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New York City Medical Malpractice Law Blog

U.S. still far behind other countries in infant mortality

Residents in New York might be interested in an important but disturbing report that was issued by the U.S. Center for Disease Control in 2014. According to the National Vital Statistics Report, the U.S. is lagging far behind other developed nations when it comes to the infant mortality rate.

This report suggests that Japan and Finland have the lowest infant mortality rates of all nations at 2.3 per 1000 live births. But the shockingly the U.S. rate is nearly three times as high at 6.1. This puts the U.S. behind nearly every country in Europe.

Parents of children injured at birth need someone to call

There may be nothing quite as tragic and heartbreaking as an innocent newborn who is injured or killed when something goes wrong during childbirth. For parents, losing a child or watching their child suffer life-altering injuries is a devastating experience that can last a lifetime. Dealing with the grief is an ongoing process, but to make matters worse, for parents in this situation, life goes on and there are still bills to pay.

After experiencing the trauma and having to deal with the aftermath of a complication during childbirth, parents may face a child with serious physical and mental trauma, as well as related financial consequences. Some children may have lifelong disabilities, which require costly medical procedures and other specialized accommodations, all of which can cost millions over the life of a child. 

Are New York City home births safer than hospital births?

Expecting New York City parents or those who have recently had children may have heard a lot of debate about the safety of hospitals lately, and whether there are any advantages to giving birth in a home setting. While a growing number of New Yorkers support the benefits of home birth, a recent study has shown that the hospital might still be the safer alternative.

The reasons people believe home birth to be safer vary, but among the main concerns are the hospital environment, which may subject a mother and newborn to infection. The risk of infectious disease might be smaller at home, but the risk of other things going wrong also increases dramatically. In a home birth, if the mother faces some complication or birth injury, there is generally no access to a physician or specialist nearby, which can lead to devastating consequences.

If a patient dies, some of his or her rights may still survive

People in New York know that the only thing more complicated than the health care system might be the legal system. For people without legal training, court workings can appear to be a never-ending series of motions back and forth, depositions, discovery and other processes. This is especially true of legal actions which involve people who have been the victim of medical malpractice or other negligence on the part of a health care provider. While sometimes complicated and lengthy, the process is incredibly important for those who want to protect their rights and the rights of their loved ones, including the right to collect damages for the tragic loss of a loved one.

When a person dies as a result of fatal medical errors, their loved ones may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the party or parties who were responsible. Wrongful death claims allow close family members to be compensated for their own losses they suffered as a result of losing a loved one and breadwinner. Damages in wrongful death lawsuits can help with some of these losses, such as the income of the deceased person.

What are the elements of a wrongful death claim?

People in New York who have a friend or loved one who has died as the result of a medical procedure or health care incident gone wrong are probably looking for answers. When a person dies unexpectedly in conjunction with a medical procedure, their loved ones rightfully have concerns and suspicions. Those who want to hold the proper parties accountable for their loss may want to discuss their case with an experienced New York malpractice attorney, as they may have grounds to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible health care provider.

In order to bring a wrongful death suit, there are several elements that must be satisfied. For one, the party bringing the lawsuit must be a spouse, child or other immediate family member of the deceased victim. Secondly, the party must be able to show that they have been financially affected by the victim's death. Third, they must be able to prove that the person acted negligently. Finally they must prove that this negligence was the cause of the victim's death.

The epidemic of health care-related deaths continues

People in New York know that health care is consistently one of the most hotly debated issues in politics and around the family dinner table today. Rightfully so, since providing health care to a growing and aging U.S. population is a challenge with no easy answers. Unfortunately, millions of Americans may not be receiving adequate health care, and even among those who are, the prevalence of hospital negligence is still unacceptably high.

The statistics don't lie. According to the National Academy of Sciences, nearly 100,000 patients are killed by medical errors in U.S. hospitals every year. These deaths stem from all kinds of serious problems. Doctors are responsible for some of these deaths, with the most common problems being doctor misdiagnoses, surgical errors and communication failures. Other staff members in hospitals are also responsible for many deaths, including deaths caused by dirty facilities which can spread infection, mislabeling or the faulty administration of drugs and numerous other causes.

How can you find the best hospital for your medical procedure?

People in New York oftentimes have a lot of questions when it comes to finding the right healthcare provider for their medical needs, especially if these needs are substantial. People in need of healthcare for a major illness or disease want to ensure that they make the best decision for their unique, individual situation, but depending on their constraints, such as whether a particular hospital or provider is within their healthcare insurance network, their options may be somewhat limited.

Before choosing a healthcare provider, people should look to a number of resources to research their selection. One such resource is the annual US News and World Report ranking of hospitals, which provides information on specialists and how they stack up against others that may be available. One of the biggest concerns most people have is patient safety, as nobody should feel terribly comfortable relying on a provider who has a history of hospital negligence. They also want to pick a provider with a reputable medical staff and a history of successfully and adequately addressing patients' needs in a particular field.

Cruise ships liable if they provide poor medical care

People in New York may recall the controversial death of a former New York City police officer, who was taking the vacation of a lifetime with his family aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship destined for Bermuda back in 2011. The man, who was 82 at the time, fell and hit his head during an excursion, and was immediately brought to the ship's doctor's office. There, he was told to return to his cabin to rest by one of the ship's nurses. He did so, but it soon became abundantly clear that things were not well.

Shortly after the examination by the nurse, the man's condition began to worsen, and the man was brought back for further assessment. Unfortunately at least four hours had passed before a doctor ever examined him and ordered him to a hospital in Bermuda. All the while the man was suffering from massive internal bleeding, and by the time he was checked into the hospital, the damage had already been done and there was nothing the hospital could do to save him. The man died shortly thereafter.

Pharmacist grabs wrong drug, causes patient's death

People in New York who have ever had a health care issue may be familiar with the sobering feeling that comes with the realization that their very lives are at stake, and rest firmly in the hands of their doctor. Well, not just their doctor, actually, but a whole cadre of health care workers that are responsible for accurate decision-making, communication and treatment. When even one of these complex links go wrong or somebody along the line makes a mistake, the results can be fatal.

This is exactly what officials believe occurred at a hospital in Portland, Oregon earlier this month. A 65-year-old woman had gone into the hospital and was written a prescription for an anti-seizure medication. The prescription was accurately recorded and entered into the system, the IV bag was clearly and accurately marked, but somehow one of the pharmacy workers filled the bag with the wrong drug. Instead of the appropriate medication, she was given a powerful paralyzing agent.

Life or death mistakes happen in the medical world

People in New York often go to great lengths to find a health care provider whom they respect and trust. Finding a doctor with whom a person feels comfortable can be difficult, especially when people understand that their future health may depend upon this doctor's competence and professionalism. Patients should take these decisions seriously, but, unfortunately, what happens after that decision is largely out of their hands and rests on the judgment and skill of their chosen physician.

The fact is that doctors are people, too, and just like everyone else, they make mistakes. While some mistakes are minor and may not lead to serious health problems, some doctor errors can lead to death, incapacitation or loss of critical bodily functions.