Medical Device Defects

  • Friday, May 2, 2014 - 14:39

    The common view of a plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer is not flattering.   Most people see the PI lawyer as an “ambulance chasing” parasite on our economy and our society.  This image, perpetuated by those who oppose personal injury lawyers in court, prevails.  Who are those who oppose personal injury lawyers in court?  Insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, hospitals, product manufacturers, and doctors, to name a few.  There are plenty of resources available to generate the propaganda machine that feeds and perpetuates the adverse view of personal injury lawyers in our society.

    The fault is not all the big money, powerful interests.  There are, of course, plenty of personal injury lawyers who feed the flame and who lack regard for a calling higher than lining their own pockets.  But this group is a minority.  Most personal injury lawyers willing to take on America’s biggest and most powerful entities are devoted to more than their own profit.  These men and women are empowered by the realization that their work makes a difference, that by holding negligent (and worse) actors accountable for the harm they cause, no matter how rich or powerful the negligent actor is, the plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer helps make all of us safer.

  • Friday, May 24, 2013 - 12:53

    There are many important and valuable trial tactics and techniques.  You can and should read books on the subjects and attend seminars too.  Here are 5 "big picture" tips to remember before every trial:

  • Friday, May 3, 2013 - 14:13

               So, it’s over.  Another legislative session.  For the  15th time in 15 years, the Florida Legislature debated "tort reform" seeking to restrict or eliminate the rights of Floridians maimed or killed due to medical neglect.  (I leave "tort reform" in quotes because it is less about reform and more about eliminating rights.)  This year they did it again.  This year they passed more "tort reform." Thanks in large part to a state representative named Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, the Florida legislature made it more difficult for patients injured due to medical neglect to bring claims or to succeed in claims for money damages. 

                 For some, this is a good thing.  Doctors, hospitals, and the liability insurance companies who insure them are obviously content. Those who believe that “greedy trial lawyers” and “runaway juries” are a threat to our economy, welfare, and health care system, are also content.

                 For years, big business, big insurance, and the health care industry have inundated us with the myth that the civil justice system is not trustworthy and/or that it is damaging our economy.

                 But the facts don’t jive with the “tort reform” message.  As I have pointed out elsewhere in these pages, juries are not out of control and the civil justice system is causing little, if any, increased costs.  In fact, the civil justice system is an essential aspect of a public policy seeking safety and excellence in medical care.  See "For Safety's Sake: Doctors Expose Medical Malpractice Myths."

                 What is certain is that every time the legislature makes it more difficult to bring a case, the civil justice system grows less capable of dispensing justice, and less capable of protecting us or giving us safer medical care.  

                 This year, the new law makes it more difficult to retain expert witnesses to testify about what went wrong.  Ignoring the fact that medicine is interdisciplinary and interdependent, the Bill just passed now prohibits overlapping medical specialties from offering expert opinions about what went wrong in a case.  Even if two physicians are trained to perform the exact same procedure the exact same way, and even where they work together, hand in glove, on the procedure or the patient’s condition, they cannot opine on the care rendered if their background or training is in different specialties. In a world where negligence and wrongdoing have no consequences, negligence and wrongdoing thrive.

  • Thursday, April 18, 2013 - 16:10

                     In a recent article published by JAMA ("The Journal of the American Medical Association"), the authors revealed what we all probably knew anyway: medical errors, including surgical errors, actually make money for hospitals.  After all, when the errors cause complications the patients require more care, more days in the hospital, and the hospital bill is larger.

                     The authors, from various institutions including Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, demonstrated that private insurers and Medicare routinely pay for the added care, irrespective of whether the care was occasioned by medical malpractice.

                     The data, though intriguing, is hardly surprising.  The difficult issue, however, is whether we can trust the marketplace to motivate doctors and hospitals to reduce medical errors when they have no financial incentive to do so.  The article points out that no one believes hospitals are intentionally causing errors to make money.  But the converse concern remains: no one really believes hospitals have great incentives to spend money on error reduction when doing so reduces revenues.