Medical Malpractice Claims - From Investigation to Litigation

By Catherine Bertram, partner
     cbertram@reganfirm.com



Medical malpractice cases are often some of the most complex civil claims that trial attorneys handle.  In almost all states, and certainly in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia, there are special statutes and regulations that apply to these types of cases.  Attorneys who practice in this area must be familiar with these rules in order to represent their clients and the families of their clients.  Experienced attorneys know how to efficiently review and investigate these cases.  At our firm, we have established working relationships with medical experts on a national basis in almost all specialties so we can obtain independent reviews of the events and obtain answers for our clients to determine if the care rendered met the applicable standards or not.  

Step One

In most cases after we conduct an initial interview we ask the patient, or the family member with legal power to sign for the patient, to sign a medical authorization that allows us to obtain the key medical records and images.   Our staff is very experienced in this part of the case and they know how to process these requests and get us the records and images we need in a timely fashion.  

Step Two

Once the records are obtained they are reviewed and organized in a coherent manner for the reviewing expert or experts.  In some cases the records need to be reviewed by several types of experts in order to determine if there is a case of medical malpractice.  In some cases have records reviewed by both physician and nursing experts, depending on the circumstances.

Step Three    

We will then speak with the reviewing expert in order to determine if the case has merit in their opinion and whether it is a case that can be pursued.   We also try to answer any questions the patient or family may have about the outcome.  During those calls we have to ask certain questions to determine whether the elements of a medical malpractice claim exist.  The first issue is generally whether the doctor or nurse’s care fell below the standard expected of that individual in the same or similar circumstances.  The second question, which is equally important and must be proven by the patient in a civil malpractice case, is whether the doctor or nurse’s failure was a proximate cause of the patient’s injuries and harms.  In other words, is there a direct link between the doctor or nurse’s wrongful act,  or failure to act, and the injury the patient sustained.  This is commonly referred to by attorneys and judges as “proximate cause”.   If the case has failures by the doctor or nurse but those failures are not a cause of the patient’s injury then there is no case.     Sometimes the questions the patient has can be answered and sometimes the expert has more question and needs additional records or images or other information before they can reach a conclusion.   We continue to work with the expert to obtain that information.  Sometimes, a final conclusion cannot be reached because the records are not clear, the information is missing or there is contradictory information in the records. These issues are all then discussed with the patient and/or the family.  Sometimes,  final answers to certain questions are not obtained until you take the sworn testimony of various doctors and nurses in the lawsuit.  

Step Four

The attorneys from our firm then have a conversation with the patient and/or the family about what the expert’s conclusions were and what the next steps will be. There is no cost associated with this meeting or phone call.   Sometimes this conversation is done by phone, especially in circumstances where the patient is too hurt to travel or lives out of town.   In other cases,  the meeting is held in person at the law firm.  If circumstances are such that the patient cannot travel, and we need to meet, then our attorneys travel to the patient’s home, rehabilitation center or the hospital.

Step Five

If the family and the law firm decide the case has merit, and we want to pursue it together,  then a legal document called a retainer is signed. This document explains how the fee will be paid and how expenses from the case will be handled.

Step Six

Depending on whether the case is in DC, Maryland or Virginia, we work with our experts to develop the case.  We have working relationships with many local hospitals and insurance companies who insure the local doctors and hospitals.  We can often contact those claims directors or the risk managers for the hospital or nursing home and talk to them directly about the claim before the lawsuit is filed.  They know we mean business and they know we have qualified experts who have thoroughly reviewed the case so they are often willing to explore early resolution of cases through private mediation with a retired local judge.  This works quite well for our clients.   

If early resolution is not possible, we have the resources and the experience to file the necessary paperwork and provide the required statutory notices in DC, Maryland and Virginia to pursue the claims.  

If you have any questions about a potential case, feel free to call. 

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 lives in DC and 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 Birth Injury , Cancer Misdiagnosis , Legal Info , Legal Services , Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Women's Health Issues
Permalink

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
Permalink

Adverse Event Report: Why It Matters to Patients

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding member and partner

In its 2011 Annual Report, the District of Columbia Patient Safety Reporting Program summarized the process by which adverse event reporting and patient safety is reported as well as the results of the District of Columbia's most recent reporting period. The purpose of the annual reporting is to comply with the District of Columbia Medial Malpractice Amendment Act of 2006. "The Act requires that any licensed healthcare provider or medical facility must report adverse events, which includes the 28 Serious Reportable Events defined by the National Quality Forum (NQF) as events that are unambiguous (identifiable and measurable), serious (resulting in death or significant disability), and usually preventable.  In 2009, the Act was amended to require that adverse events reports must be reported within 60 days of their occurrence.  In January, 2010, a web-based adverse event reporting system was implemented in the ongoing effort to improve healthcare delivery."

For the 2011 report, the following highlights are noted:

  • "There was an increase in the number of NQF (National Quality Forum) and other events reports, not including HAI (healthcare-associated infections) events.  In 2010, 66 NQF and other events were reported and there were 90 in FY 2011.
  • A total of 112 adverse event reports were received.  Seven (6%) involved a patient death.
  • The majority of reports, 88 (78%), were submitted by acute care hospitals.
  • During the current reporting period there was an increase in the total number of event types reported, from 9 event types in FY 2010 up to 14 event types this past year."

The report states, "Medical errors and adverse events are a significant killer in the United States, and most are preventable."  Major categories of  medical errors listed were pressure ulcers, HAIs, falls, device related events, and surgical events.  The most frequently reported issue in almost every event was communication failure within a facility.  Other contributing factors include failure to follow protocol and failure to assess patients. Collecting and analyzing information about each incident is a first step in improving patient safety.  Using the information as an opportunity to improve the quality of medical care and education is the critical step to actually improve patient care.

"The District Patient Safety Reporting Program's main goals include:

  • Promoting patient safety
  • Improving the culture of safety
  • Learning from and preventing adverse events
  • Providing feedback to District facilities."

Listed below are some of the previous posts that I have written about patient safety:

As a practicing attorney for over twenty years, I have seen the results of preventable medical errors and the devastating effects they inflict on patients and their families.  Having an effective system in place that requires healthcare facilities to report on adverse events is a beginning to prevention of those types of errors and improving patient safety.  Much more needs to be done beyond the reporting of events to actually impact patient safety, namely, action. 

Do you have any questions about this post?

Continue Reading Posted In Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Study Shows Poor Infection Control in Nursing Homes Linked to Lower Staffing Levels

By Catherine Bertram

Infections in nursing homes kill 400,000 residents a year according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.   The authors contend that nearly one-sixth of the US nursing homes have significant deficiencies in infection control.  Over 100,000 patient encounters were reviewed.  The University of Pittsburgh Public Health program researchers analyzed records from 2000 through 2007 and found that infection control citations in 96% of US nursing homes were linked to lower nursing staff levels. 

Infections are leading cause of morbidity and mortality in U.S. nursing homes.  This study reminds us of the direct link between professional staffing levels and safe care for our most vulnerable citizens.  Those are are family members and advocates for seniors need to keep speaking up and asking questions about the infection rates and infection control requirements at long term care facilities.

Continue Reading Posted In Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
Permalink

100,000 Lives Lost Each Year Due to Dirty Hospitals and Nursing Homes

By Catherine Bertram

Each year 100,000 patients in hospitals and nursing homes in this country die from infection they acquired after being in a health care facility.  This is the most common complication of hospital care and also one of the deadliest risks for patients according to government officials.

In addition the loss of lives, the cost for our health care system is enormous. The estimated annual cost for hospital acquired infections is between $28 and $33 billion. 

What is even more shocking and tragic is that the consensus in the US medical community is that most of these infections are preventable.  How you ask?  This is really where it should make us all angry - by washing your hands in between patients.  It is not expensive or dangerous to implement.  What will it take to make hospitals and nursing homes clean up their act? Unfortunately, it has to hit them where it hurts - in their pocket book.   In 2008, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) began denying payments to hospitals for the costs of patient's care and patient days related to these infections.   

If you want more information about hospital acquired infections you can look at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)  website which provides  links to infection prevention materials, statistics on infection rates and other materials.

Continue Reading Posted In Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
Permalink

DC Nursing Homes: How to Report Abuse or Neglect

Posted by: Catherine Bertram

The District of Columbia Department of Health licenses and certifies health care facilities for compliance with state and federal health and safety standards. Facilities include nursing homes, hospitals, home health agencies, dialysis centers, ambulatory surgical centers, intermediate care facilities for the mentally retarded, and laboratories. The Health Care Facilities Division ("HCFD") is charged with conducting regular on-site surveys to ensure health, safety, sanitation, fire, and quality of care requirements. HCFD identifies deficiencies that may affect state licensure.

The D.C. government publishes a list of nursing home facilities in DC and also has a list of home health agencies in DC.  A family member, friend or even the resident can  file a complaint on line  or can call the DC Hotline 202-442-5833.

Continue Reading Posted In Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety , Women's Health Issues
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Criminal Nurses Working At Your Hospitals?

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

Weak regulations may allow convicted nurses to cross state lines for work.  Without tougher regulations, requiring hospitals and medical providers to report criminal activity of nurses, nurses will continue to slip into other states to find work, threatening the health and safety of others.

Under the headline "Bad Nurses Able To Keep Working In Other States," USA Today (7/15, Weber, Ornstein) carries an article and interactive map by the independent reporting organization ProPublica that explain how nurses can slip from one state to another for work even if they have felony drug convictions. The report opens with the case of a nurse who "was fired from a hospital in Wausau, Wis., in 2007 after stealing the powerful painkiller Dilaudid." The nurse was convicted of felony drug charges and later managed to "get a job as a traveling nurse at a hospital 1,200 miles away in New Bern, N.C." According to ProPublica, this case "illustrates significant gaps in regulatory efforts nationwide" to keep track of nurses' misconduct. The report examines applicable licensing issues and agreements that it says perpetuate the problem.

I have represented many patients of hospitals who had their pain medication siphoned away by drug-addicted nurses. The people I represented were coming out of radical medical procedure.  The absence of drugs caused them unimaginable pain and further medical complications.  As a result of my claims, I am happy to report that additional practices and procedures are now taking place in area hospitals, but more needs to be done locally and nationally. 

 

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. 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 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 has also been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Law and Politics magazine (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 have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899. 

 

Posted In Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

5 simple steps hospitals could, but often do not, use to prevent bloodstream infections

By Catherine D. Bertram

Catheter-related bloodstream infections kill 30,000 hospital patients and infect a total of 80,00 patients in the U.S. each year.  So why aren't more hospitals adopting the simple five-step approach to prevent these infections?

The protocol:

1. Health care provider washes hands

2. Patient's skin cleaned with antiseptic

3. Patient's body covered with sterile drape

4. Health care provider wears sterile hat, mask, gloves, and gown

5. Sterile dressing over the catheter site

When Michigan hospitals implemented these steps, their infection rate dropped by two-thirds.  Over 18 months, the hospitals not only saved lives, but saved $200 million, or about $30,000 per infection.

So why not take those steps? A survey by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology indicates that the hospitals contend they don't have enough time to train or they blame it on unwieldy paper-based records systems. It is reported that many hospital CEO's aren't even aware of their own hospital's bloodstream-infection rates.

Continue Reading Posted In Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Washington Hospital Center Makes House Calls to Area Residents in Need

By Catherine Bertram

Washington Hospital Center has a program called "Medical House Calls".  The program provides primary care services by a team of dedicated physicians, nurse practitioners, social workers and others.  These health care teams make house calls to the homes of  elderly residents to provide the ongoing care and preventive care they need in the comfort and privacy of their own homes.  

Patient Enrollment Criteria

To qualify for the Medical House Call program, patients must:

  • Live in one of these D.C. zip codes: 20001, 20002, 20009, 20010, 20011, 20012, 20017, or 20018
  • Be 60 years or older and have difficulty getting to the doctor's office 
  • Have Medicare, Medicaid or some other non-HMO health insurance

Patients may find out more information about how to enroll by calling 202-877-0576.

Posted In Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

NC Nursing Home Faced With Resident Injuries and Deaths

By Catherine Bertram

                                                                                                     

Britthaven of Chapel Hill, a Chapel Hill, North Carolina nursing home, employed Angela Almore, R.N., a nurse who now faces second-degree murder and patient-abuse charges arising from her time at Britthaven.  Several patients under her care were injured, and one died, after  allegedly being administered morphine without a prescription.

At the same nursing home, Marian Orlowski, M.D. died of pneumonia after falling and breaking several bones while a resident at Britthaven.  His wife has taken action to hold Britthaven accountable for failing to use side-rails on Dr. Orlowski's bed because Britthaven knew that he suffered from dementia and was a fall risk.  This was a predictable and preventable death.    Dr. Orlowski was nominated for a Nobel prize for developing a treatment for blood cancers.

Another resident broke both her thigh bones, and ultimately died, after it is alleged that a nursing assistant dropped the resident and then failed to tell supervisors about the fall.  The patient's care plan called for a mechanical lift at all times.  It is reported that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services fined Britthaven over $400,000.  Britthaven's corporate parent company owns approximately 43 nursing homes in North Carolina.

Continue Reading Posted In Nursing Home Negligence
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Jury Fines Nursing Home Chain $619 Million for Safety Violations

By Catherine Bertram

This week, The Eureka Times-Standard reported, that a jury in California returned a verdict against Skilled Healthcare, a nursing home chain in Humboldt County Superior Court on Tuesday, "opting to impose the maximum amount of damages totaling nearly $619 million for health code violations." Along with "the statutory damages, the jury awarded an additional $58 million for a violation of the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act, bringing the total damages to nearly $677 million."

Skilled Healthcare runs approximately 76 nursing home facilities and another 21 assisted living facilities in California and 6 other southwestern states.  The company has over 10,000 beds and 14,000 employees. 

The trial involved patient incidents from 2003 through 2009 and an estimated 32,000 patients.   The case has been going on for over 7 months. Next week the jury will be deciding the issue of punitive damages. 

Continue Reading Posted In Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety
Permalink

Nurse Interruptions, Distractions Lead To Medical Errors

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner 

As reported recently by a HealthDay report, Patient Safety and Quality Healthcare article and Archives of Internal Medicine abstract, distractions and interruptions for nurses during medication preparation and administration lead to a higher rate of procedural failures and clinical errors.  Although patient safety experts have warned about these dangers for a number of years, this is the first research to actually confirm that relationship. Common distractions include staff inquiries, stopping to search for missing drugs or supplies, and responding to phone calls or pages.  According to Patient Safety and Quality Healthcare Reports, nurses view these types of interruptions as part of the daily work and don't seek to control them--a scary thing.

Following are significant observations from the study:

  • "Errors were classified as either "procedural failures," such as failing to read the medication label, or "clinical errors," such as giving the wrong drug or wrong dose.
  • Only one in five drug administrations (19.8 percent) was completely error-free, the study found.
  • Interruptions occurred during more than half (53.1 percent) of all administrations, and each interruption was associated with a 12.1 percent increase, on average, in procedural failures and a 12.7 percent increase in clinical errors.
  • Most errors (79.3 percent) were minor, having little or no impact on patients, according to the study. However, 115 errors (2.7 percent) were considered major errors, and all of them were clinical errors.
  • Failing to check a patient's identification against his or her medication chart and administering medication at the wrong time were the most common procedural and clinical glitches, respectively, the study reported."

"Nurses reported that study observations were made during a comparatively non-chaotic days when they had not been working extremely busy shifts. Investigators felt that if the nurses had been observed during a more intensely busy shift, more errors would have been seen."  The value of this new study "lends important evidence to identifying the contributing factors and circumstances that can lead to a medication error," said Carol Keohane, Program Director for the Center of Excellence for Patient Safety Research and Practice at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

Several hospitals have recommended possible means to avoid excessive interruptions, such as "no interruption zones," "do not disturb vests," "medication pass time-out," or "protected hour" for medication administration.  This issue must be taken seriously by hospitals and other medical facilities otherwise serious medical errors will continue to occur.  According to the reputed Institutes of Medicine, approximately 98,000 Americans are killed every year as a result of medical errors.  Patient safety needs to be a priority.

Do you have any questions about this post?  

 

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.

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 Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Actor Quaid Is Advocate For Hospital Safety

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner               

                                                                                                        

USA Today reports that according to actor Dennis Quaid, "When a crash happens, it's so public. ... No one is going to fly on their airplanes unless they have that trust." Yet, "when a mistake occurs in a hospital, the public might never hear about it. Although an estimated 100,000 Americans die each year because of medical errors, their deaths are scattered over thousands of hospitals, 'where people die anyway,' Quaid said. 'It doesn't get the same type of attention.'"

USA Today says that since "Quaid's 10-day-old twins were twice given an adult dose of the blood thinner heparin," he "has become the self-described 'frontman' for a campaign to improve patient care with the implementation of 'safe practices' as simple as hand-washing and the use of technologies such as bar codes to match medications to patients."

It's wonderful that Mr. Quiad is speaking out for hospital safety and patients.  The best way to keep costs down is to improve health care.  By avoiding medical errors, people will be healthier.  It's sound business, and more especially, it's the ethical thing to do.

Do you have any questions about this post?  

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.

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 Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Stop C. Difficile: Education and Hand Washing Saves Lives

By Catherine D. Bertram                                                  

Clostridium difficile or “C. diff.”  C. diff. killed more patients in England in 2006 than MRSA. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported a nearly twofold increase in C. diff infections from 1996 to 2003 in the U.S.   The same hyper-virulent strain, dubbed ribotype 027, has invaded some hospitals in the U.S.   C. diff. infections kill an estimated 5,000 people in the U.S. per year, the CDC reports.

C. diff has been causing trouble for several years.   The mortality rate from this disease is rising.   What do we know about this enemy?  Outside of hospitals and nursing homes, it is only found in the gastrointestinal tracts of about 5% of the general population.   Other "good" bacteria usually keep C.diff from getting out of control. However, in hospitals and nursing homes that is not always the case.  When a patient is put on antibiotics, the balance of bacteria is affected, and C. diff. may take control, causing severe, watery diarrhea.

Why does this bug spread so fast in hospitals and nursing homes?  The answer is very troubling.  Traces of one patient's feces, from the watery diarrhea, come into contact with another patient's mouth, thus spreading this dangerous bacteria.   How could such a thing happen?  The only answer is inadequate cleaning.   Patients and staff pick up the C.diff bacteria, in the form of spores, from contaminated surfaces such as uniforms, stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, door knobs, bedrails and IV poles.    Unknowingly, caregivers get these C.diff spores on their hands and pass them on to other caregivers and eventually to other patients.   The patients then touch their hands to their lips and the bacteria spreads.

Think this is an exaggeration?  Look at these confirmed cases according to an article by an organization called Reduce Infection Deaths  (RID),  "At Thomas Jefferson University Medical Center in Philadelphia, where C. diff was raging, three patients occupying the same room consecutively came down with C. diff. One died as a result.  In 2005, eight infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)  at Intermountain Healthcare in Provo, Utah contracted C. diff.  All eight infected infants had shared one of three beds in a corner of the NICU. 

At the Cleveland VA Medical Center, researchers cultured commonly touched surfaces such as bed rails, telephones, call buttons, toilet seats, and bedside tables in the rooms of patients with C. Diff.  After routine cleaning, 78% of the surfaces were still contaminated with C. diff spores. However, after re-education of the hospital cleaning staff, including reminders about surfaces commonly overlooked, the staff used bleach and only 1% of surfaces were still contaminated.  

The 2000, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center –Presbyterian experienced a shocking 400% increase in C. diff infections.  They responded with a comprehensive strategy that emphasized rigorous cleaning with bleach and rapid identification and isolation of C.diff positive patients to prevent the bacteria from spreading to other patients.  It worked.   By 2006, C. diff rates were down 71%."

At Intermountain Healthcare, after the eight infants contracted C. diff, the NICU was “cleaned from top to bottom,” and they "launched extensive staff education related to C. difficile and its ability to be found on environmental surfaces,” and “the importance of washing hands with soap and water when caring for a patient with C. difficile.”  The results?  No new cases of C. diff appeared the NICU in the next two years.

Education is the key.   A study at one hospital found that 39% of resident physicians and other medical personnel didn’t know that C. diff spores could be transmitted from patient to patient on equipment. Almost 20% thought C. diff was a blood borne pathogen which is incorrect.

Cleaning the hospital and nursing home environment and educating personnel about C. diff. is essential.  Mandatory hand hygiene for patients before meals is also critical.  Nonambulatory patients are frequently handed a food tray, but have no way to clean their hands before eating.  If their hands are contaminated with C. diff spores, they will infect themselves by eating.  

 

Continue Reading Posted In Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
Permalink

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
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Two Million Defective Huber Needles Recalled by Nipro

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     


The AP (1/27, Perrone) reports, "Federal health officials announced the recall of two million medical needles Tuesday because of a risk they can push bits of silicone into patients' bodies." The FDA "said Japanese manufacturer Nipro Medical Corp. has voluntarily recalled its Exel/Exelint Huber needles manufactured between January 2007 and August 2009."   Doctors, nurses, and patients should not be using these needles under any circumstances.

Bloomberg News (1/27, Peterson) reports that the "defect...might lead to fatal blockages of the main artery of the lung, the [FDA] said." The needles, which are intended "to give food and medicine to chronically ill patients," can "dislodge 'cores,' or slivers of silicon, from 'ports' under the skin and release the material into the bloodstream, FDA officials said." Jon Casamento, deputy director of the Solid and Fluid Mechanics Division at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said the "defective needles...may cause tissue damage and inadequate drug delivery."

Regulators have not received reports that the needles released silicon or other foreign chemicals into patients, but the defect is difficult for doctors to detect, Dow Jones Newswire (1/27, Favole) reports.

CNN (1/27, Young) reports that the FDA "said anyone using the products should stop immediately and return any unused needles to Exelint." The agency indicated that it is conducting investigations "of needles from 20 companies," of which 10 have already been completed. "The FDA said it has sent letters to all Huber manufacturers asking them to address any design or manufacturing problems."

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 Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Trailblazer Support Catheter Recalled, Dangerous

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

ev3 Endovascular, Inc. and FDA notified healthcare professionals of a Class I Recall of the Trailblazer Support Catheter. According to the recall, "This device may crack near the radiopaque marker band. This may result in serious patient injury, including insufficient oxygen supply to the tissues, damage to blood vessels, heart attack, limb amputation, unplanned surgery, and/or death."

If using a catheter, please contact your doctor immediately to be sure it is not part of the recall.  If you know you are using a Trailblazer Support Catheter, please stop using it right away, and obtain an alternative product.

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 Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

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
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Pfizer Wants Prempro Internet Video Removed

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     


Bloomberg News (12/16, O'Reilly, Feeley) reports, "Pfizer Inc. asked a judge to order the removal of an Internet video about its menopause medicines that the company says is misleading and aimed at swaying potential jurors in future trials over the pills." The video, called "Prempro News Segment," was posted on YouTube.com by "plaintiffs' lawyers who recently won more than $78 million in damages in a Pennsylvania trial over Pfizer's Prempro hormone-replacement drug."

At issue in that case was whether the "menopause drugs helped cause" the plaintiff's breast cancer. In the video, "breast-cancer victims discuss their cases," while the attorneys "accuse Wyeth of minimizing the risks of Prempro." According to Pfizer's lawyers, "Pennsylvania rules governing lawyer ethics prohibit lawyers from making pre-trial statements to the press that could 'prejudice' an upcoming case."

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 Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

800,000 Swine Flu Vaccine Doses Recalled

 

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     


A massive recall of swine flu vaccine doses drew national attention recently when it was announced by the Center for Disease Control.  ABC World News (12/15, story 6, 0:20, Gibson) reports that federal health officials "are recalling 800,000 children doses of swine flu vaccine...made by Sanofi Pasteur." NBC Nightly News (12/15, story 2, 0:35, Williams) reported that the doses "are less potent than they should have been."

The Los Angeles Times (12/16, Maugh) reports that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Anne Schuchat said the recall was "non-safety-related," and was "part of a routine quality assurance program." Schuchat emphasized that "children who received the vaccine do not need to be re-immunized," but the agency "wanted to make sure that doses that weren't already given won't be." The Washington Post (12/16, Stein, Laris) reports that "most of the vaccine, which was distributed nationwide in November, has probably already been used."

Bloomberg News (12/16, Randall) reports that Sanofi "began delivering swine flu vaccine in the US in September, with the bulk of deliveries expected in the fourth quarter." The United States "has ordered 75 million doses from the Paris- based company." CQ HealthBeat (12/16, Norman) reports that the problem was identified during "ongoing quality assessments" made by the drugmaker. The New York Times (12/16, A28, Mcneil) reports that Dr. Schuchat "said the vaccine was fully potent at release but dropped by about 12 percent in follow-up tests." In a story appearing in some form on over 320 news websites, the AP (12/16, Stobbe) reports that Jesse Goodman, the FDA's deputy commissioner for science and public health, said the problem may be related to the antigen sticking to the walls of children's pre-filled syringes.

USA Today (12/16, Sternberg) reports that the affected vaccine, "packaged in half-dose amounts meant for children 6 months to nearly 3 years old, represents about 1% of the nation's H1N1 vaccine supply." Sanofi spokesman Len Lavenda said the doses comprise roughly "18% of the 4.5 million doses in prefilled syringes made by Sanofi for children in that age group." Lavenda commented that officials were "baffled" by the weakened vaccine, adding "we can't remember a time when flu vaccine lost potency." The Wall Street Journal (12/16, Dooren) reports that Sanofi will be notifying providers to return any unused doses.

Reuters (12/16, Fox) also reported on this story, while Time (12/16, O'Callaghan) mentioned the recall in their "Wellness" blog.

Please be careful when taking a vaccine or allowing a loved one to be injected.  We urge you to speak with your doctor about all pros and cons of any drug before ingesting it.

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 Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

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
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

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
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Medical Malpractice Accounts for Far less than 1% of Overall Healthcare Costs

 

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

According to a study from Public Citizen,  medical malpractice payments to patients who have been injured due to medical errors declined for the third year in a row.  The study further shows that the payouts total between merely 0.18% and 0.6% of the overall medical costs in this country. 

Is this decline the result of better medical care?  Unfortunately, no, according to the study.   Instead, fewer injured patients are being compensated.  Approximately 98,000 people are killed every year in this country due to medical mistakes, but payouts only go to about 11,000 of them.  If there is a medical malpractice crisis in this country, the core of the crisis is sloppy medicine, not frivolous lawsuits, notes the study:

More than 80 percent of the money paid out for medical malpractice in 2008 was for cases involving "significant permanent injuries"; "major permanent injuries"; injuries resulting in quadriplegia, brain damage or the need for permanent care; or death, according to NPDB [National Practitioner Data Bank] reporting.

Despite the hysteria surrounding debates over medical malpractice litigation, experts have repeatedly concluded that several times as many patients suffer avoidable injuries as those who sue. The best known such finding was included in the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) seminal 1999 study, "To Err Is Human," which concluded that between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans die every year because of avoidable medical errors. Fewer than 15,000 people (including those with non-fatal outcomes) received compensation for medical malpractice that year, and in 2008, the number receiving compensation fell to just over 11,000.

Patient safety needs to become a priority in this country.  Unless it does, thousands upon thousands of Americans will be needlessly killed or seriously injured each year. 

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 , 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
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

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
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

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
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

American Associate for Justice Publishes Primer on Medical Negligence Debate: A Must Read

 

 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

The American Association for Justice has published a primer on the medical malpractice debate.  It comprehensively shows how special interest groups have perpetuated myths in an effort to strip Americans of their rights in order to pad their profits.  Here are some of the findings:

  • Myth #1: There are too many “frivolous” malpractice lawsuits
  • Myth #2: Malpractice claims drive up health care costs.
  • Myth #3: Doctors are fleeing.
  • Myth #4: Malpractice claims drive up doctors’ premiums.
  • Myth #5: Tort reform will lower insurance rates.

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.

To read the publication, 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.  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 , 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
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

New Paper Debunks Medical Malpractice Myths


 Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

The American Association for Justice has published a paper that concisely and clearly debunked the myths about medical malpractice which has been spread by business interest groups aimed at putting profits over people.  In the first of a series of papers, Public Citizen debunks the following "five myths: 

  • Myth #1: There are too many “frivolous” malpractice lawsuits.

Fact: There’s an epidemic of medical negligence, not lawsuits.  Only one in eight people injured by medical negligence ever file suit.  Civil filings have declined eight percent over the last decade, and are less than one percent of the whole civil docket.  A 2006 Harvard study found that 97 percent of claims were meritorious, stating, “portraits of a malpractice system that is stricken with frivolous litigation are overblown.”

  • Myth #2: Malpractice claims drive up health care costs.

Fact: According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the total spent defending claims and compensating victims of medical negligence was just 0.3% of health care costs, and the Congressional Budget Office and Government Accountability Office have made similar findings.

  • Myth #3: Doctors are fleeing.

Fact: Then where are they going?  According to the American Medical Association’s own data, the number of practicing physicians in the United States has been growing steadily for decades. Not only are there more doctors, but the number of doctors is increasing faster than population growth.  Despite the cries of physicians fleeing multiple states, the number of physicians increased in every state, and only four states saw growth slower than population growth; these four states all have medical malpractice caps.

  • Myth #4: Malpractice claims drive up doctors’ premiums.

Fact: Empirical research has found that there is little correlation between malpractice payouts and malpractice premiums paid by doctors. A study of the leading medical malpractice insurance companies’ financial statements by former Missouri Insurance Commissioner Jay Angoff found that these insurers artificially raised doctors’ premiums and misled the public about the nature of medical negligence claims.  A previous AAJ report on malpractice insurers found they had earnings higher than 99% of Fortune 500 companies.

  • Myth #5: Tort reform will lower insurance rates.

Fact:  Tort reforms are passed under the guise that they will lower physicians’ liability premiums. This does not happen. While insurers do pay out less money when damages awards are capped, they do not pass the savings along to doctors by lowering premiums. Even the most ardent tort reformers have been caught stating that tort reform will have no effect on insurance rates."

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 limitibg their recoveries, instead of focusing on preventing future errors. 

Don't let your legislative representatives takes your rights away just so some special interest groups can pad their profits.  Fight for 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" who specializes in 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 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
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Federal Task Force Challenges Uefulness of Mammograms, Sparks Intense Debate

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire

As reported in the Washington Post, a federal task force has concluded, "Women in their 40s should stop routinely getting annual mammograms, and older women should cut back to one scheduled exam every other year." 

The report notes that higher than "182,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the United States, and the disease kills more than 40,000, making it the second most common cancer after skin cancer and the second leading cause of death from cancer among women after lung cancer."  Consequently, challenging the usefulness of a long-used screening procedure--mammogram--has spurred heated debate among, physicians and academics.

The task force cites evidence that harms attendant to annual exams beginning at age 40 outweigh the potential benefits.  As the Post report states, mammograms "produce false-positive results in about 10 percent of cases, causing anxiety and often prompting women to undergo unnecessary follow-up tests, sometimes-disfiguring biopsies, and unneeded treatment, including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy."  Having said that, the American Cancer Society, the American College of Radiology, and others assert that the benefits greatly outweigh the potential dangers. 

Daniel B. Kopans, a professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School, is quoted in the report, saying, "Tens of thousands of lives are being saved by mammography screening, and these idiots want to do away with it...It's crazy -- unethical, really."

According to the report, the American Cancer Society has not indicated a desire to change its guidelines, but the National Cancer Institute said it would re-evaluate its recommendations.

We urge our readers to speak with their doctors and make individual decisions about what is best for your health.  It may be appropriate if not necessary for some women to have annual mammograms in light of their family history, for instance.  Others may be doing more harm than good by exposing themselves to annual mammograms.  Doctors should know what is best for each individual and should advise their patients accordingly so that women can make the best decisions that they can, and so their long-term health can be promoted.

To read the full Post article, 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" who specializes in personal injury matters, including medical malpractice actions stemming from misdiagnosed cancer and dangerous drugs.  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.

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 , Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Drug Warning: Vials of Genzyme Drugs Potentially Contaminated

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire

The New York Times reported that according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), "Vials of five different Genzyme drugs for rare diseases may be contaminated with tiny particles of steel, rubber or fiber that could potentially harm patients."  However, "the FDA and Genzyme said that there had been no reports of patients being harmed by particles and that the problem affected less than one percent of the vials."  Although Dr. Jason Woo, an FDA official, stated, "We do not believe this is a wide-scale problem, but we do not have information that fully defines the scope," patients and doctors are concerned.

According to the report, the FDA has confirmed that "the products would remain on the market, because there are few alternative treatments," the AP (11/14, Perrone) reported. The agency has strongly advised physicians to "closely inspect vials for particles before injecting them into patients."  If exposed to contaminated vials, patients may experience "potential allergic reactions, blood clots, and other problems," states the report. 

 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 specializes in 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.

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 Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

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
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Hospital Devices Infected by "Conficker" Worm Virus

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

According to MercuryNews.com, technologists monitoring the threat have determined that hundreds of medical devices used at hospitals throughout the country are infected by the computer worm known as "Conficker".  The infected devices include MRI machines and hundreds, if not thousands, of other medical devices.  Manufacturer of the devices told investigators that "none of the machines were supposed to be connected to the Internet — and yet they were. And because the machines were running an unpatched version of Microsoft's operating system used in embedded devices they were vulnerable," states the report.

The report explains that "Conficker spreads by copying itself onto machines running Microsoft's Windows operating system that lack the security patch from October. Conficker installs itself and periodically reaches out for directions from its maker that cause it to rewrite its code, increasing its capabilities for malicious action and decreasing its chance of detection."  Apparently, patients have not yet been harmed, but it is clear that these infected devices place patients at risk.

To read the entire article, please click here.

Many Americans are injured or killed each year due to defective products.  For information about your legal rights, please click here or contact us at Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC at 202-463-3030. 

Posted In Medical Malpractice , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Product Liability , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

FDA to Require Boxed Warnings on Older Antipsychotic Drugs

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) utilized its new authority this month under the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007 (FDAAA) to require manufacturers of older or "conventional" antipsychotic drugs to make safety-related changes to prescription information and labeling.  The required changes are to warn of an increased risk of death linked to the off-label use of these drugs to treat behavioral problems in older people suffering with dementia

Continue Reading Posted In Medical Malpractice , Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety , U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warnings , Women's Health Issues
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

CDC Recommends Shingles Vaccine for Most Adults Over 60 Years of Age

According to statistics reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost one in three Americans will develop shingles (herpes zoster) during their lifetime.  The disease is particularly dangerous to people over age 60 and those who are immunocompromised.  Fortunately, there is a way to reduce the risk of developing shingles and the long-term pain that often follows an outbreak of the disease.

Continue Reading Posted In Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

25% of Elderly Patients Receive Incorrect or Less-Effective Prescription Medicines: New Study

According to a recent study of more than 800,000 seniors, patients receiving care from a geriatrician are much more likely to have safe and positive prescription drug outcomes than those receiving care from non-geriatrician specialists or general practitioners.  The study appears in the latest issue of the journal Medical Care, an official journal of the American Public Health Association. Continue Reading Posted In Medical Malpractice , Medications , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

AHRQ Announces 10 Patient Safety Tips for Hospitals

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), recently issued a 10-item advisory for hospitals and healthcare facilities designed to improve patient safety and reduce medical errors.  Though AHRQ primarily supports research designed to assist health administrators and medical personnel, this knowledge of best practices in patient safety can also benefit the public by enabling patients and their families to advocate for safer medical care.  Following are the 10 recommendations, re-posted in their entirety:

Continue Reading Posted In Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

CDC Reports More U.S. Deaths From MRSA Than AIDS

According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it appears that more people in the United State now die from Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) than from Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). MRSA, which is typically hospital acquired, or nosocomial, was responsible for an estimated 94,000 life-threatening infections and 18,650 deaths in 2005, while, in that same year, approximately 16,000 deaths were attributable to AIDS. The report is set forth in the October 17, 2007 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Continue Reading Posted In Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health , Women's Health Issues
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Drugs for Stomach Acid May Cause Cognitive Decline: New Study

Common acid reflux and ulcer drugs appear to cause cognitive impairment in older African-American adults, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.  Histamine 2 receptor antagonist (H2A) drugs -- more commonly known as acid blockers -- are among the most frequently prescribed drugs in the U.S., and some varieties are also available without prescription.  Axid, Pepcid, Tagament and Zantac are a few examples.  A five-year observational study of more than 1,500 African-American seniors, however, has indicated that the drugs might be responsible for the significant cognitive decline of almost one-fifth of the study participants.  Data from the study suggests older African-American patients are 2.5 times as likely to suffer cognitive impairment if they use the drugs on a long-term basis.  Conducted by Indiana University School of Medicine and the Regenstrief Institute, the study demonstrates the need for further research into the safety and efficacy of these drugs for all patients.  Continue Reading Posted In Medications , Men's Health Issues , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety , Women's Health Issues
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Eye Health May Contribute to Earlier Death: New Study

Older adults with cataracts or age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) are more likely to suffer an early death, according to new study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology.  Cataracts involve a clouding of the lens of the eye, and ARMD is a gradual deterioration of the back of the retina.  Continue Reading Posted In Nursing Home Negligence
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Infection Rates of Antibiotic-Related Bacteria Increase Dramatically: New Study

The rate of infection of Clostridium difficile (C. diff.) more than doubled between 1993 and 2003, according to a new study published in the journal Archives of Surgery.  According to researchers, serious C. diff. infections, which often accompany prolonged antibiotic use, are becoming more prevalent in hospitals and nursing homes.  In 1993, the C. diff. death rate was 20.3 deaths per 100,000 cases.  By 2003, it had risen to 50.2 deaths per 100,000.  The number of surgeries performed to contain the damage of C. diff. also tripled in that same length of time; when untreated infection damages the colon, segments of the intestine have to be surgically removed.  Continue Reading Posted In Medications , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety , Public Health
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Senior Eye Exams May Detect Early Dementia: New Study

Eye exams may help predict dementia in seniors, according to research published in Stroke, the journal of the American Heart Association.  Researchers say the presence of retinopathy (damaged retinas) in older patients is a sign of early damage to blood vessels in the brain, and has been known to indicate that the patient is more likely than others to suffer a stroke.  This latest study controlled for variables other than retinopathy, then compared the cognitive status of patients.  Findings suggest that in senior patients with high blood pressure, a diagnosis of retinopathy doubled the odds that he or she would develop dementia.  No such relationship exists in patients with normal blood pressure. Continue Reading Posted In Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Oral Health and Overall Health Connected in Seniors, Says World Health Organization

Oral health and physical well-being are closely related in senior citizens, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).  Reduced mobility often makes it harder for older adults to maintain their oral health, and the resulting dental complications then can lead to poor nutrition.  That poor nutrition contributes to lower overall health, they warn.  Beyond this, complicated regimens of prescription drugs can also affect the oral health of seniors.  A common side effect of many drugs, for instance, is dry mouth, and a perpetually dry mouth poses hazards such as susceptibility to fungal infections.

Continue Reading Posted In Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Nursing Home Fire Safety Act of 2007 Addresses Need for Fire Sprinklers

A non-profit federation of long-term care facilities recently applauded the efforts of two lawmakers for introducing bipartisan legislation to mandate automatic fire sprinkler systems in long-term care facilities.  Continue Reading Posted In Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Widespread Eye Care Neglect Among Nursing Home Residents: New Study

Eye exams are a part of comprehensive medical care.  Withholding them from nursing home patients constitutes neglect.  A new study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology shows that despite this fact, many residents are going without this essential care.  The study was conducted in 17 Alabama nursing homes and involved nearly 400 residents.  Results demonstrated that two-thirds of patients had no reference to eye exams listed in their medical charts, despite the fact that 90% had adequate health insurance coverage.  Researchers believe that long-term care staff may view concerns regarding sight as relatively unimportant in residents with medical conditions such as dementia. Continue Reading Posted In Nursing Home Negligence
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

MRSA More Prevalent Than Suspected: New Study

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is almost ten times more prevalent in the U.S. than had been suspected by health officials.  The finding is part of a first-ever nationwide study of the super-infection published by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).  In their survey of more than 1,000 hospitals covering all 50 states, researchers found that 46 of every 1,000 U.S. patients are infected or colonized with MRSA -- a national rate of nearly 5%.  As many as 1.2 million patients could be infected each year.  Another unexpected finding in the study is that the intensive care areas of medical facilities are not necessarily the most prone to infection -- a finding with profound implications not only for hospitals, but also for long-term care settings such as nursing homes.  Authors of the study point out that transmission of the organism is preventable, and hope that the report serves as a wake-up call for hospitals and patients alike.  

Continue Reading Posted In Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Medication Safety: Educated Patients Are Safer

A report issued by the Institute of Medicine, stated that 1.5 million Americans are negatively affected by mistakes in the prescribing and administration of medication. The report suggests that implementation of electronic prescribing programs which are capable of cross checking  the myriad of factors that can determine a patient’s reaction to a drug will decrease those negative outcomes. Furthermore, the report recommends measures to increase the amount of drug information accessible to the public.  Most importantly, the report called for an enhanced dialog between patient and physician in order educate patients regarding to their medications. 

Continue Reading Posted In Medications , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Elder Justice Act Moves Forward

A bill in the U.S. Senate would provide more federal oversight of crimes against elders who rely on a healthcare provider. The Elder Justice Act of 2006 would create a variety of programs, including:

  • an Office of Elder Justice in the Department of Health and Human Services
  • an Office of Elder Justice in the Department of Justice
  • a federal database of data collected nationally regarding elder abuse
  • reporting crimes in federally funded nursing homes and other facilities

Summary of the Senate Bill

District of Columbia’s Adult Protective Services

Virginia’s Adult Protective Services

Maryland Elder Abuse Resources

Posted In Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Trouble Looms in Geriatric Medicine

Patients are almost 70 percent less likely overall to die in a top-tier hospital as they are in a bottom-tier one, according to a recent comprehensive HealthGrades study of Medicare patients aged 65 and older undergoing certain emergency procedures. HealthGrades is a healthcare-ratings firm, with data from 2003-05.

Meanwhile, in 2005, there was only one geriatric medicine specialist for every 5,000 Americans over age 65, and only nine out of the nation’s 145 medical schools offered a department of geriatrics, according to an article in the New York Times.

In a statement by Dr. William Plested, III, the president of the American Medical Association, he  warns that a cut to Medicare reimbursements, proposed by Congress, will send even more doctors away from the specialty.

Posted In Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Institute for Healthcare Improvement Issues Guidelines To Prevent Five Million Injuries in Hospitals

On December 12, 2006, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) announced a national campaign intended to dramatically reduce the incidents of medical harm in healthcare institutions in the United States.  The 5 Million Lives Campaign, if successful, would be "the biggest improvement in patient safety in the history of modern health care" according to Donald Berwick, MD, MPP, President and CEO of IHI.  The campaign will focus on matters such as the adoption of various improvements in care that can save lives and prevent injuries, such as decubitus ulcers (bed sores), surgical complications and infections. Continue Reading Posted In Nursing Home Negligence , Obstetrics , Patient Safety , Pediatrics , Public Health
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Nursing Home Costs on the Rise Nationally

The average national cost for Class 1 nursing home care rose 1.5 percent over last year, to $206 per day for a private room, according MetLife’s 2006 survey of nursing home and home healthcare costs. The cost for a semi-private room rose by almost four percent, to $183 per day.

Average costs for private and semiprivate rooms, respectively, for local regions surveyed included:

DC: $260, $247

Silver Spring, MD: $220, $189

Baltimore, MD: $220, $192

Northern Virginia: $251, $208

Posted In Nursing Home Negligence
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Only 5% of Medication Errors Are Reported to Nursing Home Leadership

A new study in Nursing Forum found that while nursing home staff are aware of almost all medication errors, just five percent of those errors are ever reported to the facility's management.

The study also found that preventable errors are the eighth most common cause of death.  Medication errors may contribute to a large percentage of these preventable deaths because elderly patients are often frail and especially susceptible to changes in their medications.

If you or a family member believes that you have a case involving nursing home negligence, please contact us on-line at Regan Zambri & Long or call us at 202-463-3030 for a free consultation.  If you would like to receive our complimentary electronic newsletter, please click here.

Posted In Nursing Home Negligence
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Proposed Rule Would Require Sprinklers in Nursing Homes

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency that regulates nursing home safety, has proposed a rule that would require all nursing homes to install sprinkler systems.

The proposed rule was promulgated in response to a Government Accountability Office investigation of two nursing home fires in 2003, in Hartford and Nashville, that together claimed 31 lives. The report also found that there were, on average, 2,300 nursing home fires per year between 1994 and 1999, resulting in five deaths per year.

If you or a family member believe that you have a case involving nursing home negligence, please contact us on-line at Regan Zambri & Long or call us at 202-463-3030 for a free consultation.  If you would like to receive our complimentary electronic newsletter, please click here.  

Posted In Nursing Home Negligence , Public Health
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Finding the Right Nursing Home: Not-For-Profit vs. For-Profit Homes

According to a recent study and surveys conducted by Consumer Reports, “not-for-profit nursing homes generally provide better quality of care for residents than for-profit facilities.”


Consumer Reports, in collaboration with a grant from the Commonwealth Fund, found that “independent nursing homes were found to provide better care than those managed by companies that operate numerous homes.” The survey compared findings from three of the most recent state inspection reports that spanned approximately 16,000 nursing homes nationwide, only a limited number of which met Consumer Reports’ standards. Continue Reading Posted In Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Preventing Medication Errors by Reconcilation: Does your Hospital/Nursing Home Do This?

According to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) , hospitals and nursing homes need to reconcile each patient's current medication orders with the medications the patient has been taking in order to prevent potentially fatal errors.  Reconciliation must be done to avoid medication errors such as omissions, duplications, dosing errors, or drug interactions.

According to the JCAHO Sentinel Event Alert, reconciliation should be done at every transition of care. Transitions in care include changes in setting, service, practitioner or level of care. The process includes five steps:  1) make a list of current medications; 2) make a list of medications to be prescribed; 3) compare the two lists; 4) make clinical decisions based on the comparison; and 5) communicate the new list to the providers and to the patient.   Communication seems to be the key to patient safety.

A pharmacy at one hospital reported a reduction in potential adverse drug events of 80 percent when they required detailed medication histories for all patients scheduled for surgery.

You might be interested to learn that the Joint Commission's sentinel event database includes more than 350 medication errors resulting in death or major injury. JCAHO believes half of those could have been avoided through effective medication reconciliation. Approximately, 63 percent involved problems with communication among providers.

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) has received many reports of medication reconciliation errors.  Please click on ISMP above to review their Medication Safety Alert newsletter of April 21, 2005, which includes a sampling of such errors that resulted from failed communication.

Ask your doctor or nursing home administrator whether their facility has implemented this critical safety procedure.

Posted In Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Patient Advocacy Resources

Consumers understand the importance of being informed and working with their medical providers in a partnership to obtain the best medical care. Patient Advocacy Resources is a guide to assist consumers in locating resources for a variety of topics. A partial listing of topics and links includes:
  • seeking cancer treatment,
  • making informed medical decisions,
  • questions to ask before having surgery,
  • medical record management requirements,
  • disability rights laws,
  • guide to choosing health care,
  • guide to community and online support groups.
Alhtough a number of the topics and guides are specific to the state for which they are written, many of the topics are national in scope and help patients become better informed about their health and medical treatment. Posted In Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety , Public Health
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Consumer Reports Rates Nursing Homes

Consumer Reports has released a guide to nursing homes. The report highlights the top ten percent and the bottom ten percent of homes in each state based on staffing levels, deficiencies cited in the past three state reports, and quality indicators (such as proportion of those who were at risk for various maladies to those who actually had them). Twelve of the homes have been on the bottom ten list every year since 2000. 

Consumer Reports offers the general advice that not-for-profit homes typically provide the best care, and that independent homes are typically better run than those in a chain. When selecting a home, be sure to check out the state report, which, by law must be on “readily accessible” in the lobby.

Posted In Nursing Home Negligence
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Splitting Pills Can Be Dangerous

Patients, especially seniors, often split tablets when tablets are of a higher strength than the patient needs.  The tablets are broken in half, or even quarters, to provide the correct dose. This is often done to reduce costs, since the higher strength tablet sometimes costs about the same as the lower strength one. In some cases the nursing home or hospital may not stock the lower strength of a particular medication. In other cases the patient may not be able to swallow a whole tablet.   The Institute for Safe Medical Practices (ISMP) has recently published information about this issue.

However, tablet splitting can lead to medication errors. If the patient is splitting the tablets at home, he or she can become confused about the dose. Patients often forget to split their tablets, or they can split them again after they've been pre-split in the pharmacy. Some patients may not have the visual acuity or motor skill to do the splitting properly. Even when split well, the pieces can crumble or be uneven in size.

Pharmacists have also made errors because of the way the prescription is written.    When the prescription is written as "1/2 tablet," the pharmacist can confuse this with "1-2 tablets".  This  type of error could lead to a fourfold overdose.

ISMP suggests several ways to prevent errors with tablet splitting:

"• Be sure that the tablet in question is suitable for splitting. If in doubt, check with the manufacturer.

• Ensure the patient has the understanding, skill and motivation to split the tablets. You may have to enlist a family member or caretaker to do this.

• If the tablets are to be split at home, provide the patient or family with a tablet splitter to improve accuracy.

• For inpatients, the pharmacy staff should dispense the tablets already split, rather than relying on nurses to do this on the floor.

• Prescribers should order the strength in milligrams when possible, to avoid misreading an order for "1/2 tablet" for "1-2 tablets."

Additional Information:

ISMP Medication Safety Alert. Tablet Splitting: Do it only if you "half" to and then do it safely. May 18, 2006
http://www.ismp.org/Newsletters/acutecare/articles/20060518.asp

Posted In Medications , Nursing Home Negligence , Patient Safety
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Eldercare Services Locator

If you are looking for Eldercare Services, you can use the U.S. Administration on Aging Eldercare Services Locator.  These experts will help you locate state and local resources that specialize in care and programs for the elderly. They have a toll free number (1-800-677-1116).  The service is available from 9 a.m. until 8 P.m. (EST) during weekdays.  Spanish speaking assistants are available as well,

Posted In Nursing Home Negligence
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

2007 National Patient Safety Goals for Assisted Living Facilities

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, commonly known as JCAHO or the Joint Commission, has published its 2007 Assisted Living National Patient Safety Goals.  These patient safety goals apply to all accredited assisted living facilities.

"The 2007 National Patient Safety Goals continue to target critical areas where patient safety can be improved through specific actions in health care organizations,” says Dennis S. O’Leary, M.D., president, Joint Commission.  “Organizations that truly integrate these requirements into their daily operations will realize major opportunities to improve patient safety.”

The annual updating of the National Patient Safety Goals is overseen by an expert panel that includes patient safety experts, as well as nurses, physicians, pharmacists, risk managers and other professionals who have hands-on experience in addressing patient safety issues in assisted living and other health care settings.

The 2007 goals are:

Improve the accuracy of patient identification.

  • Use at least two resident identifiers when providing care, treatment or services.  
  • Prior to the start of any surgical or invasive procedure, conduct a final verification process, such as a “time out,” to confirm the correct resident, procedure and site, using active—not passive—communication techniques. 
Improve the effectiveness of communication among caregivers.
  • For verbal or telephone orders or for telephonic reporting of critical test results, verify the complete order or test result by having the person receiving the information record and  “read-back” the complete order or test result.
  • Standardize a list of abbreviations, acronyms, symbols, and dose designations that are not to be used throughout the organization.
  • Implement a standardized approach to “hand off” communications, including an opportunity to ask and respond to questions.
Reduce the risk of health care-associated infections.
  • Comply with current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hand hygiene guidelines.
  • Manage as sentinel events all identified cases of unanticipated death or major permanent loss of function associated with a health care-associated infection.
Accurately and completely reconcile medications across the continuum of care.
  • There is a process for comparing the resident’s current medications with those ordered for the resident while under the care of the organization.
  • A complete list of the resident’s medications is communicated to the next provider of service when a resident is referred or transferred to another setting, service, practitioner or level of care within or outside the organization.  The complete list of medications is also provided to the patient on discharge from the facility.
Reduce the risk of resident harm resulting from falls.
  • Implement a fall reduction program including an evaluation of the effectiveness of the program.
Reduce the risk of influenza and pneumoccal disease in institutionalized older adults.
  • Develop and implement a protocol for administration and documentation of the flu vaccine.
  • Develop and implement a protocol for administration and documentation of the pneumococcus vaccine.
  • Develop and implement a protocol to identify new cases of influenza and to manage an outbreak.

Continue Reading Posted In Nursing Home Negligence
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Free AARP Checklist for Visiting Potential Nursing Homes

Selecting a nursing home for your loved one can be one of the most difficult tasks you will face as an adult.  It can be even more difficult if you are pressed into making a decision.

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has a great checklist for nursing home visits that you can download for free and use.  Most experts recommend visiting at least 3 facilities.  Considering facilities close to you and others who will visit.  Speak with staff, residents and other visitors when you see each facility.   Taste the food being served to the residents and come at different times of day to see what the staffing is like. Posted In Nursing Home Negligence
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

DC, MD and VA Nursing Home Comparisons and Ombudsman Contact Information

As most people know, the Center for Medicare has a website that allows families to compare nursing homes in their region. This site also includes comparisons of nursing homes who participate in medicare, details on nursing home inspections, staffing and other quality measures.  

Here is a brief summary of what other information may be available regarding facilities in DC, MD and VA:

District of Columbia


For nursing homes in the District of Columbia, the D.C. government does not provide nursing home report cards on-line. You can access the information by using the Medicare Nursing Home Compare tool. You can also obtain some information on the District of Columbia on line nursing home directory. For additional questions or concerns about D.C. nursing homes, you can call the District's long-term care ombudsman at 202-434-2140.

Maryland

The Maryland Health Care Commission has a Nursing Home Performance Guide that is a pretty comprehensive resource with facility specific information such as number of beds, resident characteristics and details of deficiencies, if any, found during recent state inspections. You have also call the Maryland long-term care ombudsman office at (410) 767-1091.

Virginia

Virginia does not provide its nursing home report cards on line. However, you can use the Medicare Nursing Home Compare Tool. The Virginia Department of Health's Long Term Care Directory provides a list of licensed nursing homes with contact information. Virginia Health Information (VHI) also offers two nursing home directories. One includes rate information; the other includes bed counts and other financial data. VHI also has a comprehensive long -term care guide.   You can also call the Virginia long-term care ombudsman at (804) 565-1600 and they can also provide numbers for local ombudsmen.

Posted In Nursing Home Negligence , Public Health
Comments / Questions (0) | Permalink

Selecting a Nursing Home Facility for a Loved One

One of the most difficult decisions someone may face is selecting a nursing home facilty for their loved one. There are a number of resources available that aid in the selection. Larry Wheeler, a reporter for USA Today, recommends contacting a hospital discharge planner, social worker, or local agency on aging. The article "Tips on Choosing a Nursing Home" offers suggestions as to questions to ask potential facilities, as well as particular items to investigate.

For the complete article, please click here.

Continue Reading Posted In Nursing Home Negligence
Permalink