Medical Malpractice Protections Extended to EMTs While Driving

In February of this year, the California Court of Appeals extended the protections afforded to medical doctors under the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) to emergency medical technicians (EMTs) who are in the process of transporting patients for medical care.

In the opinion by Justice Madeleine Flier, the Court of Appeal held that such protections were warranted since the services provided by EMTs were “inextricably identified” with the health and medical care of their patients. Further, the Court rejected the argument by the plaintiff, a Los Angeles police officer injured while riding along in the ambulance when it was involved in a collision, that MICRA protections could only be extended to those services to which an EMT was licensed. The court held that EMTs were licensed to provide transportation by the Department of Motor Vehicles’ special license and, therefore, were still protected by MICRA when involved in traffic accidents while transporting patients.

San Diego Man Awarded $5.7 Million for Undiagnosed Skin Cancer

It’s always nice to trumpet the accomplishments of friends and their deserving clients.

Last Friday, a San Diego Superior Court jury awarded $5.7 million verdict to a bedridden San Diego man who claimed a doctor failed to diagnose his skin cancer. Under the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, the award will be reduced to $1.9 million. The 1975 state act requires the court to cut general damages to $250,000 in medical-malpractice cases. It is the largest medical malpractice award in the state this year. The verdict came after a four week trial.

The jury agreed that the plaintiff, Regis M. Reilly, 53, suffered from life-threatening skin cancer after dermatologist James C. Powers failed to remove cysts on the right shoulder that eventually metastasized into cancer.

Reilly’s attorney, Denise Asher, said she was pleased by the size of the award because it represented a sum large enough to offset the trauma caused by the misdiagnosis.

“When you see pictures of the cysts, they are football-sized and deep in the tissue,” Asher said. Reilly went through a series of surgeries to remove the cancerous tissue. His wife, Karen Reilly, served as his nurse during the multiple surgeries and radiation treatments.

Reilly is confined to his home under around-the-clock medical care and had to be hospitalized during trial.

Good job, Denise.

Nevada May Lift Medical Malpractice Damages Cap; Should California Do the Same?

Well, it looks like the Nevada Medical Malpractice Reform Law may not see its’ fifth birthday–or at least its’ damage cap provision may not. Nevada legislators are considering overturning or raising the $350,000 cap for “pain and suffering” damages arising from medical malpractice.

The reason? Recent scandalous, unethical, and dangerous behavior by doctors in the state have led legislators to realize that damage caps hurt consumers while protecting negligent doctors.

We’ve taken a look at these developments and what it might mean for California’s MICRA damage cap of $250,000.

Social Security Disability Lawyer: If you are applying for disability, we offer free consultations and don’t charge a fee unless we help you win. When you work with Disability Help Group, an experienced advocate backed by a disability lawyer will navigate you through the tedious process.

Resources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_Injury_Compensation_Reform_Act

One of Tort Reform’s Biggest Lies Disproved….Again

We’ve written twice now about Oklahoma’s current tort reform efforts led by Republican Senate President Pro Tem Tom Glenn Coffee (R–Oklahoma City), a former medical malpractice defense lawyer.

One of the big myths leading the Oklahoma tort reform movement and tort reform, in general, is that without tort reform, doctors will flee to other jurisdictions with tort reform. The argument goes that with tort reform, medical malpractice insurance rates go down and attract doctors–while high insurance rates drive doctors away.

The problem is that the data does not support the myth. That is the case again in Oklahoma. According to this Edmond, OK news story, the number of Oklahoma doctors is increasing even while the tort reform movement is claiming they are fleeing. In addition, the doctor-owned medical malpractice insurance carrier, Physicians Liability Insurance Company, is in the best financial shape in its three-decade-long existence. The company is posting record profits and will be the clear winner if the Oklahoma tort reform bill passes limiting injured medical patient’s right to be compensated for injuries caused by their professionally negligent doctors.

Like any political issue, it is always important to look and investigate the real data underlying the tort reform movement. Is there a real reason to substantially limit injury victim’s right to justice? If so, what is the purported benefit? And, last, is that benefit worth the cost? In almost all cases, the answer to these tort reform questions is “No”.

If you or any of your loved ones have been injured or killed due to medical malpractice, contact San Diego medical malpractice lawyer and the San Diego personal injury attorneys.

El Cajon Psychiatrist, Dr. Wayne Funk, Accused of Collecting And Dispensing Surplus Medication Pills to Patients

Dr. Wayne Funk, a longtime psychiatrist in El Cajon, is fighting to keep his medical license after being accused of medical malpractice by the Medical Board of California. The 87-year-old doctor is thought to have been collecting powerful surplus painkillers and sedatives, such as Oxycodone, Diazepam, Lorazepam and Temazepam, from his patients and then redistributing them to other patients as a means of making them cheaper.

Funk, licensed in California since 1954, was subject to an investigation started a year ago by the Medical Board of California and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. According to the accusation filed in the Administrative Law Court, “the investigators observed a counter with numerous sample medications and a basket containing prescription bottles, including controlled substances, which were returned by patients.”

The University of Kansas school of medicine graduate is also being accused of prescribing the anti-anxiety drug, Xanax, to a patient over a two month period without any proper reviews or examinations. The patient had to later seek medical attention from another doctor for detoxification.

During the investigation, Funk surrendered his DEA certificate to dispense controlled substances but denies any wrongdoing. No hearing date has been set.

San Diego Medical Malpractice Caused by Unlicensed Doctor

A Chula Vista woman was sent to jail recently after pleading guilty to committing medical malpractice by performing abortions without a medical license. Bertha Bugarin plead guilty to nine counts of practicing medicine without a license, one felony count of grand theft, and one misdemeanor count of “dispensing dangerous drugs” to her patients at her Chula Vista clinic where she claimed to be a doctor.

The arrest and prosecution of Bugarin occurred after Michael Varga, a Chula Vista Police officer assigned to the department’s Special Investigations Unit, interviewed women about abortions they had received at Clinica Medica Para La Mujer de Hoy, a storefront clinic located on Broadway in Chula Vista that catered to low-income, Spanish-speaking women.

Varga’s investigation led to identifying Bugarin as the leader of an illegal medical facility and abortion clinic. Bugarin, the investigation found, was a layperson who claimed to be the owner and manager of the Chula Vista cash only clinic, as well as five other similar clinics in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

San Diego Man Allegedly Committed Medical Malpractice by Selling Unapproved Medical Devices

James Folsom, 68 of San Diego, faces 26 felony counts for medical malpractice by selling illegal medical devices in San Diego that he claimed would treat a variety of medical conditions through the passage of electrical currents. He faces 140 years in prison and $500,000 in fines if convicted, according to this news story in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Since 1997, Folsom sold approximately 9,000 devices, such as NatureTronics, AstroPulse, BioSolutions, Energy Wellness, and Global Wellness to both retail and wholesale consumers generating more than $8 million in revenue for himself in the process. Assistant U.S. Attorney Melanie Pierson said that this is the largest case involving illegal medical devices in the 20 years that she has worked as a federal prosecutor in San Diego County.

Folsom is an ex-business partner to a Fallbrook woman named Kimberly Bailey who sold similar devices until convicted in 2002 for planning the torture and murder of another man who was her business partner and lover.

The device sold by Folsom is made up of a small black box with dials, a digital screen, and wires leading to a pair of stainless steel cylinders or metal plates. The box is plugged into an electrical socket, and a patient holds the cylinders or stands on the plates. According to Folsom’s marketing, the device destroys diseased cells in the body with the use of electrical frequencies.

Prosecutors also allege that Folsom conducted business under false names and the United States Food and Drug Administration states that the device was never approved for use as a medical device in the United States.

Lemon Grove Rehab Center Accused of Medical Malpractice Death

On February 12, 2008, the California Department of Public Health issued an “AA” citation against the Lemon Grove Care and Rehabilitation Center. The Center was cited due to accusations of inadequate care and neglect, leading to a patient’s death.

The Director of the California Department of Public Health, Dr. Mark Horton, stated that the citation was issued because the Lemon Grove Center did not adequately protect the health and safety of its residents. Dr. Horton added that the Center failed to provide adequate supervision of its’ employees and residents, resulting in one patient suffering fatal injuries.

The citation process of the California Department of Public Health ranges from “B” to “AA” and is a part of its ongoing effort to improve the quality of care provided by California’s 1,400 skilled nursing facilities.

The Lemon Grove center was fined $80,000.

The State of California imposes a variety of legal requirements designed to protect those under the care of nursing homes or treatment centers. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by neglect in a nursing home or while under dependent adult care, contact the experienced nursing home abuse lawyers.

New Surgical Checklist May Reduce San Diego Medical Deaths and Complications

San Diego patients may benefit from new safety checklists.

The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 500,000 surgical deaths and complications occur worldwide every year due to inexcusable medical malpractice. Too many times patients have signed incorrect surgical consent forms allowing medical staff to incorrectly label them for a planned procedure. Nurses have documented patient safety measures that never actually occurred. Doctors have injected medications that were not labeled on the surgical field. The list goes on.

In order to address this issue, the World Health Organization, along with the Harvard School of Public Health, has launched its first “Safe Surgery Saves Lives” campaign. The study is based on the theory that a one-page surgery checklist developed by several world surgical experts will greatly reduce errors and omissions in the Operating Room.

The study, conducted with the participation of 3,955 patients in eight different cities, demonstrated that this low-cost and low-tech tool significantly reduced surgical mortality and morbidity rates.

The annual savings from the prevention of major complications in the Operating Room can be anywhere from $15 billion to $25 billion. Encouraged by this thought, the Institute for Healthcare Improvements and the World Health Organization have initiated the “Sprint” challenge: to have every hospital in the country utilize the surgical safety list with at least one surgical team by April 1, 2009.