The Center for Justice and Democracy has just published a report concerning verdicts in civil liability cases and media coverage of them. They found not surprisingly that the media, particularly online media, commonly emphasize large monetary awards, which do not reflect typical verdicts, and rarely note the misconduct that lead to the verdict in the first place. They conclude that the reported verdicts were 192 times higher than the national averages when damages are awarded.
This reporting provides problems in litigation of medical malpractice cases. Potential jurors can become skeptical, or biased against the victims of medical malpractice because of the news media. It is rarely reported when a patient dies or is grievously injured as a result of medical malpractice and no lawsuit is filed. Those people quietly suffer and in effect subsidize the cost of medical care in the United States. This means we work extremely hard in jury selection to both educate jurors about the ramifications of the particular case that they are to decide, and try to find jurors who are not so biased by the continuing news media that they will not be able to fair in serving.
One phenomenon that we have seen over the years is that jurors who fear that they may be too sympathetic to the injured person, always announce that fact, and as a consequence are struck from juries. However, there is a category of jurors who feel it’s their duty to not admit to any bias, sit through a trial, and make sure that the verdict is in favor of the hospital or physician. It takes great skill to identify these jurors, and get appropriate responses to disqualify them.
Lung cancer, despite research and new therapeutic approaches, is still overwhelmingly a fatal disease. As reported in the October 13, 2011 “New England Journal of Medicine,” by the time of diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancer, approximately 25 to 35 percent of patients also have a metastatic tumor in their brain making treatment complicated and the disease often incurable. These grim statistics highlight the necessity of radiologists properly interpreting chest x-rays which are used for surveillance, and for family physicians and internists to be alert for the clinical symptoms of disease. In the event you or a family member has been diagnosed with lung cancer, it is important to review prior chest x-rays to determine whether the disease could have been discovered and treated at an earlier stage, leading to less invasive treatments, greater median survival, and appropriate curative treatment. Andrew S. Muth has reviewed and litigated cases on the failure to diagnosis lung cancer and has access to highly skilled and ethical radiologists who read films.
According to an essay in the October 13, 2011“New England Journal of Medicine” by Julie Engelfinger, M.D. the indications and needs for bariatric surgery on obese children and adolescents continues to grow. Obesity is a growing problem in the United States with an estimated 17 percent of youngsters 2 to 19 years defined as obese. There are a wide range of other diseases associated with obesity in childhood including high blood pressure, type II diabetes, fatty liver disease, or full blown metabolic syndrome.
Improperly done, bariatric surgery is a frequent concern and request for review in medical malpractice litigation. There are a variety of different surgical procedures which are utilized, each of which have their own risks and complications. If you or a member of your family have had bariatric surgery for weight loss with a complication or poor result, you may see Andrew S. Muth for review of the potential case.
There is a new bill which has been introduced in theMichigan legislature to require licensure of midwives. A “certified nurse midwife” is a registered nurse who has been issued a specialty certificate in the profession of nurse midwife by the Board of Nursing. It allows a licensed midwife to practice “midwifery” which means providing maternity care to expectant mothers including the antepartum, intrapartum, and postpartum period. The act provides limitations on the scope of practice of midwives and calls for the promulgation of rules to further regulate the practice of midwifery. In Andrew Muth’s opinion this is an appropriate and necessary action. He has had malpractice cases against midwives who were ineffective and negligent leading to significant anoxic brain injuries to babies and the subsequent development of cerebral palsy. If your child has cerebral palsy you should have the pregnancy, delivery and nursery records reviewed to determine whether the damages should have been avoided by appropriate medical treatment.