nausea can be quite common in pregnancy, she reported such severe nausea that she would vomit uncontrollably, and she also experienced significant pain and elevated blood pressure. According to the suit, these are all clear indications that something much more serious than typical pregnancy sickness -- preeclampsia -- was at play.

Former employee facing criminal charges for nursing home neglect

A woman tasked with the care and treatment of elderly residents now faces criminal charges for allegedly doing the exact opposite. While troubling, these types of nursing home neglect allegations are not unique or uncommon in California. For those who have no choice but to seek outside care for an elderly loved one, this news can be especially upsetting.

While employed as a nurse at a residential nursing care facility, the woman apparently administered the wrong medication to one of the patients. Although the patient was supposed to receive cough medicine, the nurse somehow accidentally gave her a narcotic pain reliever. Because of the size of the dose, the patient suffered from an overdose, but the nurse supposedly failed to reach out for help.

Car accident kills 1 woman, shuts down highway

A California highway was shut down for several hours following the death of a local driver. What initially began as a single-vehicle wreck resulted in tragedy when a possible drunk driver caused a secondary accident that contributed to the extensive back-up on the highway. Police ultimately arrested the driver who caused the second car accident on drunk driving charges.

The first accident only involved one car. Although authorities do not believe that the driver was under the influence of alcohol or any other substance at the time, it is not entirely clear why she lost control of her vehicle and collided with the highway divider. Afterward, her car spun around and stopped in one of the lanes of traffic.

FDA warns of security flaw in defective medical device

As more and more health care technology begins to integrate with various online interfaces, some experts warn that California patients could be more at risk than ever. Hackings and cyberattacks can turn otherwise viable tools into a defective medical device, compromising the safety and security of patients who rely on them. Even the FDA has released a statement concerning a specific device that might be exceptionally prone to hacking attempts.

Medication infusion pumps are common staples at the vast majority of hospitals, and now most of them are online. While the pumps might not be updating their Facebook page or connecting on Twitter, they do wirelessly connect to the hospital's computer network. Admittedly, this makes monitoring all of the patients who are receiving IV medications considerably easier, but it also creates a dangerous opportunity for hackers to gain control of those pumps.

Even highly rated doctors commit medical malpractice

Online ratings and reviews can be invaluable tools for consumers searching for anything from a good place for dinner to hiring a personal contractor for home renovations. However, just how accurately do some of those ratings reflect real life? Some California doctors might receive glowing reviews on the Internet, but upon closer inspection at real life outcomes, instances of medical malpractice can be startlingly high.

A surgeon who once performed procedures at an out-of-state hospital had his privileges to practice there revoked following a myriad of medical malpractice lawsuits from injured patients. However, records indicate that his privileges remain in good standing, even though he verbally told one of his patients that he could no longer perform surgeries at the hospital in question. Despite the false state records and positive reviews, he once held spot number five on the list of physicians with the highest complication rate for a particular surgery in his state.

Nursing facility blamed for resident's apparent wrongful death

Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in California typically cater to the needs of the elderly, but disabled and special needs individuals are sometimes best accommodated by the close and attentive care that is provided at these locations. Although it is not entirely clear what events led to a man becoming a resident at an out-of-state nursing home, his mother claims that the negligence by attending staff members ultimately led to the wrongful death of her son. In her suit against the home, she specifically cites at least one instance of the facility failing to adequately prevent acts of abuse.

In 2014, the man was a resident in a skilled nursing care facility. At the facility, he shared his room with another man who, according to his mother, was apparently not an appropriate fit. In May 2014, his roommate allegedly assaulted him, although it is unclear what -- if anything -- led up to the brutal attack.

Wrongful death might have been avoided with accurate diagnosis

For some California patients, seeking out an accurate diagnosis can be a journey that feels like it lasts a lifetime. For one young man's family, finally getting the right diagnosis actually did take that long. After 18 years misdiagnoses in what were possibly acts of medical malpractice, the 18-year-old young man ultimately succumbed to his illness in what might have been a wrongful death

His health problems became apparent almost immediately after birth. When his mother sought care for his troubling symptoms, which included difficult sleeping and near-constant crying, he was diagnosed with two separate hernias and underwent surgery to correct them. However, the problems did not stop there.

Some medical malpractice could come down to communication skills

Despite years of general and specialized medical training, doctors continue to misdiagnose patients at a fairly surprising rate. California patients might be left wondering if all that training is actually enough to avoid instances of medical malpractice, and if not, what is missing? One expert believes he may know what critically important lesson is missing from doctor's educations -- communication skills.

During the course of a career, the average doctor will have approximately 200,000 interactions with his or her patients. However, physicians do not actually receive any training on strategies for communicating with their patients, and it shows. After asking a question, most doctors interrupt their patients' answers about 18 or so seconds in. Allowed to continue without interruption, most patients continue for about a minute and a half.

Cyclist killed after suffering serious injuries in hit-and-run

A California neighborhood well-known for its high number of pedestrians and bicyclists became the scene of a terrifying hit-and-run accident. According to police, a suspected drunk driver hit a man riding a bicycle and then fled the scene, dragging the man for some time. Ultimately, the victim succumbed to the serious injuries that he suffered in the accident.

Witnesses to the wreck told police that two bicyclists were in a designated crosswalk with the right of way when a speeding vehicle struck one of the two cyclists. It has been estimated that the vehicle was going approximately 80 mph, and some witnesses even reported that the driver appeared to accelerate just before the collision. However, the driver never stopped to see if the cyclist was okay or to contact police. Instead, he drove on at roughly the same speed, dragging the victim for several hundred feet along the road.

Could your birth control be a defective medical device?

Birth control is an important aspect of family planning and overall health for many women in California, but for some, one form of birth control could be putting them at significant risk. According the Food and Drug Administration, Bayer's popular form of birth control, Essure, might not be as safe as was previously believed, and could even potentially be a defective medical device. This investigation was spurred by numerous complaints concerning the side effects of Essure.

Essure, which the FDA approved in 2002, is cited by Bayer as being nearly 100 percent effective at preventing pregnancy. Additionally, Bayer also claims that it is the only option for permanent birth control that does not actually require a surgical procedure. Essure consists of a spiral device placed in the fallopian tubes and has been likened by some to tubal ligation.