The Legal Talks Values and Hot-Button Issues with Tom Anapol, PA Assoc. for Justice President

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Sep 7, 2016 3:07:39 PM

The Legal Intelligencer interviewed newly elected president of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice,
Screen_Shot_2016-09-07_at_2.04.00_PM.pngTom Anapol
of Anapol Weiss, who shared his perspective on the organization’s mission as a voice for victims and employees to the broader legal community.

Mr. Anapol spoke with the Legal Intelligencer regarding the importance of strengthening membership through the promotion of diversity. He also reiterated the association’s core values of championing the rights of individuals and workers, and shared his perspective on forthcoming legislative issues that may bolster or undermine existing protections. Mr. Anapol also cited the importance of assuring continuity of victim and worker rights as technologies evolve, particularly in the case of autonomous vehicles.

Topics: Anapol Weiss, Medical Malpractice, Medical Negligence, Product Liability, Personal Injury, Auto Defects

Common Types of Malpractice Cases

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Jun 30, 2016 2:27:17 PM

Medical malpractice refers to a situation in which a medical care provider acts negligently or otherwise deviates from acceptable standards of practice, and those actions cause injury or death to a patient.

A study published in the British Medical Journal in May 2016 revealed that medical errors in health care facilities may now be the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. These instances claim the lives of 251,000 patients in the U.S. every year, equating to nearly 700 deaths each day.

Below are a few common types of medical malpractice:

Misdiagnosis

Physicians are expected to provide patients with accurate and timely diagnoses in order to ensure they have the best chance of successful treatment and a good outcome. Unfortunately, a study published in the British Medical Journal has estimated that one adult patient in 20 who visits outpatient settings is misdiagnosed every year in the U.S. That number equates to about 12 million American adults who suffer the consequences of a delayed, missed or wrong diagnosis.

Life-threatening consequences may result from the misdiagnosis of cancer, meningitis, pneumonia, cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke and blood clot conditions, and more. These and other deadly medical conditions cannot go untreated for long without causing irreversible bodily harm.

Surgical Mistakes

A surgical error can leave a helpless, unconscious patient with severe and sometimes deadly injuries. Dangerous surgical mistakes may include:

  • Organ, tissue and/or nerve damage
  • Intraoperative bleeding
  • Unsanitary surgical instruments
  • Procedure performed on the wrong surgical site
  • Wrong patient underwent surgery
  • Surgical device left behind

Furthermore, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates as many as 650 surgical fires occur each year in the United States. Ignition sources like lasers, defibrillators, drills and electrosurgical units can kill or severely burn patients while they are undergoing a medical procedure.

More than 4,000 preventable mistakes occur in surgery every year, according to a study published in the journal Surgery.

Birth injuries

Permanent harm can result from medical negligence that occurs at any time during pregnancy, labor and delivery. Threatening complications that may arise include: 

  • Anoxia, or lack of oxygen at birth
  • Fetal distress
  • Hypoxia, or reduced oxygen supply
  • Macrosomia (abnormally large baby)
  • Placental abruption
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Umbilical cord problems
  • Undiagnosed and untreated infection in the mother

When these and other complications occur, physicians must act quickly to protect the well-being of the infant. Failure to do so may lead to birth trauma and permanent health problems that reduce a child’s quality of life. In addition to the harm caused to a newborn baby, the mother can also be harmed.

Medication Mistakes

Medication errors are among the most common medical mistakes in the U.S. – and with more than 80 percent of American adults taking at least one medication, the threat is significant. Even a small error can have life-threatening consequences.

A medication error is "... any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer," according to the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention. There are a variety of reasons medication errors occur, including:

  • Miscommunication of drug orders
  • Poor handwriting on prescriptions
  • Confusion of similarly named drugs
  • Poor packaging design
  • Confusion of dosing units

A report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies has estimated that these errors harm at least 1.5 million people every year.

Contact Anapol Weiss for Assistance

Anapol Weiss holds health care professionals and institutions responsible for their negligence, because no one should have to endure the physical and emotional pain resulting from a medical mistake. Obtaining justice and compensation is just the beginning. Our clients also help prevent a similar situation from happening again to someone else.

Contact Anapol Weiss for assistance if you or a family member was hurt by a medical mistake. It could be the first step toward protecting your legal rights and getting answers.

Topics: Medical Malpractice

Six Surgical Mistakes with Deadly Consequences

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Jun 8, 2016 1:52:59 PM

Surgical_Mistakes-2.pngSurgical mistakes are the stuff of nightmares: a surgeon amputating the wrong limb, a patient contracting an infection from unsanitary equipment, or even an instrument being left inside of a patient. While mistakes like these are rare, they can have serious or even fatal consequences. The following examples are among the mistakes that may occur during surgery:

  1. Damage to organs, tissue, or nerves. Surgery on an organ does always carry some risk, and the organ operated on will take time to recover. However, surgeons can make mistakes by damaging neighboring organs or tissue. The tissue of organs is extremely delicate; severe residual issues can occur if an organ is accidentally nicked. Nerve damage from surgery can also be extremely risky, as patients can be left without feeling in a certain part of the body. Nerve damage may occur during the surgery itself, or when anesthesia is being administered.
  2.  
  3. Intraoperative bleeding. During surgery, delicate arteries can be nicked or lacerated. The resulting bleeding may be severe and unstoppable, and patients have died when surgeons failed to rectify the situation.
  4.  
  5. Unsanitary surgical instruments. This surgical mistake can be one of the most subtle but also the most dangerous. Unsanitary surgical equipment can be especially dangerous if the patient already has a compromised immune system, whether it is related to the surgery in question or not.
  6.  
  7. Wrong site surgery. This surgical mistake occurs when a surgeon inadvertently operates on the wrong body part or organ. At many hospitals, the correct body part will be clearly marked before the patient goes under anesthesia. However, wrong site surgery still occurs if the body part was not marked, if it was not marked clearly enough, or if the surgery is internal.
  8.  
  9. Wrong patient. In some cases, a patient has been misidentified and received the operation intended for another patient. Patients should be sure that they have some kind of correct identification on their person before going into surgery (an ID bracelet or something similar).
  10.  
  11. Surgical device left behind. While this mistake may sound far-fetched, it is actually entirely possible that a surgeon may forget to remove a small instrument or sponge before sewing the patient back up. Some hospitals require surgeons to account for all equipment before and after surgery, but some do not. Discuss these regulations with your doctor before your surgery.

Patients should stay aware of possible mistakes and act as their own medical advocate as they go through surgery.

Surgery is risky by itself; patients cannot afford to go through the added danger of a surgical mistake. If you suffered an injury or illness as a result of a surgical mistake, you may have been the victim of medical negligence. The medical malpractice attorneys at Anapol Weiss have decades of experience handling medical malpractice cases. Contact us to get your legal questions answered. 

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Medical Negligence

Risk Factors and Medical Negligence that Can Cause Macrosomic Complications

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Jun 7, 2016 1:13:34 PM

Macrosomic babies, or babies that are “large for gestational age,” have a birth weight of over 4,000 grams (8 lb 13 oz). Approximately nine percent of babies are born macrosomic. Macrosomia can lead to severe complications during pregnancy including shoulder dystocia and ensuing brachial plexus injuries, oxygen deprivation and brain damage, lacerations of the birth canal, uterine rupture, and urinary incontinence.

macrosomic_risks.pngBabies born at weights over 4,500 grams (9 lb 15 oz) are at an even higher risk. Expectant mothers should be aware that certain risk factors make a baby more likely to be macrosomic, including the following:

  • Obesity or significant weight gain during pregnancy. Obesity is one of the largest risk factors for macrosomia. Expectant mothers should follow nutritional guidelines and maintain a healthy weight throughout pregnancy.
  • Maternal diabetes. Both pre-gestational diabetes and gestational diabetes (diabetes developed both before pregnancy and during pregnancy) are major risk factors for macrosomia. Increased blood sugar and insulin production lead to excessive growth, large shoulders, and fat deposits in a fetus. Expectant mothers with diabetes should discuss their situation with a doctor to manage diabetes during pregnancy. All expectant mothers should maintain good nutrition and a healthy weight to avoid developing gestational diabetes.
  • Genetics. Babies with taller and larger parents are predisposed to be large themselves.
  • Overdue pregnancy. Pregnancies that continue more than two weeks after the due date have increased risk of macrosomia.
  • Previous pregnancies. Birth weight tends to increase somewhat in each of a woman’s pregnancy; thus, the incidence of macrosomia increases in babies whose mothers have given birth before. Prior delivery of a macrosomic baby increases the risk even more.
  • Male baby. Male infants tend to weigh more than females. Most macrosomic babies are male.
  • Maternal age. Women over 35 years of age are more likely to delivery a macrosomic baby.
Macrosomia can be very difficult to detect; a baby can only be weighed and macrosomia diagnosed after birth. However, doctors can predict a baby’s weight through a few tests, such as
  • Ultrasound. An ultrasound can help a doctor to determine the size of a baby’s head, abdomen, and femur. These measurements can predict the baby’s weight with some degree of reliability.
  • Height of the fundus. The fundal height, measured from the top of the pubic bone to the top of the uterus, usually corresponds with the length of the pregnancy. If the measurement of the fundus seems unusually large for the number of weeks of pregnancy, the baby may be larger than normal.
Macrosomic babies can be delivered safely, but special awareness and attention to detail is important. Expectant mothers should discuss macrosomia with their doctors if they have any of the risk factors detailed above. Doctors may consider early delivery, cesarean sections, and other methods to reduce the risk of birth injury from macrosomia. Failure to take necessary steps such as these can lead to serious and lifelong consequences. If you or your baby suffered from birth injury related to macrosomia, you may be able to gain the support you need and protect future mothers from suffering the same injuries. Contact our birth injury lawyers if you or your baby was injured due to macrosomic complications.

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Brachial Plexus Palsy, Birth Injuries, Erb's Palsy

7 Questions For Your Pharmacist to Help Prevent Medication Errors

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Jun 3, 2016 3:30:00 PM

Although your doctor and pharmacist are experts in their fields, patients should pay careful attention and ask questions whenever they’re prescribed a medication. Even the best pharmacists make mistakes sometimes, but patients can avoid problems by staying alert and involved in their medical treatment. Here are some questions that you should ask your pharmacist whenever you are picking up a new medication:

1. What is the brand name of this medication? What is the generic name?

The names of some medications sound very similar but might have vastly different effects; pharmacists may accidentally select the wrong one. Pharmacists can also be confused by doctors’ notoriously bad handwriting. Make sure that the medication you receive is the same as the one you discussed with your doctor.

2. What is this medication supposed to do? How long should it take before I see results?

Some medications take effect immediately, while other may take days, weeks, or even months. Pay attention to the effects that you notice and how long they take to appear. If they are significantly different than what you expected, you may have been prescribed the wrong medication or the wrong dosage.

3. What is the dose? What are the instructions for taking it?

Avoiding_Medication_Errors_Unsafe_Drugs.png 

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Different doses of medications can have very different effects; many medications can be dangerous if taken at the wrong dose or at the wrong frequency. Clarify the instructions with the pharmacist before leaving with your medication.

4. Does this prescription interact with any other medications that I may be taking? What about over-the-counter drugs?

Some medications can negate each other, or even be dangerous, when combined. Make sure that your doctor is aware of all other medications that you take when writing a prescription for you. The pharmacist can also help inform you about other medications that should not be combined with the medication you are being prescribed, including any over-the-counter drugs.

5. Are there any foods, drinks, medications, or activities I should avoid while taking this?

Many medications cannot be taken with alcohol or other food and drink. Others may inhibit you from doing activities that you normally do. Ask your pharmacist for any instructions or advice.

6. Are there any possible side effects? What should I do if they occur?

Some medications do have normal side effects such as headaches or nausea. However, symptoms like those could be indicators that you have been prescribed the wrong medication or the wrong dosage. Be aware of what to expect, and talk to your pharmacist if you experience unanticipated side effects.

7. What should I do if I miss a dose or accidentally take more than the recommended dose?

We all make mistakes sometimes when taking medicine. This matters more with some medications than others; ask your pharmacist for specific instructions.

Even the most careful patients can fall victim to a medication error. If you have suffered an illness or injury due to a mistake with your prescription, contact the medical malpractice attorneys at Anapol Weiss. Our team has a track record of success advocating for victims of medical negligence.

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Medical Negligence, Pharmacy Errors, Medication Errors

5 Umbilical Cord Accidents Than Can Lead to Birth Injuries

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Jun 2, 2016 3:30:00 PM

The umbilical cord provides oxygen and essential nutrients to a fetus during pregnancy while also carrying away waste products. It is a life-giving connection between the baby and the mother. However, certain umbilical cord accidents can occur during pregnancy, labor, and birth that may endanger the health or life of the infant.

Most of these accidents involve a restriction of the umbilical cord in some way, meaning that the baby is cut off from oxygen or other necessities. Below are five types of umbilical cord accidents that require immediate medical attention.

    1. Umbilical Cord Compression. The umbilical cord can become compressed for a variety of reasons, including those listed below. Compression is dangerous because it leads to a lack of oxygen and blood flow to the baby.
    2. Umbilical Cord Prolapse. An umbilical cord prolapse occurs when the cord drops into the vaginal canal before the baby during delivery. The cord can then become trapped or compressed by the baby’s body. Prolapse usually occurs when the amniotic sac breaks too soon. However, it can also be caused by a premature baby, multiple births such as twins, excessive amniotic fluid, a breech delivery, or a long umbilical cord. Doctors need to pay special attention to prolapsed cords. Sometimes, a doctor will be able to move the fetus away from the cord. In other cases, the baby may need to be delivered by a cesarean section.
    3. Umbilical Cord Knot. When the baby moves around inside the uterus, a knot can form in the umbilical cord. Usually, the knot remains loose and does not affect the baby. In some cases, however, the knot can tighten and cut off oxygen supply and blood flow. The cord knots most often because it is too long or in the case of identical twin pregnancies (the two cords can knot around each other).
    4. Umbilical cord accidents that lead to birth traumaNuchal Cord. Almost one third of babies are born with their umbilical cords wrapped around their necks, known as a nuchal cord. In most cases, the baby will be born healthy and normal. Occasionally, the cord can cut off blood flow to the brain and harm the baby. A cesarean section may be necessary in this case.
    5. Cord Torsion. Cord torsion, also known as stricture or overcoiling, is when the umbilical cord twists enough times to coil back on itself, almost like a telephone cord. This twisting can cut off blood supply or oxygen to the baby.

While all of these umbilical cord accidents occur naturally and can be safely taken care of, they can lead to serious birth trauma or fatalities if birth injury malpractice occurs. If it happened during the delivery of your baby, we can help.

Contact Anapol Weiss to speak with a birth injury attorney if your baby was harmed by the mishandling of an umbilical cord problem and suffered a lack of oxygen at birth.

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Birth Injuries, Medical Negligence

Righting the Harm Caused by Medical Malpractice

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Jun 2, 2016 11:24:47 AM

Righting_the_harm.pngIn May 2016, a study published in the British Medical Journal revealed errors in health care facilities may be the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. The new research, a fresh look at four large studies, found that medical mistakes kill an estimated 251,000 patients in the U.S. every year – a substantially higher number than previously reported.

Seventeen years ago, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published a landmark report concluding that mistakes in medical care were responsible for as many as 98,000 annual deaths in the U.S. Medical errors can be prevented. Great strides have occurred in treating cancers, and death from heart disease has been steadily declining. The medical profession now needs to address medical errors.

For nearly four decades, our firm has successfully represented people whose lives were forever altered by inexcusable medical errors. Prescription medication mistakes, interactions and overdoses lead to heart attacks, strokes and other permanent organ damage. Incorrect and delayed diagnoses impair patients’ chances of successful treatment or a cure. Unnecessary surgeries and avoidable surgical mistakes have disturbing outcomes.  Bad prenatal care and bad delivery room practice lead to dire consequences. We are committed to holding medical care providers responsible. 

Tragically, the widespread problem of medical errors in the U.S. is not going away. The medical profession does not appear capable of curing this problem.  The medical malpractice attorneys at Anapol Weiss will continue to fight for justice when careless acts cause catastrophic injury to patients.

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Medical Negligence

Common Causes of Erb’s Palsy Birth Injuries

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Jun 1, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Erb’s palsy, a form of brachial plexus palsy, is a lifelong birth injury that causes weakness and loss of motion in the arm, wrist and/or hand. One to two of every 1,000 babies have been diagnosed with Erb’s palsy, but the condition is preventable.

Erb’s palsy can develop when a brachial plexus nerve is stretched so badly that it ruptures or tears from the root altogether. A nerve that sustains this type of damage will not heal on its own. Even if surgery is able to restore some function, a baby’s arm may not fully recover.

Erbs Palsy and Brachial Plexus nerve injury

Irreparable brachial plexus birth injuries can occur during a difficult delivery involving a large (macrosomic) baby, a breech birth or a prolonged labor. The injuries can also result during a complicated birth in which an obstetrician must exert force to deliver the baby quickly.

Physicians can take action to prevent these problems from resulting in Erb’s palsy. In addition to performing an emergency caesarian section, there are specific delivery maneuvers that can aid in a successful delivery. Failure to act quickly can mean permanent consequences for a newborn.

We can help if your child developed Erb’s palsy because a physician did not adequately respond to a difficult birth. Filing a birth injury lawsuit can hold responsible parties accountable for their negligence, and it can help future babies and mothers from suffering the same physical and emotional distress. Contact Anapol Weiss to speak with a birth injury attorney if your child was diagnosed with Erb’s palsy or suffered a brachial plexus injury at birth.

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Brachial Plexus Palsy, Birth Injuries, Erb's Palsy, Medical Negligence

5 Questions to Ask when Hiring a Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Posted by Anapol Weiss on May 31, 2016 3:30:00 PM

When a patient has been seriously hurt by medical negligence, choosing a qualified medical malpractice lawyer is crucial to obtaining financial recovery for the preventable harm that occurred. Finding the right attorney can seem like a daunting task, as countless law firms advertise their services online, in newspapers, on TV and elsewhere.

To begin to narrow the selection process, prospective clients should search the Internet for attorneys in the state in which the alleged malpractice occurred. From that list, researching background information about each lawyer selected can help prospective clients learn more about his or her particular legal experience, success and feedback from others.

Credibility, track record, and reputation are key factors. Many experienced attorneys will provide a list of past verdicts and settlements, which can give a clear picture of the cases they have handled and the results they have obtained. Further, awards and recognition show that legal organizations and other attorneys respect and admire a lawyer’s work. For example, attorneys' success and work ethic are recognized by their peers in annual publications such as Pennsylvania Super Lawyers® and The Best Lawyers in America®.

Questions to ask a medical malpractice lawyer

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After identifying several attorneys who seem to have the right experience and authority to handle an injured patient’s case, contacting each one is the next step. Below are a few questions to ask when speaking with medical malpractice attorneys as a prospective client.

  1. Have you represented people in medical malpractice cases with injuries similar to mine?
  2. Does your firm have the resources to take a serious malpractice lawsuit to trial?
  3. Who will be speaking with me about my case throughout the process?
  4. What is your legal fee? 
  5. Does your firm work with expert witnesses and investigators?

Asking questions during the initial consultation will not only give prospective clients a good idea about an attorney’s qualifications, but it will also provide a sense of the lawyer’s responsiveness and demeanor. Medical malpractice victims and their families will have to discuss personal details with their attorney, so it’s important to be comfortable communicating with the lawyer and his or her legal team.

Contact Our Firm for Assistance

For decades, Anapol Weiss has successfully represented people whose lives were forever changed by medical mistakes. Our attorneys have the knowledge and resources to uncover important details about patients’ injuries and what could have been done to prevent them. If you or a family member suffered the consequences of a medical error, we can help. Contact Anapol Weiss for assistance.

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Medical Negligence

4 of the Top Patient Safety Issues Involved in Medical Malpractice

Posted by Anapol Weiss on May 27, 2016 3:30:00 PM

Based on events and trends from 2015, the editorial team at Becker's Infection Control & Clinical Quality chose ten patient safety issues for providers to consider in 2016. Below are four of those issues the group examined.

1. Medication Errors

 Medication errors are a patient safety issue

 Learn more about preventing medication errors

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A medication error is "... any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer," according to the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention.

A report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies has estimated that these errors harm at least 1.5 million people every year.

2. Diagnostic Errors

A study published in the British Medical Journal has estimated that one patient in 20 who visit outpatient settings in the U.S. are victims of medical misdiagnosis every year. That equates to about 12 million adults who suffer the consequences of a delayed, missed or incorrect diagnosis.

3. Discharge Practices to Post-Acute Home Care

Hospital discharge is a critical moment in patient care. Nearly 20 percent of patients experience an adverse event within three weeks of discharge, many of which could have been prevented, according to a study from the early 2000s.

4. Workplace Safety Issues in Health Care Facilities

To combat current staff safety issues in hospitals and other health care facilities, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety & Health Administration launched a suite of online resources to provide information and strategies for health care workplace safety and health management as well as safe patient handling and workplace violence prevention.

Patient Injuries Caused by Medical Malpractice

A variety of problems can occur in busy health care facilities, but patients are the ones who must suffer the consequences when health care professionals make dangerous medical mistakes. For decades, the medical malpractice lawyers at Anapol Weiss have been advocating for people who were killed or injured by preventable medical errors. If it happened to you or a family member, we can help. Contact our medical negligence lawyers for assistance today.

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Medical Negligence

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