Support is Gaining for Health Care Reform, but will it really benefit everyone?

According to an Associated Press poll today, October 7, 2009, the country is spilt forty-forty about whether or not to oppose or support the new health legislation. This includes more seniors supporting the health legislation than back in September. This is very good news for many people, after all, having health coverage for everyone is a great plan, but will it really benefit everyone. The money to provide everyone with health care coverage has to come from somewhere and it means that programs such as Medicare and Medicare and long term care facilities services will be cut to help provide these services as well as cuts being made from many other programs that allow seniors and other people proper medical care and training which helps to prevent abuse. The president’s intentions seem to be great but is the whole picture being looked at? Health care coverage for everyone is not the only thing at stake. People getting proper medical care and services is also at stake. Taking services from people that really need them in order to make sure everyone has coverage seems like a contradiction. Everyone having medical coverage should mean that more services and opportunities are provided, but instead they are being cut and taken away from people that really need them. This means more injuries and abuse if the proper care is not provided. The president wants programs that prevent sickness and illness yet cuts are being made to the services already provided, that just seems wrong. This plan is a good idea, but if you say it will benefit everyone than it really should, and right now it is clear that it will not.

For additional information on the new health care reform poll, you may visit: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091007/ap_on_bi_ge/us_ap_poll_health_care

If you feel that you or a loved one is not getting the proper medical care or treatment, please call, a medical malpractice lawyer right away. They will help you advocate your case and get you the good medical care you deserve.

Nursing Homes in Danger of Disappearing

According to a report from Connecticut, many nursing homes and their staff and services are in serious danger of being cut and even closed completely due to Medicare rate adjustments and other cuts as part of the health care reform. The president of the American Health Care Association even sees many nursing homes closing because of these cost cuts. The U.S. Census Bureau shows that 1.85 million people are now being taken care of in the nation’s 16,000 nursing homes and this is up from 1.79 million in 2007. This is clearly not the time to be cutting nursing home funding and closing nursing homes. Despite these figures though, many nursing homes, including twenty-four in Connecticut are being cut and closed due to rising costs and the challenge to keep big nursing homes running. Many people that are getting older, are disabled, and need the nursing home care are now turned away because of heavy debts and other problems. Many businesses are struggling due to the recession, but it may not be the best idea to include these types of cuts in health care reform especially since more people than ever need the care.  We need to still remember people first and money second. If we do not help this long term care crisis, there will more injuries, problems, and improper health care not only now but every day all over the U.S. long into the future.  

For more information on this nursing home crisis, you may visit this page.

If you feel that your loved ones have been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, please contact a medical malpractice attorney right away. They will help you advocate for the rights and care of your loved ones and help you get them what they need.

Tort Reform is Hurting More Than Helping

As the health care debate continues, so does tort reform. While some efforts have been made to help protect patients and their rights, there is still tort reform that is trying to cut costs and because of this there are still many people that are unable to get proper medical care and unable to fight for their rights to it. If tort reform continues the way it has, it is hurting more people than it is or will help.  Cutting costs and providing coverage for everyone is a great idea, but it is only great if it actually helps people to get the care they need and to have the services they need to fight for proper medical care if it is not given.  They are still many people being injured daily because of medical errors and malpractice. They are still many elderly being abused in nursing homes due to improper medical care. It is great that programs are trying to be put in place to cut down on medical malpractice lawsuits but what about just cutting down on the actual malpractice? If patients receive proper medical care, including checkups, treatments, evaluations and more, then we can worry less about lawsuits because the medical care will be better. Until medical errors are dramatically reduced and programs are put in place for more adequate medical care than people still need malpractice rights and lawyers to help them advocate for their rights to proper medical care. Tort reform may try to cut costs all it wants, but people still need their rights and one of these rights is their right to sue for medical malpractice. These rights are there to help those hurting.  Tort reform has only hurt more and not helped.

If you would like more information on the health care debate and tort reform, you may visit:

This link.

If you or someone you loved has been injured or denied proper medical care, contact a malpractice lawyer right away. They will help you fight for your rights and get your voice heard to help those you love.

Should a Price Tag be put on Good Medical Care?

There has been much debate about health care over the last few months. One of the issues that is being brought up over and over again is whether or not tort reform and limits on malpractice suits actually will save money. Some people say it does because doctors will not have to spend so much money ordering special tests and treatments for patients when it may not be needed. Should a price tag really be put on good medical care? What if a doctor did not order a test or treatment because they thought it was not needed and then later discovered that it could have helped? For situations like these that happen every day in millions of hospitals, doctor’s offices, and nursing homes in every state, we still need our malpractice rights. It is still possible that even with universal coverage those doctors may make a medical error either because they want to cut a cost or because they just did not pay enough attention. States that have medical malpractice caps and tort reform are not actually saving any more money than those who do not have them. So why should we deny patients the right to good medical care and treatment when we are not really saving any money by doing so? Everyone, even the doctors that see patients every day, should have the right to speak up if their medical care is inadequate or if there is a problem. This should be a basic right as a person and an American. Malpractice caps do not save money on health insurance so why take away a person’s right to good medical care and treatment and the right to sue if they do not receive it? The logic just does not make sense.

People in this country have the right to free speech as well as many other rights and that should always include the right to speak up about medical errors and malpractice. These rights should be totally different than the health insurance debate because there should not be a price tag on person’s right to good proper medical care.

If you would like more information on the health care debate and malpractice rights, you may visit this link.

If you or a loved one has been injured or abused due to improper medical care, contact a medical malpractice lawyer right away. They will help you advocate for your right to be heard and receive the care you deserve.

Dennis Quaid Takes on Medical Errors & Baxter Heparin

In addition to facing lawsuits for contaminated heparin, pharmaceutical giant Baxter, is now facing a lawsuit from actor Dennis Quaid after his newborn babies almost died from a fatal heparin overdose. Apparently, a labeling mistake was to blame for a nurse injecting his twins with full-on heparin instead of Baxter’s Hep-Lock (which is a weaker form of the blood-thinning drug). And although Baxter changed the confusing labels after they were linked to other mix-ups and the death of three infants, the company did not recall the existing vials that were still being used in maternity wards across the US.

Baxter, however, continues to blame the staff at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for the error. Debra Bello, a senior director at Baxter, told reporters for CBS that the hospital bears full responsibility for the incident “because the product was safe and effective, and the errors, as the hospital has acknowledged, were preventable and due to failures in their system.”

I probably would buy that excuse if it weren’t for the fact that Baxter redesigned the label prior to this incident for the very reason that mix-ups were occurring. Obviously, they knew that the similarities in the labels were causing major problems, yet they failed to issue a recall to take the drug off the shelves. Not too smart in my opinion- and now they have to deal with a lawsuit from Dennis Quaid and all the negative publicity that comes with it.

In other Dennis Quaid news, the actor has also decided to tackle the medical malpractice crisis by setting up a foundation to fund efforts to reduce medical errors. “We all have this inherent thing that we trust doctors and nurses, that they know what they”re doing. This mistake occurred right under our noses…the nurse didn”t bother to look at the dosage on the bottle,” Quaid told CBS. “It was avoidable, completely avoidable.”

It’s really sad when Dennis Quaid can see there is a problem in the medical community, yet our trusted lawmakers and officials do not. If they did, they would silence the cries for tort reform legislation and tell the doctors to deal with the problems by cleaning up their act. Maybe once a politician falls victim to medical malpractice, Washington will be singing a different song.

For further information on the recent heparin deaths or medical malpractice, click on the following link:

New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorney

Does PA’s Decline In Medical Malpractice Suits Confirm The Need For Tort Reform?

Short answer- absolutely not. Although supporters of tort reform are rallying behind recent reports that medical malpractice suits in Pennsylvania have declined after the implementation of stricter court requirements to weed out frivolous lawsuits, it seems to me that the actual cases of medical malpractice are still shockingly high.

Apparently the number of malpractice suits filed in Pennsylvania fell to 1,617, which is a 4.5 percent decline from 2006. The reason for this decline, according to Chief Justice Ronald D Castille, are stricter court guidelines which require lawyers to have an independent physician or expert verify the credibility of a case before a suit is filed.

OK- so the frivolous lawsuits have been weeded out. But how can you discredit the 1,617 medical malpractice lawsuits in Pennsylvania that did have merit in the eyes of the court? These are people who have been injured, disfigured and even died as a result of a medical mistake. Most victims do not make a full recovery and are often unable to work or unable to provide for their families.

Lets expand these numbers to include medical malpractice suits on a national level. A recent analysis of Medicare patients between 2004-2006 showed that preventable medical mistakes caused 238,337 wrongful deaths, 1.1 million unnecessary injuries and cost Medicare $8.8 billion dollars. The most common mistakes involved bedsores, accidental punctures or lacerations, anesthesia complications, sepsis, infections and surgical mistakes resulting from instruments and foreign objects left in the body. Furthermore, the same report claims that if the doctors involved followed the same prevention steps and procedures required by top-rated hospitals, 37,214 wrongful deaths from medical malpractice would have been avoided.

So lets compare apples for apples and then decide what”s fair. If we allow tort reform, a doctor who makes a fortune already will save some money on his malpractice insurance. On the other hand, a mother of three who was permanently injured after the doctor made a careless mistake can not recover enough money to support her family and live off of should she be unable to work. Forget the lawyers involved. These are real people with real injuries that could have been prevented. If someone slips on your icy sidewalk and gets hurt, your gonna have a lawsuit on your hand because you made the mistake of not shoveling. That”s life. Why shouldn”t doctors be held to the same standard?

I don”t believe this study confirms the need for tort reform-in fact I believe it shows the exact opposite. If stricter rules were implemented and there were still1,617 people who had viable medical malpractice suits, then the problem lies in the medical field. Its time to stop punishing the victims because the filthy rich hospitals and doctors do not want to pay when mistakes happen. What”s fair is to weed out the bad doctors who hurt people. The medical malpractice lawsuits will then naturally drop off without the help of tort reform or the politics behind it.

23 Facts About Medical Malpractice

Doctors and politicians like to blame attorneys for the high cost of malpractice insurance but the truth is that doctors make severe errors that hurt or kill thousands of patients each year. Here are the facts.

  1. 98,000 deaths each year are due to medical errors. – Institute of Health, National Academy of Sciences (1999)
  2. Deaths by medical errors each year exceeded the number of deaths due to motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer and AIDS. – Institute of Health, National Academy of Sciences (1999)
  3. More than 10% of common surgical procedures are unnecessary or inappropriate. – USA Today(7/24/02)
  4. In the year 2000, the Center for Disease Control found that there were 90,000 deaths due to hospital infections.- Chicago Tribune (7/21/02)
  5. In West Virginia, 40 doctors were found to account for 25% of all of the 2,300 cases of malpractice reported to the West Virginia Board of Medical Examiners since 1993. – West Virginia Gazette Mail
  6. Full and prompt disclosure of medical errors to the patient followed with fair compensation for the injury caused has reduced litigation costs in Veterans Hospitals. – United States Department of Veteran Affairs
  7. Medical errors kill more people each year than auto accidents. – Paul C. Weiler, A Measure of Malpractice: Medical Injury, Malpractice, Litigation and Patient Compensation (1993), Harvard University Press
  8. Medical errors produce more permanent disabilities than do workplace accidents. – Paul C. Weiler, A Measure of Malpractice: Medical Injury, Malpractice, Litigation and Patient Compensation (1993) – Harvard University Press
  9. In New Jersey if a physician has been sanctioned by the Board of Medical Examiners, consumers can find out nothing about the complaints or disciplinary action. – Asbury Park Press (1/31/02)
  10. Getting a formal hearing with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and its Board of Medical Examiners can take a member of the public up to 2 years. – Asbury Park Press (1/30/02)
  11. Doctors disciplined for gross negligence received on average 3 month suspensions. – Asbury Park Press (1/28/02)
  12. An Asbury Park Press Review of 483 disciplinary records since 1995 showed the Board of Medical Examiners issued reprimands to 3 doctors in 3 cases court. – Asbury Park Press (1/30/02)
  13. 20,000 physicians, or 5% are alcoholics, drug addicts, senile, criminals or are incompetent and should not be practicing medicine. New England Journal of Medicine (10/5/87)
  14. Only 1,974 doctors out of 623,000 doctors nationwide were disciplined as a result of their actions. This represents .32% or 3.2 doctors out of 1,000. – Public Citizen Health Research Group Report, September 1993
  15. States do not have the resources available to adequately investigate claims and discipline doctors. 53.6% of the doctors disciplined by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and 44.6% of the doctors disciplined by Medicare were not disciplined by the states in their disciplinary process. – Public Citizen Health Research Group Report, September 1993
  16. In the year 2000 nearly 3/4 of the deadly infections found in hospitals-or about 75,000-were preventable, the result of unsanitary facilities, germ-laden instruments, unwashed hands and other lapses. – Chicago Tribune (7/21/02)
  17. Deaths linked to hospital germs represent the fourth leading cause of death among Americans, behind heart disease, cancer, and strokes. – Chicago Tribune (7/21/02)
  18. Hospital infections kill more people each year than car accidents, fires and drowning combined. – Chicago Tribune (7/21/02)
  19. Strict adherence to clean-hands policies in hospitals cold prevent the deaths of up to 20,000 patients each year. – Chicago Tribune (7/21/02)
  20. Since 1995, more than 75 percent of all hospitals have been cited for significant cleanliness and sanitation violations. – Chicago Tribune (7/21/02)
  21. About 2.1 million patients each year, or 6% will contract a hospital-acquired infection. – Chicago Tribune (7/21/02)
  22. The deaths of 2,610 infants in the year 2000 were linked to preventable hospital-acquired infections. – Chicago Tribune (7/22/02)
  23. Diagnosis of breast cancer was delayed in 9% of patients in a recent study because physicians wrongly ascribed a benign status to a palpable mass. – Archives of Internal Medicine (6/24/02)

If you or a loved one has been harmed by medical malpractice, you may have a claim for damages. For more information, please go to the New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorneys page.

John R. Mininno, Esq.is a New Jersey and Pennsylvania trial lawyer representing clients in medical malpractice, defective products and other serious injury claims. He also writes about issues concerning patient safety. His offices are in Collingswood, NJ and Philadelphia, PA.