DECODING MEDICAL RECORDS IN MALPRACTICE CASES


By Catherine Bertram, partner (cbertram@reganfirm.com)


One of the key tasks we initially perform when investigating a case involving malpractice or abuse at a health care facility is a thorough review of the medical records.  At our firm we have two attorney who have both worked in hospital settings so we are quite familiar with medical records.  Catherine(“Katie”) Bertram is a partner at the firm and was previously the Director of Risk Management at Georgetown Hospital.  Jackie Colclough is a nurse-attorney with the firm who has a wealth of experience including work as labor and delivery nurse in a local hospital.

Here are a few basic tips to keep in mind when looking at records:

COMPLETE  CHART

The first task is to review the records and try to make sure you have a complete set.  Often, the records are incomplete.  We check to make sure we have an initial History & Physical, Orders, Physician Progress Notes, Nursing Notes, Laboratory Data, Radiology Reports, Operative Notes, Operative Records/Consent Forms, Pathology, and a Discharge Summary.

Medical Records for pregnant patients are quite different.  We have extensive experience with these types of cases as well.  In childbirth cases you will also have to review the prenatal records from the mother’s office visits before the delivery. It is key to obtain the Fetal Monitor Strips (FMS) or Fetal Heartrate Strips (FHR) which demonstrate the baby’s heart rate relative to the mother’s contractions.  This is often critical in determining if the doctor acted promptly to deliver the child and avoid injury to the child.  You will also need the child’s chart and the operative delivery records.

INITIAL HISTORY & PHYSICAL


Doctors are required to write a detailed note within 24 hours of a patient’s admission. This note is often referred to as the “H&P.”  This is a good place to start in your review since it usually provides a history of the patient’s present condition and symptoms, past medical and surgical history and any significant labs or imaging results.  The note also usually includes a detailed plan for the patient.

ORDERS

Physicians have the responsibility and authority to order medication, labs, imaging and other services that the patient or nursing home residents need.  We check these orders to see what medication or services or consults have been ordered for the patient.  The orders should have a time and date and should be legible.  It should also have some indication that the R.N. acknowledged receipt and review of the order and that it has been carried out.  Some special order sheets may also be included like a patient controlled analgesia record (“PCA”) which is utilized if the patient has a pain pump which allows medication to be self-administered at regular intervals.

PROGRESS NOTES


There is another section of the medical record that includes entries by doctors and nurses, and sometimes others like consultants, physical therapists, pharmacists and medical residents.  This section often looks like a diary or a log.  Most doctors were trained to write their notes in a SOAP format. The first section should detail the “subjective” concerns of the patient.  The “objective” section follows and this  is where the physician performs a physical examination of the patient and records the findings.  The doctor usually goes through each system of the body and records the important findings or any changes.   The third section is “assessment” - which is the where the doctor records his or her thoughts about what is going on with the patient after considering the subjective complaints and the findings on physical examination along with any test results or images.  The final section is the “plan.”   Here, the doctor writes out the plan of action which should address the concerning findings and include a plan consultations by other specialists, medication changes, labs or imaging that is necessary and other follow up.

NURSING NOTES

In some facilities the nurses also write in the progress notes along with the doctors, but in many hospitals the nurses have their own checklists and flow sheets where they record their nursing assessments and interventions from their shift.  There may also be other specialized forms for medication administration (MAR) and for treatment (TAR).    

In long term care facilities (nursing homes) we check the skin sheet to verify if the patient is being turned and the skin integrity is being checked.  *Families are reminded that you must also check your loved one’s skin yourself.  It is key not to let any concerning new “hot spots” progress.  If you see a red spot or a pressure point that is concerning you need to ask questions and get the staff to act on it right away.

If a patient has a fall or any other abnormal event, the facts and circumstances should be clearly documented in the progress notes along with a plan.   In most cases, a fall requires prompt physician assessment.  

LABORATORY REPORTS

The laboratory report can also give you clues about what is happening with the patient and what needs to be addressed.  A high white blood cell count (WBC) can be a sign of an infection.  The lab usually provides the normal range for each value on the report so that you can compare the patient’s value to the normal population.   In most labs the patient’s value will be followed by an “H” or an “L” if the value is abnormally HIGH or LOW.   For lab values that are critical, or an emergency, the lab also usually includes documentation that the result was called into either the physician or the nurse assigned to the patient and the time of that conversation.   It is often the case that you can have the facility print out a laboratory summary report for the patient  that shows the results of the lab data over many days, an entire hospital stay or over the course of many hospital stays. This can be quite helpful in terms of tracking trends.  

RADIOLOGY REPORTS

Many patients also have x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, mammograms, sonograms or other diagnostic imaging performed as a part of their hospital stay. The written reports from these tests should also be included in the hospital chart.  You can often determine the date and time the image was obtained, which physician read the image and also if the image is very concerning, the radiologist often documents that the results were called into the patient’s doctor or nurse directly and the time of such a call.   The written reports may also suggest additional follow up testing or imaging that may be required for the patient given the clinical circumstances.  You also need to be careful because occasionally there are initial preliminary reports of the results and then final reports. If this is the case, you want to carefully compare the two for any significant differences.  

Sometimes imaging is obtained before, during or after surgery while the patient remains in the operating room so it is important to  make sure you obtain all of that imaging and those reports as well.  

OPERATIVE RECORDS

If the patient has had a surgical procedure, as an in-patient or in a same day setting, there are certain required records that will be present.  First, the pre-operative assessments, including anesthesia assessment and the consent form for the procedure. In some circumstances the patient will have had an x-ray, a cardiac clearance or certain blood work performed to make sure it is safe for the surgery.  The anesthesia provider will meet with the patient and obtain a history and assess the patient for anesthesia risks.   Also, the surgeon will talk to the patient about the surgery and obtain a written consent from the patient.

During the surgery, the healthcare team documents many things.  The nursing staff  document on records often called “perioperative” records that include safety checklists performed prior to surgery, including patient placement, verification of the surgery to be performed including which side and which surgery and other safety factors.  The nursing team keeps track of which surgical instruments are used during the surgery and must account for all instruments at the end of the surgery before the patient is closed to make sure no instruments or sponges are left in the patient.   The nurse also documents which nurses are in the operating room and when they leave. At some hospitals the doctor’s entrance and exit are also noted.

The anesthesia providers keep a very detailed log of the patient’s vital signs during surgery, the medication that are given and any response the patient has to medications.

The surgeon does not take notes during the surgery but is required to dictate a detailed operative note following the surgery.

The patient is moved to the post anesthesia care unit (PACU) following most surgeries. This used to be called the recovery room.  In most hospitals the patient is monitored by nurses and the anesthesia team in this area for a certain amount of time until the anesthetic wears off and the patient is either ready to leave based on certain discharge criteria or the patient is transferred to the hospital floor if it is a more involved surgery.   

PATHOLOGY

If a patient has cultures take, a biopsy or a surgery that involves removal of tissue, the patient should have a pathology report.   If the report involves growth results of a culture it can take a few days or several weeks for the final report to be issued.  Oftentimes we have to call and obtain those final reports as they may not make it to the final paper version of the hospital record.

DISCHARGE SUMMARY/AUTOPSY RESULTS

Once a patient leaves the hospital, the attending physician is required to dictate a discharge summary. Most hospitals require the discharge summary be completed and signed within 30 days of the date the patient leaves the hospital. This is also true if a patient dies in the hospital. In that case, you will also want to request any autopsy report or findings.   There are certain circumstances involving patient deaths where the facility is required to conduct an autopsy based on state law.  In other circumstances a physician may ask for an autopsy or a family may request one.  Again, certain testing may be done as part of an autopsy and the results may take a few days or have to be sent to a separate lab so make sure you obtain all of the results that accompany the autopsy.   In a medical case, we often request the entire autopsy file which may include photographs, tissue blocks and/or pathology slides with special staining.  


About the author:

Catherine Bertram is board certified in civil trials and was recently nominated as a Top Lawyer for Washingtonian Magazine. Ms. Bertram has over 20 years of trial experience and is unique in that she was formerly the Director of Risk Management for Georgetown University Hospital so she brings a wealth of knowledge to her practice including how hospitals should be run and what doctors and nurses can do to protect patients.   She is a partner with the firm and devotes a majority of her practice to the representation of patients and families who have been injured or lost due to medical errors.  Ms. Bertram lectures regularly to lawyers and health care providers, nationally and locally,  regarding patient safety, medical negligence and other related issues. She has also published a chapter in a medical textbook.   She can be reached by email at cbertram@reganfirm.com or by phone 202-822-1875 in her office in Washington, D.C.

Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Women's Health Issues
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Brain Damage/Cerebral Palsy Can Be Caused By Malpractice

       By Catherine Bertram, Partner & Senior Trial Attorney 

                       

"Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same." -Franz Peter Schubert

The medical staff at the Mayo Clinic define "Cerebral palsy" (CP) is a general term for a group of disorders that appear during the first few years of life and affect a child's ability to coordinate body movements. Cerebral palsy can cause muscles to be weak and floppy, or rigid and stiff.

In the United States, cerebral palsy occurs in about two to four out of every 1,000 births. The disorder is usually caused by brain injuries, including lack of oxygen, also called hypoxia or anoxia. Cerebral palsy isn't curable.  Medical evidence supports theories that infections, birth injuries, and poor oxygen supply to the brain before, during, and immediately after birth result in up to 15% of cases.

Between 35% and 50% of all children with CP will have an accompanying seizure disorder and some level of mental retardation. They also may have learning disabilities and vision, speech, hearing, or language problems.  Often parents are overwhelmed when their child is given this diagnosis and rightly so.  There are many questions and no clear answers.  As a parent of a child with special needs, you may be asking:

  • Why did this happen to my child?
  • How am I going to pay for what my child needs now and in the future?

Every circumstance is unique, just like very child and every family.   If you have questions about that care you received or the birth experience or the care your child received after birth and you think it may be a factor in your child's condition, you can get answers.   We have significant experience handling these types of cases and have many nationally known experts who are willing to review your child's case and determine what happened.  I was Director of Risk Management at a major teaching hospital in DC and have experience reviewing these cases from both the patient's side and the hospital's side.   We also have a nurse-attorney on staff at my firm who worked in a local hospital on the labor and delivery unit so she has special expertise in reviewing the records and determining what happened. 

As a parent, and as a patient advocate,  I urge you to get answers if you have these questions.  You owe it to yourself and your child.  Click here for some great quotes for families with special needs children and pass this on to other parents you know who have children with special challenges for those days when a few words may lighten our hearts.

About the author:

Catherine Bertram is board certified in civil trials and was recently nominated as a 2010 Super Lawyer for Washington, D.C.  Ms. Bertram has 20 years of trial experience and is unique in that she was formerly the Director of Risk Management for Georgetown University Hospital so she brings a wealth of knowledge to her practice including how hospitals should be run and what doctors and nurses can do to protect patients.   She is a partner with the firm and devotes her practice to the representation of patients and families of loved ones who have been injured or lost due to medical errors.  Ms. Bertram lectures regularly to lawyers and health care providers, nationally and locally,  regarding patient safety, medical negligence and other related issues. She has also recently published a chapter in a medical textbook.   She can be reached by email at cbertram@reganfirm.com or by phone 202-822-1875 in her office in Washington, D.C.

 

Posted In Birth Injury , Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Women's Health Issues
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$58.6 Million Awarded in Malpractice Suit

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding member and senior trial attorney.             

A Connecticut jury has awarded a local couple $58.6 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit, a record for a single incident of medical malpractice in the state of Connecticut. The lawsuit was against a physician and his practice, and it was shown that the doctor waited too long to perform a cesarean section during the wife's labor, which caused the child to be born with permanent brain damage. The boy suffers from cerebral palsy and is unable to eat, walk or talk. 

The recovery will allow the boy and his family to cover medical expenses and other losses the boy will endure for the rest of his life.

Do you have any questions about this post?

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Board-Certified Civil Trial Attorney and Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. The association has recently named him the " 2011 Trial Lawyer of the Year".  He has also been acknowledged by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all of the more than 80,000 lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area. The magazine also acknowledged him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in medical malpractice matters, product liability claims, and serious automobile accident claims. Mr. Zambri was recently (2011 edition) acknowledged as one of the "Best Lawyers in America" by Best Lawyers, and has also been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Law and Politics magazine (2011)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in the country.

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning defective drugs, medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com.  You may also reach him at 202-822-1899.

Posted In Cerebral Palsy , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Women's Health Issues
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Cerebral Palsy Can Be Caused By Medical Errors

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

“A happy life consists not in the absence, but in the mastery of hardships.” - Helen Keller

Cerebral palsy is a condition that can involve brain and nervous system functions, limiting a person's ability to move, learn, hear, see, and think.  Palsies develop due to damage to the developing brain.  Cerebral palsy usually develops by age two or three, and it is a non-progressive brain disorder, which means that the brain damage does not continue to worsen throughout life. However, the symptoms due to the brain damage often do change over time; sometimes getting better and sometimes getting worse. Cerebral palsy affects between two and four children out of every 1,000 live births. The United Cerebral Palsy Association estimates that more than 500,000 Americans have cerebral palsy. 

It is estimated that between 35% and 50% of all children with cerebral palsy will have an accompanying seizure disorder and some level of mental retardation.  Affected children also have a tendency to develop learning disabilities, along with vision, speech, hearing, or language problems. 

Symptoms are usually seen before a child is 2 years old, and sometimes begin as early as 3 months. Parents may notice that their child is delayed reaching certain developmental stages such as sitting, rolling, crawling, or walking.  There are several different types of cerebral palsy. Some people have a mixture of symptoms.

Symptoms of spastic cerebral palsy, the most common type, include:

  • Muscles that are very tight and do not stretch, which may tighten up even more over time;
  • Abnormal gait with arms tucked in toward the sides, knees crossed or touching, legs make "scissors" movements, walk on the toes;
  • Joints are tight and do not open up all the way (called joint contracture); and
  • Muscle weakness or loss of movement in a group of muscles (paralysis).
     

Although there is a wide spectrum of symptoms, some other common symptoms of cerebral palsy include:

  • Abnormal movements (twisting, jerking, or writhing) of the hands, feet, arms, or legs while awake, which gets worse during periods of stress;
  • Tremors; and
  • Loss of coordination.

Decreased intelligence or learning disabilities are common, but intelligence can be normal.  Many people with cerebral palsy have speech problems, hearing or vision deficits, seizures, and suffer pain and discomfort.

Cerebral palsy is caused by injuries or abnormalities of the brain. Most of these problems occur as the baby grows in the womb or during the delivery process, but they can happen at any time during the first 2 years of life, while the baby's brain is still developing.  Sometimes, these injuries are preventable, yet brought about by medical errors.

Examples of cerebral palsy caused by the failure of medical providers to meet applicable standards of care, include:

  • Undiagnosed or untreated infections during pregnancy that may damage a fetus' developing nervous system;
  • Undiagnosed or treated jaundice in the infant;
  • Bleeding in the brain that goes untreated;
  • Severe oxygen deprivation to the brain or significant trauma to the head during labor and delivery;
  • Leaving the child in the birth canal too long causing a lack of oxygen to the brain;
  • Failure to detect a prolapsed cord (the umbilical cord can wrap around the child's neck, cutting off oxygen to the brain);
  • Failure to perform a cesarean section in the presence of fetal distress;
  • Improper use of forceps during delivery;
  • Excessive use of vacuum extraction;
  • Failure to recognize and treat seizures following delivery;
  • Not responding to changes in the fetal heart rate; and
  • Failure to plan a cesarean with a high birth weight infant.

Although life can be extremely challenging for  those with cerebral palsy, as well as the parents, siblings, and other family members, there are many organizations and support groups that can help people face and overcome those challenges.

The following is a list of readings, organizations, and special agencies whose purpose is to provide education about cerebral palsy and other disabilities and information to assist families with their needs, which I hope you find useful:

United Cerebral Palsy
http://www.ucp.org/
1660 L Street, N.W., Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036
(800) 872 – 5827/(202) 776-0406
E-mail: info@ucp.org


UCP is a national organization for people with cerebral palsy and their families. Through its local chapters, it provides a variety of services, including information and referral, parent support, advocacy, and educational and work programs for people with cerebral palsy. Fact sheets on selected issues related to cerebral palsy are available, as well as publications from a variety of publishers and organizations. Many publications can be downloaded from the website at no charge.

Association of University Centers on Disabilities
http://www.aucd.org/
1010 Wayne Avenue
Suite 920
Silver Spring, MD 20910
(301) 588-8252


The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) is a membership organization that supports and promotes a national network of university-based interdisciplinary programs.  Through its members, AUCD is a resource for local, state, national, and international agencies, organizations, and policy makers concerned about people living with developmental and other disabilities and their families. Members engage in a range of interdisciplinary activities including: exemplary services for children, adults, and families; academic training; basic and applied research; training and technical assistance to schools, communities, and all levels of government; policy advocacy; program evaluation; and dissemination of best practices and new information.  AUCD programs also train the next generation of leaders in disability-related research, training, service delivery, and policy advocacy to insure that this essential work continues.

American Physical Therapy Association
http://www.apta.org/
1111 N.  Fairfax Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
(800) 999-2782/(703) 684 - 2782


The APTA has a free list of publications, "Publications of Interest to Parent and Educators of Handicapped Children." They can also direct you to the APTA chapter in your area.

ABLEDATA
http://www.abledata.com/
8455 Colesville Road, Suite 935
Silver Spring, MD 20910
(800) 227 - 0216


ABLEDATA is a national database covering information on assistive technology and rehabilitation equipment. Those interested can search the database free of charge from the ABLEDATA web site, or can have an information specialist perform a search for a small fee.  ABLEDATA publishes an assistive technology fact sheet and consumer guides.

Brian Injury Association of America
http://www.biausa.org/
1608 Spring Hill Road
Suite 110
Vienna, VA 22182
(703) 761-0750


The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) is the leading national organization serving and representing individuals, families and professionals who are touched by a life-altering, often devastating, traumatic brain injury (TBI). Together with its network of more than 40 chartered state affiliates, as well as hundreds of local chapters and support groups across the country, the BIAA provides information, education and support to assist the 3.17 million Americans currently living with traumatic brain injury and their families. 

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Board-Certified Civil Trial Attorney and Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. The association has recently named him the " 2011 Trial Lawyer of the Year".  He has also been acknowledged by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all of the more than 80,000 lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area. The magazine also acknowledged him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in medical malpractice matters, product liability claims, and serious automobile accident claims. Mr. Zambri was recently (2011 edition) acknowledged as one of the "Best Lawyers in America" by Best Lawyers, and has also been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Law and Politics magazine (2011)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in the country.

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning defective drugs, medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

Mr. Zambri was sought after to publish a chapter regarding product liability litigation in Aspatore Books - a company that is touted as "the largest and most exclusive publisher of C-1 Level executives (CEO, CFO, CTO, CMO, Partner) from the world's most respected companies and law firms."  To read Mr. Zambri's publication, entitled "Constantly Preparing To Win", please click here.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899. 

 

 

Posted In Cerebral Palsy , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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There Are Various Types of Cerebral Palsy

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner

CONTACT US      

                                                                                                        

Cerebral Palsy is a medical condition that often confuses both parents and doctors.  With thorough testing, however, a physician can determine the exact type of  cerebral palsy your child has.  The proper classification depends on the severity of the child's symptoms, as well as the parts of the brain and body affected by the condition.

Here is a list of the fundamental categories of cerebral palsy:

Spastic Cerebral Palsy

This is the most common form of CP.  A child with spastic CP has muscles that are rigid, making it very difficult to move about.  There are three forms of spastic CP:

  • Spastic diplegia — Legs typically cross at the knees ("scissoring"), and leg and hip muscles are tight.
  • Spastic hemiplegia — One side of body affected only.  Affected side may have rigid limbs  and limbs that fail to develop fully.  
  • Spastic quadriplegia — The severest type of CP.  Child likely to have mental deficits along with rigidity and difficulty moving legs and arms.  Often difficult for child to walk and talk.  Seizures common, too.

Athetoid Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy

This is the second most frequently diagnosed type of cerebral palsy.  This type of CP does not affect the brain.  Although intelligence may be normal, muscle movement throughout the body may be severely limited. Muscles tone may be either tight or weak, making it challenging to walk, talk, or move about.  Drooling is common, as it is often difficult for a child with this type of CP to control facial muscles.

Ataxic Cerebral Palsy

This is the least diagnosed type of Cerebral Palsy.  ACP affects a child's fine motor skills, making it difficult for the child to perform tasks such as tying shoes, using a scissors, manipulating parts of toys, etc.  Problems with coordination and balance are typical.  You may notice your child walking with his or her legs further apart than other children at the same age.  And when a child engages in an act, "intention tremors” may occur.  For example, if a child reaches for a toy, the child's arm may begin to tremor, and the tremors may get more prono8unced as the child approaches the toy.

Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy

This type of CP is diagnosed early in a child's life. Symptoms include a "floppy" head when the infant attempts to sit up, and delayed motor development. Experts believe that this type of CP results from brain damage.

Mixed Cerebral Palsy

It is common for doctors to determine that a child's CP does not "fit" into one of the above categories.  As a result, the physician may consider the child to have "mixed" CP.

 

Cerebral palsy can be inherited or the result of a lack of development.  Sometime, it is caused by medical errors.  For instance, if a child is in distress in utero (before birth), but no appropriate action is taken by the hospital staff to alleviate the distress, the child may suffer CP.  This is just one example of the many ways medical errors lead to CP.  Fetal monitoring strips and other diagnostic tools are used to monitor an unborn child's health.  They must be used and monitored effectively.

If you have any questions about your child's health, please consult with your child's physician immediately. 

If you want to learn more about CP, please read an earlier blog I wrote about the condition.  Also, if you are wondering whether your child's condition was caused by a medical error, feel free to contact me at 202-822-1899 or email me at szambri@reganfirm.com.  Our medical and legal professionals are here for you, and our investigation is done at no charge.

CONTACT ME  

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. He has been acknowledged by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all of the more than 80,000 lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also acknowledges him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in medical malpractice matters, product liability claims, and serious automobile accident claims.  Mr. Zambri has also been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Law and Politics magazine--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

Mr. Zambri was sought after to publish a chapter regarding product liability litigation in Aspatore Books - a company that is touted as "the largest and most exclusive publisher of C-1 Level executives (CEO, CFO, CTO, CMO, Partner) from the world's most respected companies and law firms."  To read Mr. Zambri's publication, entitled "Constantly Preparing To Win", please click here.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.   

Posted In Cerebral Palsy , Men's Health Issues , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Resources for Cerebral Palsy, Including Information in Spanish

By Catherine Bertram                                                  

Cerebral means having to do with the brain. Palsy means weakness or problems with using the muscles. 

A recent CDC study shows that the average prevalence of CP is 3.3 per 1,000 8-year-old children or 1 in 303 children.   Click here to listen to a podcast on Cerebral Palsy.

What Are Some of the Signs of Cerebral Palsy?

According to the CDC, "the signs of cerebral palsy vary greatly.  The main sign is a delay reaching the motor or movement milestones. Click here for a milestone checklist and here for the spanish version.

A child over 2 months with cerebral palsy might:

  • Have difficulty controlling head when picked up
  • Have stiff legs that cross or "scissor" when picked up

A child over 6 months with cerebral palsy might:

  • Continue to have a hard time controlling head when picked up
  • Reach with only one hand while keeping the other in a fist

A child over 10 months with cerebral palsy might:

  • Crawl by pushing off with one hand and leg while dragging the opposite hand and leg
  • Not sit by himself or herself

A child over 12 months with cerebral palsy might:

  • Not crawl
  • Not be able to stand with support

A child over 24 months with cerebral palsy might:

  • Not be able to walk
  • Not be able to push a toy with wheels"

What Causes Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is caused by a problem in the brain. There are multiple possible causes including problems with the blood supply to the brain before or during child birth, bleeding in the brain, lack of oxygen, and head injury.  

If you think your child has cerebral palsy talk to your pediatrician right away to get a thorough evaluation.  If you think the cause may be a result of child birth you can contact us for a free confidential medical-legal evaluation.

 

Continue Reading Posted In Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Obstetrics , Pediatrics
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Congress Deals With Radiation Safety, Doctor Kick-Backs

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

The New York Times, in a front-page report, announced, "To help ensure that medical radiation is safe, Medicare insists that certain highly technical cancer treatments be administered only when a patient's radiation oncologist is present or nearby." Federal officials say physicians who fail to adequately supervise technicians during radiotherapy risk patient safety. But, the issue also "raises questions about financial incentives and the overuse of high-tech, and highly reimbursed, treatments" when "less advanced and cheaper ones would have served just as well."

As a result, "Congress passed an antikickback law designed to stop doctors from" unnecessarily ordering "tests or procedures in which they have a financial interest," according to the report.  In addition, "radiation safety will be the subject of a Congressional hearing Friday." For its part, "the American College of Radiology has said that self-referral endangers patients because doctors tend to order more tests."

Before undergoing any diagnostic test or invasive procedure, your doctor should describe all benefits and  risks of the procedure and he or she should explain all alternative options as well.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including product liability, medical malpractice, and automobile accident claims.  Mr. Zambri has also been named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  

Mr. Zambri was sought after to publish a chapter regarding product liability litigation in Aspatore Books - a company that is touted as "the largest and most exclusive publisher of C-1 Level executives (CEO, CFO, CTO, CMO, Partner) from the world's most respected companies and law firms."  To read Mr. Zambri's publication, entitled "Constantly Preparing To Win", please click here.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.   

Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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States Without Damage Caps Have More Doctors

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

In a blog at the California Progress Report (1/6), J.G. Preston wrote, "One of the arguments the 'tort reform' crowd uses to justify putting a cap on the amount of money a jury can award to a victim of medical negligence is their assertion that increases in the cost of malpractice insurance are driving doctors out of the business." But "there are more doctors per capita in states that don't limit the amount that can be awarded to victims of negligence than there are in states that have implemented caps. The American Association for Justice broke down the numbers and found there are 21% more doctors per capita in states that don't restrict compensation that there are in states with caps." 

And there are more doctors than ever in America.   Take a look at the most recent data published by the American Medical Association, which confirms this fact.  The publication considers data through 2008.  There were 309 doctors for every 100,000 people that year.   Compared to the 1960s, that's twice as many.  So, not only are there more doctors per capita in states without damages caps, there are also more doctors everywhere in this nation.

The lesson:  Don't let the corporate greed of certain special interest groups convince you that you need to abandon your constitutional rights to pad their pockets.  Victims of the carelessness of others need their rights. 

Be safe, and don't be fooled by well-worn rhetoric.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including medical malpractice, product liability, and automobile accident claims.  Mr. Zambri has also been named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (2010)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  

Mr. Zambri was sought after to publish a chapter regarding civil litigation in Aspatore Books - a company that is touted as "the largest and most exclusive publisher of C-1 Level executives (CEO, CFO, CTO, CMO, Partner) from the world's most respected companies and law firms."  To read Mr. Zambri's publication, entitled "Constantly Preparing To Win", please click here.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.   

 

Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Tort Reform , Women's Health Issues
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Radiation Exposure from CT Scans Worse Than Previously Estimated

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

The CBS Evening News reported, "The problem of too much radiation during CT scans may be more widespread than anyone thought." CBS further confirmed that "new research...found a wide variation in radiation dose for the most common CT scan like abdomen, pelvis, and chest. A survey of four hospitals found some patients received 13 times more radiation than others for the same type of scan."   Over-radiation can be very dangerous.

NBC Nightly News, referring to a study, stated that "researchers calculated that 72 million CT scans are performed in this country a year and concluded that could lead to 29,000 excess cancers and 15,000 excess deaths a year in the future."  The study NBC cited was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. 

A second study, in the same journal, of over 1,000 patients at four hospitals, showed that 1 out of 270 women and 1 out of 600 men suffer from cancer as a result of undergoing a single heart scan at age 40, the Wall Street Journal reports. According to the report, researchers who performed the study noted that the differences in radiation doses may be a result of the difference in technology from one medical provider to another as well as a lack of standardized settings.

Bloomberg News reports that in the National Cancer Institute study, "the authors predicted that lung cancer will be the most common radiation-related cancer followed by colon cancer and leukemia." In response to these study, the FDA has "issued interim regulations Dec. 7 requiring closer monitoring of CT scans after more than 250 cases of exposure to excess radiation were reported since October."

Before undergoing a CT scan, you should get sound medical advice from an experienced physician who is familiar with the risks and benefits of the procedure.  If undergoing a scan, be sure the facility has technologically advanced equipment, so your exposure to radiation is minimized to the extent possible.  Your doctors should be advising you of all risks associated with the procedure, as well as all options available to you, so you can make the best health decision you can.  Your doctors should also be using equipment that is safe and in excellent working condition.

I wish you good health and happiness.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" whose practice is dedicated to handling catastrophic personal injury matters, including medical malpractice actions stemming from defective or dangerous medications and medical errors.   He has also been named a "DC Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  If you need a patient advocate, we recommend that you read an article about medical malpractice claims authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

If you want more information about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899. 


 

Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Glaxo Announces Payouts From Paxil Cases

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

Bloomberg.com reports that GlaxoSmithKline "has settled 450 suicide cases for about $390 million and 600 birth defect cases for unspecified amounts." According to the report, "The company has also paid out about $400 million in antitrust cases since 2003."

Many people who have taken Paxil have been subjected to an increased risk for suicide and birth defects.  The extent of the increased risk has never been disclosed. 

I represent victims of dangerous products.  Far too often companies put profits over people, placing into the marketplace drugs that have not been properly tested.  We hope that companies will put people over profits and be sure their products are safe before they are sold.

Before taking any medication, be sure to consult with a physician.  Your physician should also inform you of all risks and benefits of a medication before you ingest it, so that you can make the best health decisions you can.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including product liability, medical malpractice, and automobile accident claims.  Mr. Zambri has also been named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  

Mr. Zambri was sought after to publish a chapter regarding product liability litigation in Aspatore Books - a company that is touted as "the largest and most exclusive publisher of C-1 Level executives (CEO, CFO, CTO, CMO, Partner) from the world's most respected companies and law firms."  To read Mr. Zambri's publication, entitled "Constantly Preparing To Win", please click here.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.    

Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Cerebral Palsy Can Be Caused by Improper Care Before, During and After Childbirth

Posted by Catherine Bertram, Partner                                                

"Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same." -Franz Peter Schubert

The medical staff at the Mayo Clinic define "Cerebral palsy" (CP) is a general term for a group of disorders that appear during the first few years of life and affect a child's ability to coordinate body movements. Cerebral palsy can cause muscles to be weak and floppy, or rigid and stiff.

In the United States, cerebral palsy occurs in about two to four out of every 1,000 births. The disorder is usually caused by brain injuries, including lack of oxygen, also called hypoxia or anoxia. Cerebral palsy isn't curable.  Medical evidence supports theories that infections, birth injuries, and poor oxygen supply to the brain before, during, and immediately after birth result in up to 15% of cases.

Between 35% and 50% of all children with CP will have an accompanying seizure disorder and some level of mental retardation. They also may have learning disabilities and vision, speech, hearing, or language problems.  Often parents are overwhelmed when their child is given this diagnosis and rightly so.  There are many questions and no clear answers.  As a parent of a child with special needs, you may be asking:

  • Why did this happen to my child?
  • How am I going to pay for what my child needs now and in the future?

Every circumstance is unique, just like very child and every family.   If you have questions about that care you received or the birth experience or the care your child received after birth and you think it may be a factor in your child's condition, you can get answers.   We have significant experience handling these types of cases and have many nationally known experts who are willing to review your child's case and determine what happened.  I was Director of Risk Management at a major teaching hospital in DC and have experience reviewing these cases from both the patient's side and the hospital's side.   We also have a nurse-attorney on staff at my firm who worked in a local hospital on the labor and delivery unit so she has special expertise in reviewing the records and determining what happened. 

As a parent and as a patient advocate I urge you to get answers if you have these questions.  You owe it to yourself and your child.  Click here for some great quotes for families with special needs children and pass this on to other parents you know who have children with special challenges for those days when a few words may lighten our hearts.

About the author:

Catherine Bertram is board certified in civil trials and was recently nominated as a 2010 Super Lawyer for Washington, D.C.  Ms. Bertram has 20 years of trial experience and is unique in that she was formerly the Director of Risk Management for Georgetown University Hospital so she brings a wealth of knowledge to her practice including how hospitals should be run and what doctors and nurses can do to protect patients.   She is a partner with the firm and devotes her practice to the representation of patients and families of loved ones who have been injured or lost due to medical errors.  Ms. Bertram lectures regularly to lawyers and health care providers, nationally and locally,  regarding patient safety, medical negligence and other related issues. She has also recently published a chapter in a medical textbook.   She can be reached by email at cbertram@reganfirm.com or by phone 202-822-1875 in her office in Washington, D.C.

 

Posted In Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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State Tort "Reforms" Don't Lower Insurance Premiums

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

The American Association for Justice has published an article that establishes what we have known now for some time--that state tort "reforms" have provided a boon to insurance companies, while physician and patient premiums continue to skyrocket.  The winner:  insurnace companies, whose profits have hit record levels.  The losers:  doctors and, especially, patients, whose fundamental rights have been taken from them.

"An analysis of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and company annual statements shows malpractice insurer profits are 24 percent higher in states with caps.  In these cap states, insurers took in 3.5 times more in premiums than they paid out in 2008.  In contrast, insurers in states without caps took in just over twice what they paid in claims."

98,000 people die every year from preventable medical errors, yet the insurnace industry and the chamber of commerce want o place nonsensical limits on patients' rights simply to pad insurance companies' profits.  This profits-over-people model is anti-American and unethical.

The report establishes that the "medical malpractice insurance industry has seen a 47 percent increase in profitability in the last 10 years. Overblown 'reported' losses were used by the insurance industry to justify new measures restricting the rights of those injured by medical negligence."

Americans need to fight back against the myths spread by special interest group.  Over 30 states have been fooled into thinking caps on daages will help pemiums.  They haven't. In the meantime, though, "the average profit of the 10 largest medical malpractice insurers was higher than 99 percent of Fortune 500 companies and 35 times higher than the Fortune 500 average."

To view a copy of Insurance Company Handout: How the Industry Used Tort Reform to Increase Profits While Americans' Premiums Soared, visit http://www.justice.org/clips/Insurance_Company_Handout.pdf.

As I mentioned, It is widely accepted that approximately 98,000 Americans die every year as a result of medical errors.  That's like two 747 airplanes full of passengers crashing to the ground every day for a year.  Yet, some legislators want to strip innocent victims of their constitutional rights, including limiting their recoveries, instead of focusing on preventing future errors. 

Our leaders should be fighting for safer drugs, safer hospitals, better medical practices, and a safer American health system.  We must put people over profits.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" whose practice is dedicated to handling catastrophic personal injury matters, including medical malpractice actions stemming from defective or dangerous medications and medical errors.   He has also been named a "DC Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  If you need a patient advocate, we recommend that you read an article about medical malpractice claims authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

If you want more information about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899. 

 

 

Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , Tort Reform , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Medical Errors Should Be Reported to Improve Safety

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     


The AP (12/11, Tanner) reports that "in 2005, Illinois legislators...passed a measure requiring hospitals to report the deadliest kind" of medical errors, but "the law has yet to be implemented -- and it likely won't be for at least another year." Illinois "budget woes and foot-dragging by special interests are among reasons cited for the long delay." However, "there are finally glimmers of progress. That includes the recent launch of a related state website that tracks hospital infection rates and staff levels, and the imminent start of a search for a vendor to help put the law in place."

Ten years ago, a landmark report proved that medical mistakes kill up to 98,000 Americans yearly. Only a handful of states have decided to do something about it, Minnesota being the first in 2003.  In 2005, Illinois modeled a law after Minnesota's.  Four years later, the law has still not been implemented.  Why?  Foot-dragging by special interest groups.  Finally, though, some progress is being made, including " the recent launch of a related state Web site that tracks hospital infection rates and staff levels, and the imminent start of a search for a vendor to help put the law in place."

According to the AP report, "The law will require hospitals to publicly report so-called "never" mistakes. These are mostly preventable errors with potentially life-threatening consequences -- like the wrong-knee surgery Krzysztof Kordes says Chicago-area doctors performed on him last year or the forgotten sponge left inside a Plainfield woman during breast tumor surgery."

A few things the law requires:

  • hospitals required to report major medical errors within 30 days to the state's public health department
  • list of hospitals and mistakes will be posted online
  • hospitals required to determine cause of errors and to develop corrective plan

These kinds of laws should be in every state in our country.  Medical providers should not bow to special interest groups.  Sharing more, not less, following an adverse event is the only way to truly minimize future medical errors. 

Encourage your legislators to work hard to implement strong laws that clearly work to open communication and spur better, safer health practices.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" whose practice is dedicated to handling catastrophic personal injury matters, including medical malpractice actions stemming from defective or dangerous medications and medical errors.   He has also been named a "DC Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (2009-2010)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America. 

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

If you want more information about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899. 

Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , Tort Reform , Women's Health Issues
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Evaluating a Medical Malpractice Case

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

As a consumer justice attorney, I have the privilege of representing and helping people through difficult times every day. Oftentimes, my clients are horrifically and permanently injured due to no fault of their own. Other times, I represent families of those who have died as a result of someone else's carelessness.

This may surprise you, but it is widely accepted that approximately 98,000 Americans die each year as a result of medical negligence, more than deaths caused by guns and automobile collisions.  The yearly death toll from medical errors equates to the number of deaths that would result from two 747 airplanes crashing to the ground every day.  This alarming statistic does not even include those who have not died, but have nevertheless suffered serious permanent injuries due to a lack of appropriate medical care.

I have published a paper that addresses some fundamental, but extraordinarily important, steps necessary to properly and thoroughly evaluate a potential medical malpractice claim. By no means does the article include all investigative efforts required to analyze a case, as every claim is different and deserves special attention. 

To read my article, entitled "Evaluating a Medical Malpractice Case", please click here.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" whose practice is dedicated to handling catastrophic personal injury matters, including medical malpractice actions stemming from defective or dangerous medications and medical errors.   He has also been named a "DC Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America. 

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

If you want more information about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899. 

Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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GAO Says FDA Lacking in Developing Drug Surveillance Office

 

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

 

The Associated Press has reported today that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) "still hasn't restructured its staff to better monitor drug safety, more than three years after experts recommended key changes in the wake of the Vioxx scandal."  According to the report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) will release a report today indicating that FDA officials "have made some changes to drug oversight," although the agency "continues to give the bulk of its decision-making power to scientists who approve new drugs, rather than those who monitor the side effects of drugs on the market."  Consequently, the GAO "calls on the FDA to set a timetable for transferring new responsibilities to the surveillance office."

In response, the FDA "said major decisions about drug safety are delegated to the new drugs division because that is 'where staff with the broadest expertise and experience' on product safety issues reside," according to the AP report.

We urge the FDA to ramp up its surveillance of drugs, and we implore pharmaceutical companies to be sure their products are safe before placing them into the marketplace.  Drugs are obviously important, but manufacturers need to put people over profits.  No drug should enter the marketplace until it has been thoroughly tested and until its side-effects are fully understood.

Before taking any medication, please confer with your doctor.  Know all risks and benefits of a drug before taking it.

We wish you good health.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who dedicates his practice to catastrophic personal injury matters, including medical malpractice actions stemming from defective or dangerous medications.   He has also been named a "DC Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.  If you need a patient advocate, we recommend that you read an article about medical malpractice claims authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

If you want more information about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899. 

Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Doctors Fail to Report Abnormal Test Results At Alarming Rate

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire

Doctors fail to report clinically significant findings to their patients in more than seven percent (7%) of the cases, according to the Associated Press, relying on a new study published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.  Physicians' use of electronic medical records tended to lower instances of failures to inform.  The frequency of errors is higher in practices that used a combination of electronic and paper records, as opposed to practices that relied on only paper or only electronic records, reports Nicholas Bakalar of the New York Times.    

We encourage doctors to utilize the electronic technology now available to better communicate with patients and other physicians regarding a patient's symptoms and conditions.  Reckless record-keeping leads to needless deaths and injuries.  There is a crisis in this country--too many Americans die each year as a result of hospital and doctor errors.  Nearly 100,000 people die every year as a result of hospital mistakes alone.  Safety needs to be a priority as we move forward.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area.  The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters.  He has successfully litigated multiple cases against Metro and other automobile owners.  He has also been named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine.  Our firm has experience pursing cases for patients that involve tragic medical errors, including the failure to properly inform patients of abnormal test results.  If you need a patient advocate, we recommend that you read an article about medical malpractice claims authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.

If you want more information about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.

Posted In Cancer Misdiagnosis , Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , Tort Reform , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
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Genes and Autism May Be Linked

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire and Catherine Bertram, Esquire

Approximately 1 in 150 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). According to Medical News Today, three studies compared all of the DNA of people with ASD with that of people who do not, and small genetic differences were discovered that impact the manner in which brain cells connect to make the circuitry of a child's brain. The largest of the three studies evaluated the DNA of over 10,000 people, states the report.

These finding suggest that "genetic differences in how cells in the brain link together could influence susceptibility to ASD on a large scale," states the report.  Scientists are now "starting to see genetic pathways in ASD that make sense."

According to the report, scientists plan to do a more extensive genome-wide association study to discover more pieces of the complex ASD genetics puzzle.

To read the entire article, please click here.

For information about your legal rights, please click here or contact us at Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC at 202-463-3030.

Posted In Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Patient Safety , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Revelations on Genetic Risks of IVF

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire and Catherine Bertram, Esquire

For nearly thirty years, in-vitro fertilization (IVF) has been consider relatively safe.  A recent report in the New York Times, however, reports that new epidemiological studies and scientific techniques have revealed findings that suggest that "there may be some abnormal patterns of gene expression associated with IVF and a possible increase in rare but devastating genetic disorders that appear to be directly linked to those unusual gene expression patterns."  The report also states that, with IVF, there "appears to be an increased risk of premature birth and of babies with low birth weight for their gestational age."

To read the entire article, please click here.

If you are considering an IVF procedure, we encourage you to speak with your doctors about all potential risks and benefits, so that you can make fully informed decisions.

For information about your legal rights, please click here or contact us at Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC at 202-463-3030.

Posted In Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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New State Rankings for Physician Discipline Highlight Significant Differences From State to State

A newly updated annual ranking of state medical boards by the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen has revealed widespread discrepancies in both the numbers of disciplinary actions taken against physicians' licenses, and the rates of those disciplinary actions from state to state.  Though the specific numbers have changed again this year, a pronounced trend of significant discrepancies between individual states has held constant for years.  Unless geography influences a physician's competence, these state-by-state discrepancies point to a dangerously inadequate national system of physician oversight -- one that could conceivably allow dangerous, incompetent physicians to continue to practice medicine by moving from state to state.

Continue Reading Posted In Cerebral Palsy , Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
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Botox Linked to Respiratory Failure and Death: FDA Warning

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that three products:  Botox, Botox Cosmetic (Botulinum toxin Type A), and Myobloc (Botulinum toxin Type B) have been linked to fatal adverse reactions including respiratory failure.  The most severe adverse reactions have occurred in children with cerebral palsy, who rely on the drug for treatment of limb spasticity.  The FDA warns that it has not approved any Botulinum toxins for treatment of spasticity in either children or adults, though it is not advising healthcare professionals to stop prescribing the products at this time. 

Continue Reading Posted In Cerebral Palsy , Medications , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings
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In-vitro Fertilization Increases Risk of Cerebral Palsy: New Study

In-vitro fertilization (IVF) increases the risk of urogenital malformation and Cerebral Palsy (CP) in children, according to a new study published in the medical journal The Lancet.  Though the fertility procedures have been performed for about thirty years, researchers say relatively little is known yet regarding the health of children born via in-vitro fertilization.  While some morbidity associated with the procedures has rightly been attributed to the subfertile parents, much remains unknown about the risks posed by the procedures themselves.  According to this study, based on data collected from 1980 to 2005, children born through IVF techniques appear to have a 30% higher risk of major congenital malformations, regardless of the technique employed by physicians.  They also face a higher risk of developing CP, which researchers attribute partly to the increased risk of premature birth, and partly to the increased odds of the in-utero loss of one child in instances where twins are present -- both events are more common in IVF pregnancies, and are known indicators of increased CP risk.  The risk of CP appears to be lower in single-embryo transfers as opposed to multiple-embryo transfers. Continue Reading Posted In Cerebral Palsy , Patient Safety , Women's Health Issues
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Children with Cerebral Palsy Report A Quality of Life Similar to Other Children: New Study

Most children with Cerebral Palsy between the ages of 8 and 12 rate their quality of life no lower than do typical 8 to 12-year-olds, according to a study recently published in the medical journal The Lancet.  The study, conducted in the U.K., involved 500 randomly-selected children between 8 and 12 years of age who had been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy (CP) and were capable of self-reporting their quality of life.  Researchers found that neither a diagnosis of CP nor the type or severity of their impairments affected their scores relating to psychological well-being, self-perception, social support, school environment, perception of financial resources or social acceptance, when compared to the general population of similar-age children. Continue Reading Posted In Cerebral Palsy
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Pregnant Women With Placental Infection Have Doubled Risk Of Recurrence

As reported by Medical News Today, pregnant women who develop chorioamnionitis, an infection of the placenta or nearby membranes, in their first pregnancy have twice the risk of getting it in their second pregnancy, researchers at the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas (UT Southwestern) have found. Continue Reading Posted In Cerebral Palsy , Obstetrics , Pediatrics , Women's Health Issues
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Cerebral Palsy: Answers and Advocacy

Having a child diagnosed with cerebral palsy can be overwhelming. It is critical that you find reliable sources of information on the condition, as well as national organizations for assistance. The Cerebral Palsy Information Page: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)  is a great resource for parents and others who have questions about cerebral palsy and need answers.

WHAT IS CEREBRAL PALSY?

Cerebral Palsy is a general medical term used to describe a group of chronic conditions that impair a person's movement. These chronic conditions appear either at birth or in the first few years of life. It is believed that these disorders are caused by either damage to the areas of the brain that control motor function, or faulty development of those areas of the brain. The symptoms include difficulty with balance or walking, involuntary movements and/or problems with fine motor tasks, such as writing or typing. Some children with cerebral palsy also have other medical disorders including seizures or mental impairment, but cerebral palsy is not always paired with these other disorders.

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Cerebral Palsy: Support Groups

When clients initially contact us after learning that their baby or toddler has suffered a birth injury resulting in hemiplegia, hemiparesis, or cerebral palsy, they frequently feel that they are alone in facing the seemingly overwhelming challenges. We provide our clients with referrals to the leading specialists, including physical and occupational therapists, pediatric neurologists, and support groups. To locate some of the more popular support groups, please see the HemiKids and EHow websites.

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