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Orange County Wrongful Death Law Blog

California hospitals plagued by superbugs and wrongful death

Ongoing antibiotic resistance has led to so-called superbugs that are incredibly difficult for patients to fight off. This epidemic causes thousands of annual deaths in California, but many patients remain wholly unaware of the superbugs that plague certain hospitals. In some instances, revealing this type of information might allow a patient to choose a different hospital, ultimately helping his or her family to avoid the pain and suffering a wrongful death can cause.

Not only does the state of California not track any deaths that occur from infections acquired inside of a hospital, but these facilities are not required to report infections of lethal superbugs. Without this information, there is little to stop the spread of these antibiotic-resistant strains. To further complicate the matter, the true cause of death is rarely listed on the death certificate.

Is that a defective medical device? Medicare usually isn't sure

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services -- the CMS -- recently revealed a chilling fact: it has no idea how much money is being spent on defective devices. A single defective medical device can cause profound damage for multiple patients in California, who often must then go on to receive additional care and treatment. Until CMS is sure of how much it spends on related injuries, there likely cannot be any action to curb the impact.

Claim forms that are submitted to health insurance companies do not include medical device information that could be used to identify inherently defective products. Since the CMS never actually sees which devices are used with patients who are adversely affected by them, it has no way of figuring out what it has paid until a device has been recalled. A review of Medicare expenses discovered that seven recalled cardiac devices cost ultimately $1.5 billion in additional care. For the affected patients, that impact totaled up to $140 million worth of copayments.

Nursing home neglect justice is undermined by arbitration clauses

Discovering that a loved one has been harmed while in the care of a nursing home can be devastating, and most families are determined to help their loved ones achieve justice for their injuries. People in California are often surprised when they are told that arbitration is their only option. In the face of overwhelming nursing home neglect and abuse, some might be wondering how these facilities are able to lowball victims and their families by insisting upon arbitration rather than a lawsuit.

Admission contracts for residential facilities are notoriously long, and in some instances can even be upwards of 70 pages or more. When it comes time to sign these papers most soon-to-be residents or their families are already under a great deal of stress and have trouble taking in everything that they are signing. What most people fail to notice is the arbitration clause -- a single clause in dozens upon dozens of pages that require victims of abuse and neglect to arbitrate rather than sue.

California man seriously injured in fiery car accident

A fiery collision on a California Highway left one man dead and another seriously injured. Police suspect that a third vehicle might have also been involved in the car accident, but have yet to say more regarding the matter other than that they are still investigating. No criminal charges have been filed, as the driver believed to be responsible for the wreck was killed.

A 68-year-old man was behind the wheel of an SUV on Highway 44 when he seemingly lost control of his vehicle. He turned his vehicle left and veered across the center yellow line, putting himself in the way of oncoming traffic. A 31-year-old man driving a pickup truck was apparently unable to avoid the wrong-way SUV, and the two collided.

Medical malpractice suits often necessary after misdiagnosis

What's one of the first things that patients do after receiving a serious diagnosis? For most patients, treatments start right away. However, not all diagnoses are correct. California patients who have been misdiagnosed must live with the aftermath of either not receiving treatment at all or receiving the wrong treatment; additionally, they most-assuredly experience a significant delay in getting the correct care for their illnesses. This type of medical malpractice can wreak havoc on victims' physical and mental well-being.

In 2015, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine issued a report that urged medical professionals to improve their diagnostic practices. The report went on to explain that the vast majority of individuals will be the victim of least one error in diagnosis at some point in their lifetimes. Some of those diagnostic errors have serious consequences, and the report included evidence from autopsies that indicate these types of mistakes account for approximately 10 percent of deaths in patients receiving care. Some of the most commonly misdiagnosed illnesses include heart failure, cancer, pneumonia and general infections.

Essure believed to be defective medical device

Opponents of the popular birth control device Essure expressed their frustration with the Food and Drug Administration for allowing it to remain on the market. Widely associated with many adverse effects and injuries, women in California and across the rest of the United States are suffering while the FDA appears to be doing very little. Currently, the FDA has made only minor recommendations and also requested that Bayer -- its manufacturer -- conduct another study. Some believe this is simply not enough action for what appears to be a defective medical device.

Advertised as a form of permanent birth control, Essure has been linked to several disturbing health issues. Thousands of women reported ongoing headache, fatigue and abdominal pain. Other complaints reported that the Essure device was not easily removed or that it actually broke while still in use. Perhaps most disturbing are the four deaths that have been linked back to the birth control device.

Don't let the insurance company undervalue your serious injuries

Careless drivers, distracted motorists and drunk drivers -- they all contribute to dangerous driving conditions that put others at risk. Car accidents caused by these types of negligent drivers often result in serious injuries. We understand the tremendous burden that these types of injuries place on California victims, and we stand firm when it comes to seeking justice for our clients.

Car wrecks can occur in the blink of an eye, permanently altering the course of a person's future. Negligent drivers rarely want to take responsibility for their actions, especially when their recklessness is related to obvious dangers behind the wheel, such as texting or drinking alcohol. Negligent drivers often have their insurance companies at their backs, refusing payment for necessary injuries at every turn.

Nursing home neglect increasingly documented online

Viral pictures and videos make the rounds of the internet on a seemingly daily basis, but not all of these viral sensations are harmless. Residents of California nursing homes and others across the United States are increasingly exploited by their own caretakers when their pictures are taken and then posted online. This type of thoughtless and even cruel behavior often coincides with nursing home neglect.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid are urging nursing homes and other residential facilities to not only educate employees about the ethical aspects of photographing patients, but to also strictly forbid demeaning pictures from being taken in the first place. This comes in light of recent incidents involving nursing home staff recording and sharing instances of abuse. In one case, two workers faced arrests for disregarding their duties to help an 84-year-old resident to the restroom. Instead, police claim they recorded the partially-nude resident while laughing at her.

The VA named in medical malpractice suit by injured veteran

California veterans who have been deployed likely understand the devastating toll that a war zone can have on a person's physical and emotional well-being. Many of these veterans require specialized care upon returning home and re-entering the civilian world, but the VA might not be meeting those needs. In a medical malpractice suit filed by an army major, the VA is accused of acting negligently with his medical care.

The veteran spent time deployed overseas, during which he was injured after a nearby car bomb detonated. He struck his head, was knocked unconscious and was apparently bleeding when he came to. He now experiences ongoing memory loss and chronic headaches and has trouble sleeping. These troubling symptoms were noted by his primary doctor who became worried that he might have suffered a brain injury, and he referred him to be examined by a specialist at the VA.

California wrongful death suit may improve hospital care

Medical facilities hold a position of trust. When people in California go to hospitals or medical centers for help, they depend on the doctors and nurses to treat them with dignity and care. However, the daughter of an elderly woman who died in a local hospital believes her mother was treated as a disposable person because of her age. They are suing the hospital for wrongful death.

The 93-year-old woman arrived at the hospital complaining of a stomach ache. Apparently, after admitting her, the nurse on duty did not assess the woman's pain level. Nevertheless, the nurse gave the elderly woman a dose of a potent narcotic. For some reason, the nurse failed to report this to the other nurses or the doctor on duty. As a result, the patient was given additional painkillers, which sent her into respiratory arrest.