Topic: Medical Malpractice

What Will the “World’s Most Detailed Brain Scans” Mean for North Carolina Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment?

July 3, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

North Carolina traumatic brain injury victims (and their families) often feel frustrated because they lack comprehensive information about prognoses.

TBI is a very, very complicated and poorly understood catalogue of conditions. Although most people talk about traumatic brain injury as a “single thing” — it’s more likely that there are many different types of TBI, even if commonalities exist among these different “species” of disorder.

Fortunately, scientists are making headway in terms of understanding how the brain works — particularly, our imaging capabilities are getting better and better.

BBC News recently reported that scientists connected with the Human Connectome Project are publishing “the most detailed brain scans the world has ever seen.” So far, the researchers have published the scans of more than five-dozen adults, and they hope to scan 1,200 brains and include DNA and behavioral traits in the data. They are making the
info available to neuroscientists for free.

Professor David Van Essen told the BBC “we are very optimistic that as the community delves… into these data sets, they will reveal new insights into the brain circuits of healthy adults.” The volunteers engaged in many tasks during the scans, including gambling, doing math, manipulating their bodies, etc. Professor Van Essen hopes that this analysis will “uncover which neural pathways are important in determining human behaviors.”

With these better scanning methods, researchers may better understand the neural circuits that relate to various activities and emotional states. By understanding how normal brains work — and what they look like when they are working normally — researchers will also be able to help people who struggle with cognitive dysfunctions, like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, and traumatic brain injury.

For instance, researchers might be able to look at a brain scan of your friend or loved one who suffered a concussion in North Carolina (or some other kind of TBI) and compare that brain map to the map of a cognitively normal person to determine what therapies might be appropriate, what drugs might be appropriate, what kind of training might be most useful, and so forth.

We are a long way away from serious practical applications of this kind of scanning technology, but we are headed in the right direction. Don’t let this discourage you. Recovering from serious brain injury is a long term proposition, after all. After all, your goal is long term health and wellbeing — optimized based on your accident history and other factors.

The sooner that you can begin to understand not only the injury itself but also your legal options, the more at ease you will feel about your long term situation. Get in touch with the DeMayo Law team today to go over your options and to protect your rights. Call us now at (877) 529-1222 for insight and a free case consultation.

Talk About Traumatic Brain Injury! Skull from 1200s Changes Scientists Thinking About Medieval Medicine…

June 30, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

When most people think about traumatic brain injury research, they fail to recognize that researchers themselves often understand very little about the history of TBI science.

Myths abound both at the level of subtle detail and at the level of large scale treatment.

For instance, many people believe that football related concussions definitively cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) — and, indeed, this blog has published many articles suggesting that that link could be vigorous. But, to date, there has never been a thorough, double-blind, well controlled study to prove that thesis.

Scientific discoveries have a fascinating way of changing our perspective on TBI. Consider, for instance, the recent discovery of a mummy head specimen from the 1200s. Philippe Charlier, a forensic scientist at University Hospital of France, says that researchers found a specimen dating back to the early 1200s — a man’s head that was preserved using surprisingly advanced preparation. According to Charlier, the preparer used cinnabar mercury, lime, and bee’s wax to preserve the veins and arteries in the head. The specimen will soon be on display at the Parisian Museum of the History of Medicine.

Here’s what’s really interesting! It’s a revelation that a “Dark Ages” physician would be able to preserve such a specimen in such exquisite detail, given our stereotypical beliefs about what the Dark Ages were like. It turns out that many of our beliefs about what happened during the period between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Advent of the Renaissance were misguided.

According to an article on Life Science about this phenomenon — “grotesque mummy head reveals advanced medieval science” from March 5th — “science had already been advancing swiftly starting way back in the 13th Century.” Copernicus, for instance — the guy who popularized the revolutionary idea that the earth revolved around the sun and not vice-versa — “took some of his thinking on the motion of the earth from Jean Buridan, a French priest who lived between about 1358 … but Copernicus credited the ancient Roman poet Virgil as his inspiration.”

Why is this all important?

It’s important to consider the historical context of traumatic brain injury science, because as someone who is recovering from an injury, you may be currently laboring under false beliefs about what you need to do — or what you should be doing — to manage the injury and its aftermath, particularly as it relates to compensation and liability.

The team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo is ready to help you understand the dynamics of your case, so that you feel more empowered and less unsteady about how to proceed. Call us today at (877) 529-1222 for a free consultation about your Charlotte TBI matter.

53 Members of Congress Want to Investigate Whether IED Blast Induced Traumatic Brain Injuries May Be Sparking Suicide Epidemic in the Armed Forces

June 24, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Improvised explosive devices, also known as IEDs, were used against American service personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq in the wars over the past decade. New evidence suggests that these hidden bombs not only caused traumatic brain injury but also increased the likelihood of suicidal behavior.

Recently, 53 members of the US Congress sent a letter to Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, asking Congress to figure out what to do about the rash of suicides, possibly induced by IED traumatic brain injuries. Per the letter: “Evidence suggests that blast injuries, including but not limited to those causing damage to vision or hearing, can have a severe psychological impact…that can play a major contributing role in suicides.”

The prevailing theory is that the psychological trauma of combat causes mental distress that can lead to suicide. The alternative view that the bipartisan members of Congress want to investigate is that the IED explosions, in and of themselves, change the structure of the brain and make people more prone to suicide.

In other words, it’s not psychological stress. It’s a neurological problem–a physical, biochemical problem. According to the spokesman for the Blinded Veterans Association, Thomas Zampieri, “I’ve talked to a lot of neurologists, military neurosurgeons and trauma surgeons who have all started to ponder if the IEDs that have caused the TBIs are the real
cause of the suicides, versus the traditional approach that suicides are all caused by the psychological stresses of combat.”

According to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, more than 266,000 troops suffered brain injuries in combat between 2000 and 2012–coincidental with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as special military operations around the world and training exercises.

If you or someone you love was hurt in combat or in training, and you want answers about what legal actions you can take regarding your traumatic brain injury case, please get in touch with the DeMayo Law team today for thorough, strategic assistance.

Scary New Research about Traumatic Brain Injury in Colleague Football Players: Even If You Don’t Get Concussed, You Can Still Sustain Serious Damage

June 20, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

New research produced by the Cleveland Clinic suggests that traumatic brain injury in college athletes may lead to a pathological process–long term harm–even when players don’t suffer diagnosable concussions.

The researchers looked at data collected from 67 collegiate players who played during the 2011 season. No player experienced a diagnosable concussion. However, 40 of the 67 players who got hit hard had high levels of an antibody that is associated with traumatic brain injury. The researchers sent these athletes to University of Rochester Medical Center for brain scans, where scientists analyzed them using a double blind analysis. Shockingly, abnormalities correlated with perturbed brain health were found in the brain scans of these non-concussed players.

According to the CDC, nearly half of all high school football players get concussed every season. College football players suffer similar rates of concussion.

This new research is quite alarming.

The implications are both shocking and potentially game changing. What if further research does bear out that the act of playing “regular” football is somehow fundamentally dangerous? How should we reform our institutions? Can the game itself be saved? Or will we just have to accept that student athletes will suffer some brain damage for the sake of
sport they love?

While much of our attention has been on the NFL–and for good reason, given the flood of new data we have on chronic traumatic encephalopathy–only 1,700 people play professional football.

Meanwhile, over 20,000 men play college football, and many more play high school football. If these players are suffering brain injury–or at least the beginnings of brain injury–without even getting concussed… that suggests that football may be more dangerous than even many alarmists have been suggesting.

The NCAA’s Chief Medical Officer, Bryan Hainline, issued a statement affirming the League’s commitment to the health and well being of student athletes: “we are actively collaborating with members, institutions and research facilities to improve with the health and safety of student athletes.”

If you or your child got “his bell rung” at a football game in Raleigh, Charlotte or elsewhere in North Carolina, you want answers. How can you afford to pay your medical bills? What should you do next in terms of bringing legal action–or at least researching legal action?

Our Charlotte traumatic brain injury law firm can help you answer those questions in a systematic, compassionate and confidential way. Call our offices now to get genuinely compassionate and thorough help with your situation.

How Much Will You Need to Be Involved with Your North Carolina Mass Tort Lawsuit?

June 9, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

You are on offense. As someone who was injured (or whose loved one was injured), you are seriously considering filing a North Carolina class action or mass tort lawsuit — or an independent personal injury action.
On the other hand, you’re dubious. The thought of getting wrapped up in some complex legal action fills you with dread, because you don’t want to get roped into being a “lead plaintiff.” You want to forget about the traumatic experience — not have to relive it for months or years.

So how much, exactly, will you have to be involved in your legal fight?
The answer depends.

Obviously, if you choose to be a lead plaintiff — and if you’re pursuing a massive case against a huge company that could settle for tens of millions of dollars — then you obviously need to be pretty involved. However, the process is less involved and less confusing than you believe.
Assuming you pick a North Carolina class action law firm that’s a good fit for your needs — that shares your values and vision, and that has the experience and resources to argue effectively on your behalf — you won’t have to do much at all. That’s one of the beautiful things about finding good legal representation: When you’re well represented, you won’t have nagging questions distracting you from your day-to-day business and from the important work of recovery. You can focus all your attention on getting better, on fixing your financial problems, and on healing yourself psychologically.
While you ultimately need to “do more work” as a plaintiff in a class action or personal injury lawsuit than would if you “did nothing” about your case, the peace of mind that you’ll get will undoubtedly cancel out the extra work that you need to do.
For instance, if you don’t do anything, you might waste hours or even days’ worth of your time ruminating about aspects of your case or aspects of how to handle an insurance company.
That’s time you will never get back — time that you could spend relaxing or being productive.
Also — it should go without saying — but if you WIN your case, you should get well compensated for your injuries and damages. You will receive nothing, if you do nothing.
In summary: If you’ve been hesitant about connecting with an attorney, that hesitancy makes all the sense in the world. However, you might find it worthy to examine what’s at to the root of that hesitancy. Are you just scared about the time commitment? Because if so, that fear really doesn’t make objective sense. If not, probe deeper to understand what’s really going on — why, fundamentally, are you resistant to getting the help that you really need?

Really Sad North Carolina Mass Tort News

June 2, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Documenting North Carolina class action and mass tort lawsuits can be a sad and dispiriting exercise.

The lengths to which some companies will go to obfuscate the truth and to strive for profits at the expense of the wellbeing of human beings can shake one’s faith in humanity.

Consider, for instance, the recent resolution of a seriously twisted case out of New Jersey. A generic drug manufacturer, Par Pharmaceutical, pled guilty to charges to end civil and criminal investigations into its behavior. The drug maker will pay $45 million as punishment for marketing an AIDS drug, Megace ES, illegally for “off label uses.”

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) had allowed the drug maker to sell Megace ES to treat anorexia and unexplained weight loss in AIDS patients. But the company tried to expand its consumer base by selling the drug to elderly people who didn’t have AIDS.

According to a U.S. attorney who worked on the case, Paul Fishman, “Par admitted to choose to ignore [the FDA approval process for new uses of medications] in pursuit of more sales and greater profits … the conduct was wrong and went on for a long period of time.”

The company sent sales forces to call on nursing homes and hospice facilities to sell the drug. They also sought out confidential patient data to find people who could be switched to the expensive drug. According to plaintiff’s lawyers, Par refused to acknowledge the potential safety effects on patients because “there is little profit to be made by marketing the drug lawfully, due to advancements in HIV and AIDS treatments which drastically reduced the on label patient population.

It’s really a shame that we need lawyers and whistleblowers to watchdog large pharmaceutical companies and medical equipment manufacturers.

In an ideal world, these companies would do due diligence and take it upon themselves to vet their products and ensure patient health and wellbeing over their own profitability. After all, if you’re going in business to help people manage their medical conditions, your fundamental obligation is to your customers.

Unfortunately, the real world is full of disappointing situations.

If you or someone you love was harmed as a result of some company’s negligence, carelessness, omission, or other malfeasance, the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo would be happy to advise you. Please call us at (877) 529-1222 to get a confidential, free evaluation of your case. Let us help you ensure justice and gain some peace of mind.

Your North Carolina Injury is Not the End of the World (Probably)–or At Least You Won’t Feel This Unhappy Forever

May 26, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

You’re deeply depressed by your recent North Carolina injury. Whether some idiot in a truck bashed your car by blowing through a stop sign, or a doctor misread your chart and gave you a medication that made you literally sick to your stomach, you are in pain. You are angry; you are confused; and you are deeply dismayed by your situation and the prospects for your future.

Obviously, what’s done is done. You can’t go back in time and undo the North Carolina truck accident or reverse the doctor’s negligent decisions. And you may indeed have a long road to hoe. You might never regain function of your leg. You might need to be in a wheelchair for the rest of your life. You might never be able to work as you once did. The brain damage caused by the accident may permanently limit your ability to be productive to two to three hours a day.

When you sit there and contemplate these scenarios–particularly the worst case scenarios–you can easily spiral into depression and apathy. This is really unfortunate. When you are depressed and/or apathetic, you may fail to take important kinds of action–such as contacting a reputable North Carolina mass tort law firm ASAP–because you feel too hopeless to persevere.

This is a shame, because science shows that our emotional immune systems are remarkably resilient.

Even IF a worst case scenarios plays out for you–e.g. you’re permanently hobbled by the accident or no longer able to work in a career that you love–these setbacks will not doom you to a lifetime of depression and unhappiness. Or at least they don’t necessarily mark you with that destiny.

That may sound very counterintuitive. But if you look at the research, those statements bare out.

Lottery winners notoriously experience euphoria for the first weeks or months after they win. But they ultimately wind up just as happy–and just as sad!–as they were before the pay day.

Likewise, people injured so severely that they are left as quadriplegics suffer extreme depression in the first few weeks and months. But they ultimately rebound to feel just as happy as they did before the devastating event.

This isn’t to say that you don’t have problems — that you shouldn’t feel depressed or anything. Rather, you should appreciate that your current emotional state is probably temporary.

Even more importantly, you need to avoid getting trapped by your emotions into “doing nothing” and/or into making impulsive and not-strategic actions that can have negative long-term implications for your finances and healthcare options.

To that end, consider connecting with the DeMayo Law team now at (877) 529-1222 for a free consultation, so that we can put you on a more strategic path with respect to your case.

North Carolina Class Action News: Legal Fight Over High Sugar, High Caffeine Energy Drinks — A Portent of A Larger Battle To Come?

May 23, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Are we witnessing the beginnings of a major mass tort battle in North Carolina (and well beyond?)

Perhaps so. And big beverage companies may be on the receiving end.

Last year, for instance, a woman in Australia allegedly died from over consuming Coca-Cola. According to the Chicago Sun Times, a Maryland teenager died after drinking two large Monster Energy drinks in a single 24-hour period. These drinks contain a lot of caffeine and also a lot of sugar. While testifying before Chicago City Council, Edward Burke discussed a federal report “that showed the number of annual hospital visits tied to highly caffeinated energy drinks doubled between 2007 and 2011 — to 21,000.”

According to the President of Chicago Medical Society, Dr. Howard Axe, “super caffeinated energy drinks,” such as Red Bull, Monster Energy, and Rockstar, pose serious health risks, “including possible fatalities to adults and children, particularly those with preexisting conditions.”

The legal brouhaha in Chicago is focused on the adverse health effects of over consuming caffeine. Another, potentially more fraught and momentous debate has to do with the adverse effects of the overconsumption of liquid sucrose. As most famously articulated by pediatric obesity specialist, Dr. Robert Lustig, calories from liquid sucrose may have especially adverse effect on the liver because of the way the fructose component of sucrose gets metabolized by that organ. Lustig builds the case — at least in the doses that modern North Carolinians consume sugar — that “calorie is not a calorie.” The consumption of sugary liquid beverages, like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and even many fruit juices, may be doing tremendous harm to our population and precipitating problems like metabolic disease, obesity, diabetes, and even heart disease.

So far, obviously, we have yet to see a major class action or mass tort lawsuit against beverage companies. But some health advocates are suggesting that we may be witnessing at least the beginnings of such machinations — they compare our current era to the era a few years before Big Tobacco was held to legal account for advertising and selling dangerous products.

If you have recently been harmed by a product or service, you are probably far less interested in the legal battle over energy drinks than you are with your own wellbeing, financially, medically, and otherwise.

 The team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo proudly represents victims and their families in serious North Carolina personal injury matters. Please get in touch with us today by calling (877) 529-1222, so we can provide you a free consultation and help you get educated and informed about your options.

Our Illogical Reactions to Superstitions: Really Important to Understand, If You Want to Fight Your North Carolina Class Action Optimally…

May 19, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether your son broke his ribs in an SUV rollover, your husband tore his ACL on an amusement park ride, or you suffered a devastating home fire when your space heater malfunctioned, you understand you have the potential to take some kind of legal action and perhaps to participate in a North Carolina class action or mass tort lawsuit.

But you are confused about what to do next. Should you connect with a legal team like DeMayo Law or “deal with the situation yourself” — i.e. work directly with an insurance company?

Everyone has different needs and sensitivities and comforts. But it’s important to be rational rather than impulsive when you make a big decision like this.

We often play to our superstitions rather than to logical common sense.

Consider the diverse nature of our strange beliefs. Whether you are afraid of the number 13; you bet your wedding date when you play the lottery; or you worry about a black cat crossing your path or something along those lines, part of you recognizes that you’re being ridiculous with the superstitions.

You understand that that you are using “magical thinking” and not logic. But even when you “call out” your superstitions — call your own bluff — you may not be able to overpower your subconscious resistance. You may not, for instance, ever feel comfortable sleeping on the 13th floor of a hotel. If you’re Russian, you may refuse to shake someone’s hand when they reach through a doorway to you.

Depending on how deeply you hold strange beliefs, they can really hamper your life.

The point is that wrestling with such strange beliefs–even when you make those beliefs conscious and you appreciate that they’re clearly irrational–is more challenging than meets the eye.

As much as we should “trust our guts” in certain situations, we also need to learn how and when to challenge our intuitions in order to achieve best results.

To that end, if you have reservations about connecting with an attorney–or if you have some strange belief about why you are not someone who “does” lawsuits, reflect on that received wisdom. Are those concepts actually serving you right now?

Consider, for instance, the worst thing that could happen, if you got a consultation with attorney, versus the best thing that could happen if you did. That the more that you can shine rational light on your fears, the more you can move beyond them and make more compelling and useful decisions.

Class Action Lawsuits “Brewing” For Budweiser

May 13, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser Beer, is facing a pretty serious class action lawsuit that alleges that the brewer watered down its products prior to bottling.

Thus far, plaintiffs in Texas, Pennsylvania, Missouri, New Jersey, Colorado, Ohio, and California have all filed suit against the beer manufacturer based on whistleblowing testimony from former high placed employees in the business–at 13 separate breweries.

Will a North Carolina class action against Budweiser be next?

Anheuser-Busch has fought back vigorously against the bad press–the company recently took out full page ads in The New York Times, The L.A. Times, and eight other major newspapers touting the fact that the company provided 71 million cans of drinking water to the American Red Cross and other disaster organizations. The cheeky headline read “they must have tested one of these.”

But a lead attorney in the case, Josh Boxer, shrugged off the newspaper ad blitz as a “classic non-denial…(the) alcohol readings, taken six times a second as the finished product is bottled, will confirm the allegations made by the growing number of former employees who keep coming forward to tell us the truth.”

In court, Anheuser-Busch will need to produce data on its internal and alcohol testing procedures. Ten different products are tangled up in the legal matter, including well-known brands like Budweiser, Michelob, and Bud Ice as well as more “exotic” brands, like Hurricane High Gravity Lager and Bud Light Lime.

Do you have a potential Charlotte class action lawsuit?

The team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo can help you understand and defend your rights to get compensation. Depending on your circumstances, you may want to file a personal injury suit or a mass tort action. Our team can help you strategize and determine the most effective, accurate course forward. Call us now for a free consultation, and get clarity on what you need to do.

The End of the Beginning of Your Quest for Justice After a North Carolina Injury

May 10, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

In the hours and days since your North Carolina injury–or your family member’s injury- you have been in a mad scramble to get medical care and make sense of your options.

What steps should you be taking (or not taking) to manage the medical crisis, collect evidence, and deal with the urgent logistics in your life? Who is going to take care of the kids while you’re hurt? Who’s going to handle the big work project that you had to drop to deal with the catastrophe? How will you pay the mortgage now that you’ve spent thousands of dollars out of pocket on ambulance and hospital services?

After you wrangle these urgent details, you then need to scramble to recalibrate everything in your life. You will also need to find a way to deal with the tremendous challenges of finding appropriate representation:

  • Do you have a case or not?
  • If so, what should you do first?
  • Whom can you trust?
  • How can you evaluate different law firms against one another?
  • How can you work effectively with a law firm to make sure that you get clear answers and good communication throughout the process?

All of these urgent questions might be on your mind. And they all need to be addressed.

The several lining–if there is one–is that, once you do get all of these things taken care of, assuming you have done everything effectively, you should enjoy renewed peace of mind.

The great gift that a solid North Carolina mass tort law firm can provide is the gift of clarity.

Even though your life may feel like it’s in a million pieces right now–if you know exactly what’s going to happen next and what to expect; and if you have trusted people working on your behalf–much of the stress and agitation will lift.

Obviously, even a superb law firm is not going to magically make your injury go away or eliminate the anger and frustration you feel about what happened. But you should feel a sense of relief and security that you are moving in the right direction.

And when people feel like their lives are moving in a positive direction, they often see passed their immediate limitations and handle the process with more grace and patience.

Connect with the DeMayo Law team right now for strategic, insightful assistance with your Charlotte personal injury matter.

Family of College Football Player Files North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against WCU Coaching Staff

October 4, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Two years after Western Carolina University football player Ja’Quayvin Smalls passed away following his first college football practice, his family is seeking North Carolina wrongful death damages against the WCU coaching staff.

The junior defensive back, who was from Mount Pleasant, collapsed during a voluntary workout session for new players. Autopsy results reported that he died from an enlarged heart. Exertion and Smalls’ sickle cell trait were listed as factors in his death.

Defendants in this North Carolina wrongful death case include football coach Dennis Wagner, athletic director Chip Smith, head athletic trainer Steven Honbarger, defensive coordinator Matt Pawlowski, former strength coach Brad Ohrt, and assistant athletic trainer Brandon King.

Smalls family says that the coaching staff knew about his condition and they contend that they should have taken precautions to prevent his death. Smalls’s dad, Henry Malcolm Smalls, is claiming gross, negligent, wanton, and willful breach of duty to his son in the defendants’ alleged failure to establish procedures and policies for safely training and conditioning athletes suffering from sickle cell.

Athletic departments and supervisors are responsible for making sure that training and practices are run in a manner that doesn’t jeopardize the health and well-being of athletes. Unfortunately, there have been incidents involving athletes getting sick or dying because the proper safety precautions were not in place or procedures weren’t followed.

For example, insisting that athletes keep practicing in extremely hot temperatures without proper hydration can lead to serious injuries. Per the CDC, heat illness is the leading cause of disability and deaths for young athletes. Permanent organ damage can occur should the body temperature hit 105 degrees. Per the University of North Carolina’s National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research, there have been 30 football player deaths because of illnesses relate to hot weather.

Another cause of athlete injuries involving inadequate supervision or coaching is when a player is pressured to keep playing despite being sick or having suffered an injury. This can exacerbate his/her condition and result in permanent injury or a more serious health issue.

Athletic supervisors and coaches are also supposed to be mindful of any preexisting conditions (Sickle cell trait, a heart condition), an athlete might have and take the necessary precautions to make sure that no resulting complications arise. For example, when someone has sickle cell trait his/her red blood cells can change from road to sickle-shaped. This can prove fatal. According to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, between 2000 and 2007 sickle cell trait was a factor in nine athlete deaths. NATA noted that letting athletes with this trait not part in “day one” football conditioning tests appears to help save lives. Altitude, dehydration, asthma, and heat can increase the risk of sickling.

Recently, a jury awarded the family of Ereck Plancher $10 million in his wrongful death. Plancher, who played football for UCF, died in March 2008 after an off-season workout. Plancher also carried the sickle cell trait.

Wrongful death suit seeks more than $10,000 from Western Carolina University, Citizen-Times, September 24, 2011

Smalls Family Files Wrongful Death Suit, Mt. Pleasant Patch, September 27, 2011

Athletic trainers discuss sickle cell trait, USA Today, June 27, 2011

10-years later, Devaughn Darling’s family still fighting, Orlando Sentinel, October 1, 2011

Western Carolina University

More Blog Posts:
Deceased Chapel Hill High School Football Player’s Family Claims Paramedic Malpractice in Their North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, February 9, 2010

Parents File North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Lenoir-Rhyne University and Theta Chi Fraternity, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, August 4, 2009

Family of 18-Year-Old Shot by Police During 2006 Home Raid Sues University of North Carolina Wilmington for Wrongful Death, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, November 2, 2008

HBO’s “Hot Coffee” Documentary Examines America’s Legal System and the $2.9M Personal Injury Verdict Against McDonald’s

June 30, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

A new documentary on HBO is asking viewers to take a closer look at America’s legal system and think about whether or not it restricts the legal rights of those seeking civil damages for personal injuries. Former public interest attorney and first-time filmmaker Susan Saladoff made the documentary film.

The documentary focuses on four “exhibits.” There is the infamous “hot coffee” lawsuit, involving senior Stella Liebeck, who a jury awarded $2.9 million for injuries she sustained when she spilled a cup of scalding coffee in her lap while in a parked car at McDonald’s. Liebeck, who sustained 3rd degree burns and had to receive skin grafts and undergo years of costly medical care, soon became the butt of jokes for such a big reward. Meantime, corporate America used her case as an example for why states should set caps on injury damages.

Also under close scrutiny is the case of 15-year-old Colin Gourley, a victim of medical malpractice who sustained a traumatic brain injury during birth. Although a jury awarded his family $5.6 million to provide for him for life, the caps on non-economic and economic damages in Nebraska reduced the award to $1.25 million.

You can check your local cable listing to see when “Hot Coffee” is airing on HBO.

Our Charlotte, North Carolina personal injury law firm represent clients injured in accidents that were caused by other people’s negligence. It is so important that our legal system allows victims to be able to receive compensation for the harm that they suffered. Sometimes, injuries can be so severe that the victim may become disabled for life or no longer able to work. Medical and recovery expenses can be astronomical.

Hot Coffee, HBO

The McDonald’s Coffee Case, Lectlaw

Faces of Medical Malpractice, Center for Justice and Democracy (PDF)

More Blog Posts:
New North Carolina Medical Malpractice Bill Capping “Noneconomic Damages” at $500,000 Passes the State Senate, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, June 13, 2011

American Academy of Pediatrics Want Warning Labels on Food that Pose a Child Choking Hazard, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, February 24, 2010

Chapel Hill Daycare Operator Sued for Infant’s Traumatic Brain Injury, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, July 22 2009

North Carolina Injuries to Children: 1 Million Maclaren Strollers Recall Warns about Fingertip Amputation Hazard

April 1, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

North Carolina and South Carolina parents with Maclaren strollers have reason to be concerned following reports that 12 children suffered fingertip amputations in the hinges of the foldable umbrella models. Following the child injury accidents, Maclaren and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission are recalling approximately one million strollers.

In some of the injuries to children cases, fingers were lost. Carlos DeWinter, 23 months, lost his right pinky in July 2003. He underwent multiple surgeries but doctors were not able to reattach it. His family filed a products liability lawsuit against Maclaren. The injury complaint was settled out of court.

Some people are wondering why the stroller manufacturer, a company that has long enjoyed a reputation for making dependable strollers, waited until so many amputation injuries happened before announcing a recall.

Nine models are named in the recall, which includes double and single strollers: Twin Techno, Quest Sport, Volo, Easy Traveller, Techno XT, Triumph, Twin Triumph, Quest Mod, and Techno XLR. The strollers were sold in the US between 1999 and 2009.

The kids’ fingertips were amputated while the umbrella strollers were being unfolded open/locked into place. Possible laceration injuries are also a concern. As part of the recall, Maclaren is offering safety kits that provide protective shields for the hinges.

Meantime, CPSC has decided to look at other umbrella strollers that come with similar hinge mechanisms to make sure other kids are not injured in the same manner.

A finger amputation can be an extremely traumatic and painful experience. Reattaching fingertip or finger does not mean full recovery. He or she may have undergo numerous surgeries, suffer loss of feeling in the finger, and sustain permanent disfigurement.

Our Charlotte, North Carolina injury lawyers represent clients with injuries to minor complaints whose kids were injured in car accidents, truck crashes, premises liability accidents, due to medical malpractice, or because of defective products.

Government Looks at Other Strollers After Maclaren Recall, November 10, 2009

For 5 Years, Maclaren Knew Strollers Were Amputating Fingers, Gothamist, November 12, 2009

Maclaren USA Recalls to Repair Strollers Following Fingertip Amputations, CPSC, November 9, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Maclaren

Safe Kids Worldwide

Republicans Propose Bill Protecting Drug Makers from North Carolina Products Liability Lawsuits

March 29, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Under the House version of a North Carolina medical malpractice reform bill, a person injured by a drug that had been approved by government regulators would not be able to file a North Carolina dangerous drug lawsuit against manufacturer. The bill is part of a larger tort reform package that wants to cap noneconomic damages at $250,000 and for the amount that is awarded to be adjusted every three years to reflect the Consumer Price Index. Our Charlotte, North Carolina injury lawyers will continue to monitor the developments surrounding this issue, which will have an effect on medical malpractice victims.

Exempt from the proposed immunity would be drug makers that continued selling a medication even after the government ordered that it be taken off the market, as well as those that bribed a government official to get the drug approved or misrepresented/purposely kept information so that the government would approve the drug. Also, as with Senate Bill 33, the House bill only allows emergency room doctors to be held liable for North Carolina medical malpractice if he/she acted in grossly negligent manner.

North Carolina House Republicans are also pushing for the state to be able to take 3/4ths of any punitive damages over $100,000 awarded by a jury. The money would be placed in a state fund supporting public schools.

Dangerous Drug Lawsuit
Our Charlotte, North Carolina dangerous drug lawyers are well aware of the serious injuries and health issues that can result because a patient took a dangerous or defective medication. Drug manufacturers have a responsibility to make sure that their products are safe for use. They must also provide adequate warning of dangerous side effects and possible adverse reactions. If their drug contributed to causing North Carolina personal injury or wrongful death, then they should be held liable.

House bill would shield drug makers, NewsObserver, March 24, 2011

North Carolina Bill To Restrict Product Liability Suits, Pharmalot, March 24, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Read the Tort Reform Draft Bill, Representatives Rhyne and McComas (PDF)

Food and Drug Administration

North Carolina Medical Malpractice?: Study of 10 Local Hospitals Reveal Failure to Decrease Hospital Mistakes

December 6, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, efforts to lower the number of medical errors made in US hospitals have generally failed. The Brigham and Women’s Hospital researchers examined the practices conducted at 10 North Carolina hospitals between 2002 and 2007. They chose the hospitals for their aggressive and progressive handling of medical mistakes.

Out of 2,341 medical records that were evaluated, there were 588 incidents reported involving harms caused by hospitals to patients, including:

• Prescription errors
• Infections
• Wrong diagnosis
• Procedure mistakes
• Hospital falls

63% of the medical mistakes were considered preventable. 2.4% played a factor in causing a resident’s death. 8.5% of medical mistakes caused injuries that were life-threatening.

During the time period examined, the rate of medical errors went down at the hospitals by about 1%. Researchers say that the lack of improvement in these hospitals is an indicator that nationally more should be done to prevent medical mistakes. Currently, many US hospitals have reportedly been slow to implement certain lifesaving measures, including:

• A comprehensive electronic medical record system
• Enforcement of hand washing and other simple procedures
• Ensuring that nurses and doctors-in-training are not overworked

Charlotte, North Carolina Medical Malpractice
Medical mistakes can cause serious injuries and health issues for patients. If a hospital error was preventable or caused by the negligence of a doctor, nurse, surgeon, or another medical professional, you may have grounds for a North Carolina medical malpractice case.

Other common medical mistakes:
• Surgical errors
• Failure to check patient’s vitals
• Failure to obtain informed consent
• Anesthesia mistakes
• Nursing negligence
• Delayed diagnosis
• Wrong site surgery
• Birthing errors
• Failure to provide proper postoperative care

Despite Efforts, Study Finds No Decline in Medical Errors, Business Week, November 24, 2010

Medical Injuries Harm 18% of Hospital Patients in N.C., Researchers Find, Bloomberg, November 24, 2010


Related Web Resources:

The New England Journal of Medicine

Medical Malpractice, Nolo

North Carolina Hospitals

Hospital Malpractice?: Medicare Analysis Reports that Too Many People Die Unnecessarily at US Hospitals

December 1, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to a U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services analysis, too many people die unnecessarily at US hospitals. Researchers also say that many hospitals seem to serve as revolving doors for patients, with a number of patients ending up back in the hospital within 30 days. The American College of Cardiology’s National Data Registry’s chief science officer calls this situation a “double failure in the health system.”

For example, one out of every four patients suffering from heart failure ends up returning to the hospital within one month. The same goes for slightly under one out of every five pneumonia patients. Also, in 5.9% of US hospitals patients with pneumonia died at rates that were higher than the national average. 3.4% of hospitals reported heart failure-related death rates that were above the national average.

There were, however, over 200 US hospitals with death rates that were better than the average. Hundreds of hospitals garnered better results when it came to readmission rates.

Analysis findings come from the over 1 million readmissions and deaths involving Medicare patients between 2005 and 2008. Solutions under consideration include offering hospitals and doctors rewards not just for the number of procedures they perform but also for good patient outcomes. Creating a more competitive atmosphere between hospitals so that they have to give prospective patients a reason for admission might also lead to better quality care.

North Carolina Hospital Malpractice
In addition to providing better hospital care, it is also important that US hospitals prevent incidents of hospital malpractice from happening. Hospital malpractice can involve any kind of North Carolina medical malpractice committed by a hospital staff member, including a doctor, a hospital lab technician, a nurse, a hospital pharmacist, or another hospital staff member.

Examples of possible grounds for North Carolina hospital malpractice:

• Surgical errors
• Not ordering the correct medical tests
• Improper monitoring of a patient
• Nursing negligence
• Infections
• Wrong diagnosis
• Failure to provide the proper medical care or treatment
• Medication mistakes

Double Failure at US Hospitals, USA Today, July 9, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Medical Malpractice Overview, Justia

North Carolina Hospitals, USA Hospitals

C-Sections Have Their Medical Risks, Too

December 1, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for every three babies born nearly one will be delivered by cesarean section. Even though C-sections have lower birth injury rates, the procedure still come with certain risks, such as a higher infection risk, a longer hospital stay, and potential respiratory problems for the newborn.

Yet now more than ever women are having cesarean deliveries. In some cases, this choice is elective rather than necessary. Scheduling the birth date to fit into the busy schedules of the doctor and/or patient, economic incentives, and the fear of medical malpractice lawsuits are non-medical reasons why a baby might be delivered via C-section instead of naturally. For example, Northwestern Memorial Hospital obstetrician gynecologist Dr. Lauren Streicher notes that obstetricians are not financially compensated for the hours they must be available during a woman’s labor. They also usually have to cancel other appointments during this time.

Some medical professionals feel that cesarean delivery disrupts the natural process that helps newborns move into a world where they have to breath air. According to Dr. Lucky Jain, C-section babies are more likely than infants that are born naturally to develop respiratory distress after they are born. They also risk developing asthma.

Jain also notes that C-sections—especially if a woman has multiple cesareans—can lead to medical complications for the mom.

North Carolina Birthing Malpractice
If you believe that your child’s birthing injuries are a result of a medical mistake by your obstetrician or gynecologist, you should contact an experienced birthing malpractice lawyer to discuss your case.

A C-section is a major surgery and should be performed only after determining that this is a good medical option for the mother and baby. In certain cases, failure to perform a cesarean delivery can be grounds for a North Carolina birthing malpractice lawsuit if the baby sustains injuries, such as cerebral palsy or brain damage, as a result.

Are C-Sections Too Common?, ABC News, March 10, 2010

Cesarean Section – Risks and Complications, Web MD

Related Web Resources:
Recent Trends in Cesarean Delivery in the United States, CDC (PDF)

Medical Malpractice Basics, Nolo

Charlotte, North Carolina Medical Malpractice: AMA Says 95 Liability Claims Filed for Every 100 US Physicians

August 25, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

The American Medical Association says that an average of 95 medical malpractice claims are filed for every 100 doctors. The AMA reveals this and other key findings in its report, which includes data based on a 2008 survey of 5,825 doctors from 42 specialties.

Other findings from the study:
• Almost 61% of doctors in the 55 and older age group have been sued.
• 90% of general surgeons in this age group will have been sued.
• The number of claims for every 100 doctors was over 5 times more for obstetricians-gynecologists and general surgeons than for psychiatrists and pediatricians.
• Over 50% of OB/GYNs will have been sued before they turn 40.

Our Charlotte, North Carolina medical malpractice lawyers are dedicated to helping our clients and their families recover injury compensation from negligent hospitals, surgeons, OB/GYNs, nurses, pediatricians, dentists, oncologists, radiologists, ophthalmologists, and other medical professionals. Contact us to request your free case evaluation if you believe that you or your loved one was the victim of medical malpractice in this state.

Interestingly enough, according to a study on the University of Michigan Health System’s disclosure-with-offer program, telling patients and their families about medical mistakes and offering them compensation in a timely manner—this is exactly what the program does—does not increase the likelihood of a medical liability lawsuit. Instead, the results include less medical malpractice complaints, faster resolution of cases, and lower liability expenses.

Regardless of whether or not a medical provider is willing to offer you compensation for the medical-related injuries that you have suffered, it is still important that you explore your legal options with an experienced North Carolina medical malpractice law firm.

Medical error disclosure not linked to more lawsuits, American Medical News, August 23, 2010

New AMA Report Finds 95 Medical Liability Claims Filed for Every 100 Physicians, American Medical Association, August 3, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Medical Liability Claim Frequency: A 2007-2008 Snapshot of Physicians (PDF)

Medical Malpractice, Insurance Information Institute

North Carolina Nursing Home Abuse, Medical Malpractice, and Inadequate Care Among Reasons Given for Why State Wants to Fine Chapel Hill Assisted Living Facility $20K

August 17, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services is recommending that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services fine the Britthaven of Chapel Hill nursing home $20,000 in penalties. This amount is the federal maximum allowed for violations, which investigators say took place in February.

Following investigations of the Chapel Hill nursing home by the Nursing Home Licensure and Certification Section on February 18, June 15, 16, 17, 29, July 1and 27 of this year, the state found evidence supporting 8 of 25 complaints that were filed, including those involving:

• Failure to protect 14 Alzheimer’s patients from becoming victims of abuse.
• Failure to ensure protect patients from being administered unnecessary drugs.
• Failure to prevent medical mistakes.

The violations stem from incidents connected to Angela Almore, a former registered nurse who has been charged with North Carolina nursing home abuse and second-degree murder for the death of resident Rachel Holliday. The 84-year-old patient had morphine levels in her system that likely contributed to her death from pneumonia and asphyxiation. Almore is also blamed for the morphine-related injuries of six other residents. None of them had morphine prescriptions as part of their treatment.

It was just last year that CMS fined Britthaven of Chapel Hill $216,400 for not being in compliance with certain requirements. Resident Mary Lou Barzon, 95, broke both thigh bones when a nursing home worker dropped her while transferring the patient to her bed. The nursing assistant did not use a mechanical lift, even though the patient’s care plan called for it. No one reported the North Carolina fall accident, which left Barzon’s injuries untreated for two weeks. The elderly resident passed away soon after. Now, her family is suing the assisted living facility for her Chapel Hill wrongful death.

In another Chapel Hill nursing home negligence lawsuit against Britthaven of Chapel Hill, Marian Orlowski’s widow is seeking damages. Orlowski, who had dementia, was injured in a fall accident. Jadwiga Orlowski claims the assisted living facility did not provide her husband with the proper nursing care.

Nursing home may be fined, NewsObserver.com, August 12, 2010

Report calls for Britthaven fines, The Herald Sun, August 11, 2010

North Carolina Nursing Home Negligence: Britthaven of Chapel Hill Sued for Inadequate Care, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, July 10, 2010

Related Web Resources:
North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services

Nursing Home Licensure and Certification Section

Charlotte, North Carolina Injury Attorney Michael A. DeMayo Now a Member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum

August 10, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Michael A. DeMayo, a Charlotte, North Carolina personal injury lawyer, is now a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the country. Members must have won multi-million dollar verdicts, settlements, and awards for their clients. Attorney DeMayo, who is founder and president of the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, is also a Life Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Less than 1% of US attorneys belong to this group, known for its excellence in advocacy and for having obtained for at least one client an award, settlement, or verdict of $1 million or greater.

Charlotte, Personal Injury Attorney DeMayo leads a team of dedicated professionals with over 100 years of combined legal experience. They are committed to obtaining the financial recovery that their clients and families are owed by negligent parties. Our North Carolina law firm represents victims and surviving family members with all types of injury cases, including those involving medical malpractice, automobile accidents, truck accidents, slip and fall, products liability, defective medical devices, dangerous drugs, nursing home neglect and abuse, motorcycle accidents, dog bites, pedestrian accidents, and workers’ compensation. The Law Offices of Michael DeMayo is located in Charlotte, Monroe, Hickory, and Lumberton, North Carolina. We also represent clients with South Carolina personal injury cases in the counties of Marlboro, Chesterfield, York and Lancaster.

Charlotte, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Michael A. DeMayo is also an active member of the community. Each year, his law firm awards college scholarships to a number of high school seniors for their innovative and creative ideas on ways to stop teens from driving drunk.

Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum & Million Dollar Advocates Forum

Michael A. DeMayo, Esq.

Verdicts & Settlements, Law Office of Michael A. DeMayo

Medical Device-Related Complications Send Over 70,000 Children to the ER Every Year

July 27, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to a new study, more than 70,000 teenagers and children end up in the emergency room every year because of medical device complications. Other findings by the US Food and Drug Administration researchers:

• Approximately ¼ of the issues involve contact lenses use, which can lead to eye abrasions and infections.
• Hypodermic needles that break off in the skin is another common cause of medical-device-related child injuries.
• Ear tubes can cause infections.
• Illegal drug use involving hypodermic needles that break can also lead to injuries.
• Pelvic devices used to conduct gynecological exams on teenagers can cause skin tears.
• The most serious medical device-related issues involved chest catheters for cancer patient, implanted devices, and insulin pumps.

Two of the most common reasons for medical device-related to injuries to minors are misuse and malfunction. Also many medical devices used on kids were made for adults.

Our Charlotte, North Carolina defective medical devices attorneys want to remind you that you may be able to hold the manufacturer of a malfunctioning or a defective medical device liable for North Carolina products liability. Inadequate warnings or incomplete instructions can also be grounds for a case.

We know how horrible it can be to discover that the medical device your child is using is harming rather than helping him/her. In some cases, the medical professional that determined that your son or daughter should use the medical device must be held liable for North Carolina medical malpractice.

Medical Device Problems Hurt 70,000+ Kids Annually, NPR, July 26, 2010

Medical device problems hurt 70,000+ kids annually, BusinessWeek, July 26, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Injuries Among Children and Adolescents, CDC

Journal of Pediatrics

North Carolina Traumatic Brain Injuries Linked To Emotional Processing Issues

May 20, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

We all know that suffering from a North Carolina traumatic brain injury can be devastating for the victim and family members. Depending on the degree of seriousness of the TBI, a person living with a brain injury may experience memory problems, confusion, communication difficulties, attention problems, speech problems, sensory impairment, vision problems, hearing difficulties, a decreased sense of smell, a decreased sense of taste, paralysis, chronic pain, spasticity, bowel problems, aggressiveness, depression, or personality changes. Now, new research has shown that a traumatic brain injury can also cause problems with a person’s ability to process emotions.

This impairment can make recovery more difficult and cause relationship problems for the TBI patient. According to head injury specialist Professor Roger Wood from the University of Swansea, family members reported that following a TBI accident, the patient exhibited a lack of love or warmth that strained their relationships.

Wood and colleague Clair Williams asked TBI patients to fill out a neuropsychological test questionnaire that helps identify who has low empathy. Williams and Wood found that TBI patients generally scored low results for empathy. They also found that TBI patients have a harder time identifying not just what someone they saw in a video or photograph might be feeling, but also they were more likely to have problems describing and identifying their own feelings.

Sustaining a traumatic brain injury is devastating enough without compounding its effects with a decreased ability to feel and empathize. TBI victims and their families lose so much in terms of what their lives and experiences with one another would otherwise have been like if only the brain injury accident never happened.

Our Charlotte, North Carolina traumatic brain injury attorneys represent victims and their families with claims against the parties responsible for causing the TBI. Traumatic brain injuries can occur during car crashes, truck accidents, motorcycle collisions, pedestrian accidents, slip and fall accidents, or as a result of medical malpractice or some other type of negligence.

Traumatic Brain Injury leads to problems with emotional processing, Psychology Today, January 3, 2010

Inability to empathize following traumatic brain injury, Cambridge Journals

Related Web Resource:
Traumatic Brain Injury, MedlinePlus

Appeals Court Rules That Mother’s North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit Involving Son That Fell Into Ravine After Release From Hospital Can Proceed

April 10, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

The North Carolina Court of Appeals says that Bernice Allen’s wrongful death lawsuit against Granville Medical Center can proceed. Allen’s son William, who had epilepsy, died after he was released from the hospital.

Allen says that she told the hospital to make sure that they didn’t release him after he underwent his epilepsy treatment until she arrived to pick him up. William, who was prone to seizures, could not go home alone.

Despite her request/warning, the hospital released her son. Several months later, William’s remains were discovered in a ravine.

Allen’s North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit was dismissed by the trial court because it failed to assert that an expert had reviewed the alleged incident of medical malpractice. Allen appealed. She said that her civil complaint is not seeking damages for medical malpractice. Rather, she is wanting to recover compensation for negligence, including the hospital’s alleged failure to properly supervise William while allowing him to leave the hospital without being accompanied by a responsible adult.

The appeals court judge agreed with Allen and reversed the lower court’s ruling.

Hospital Negligence
Hospitals can be held liable for medical malpractice and/or negligence. This means that they also can be held liable for the careless actions of their employees that caused someone’s North Carolina personal injuries or wrongful death.

Other reasons why you might choose to file a North Carolina injury complaint (that may not directly involve medical malpractice allegations) against a hospital:

• Slip and fall
• Inadequate security
• Sexual assault
• Premises liability
• Products liability
• Inadequate patient supervision

You have three years from the incident to file a North Carolina personal injury lawsuit claiming that the liable party or parties were negligent.

Mom Can Sue Hospital Over Son’s Release, CourthouseNews, April 8, 2010

Medical Malpractice: When Can Patients Sue a Hospital for Negligence?, Nolo

Related Web Resource:
Granville Medical Center

North Carolina Doctor Groups and N.C. Medical Board Disagree on Whether Medical Malpractice Settlements Should Be Made Public

April 4, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

The North Carolina Medical Board wants doctors in the state to list online any medical malpractice settlements that they’ve been involved in. Data would include the doctor’s name and the settlement—although the amount of the settlement would not be published. The doctor would also be given the option of posting an explanation for the settlement. The information would remain on the doctor’s profile for seven years.

North Carolina Doctor groups have expressed concern that while they agree that medical malpractice verdicts or notice about whether a doctor has had his practicing privileges revoked should be made available to the public, they don’t think that information about medical malpractice settlements should be published.

North Carolina Medical Society President Dr. Hadley Callaway has suggested that the board investigate the legal settlements first—and if substandard care is proven, then only then should the settlements be listed.

He says that doctors may want a chance to make their case before the NCMB and that just because they settled doesn’t mean they provided poor medical care. Callaway expressed concern that listing explanations for settlements could sound like the doctors were making excuses.

Allowing settlement information to be available to the public could also lead to more lawsuits going forward because doctors may be less willing to settle any medical malpractice claims.

Another doctor, North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians Christopher Snyder says that this proposed rule is unfair. He says that some doctors choose to settle because of pressure from insurance companies and not because they have done anything wrong. However, it is ultimately up to the NCMB to decide whether the information will be posted.

If you have been seriously injured because a hospital, a doctor, or another health care provider was negligent or careless when providing you with medical care, contact our North Carolina medical malpractice law firm to discuss your case.

N.C. Medical Board may put malpractice settlement info online, Triangle Business Journal, April 25, 2008

Malpractice Settlement Data Could Go Online in North Carolina, IHealthBeat.org, May 5, 2008

Related Web Resource:

North Carolina Medical Board

Deceased Chapel Hill High School Football Player's Family Claims Paramedic Malpractice in Their North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit

February 9, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

The family of Atlas Fraley has filed a North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit alleging medical malpractice. Fraley, 17, called 911 on August 12, 2008 because he was experiencing cramping and dehydration after participated in a football scrimmage earlier that morning. Fraley was a student at Chapel Hill High School.

Paramedic James Griffin arrived at the scene. Orange County, EMS records note that the medical worker gave the teenager Gatorade and water before leaving him alone. By the time Fraley’s parents, Malinda and David, arrived home several hours later, their son was already dead. Autopsy findings indicate that Fraley may have suffered a fatal heart attack. The Fraleys’ North Carolina wrongful death complaint accuses Griffin, Orange County Emergency Services, and the County of Orange of failing to provide their son with the proper emergency medical care that could have saved his life.

Griffin has resigned from his job. According to an internal probe conducted by Orange County, the former paramedic neglected to: take the teenager’s vital signs, check his temperature, advise him regarding when to see a doctor, take him to a medical facility where he could be treated for hyperthermia, call the boy’s parents, consult with a doctor, and fully document the medical exam he gave the boy. Griffin claims he tried to call Fraley’s parents, but there are no records of the call being made.

Paramedic Malpractice
EMS workers, like all medical professionals, are expected to provide patients with a certain level of care. People contact 911 for medical help because they are experiencing a health emergency. When failure to provide the proper medical care results in injuries, illness, or death, the victim may have grounds for filing a North Carolina medical malpractice complaint.

Paramedic errors have included:

• Failure to transport patient to hospital in a timely manner
• Wrong diagnosis
• Late ambulance arrival
• Failing to proper treatment/evaluation protocol
• Administering the wrong medication
• Improper medical care
• Other medical mistakes

Parents sue in player’s death, NewsObserver.com, February 7, 2010

Chapel Hill schools investigating football player’s death, WRAL, August 15, 2008

Related Web Resources:
Orange County, NC Emergency Management Services

Chapel Hill High School

Family Considers Filing North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit After Mental Patient Suffers Fatal Overdose

November 25, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

The family of Jefferey Scott Swaim is considering filing a North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit against Cherry Hospital. Swaim, 40, was found unconscious on a Greyhound bus two hours after he was discharged from the mental hospital.

According to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Chapel Hill, Swaim died on July 16 from acute Fentanyl poisoning. Autopsy results show that the amount of Fentanyl he had in his blood was two times more than what is considered toxic. Goldsboro hospital had prescribed the pain patch to Swaim. Fentanyl, the medication’s active ingredient, has been linked to hundreds of overdose deaths in the US.

Swain’s death is the 11th “questionable” fatality linked to the mental hospital since 2003. In 2008, Cherry’s Medicare and Medicaid certification was revoked after patient Steven H. Sabock choked on his meds, struck his head, and than sat in a chair for almost a day without being medically treated, fed, or given anything to drink.

Swaim began his stay at the state mental hospital on July 3. He wanted the hospital to treat his suicidal thoughts and alcohol abuse. He suffered from acute pancreatitis and uncontrollable mood swings. When the hospital discharged him, they gave him two Fentanyl patches.

When his mother went to the bus station to pick him up, she found him slumped in a bus seat. He wasn’t breathing. Doctors discovered one of the pain patches in his mouth.

Medical Malpractice
A medical provider can be held liable for North Carolina medical malpractice if a patient is given the wrong drug or the wrong dose of a drug. The drug manufacturer can also be held liable if it is considered a dangerous drug that unnecessarily causes injury or death. Just last year, a Florida jury awarded one family $13.3 million because her mother died from a Fentanyl overdose. The defendant in that dangerous drug case was Johnson & Johnson, which manufacturers the Duragesic fentanyl pain patch. Fentanyl is also available under a number of generic labels.

Overdose killed mental patient, News & Observer, November 24, 2009

Fentanyl Pain Patch Wrongful Death Lawsuit Results in $13.3 Million Verdict, About Lawsuits, October 30, 2008

Related Web Resources:
Fentanyl

Cherry Hospital

NASCAR Driver Jeremy Mayfield Files North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against His Stepmother

September 8, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

In North Carolina, Jeremy Mayfield, the suspended NASCAR Sprint Cup driver, is suing Lisa Mayfield, his stepmother, over his father’s wrongful death. Terry Mayfield passed away on September 5, 2007. Police and the medical examiner say that he committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest.

His son, however, disagrees. Jeremy Mayfield’s Rowan County, North Carolina wrongful death complaint contends that Lisa Mayfield’s “intentional acts” caused his father’s death.

Jeremy Mayfield says his father confronted his wife about an affair he believed she was having and asked her to leave. Several days after Terry Mayfield died, Jeremy contends that the Lisa’s lover ended his relationship with his girlfriend and went to live with Lisa. Jeremy’s North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit also accuses his stepmother of spending a loan that was supposed to go toward constructing a barn.

Lisa Mayfield maintains that she had nothing to do with her husband’s death. In July, she filed her civil lawsuit alleging defamation against Jeremy in Iredell County civil court.

Wrongful Death
Even if the person or party that you believe is responsible for your loved one’s death is not charged in criminal court, you may be able to file a North Carolina wrongful death case for your loss and associated damages.

Suing someone for wrongful death won’t bring the deceased back, but it can give you some peace to know that the liable party was held accountable for their actions.

Some grounds for filing a Wrongful Death Complaint if your family member dies as a result:

• Medical malpractice
• Premises liability
• Products liability
• Nursing home abuse
• Nursing home neglect
• Car accidents
• Truck crashes
• Pedestrian accidents
• Motorcycle collisions
• Bicycle accidents
• Bus crashes
• Train accidents
• Murder

Jeremy Mayfield Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Stepmother, Sporting News, September 8, 2009

Suspended driver sued by stepmother, ESPN, July 29, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Wrongful Death, Nolo

Police called to Jeremy Mayfield’s house, Al.com, August 16, 2009

The Law Offices of Michael A DeMayo LLP, A North Carolina Personal Injury Law Firm, Supports the Fight Against Drunk Driving and Helps to Build Habitat for Humanity Homes

May 19, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

This month, The Law Offices of Michael A DeMayo participated in two community service events. The first event was Walk Like MADD, which is hosted by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Michael A DeMayo served as the honorary chair for the annual 5k walk, which took place on May 2. Proceeds from the walk will go toward helping drunk driving victims and fund programs to prevent underage drinking and drunk driving.

Over two dozen of the North Carolina injury law firm’s employees and their families took part in the event. Together, they helped raise over $2,500. Attorney DeMayo and his staff are familiar with the struggles that drunk driving accident victims and their families face. He and his law firm represent North Carolina and South Carolina clients that have been injured and those whose loved ones have died in drunk driving accidents in their pursuit to recover personal injury or wrongful death compensation from all negligent parties. Just last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that both states experienced the largest spike in DUI fatalities among all US states between 2006 and 2007.

This past Saturday, employees from the Charlotte branch of the Law Offices of Michael A DeMayo participated in another event, this one at a Habitat for Humanity house. They pulled up their sleeves and spent the morning hanging dry wall at the home, which is being built for a low-income family. The North Carolina personal injury law firm, which also has law offices in Monroe and Hickory, made a $15,000 donation to this worthwhile cause.

Attorney DeMayo praised Habitat for Humanity for helping so many people in the Charlotte community that are in need of affordable housing. He also touted the benefits that his employees reaped by volunteering for this “great, team building” experience.

The Law Offices of Michael A DeMayo, LLP also helps clients with injury or wrongful death cases involving medical malpractice, nursing home abuse or neglect, defective medical devices, products liability, dog bites, and workers’ compensation.

Related Web Resources:
Walk Like MADD, Charlotte, NC

Habitat for Humanity, Charlotte

NHTSA Ranks North Carolina and South Carolina as Two US States With Greatest Increase In DUI Deaths, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, September 2, 2008

North Carolina Pediatrician Accused of Child Sex Abuse Agrees to Stop Practicing Medicine Forever

March 23, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

A prominent North Carolina pediatrician accused of child sexual abuse has signed a consent order signaling his agreement to stop practicing medicine in this state or anywhere else. The North Carolina medical board approved the consent order against Dr. Mel Levine on Friday. Levine, who had voluntarily suspended his license last April, is a defendant in a number of child sex abuse lawsuits. He continues to maintain his innocence.

Levine, 69, is accused of sexually molesting young boys while examining them. While the North Carolina Medical Board had been ready to provide key testimony claiming that Levine had performed genital exams on five patients without the presence of a chaperone or a parent and that these exams were not medically indicated or properly documented, Levine’s attorney says his client had also been ready to give testimony that the exams were medically indicated and within the bounds of standard medical practice.

Complaints about Levine go back more than 20 years. One child sex abuse lawsuit, filed against the doctor last year, accuses him of molesting at least seven boys. The plaintiff, who says Levine sexually abused him beginning when he was an 8-year-old boy during the 80’s, says the doctor engaged in masturbation, genital fondling, and other acts of sexual assault with him during unnecessary physical exams.

Child Sexual Abuse by Physicians
Physicians are supposed to provide patients with a certain level of medical care. Failure to provide that care or abuse of that care by physically or sexually assaulting a patient could be grounds for a North Carolina medical malpractice claim or a child sexual abuse lawsuit.

Pediatrician Agrees to Stop Practicing After Abuse Charges, New York TImes, March 20, 2009

Physician accused of sex abuse of children, Boston.com, April 1, 2008

Related Web Resources:
Eight Common Myths about Child Sexual Abuse, The Leadership Council

Sexual Abuse by Medical Professionals, WebMD.com

US Supreme Court Upholds Patient’s Right to Sue Drug Maker for Dangerous Drug Even if it Has FDA Approval

March 5, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

The Supreme Court dealt a huge blow to the pharmaceutical industry by upholding the right of patients to sue a drug maker for damages over a dangerous drug, even if the medication has Food and Drug Administration approval. While the Bush Administration told the court last year that a drug maker should be exempt from such lawsuits alleging personal injury or death, the judges, in a 6-3 decision on Wednesday, ruled otherwise.

They upheld a $6.7 million verdict that ruled in favor of Diana Levine, a musician who had her right arm amputated when she developed gangrene after being injected with Phenergan, an anti-nausea drug made by Wyeth. Levine has already settled her medical malpractice lawsuit against the clinic that administered the drug to her via IV-push, causing her artery to accidentally be injected with the powerful drug. Her dangerous drug lawsuit against Wyeth accused the drug manufacturer of failing to properly warn consumers of the risks that could arise from taking the anti-nausea medication even though its warning to use a great deal of caution when injecting the drug met FDA standards.

Levine won her civil lawsuit in Vermont civil court and Wyeth appealed the decision, arguing that federal law protected it from such lawsuits. The Court, however, found that Wyeth failed to prove that failure-to-claim warnings conflicted with federal laws regarding drug labeling. Wyeth doesn’t manufacture Phenergan any more.

This Supreme Court decision paves the way for lower court judges to allow state liability cases against drug makers to proceed even if the federal government is charged with regulating the area.

Dangerous Drugs
Unfortunately, despite regulation by the federal government, there are dangerous drugs that manage to enter the marketplace and cause injury or death to patients. Drug manufacturers must be held accountable for their dangerous or defective drugs.

Supreme Court ruling supports drug lawsuits, USA Today, March 4, 2009

Supreme Court backs patients’ right to sue drug makers, Baltimore Sun, March 4, 2009

Musician gets high court OK to sue Wyeth, March 4, 2009

Related Web Resource:
Wyeth

Wyeth V Levine, US Supreme Court Opinion (PDF)

South Carolina Medical Malpractice Verdict Awards Parents Over $4 Million for Baby’s Brain Injury

February 17, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

A South Carolina jury says Piedmont Medical Center must pay the family of Sierra Wilson $4.4 million for medical malpractice. Wilson, who was born on November 18, 2003, sustained a serious brain injury due to lack of oxygen during delivery. She died from cerebral palsy-related complications in February 2008. The medical malpractice complaint, filed on behalf of Robin and Brice Wilson, claims that a nurse failed to properly monitor the pregnant mother’s fetal heart strips and therefore did not realize that the unborn baby was experiencing fetal distress and in need of emergency medical attention.

Doctors, obstetricians, nurses, surgeons and anyone involved with the delivery of a baby are supposed to provide a certain level of medical care to ensure that the infant and mother get through the delivery process safely. Sometimes, however, mistakes can happen, which can lead to serious, if not fatal injuries for a newborn.

Examples of medical mistakes that can be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit:
• Failure to perform C-section delivery in a timely manner
• Failure to properly monitor fetal symptoms
• Failure to diagnose uterine abruption or preeclampsia
• Improper use of forceps of vacuum extraction

Some Injuries that can occur as a result of birthing errors:
• Brain damage
• Cerebral palsy
• Spina bifida
• Erb’s Palsy

Babies born with birthing injuries will usually require costly and specialized medical care for the rest of their lives. There is also the unquantifiable loss of never being able to experience a normal, healthy life and the emotionally and financially devastating effect this can have on an injured infant’s family for years to come.

Filing a North Carolina or South Carolina medical malpractice lawsuit can allow you to pursue financial recovery from all negligent parties so that you can obtain the financial resources that you need to give your son or daughter the medical care that is required.

Jury: Hospital must pay parents $4 million, Charlotte.com, February 17, 2009

Piedmont Medical Center brain injury baby $4.4 million jury verdict!, Justice News Flash, February 17, 2009

Medical Malpractice and Childbirth, Wrong Diagnosis

Cerebral Palsy Information, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

North Carolina Inspectors Say Patient Abuse and Neglect Make Butner Mental Hospital Unsafe

December 3, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

A North Carolina mental hospital in Butner is considered unsafe for patients. North Carolina inspectors who had evaluated the conditions and quality of care at Central Regional Hospital say their findings show an “immediate jeopardy” identification. This means that the hospital’s patients could be in imminent danger if the problems that were identified are not remedied. Already, the new $138 million facility has been cited with multiple violations and is in danger of losing its federal funding.

Inspectors cited the hospital staff for its failure to prevent patient abuse and neglect and failure to provide the proper care in a safe environment. A 131-page report even noted that there is video footage showing workers falsifying records to indicate that they had closely monitored a patient with schizophrenia when this, in fact, was not the case.

The inspectors also criticized the mental hospital for improperly restraining an 8-year-old for two hours. Another problem noted at Central Regional Hospital was that a stairwell door at the home could not be unlocked from the inside, which could potentially trap hospital staffers and patients in the facility during an emergency.

Federal regulators say the hospital has until December 14 to correct all violations. The state of North Carolina had hoped to transfer patients at a Raleigh hospital it was planning to shut down to the Butner facility. Now, these plans will likely have to be modified.

In a little over 12 months, four of North Carolina’s state-run mental hospitals have either lost or have been on the verge of losing their accreditation because of patient abuse and neglect incidents, as well as patient deaths. This summer, a fifth North Carolina mental facility was shut down after workers strapped down a female patient and beat her.

There is no excuse for patient abuse or neglect, whether at a hospital, a nursing home, in the sick person’s home, or anywhere else. If you believe that your loved one is the victim of patient abuse or neglect, it is important that you take steps to remove them from the unsafe environment immediately. Failure to provide the proper patient care at a hospital could be grounds for a North Carolina medical malpractice or wrongful death lawsuit.

Mental hospital deemed unsafe, News & Observer, December 3, 2008

Central Regional another signal of troubled system, WRAL.com, December 3, 2008

Related Web Resources:
CMS Report 1 (PDF)

CMS Report 2 (PDF)

Epilepsy Drug Topiramate May Increase Risk of Birth Defects

September 24, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

The Official Journal of the American Academy of Neurology is reporting that results from a small study indicate that topiramate, a drug used to treat epilepsy, may increase the chances of a newborn sustaining a birth defect if a pregnant mother takes the drug.

The test involved 203 women that became pregnant while using topiramate. Of the 178 newborns, 16 of them had major birth defects. Four of the babies had cleft lips or cleft palates. Four of the male infants were born with genital birth defects.

The rate of birth defects among newborns whose mothers took topiramate was higher than for the rest of the population. More birth defects also occurred in newborns whose mothers took both topiramate and valproate (another epilepsy drug) and women who took topiramate in conjunction with other epilepsy drugs.

However, Andres Kanner, the associate director of the Epilepsy Center at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, says the chances that a pregnant women will have a baby with a birth defect is dependent on numerous factors, some of which were not part of this study. John Craig, the lead researcher of the study, says that additional research must be performed to confirm the results but that doctors and women that are (or are considering) getting pregnant and get migraines or have epilepsy need to be warned about the potential risks that could result from using the medication. The anti-seizure drug (Topamax is the brand name) is used to treat epilepsy and migraine headaches.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, birth defects are the number one cause of infant fatalities. Causes of birth defects include:

Dangerous drugs
• Alcohol
• Exposure to certain environmental chemicals
• Exposure to high levels of radiations
• Birthing malpractice
• Genetics

Epilepsy Drug May Boost Birth Defect Risk, WashingtonPost.com, July 21, 2008

Epilepsy drug linked to greater birth-defect risk, USA Today, July 25, 2008

Birth Defects, HealthAtoZ.com

Related Web Resources:

Topamax

Topiramate, MedLinePlus

Birth Defects, CDC

Official Journal of the American Academy of Neurology

Cherry Hospital Employees Arrested for Allegedly Beating a Patient in Goldsboro, North Carolina

August 25, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro, North Carolina continues to make headlines, following the arrest of two of its workers on Friday for allegedly beating a patient.

Health care technicians William Kenneth Johnson and Taniko Dominique Upton face charges of assault and battery of a handicapped person. Uton allegedly struck a male patient in the stomach, head, and side, as well as knocked him to the ground. Johnson is accused of holding down the patient during Upton’s assault before joining in the beating, which took place at the mental hospital.

Three other Cherry Hospital workers have recently been arrested. In March, Vincent Morton was charged with felony assault and battery of a handicapped person after he allegedly put his hands around a patient’s neck before hitting him on the head.

Richard John Percival II was arrested on a misdemeanor charge after hitting a patient’s head and body. The charge was dropped when the patient refused to testify against Percival.

Tonivia Bryant was charged with felony assault of a handicapped person after she allegedly hit a patient, who was strapped down, 11 times. The charges against her were also dropped.

Cherry Hospital has come under close scrutiny following video footage showing workers at the mental hospital ignoring a patient seated on a chair for over 22 hours. The patient, 50-year-old Steven Sabock, died soon after.

If you or your loved one was the victim of abuse at a nursing home, a mental hospital, or another care or medical facility in North Carolina, you may be entitled to receive compensation from the facility and/or the abusers. Hospitals and residential care facilities are supposed to make sure that their employees are properly trained to care for their patients or residents and that staff members will not likely harm or neglect the people placed in their care. An experienced North Carolina personal injury law firm can investigate your case for you and determine whether you have grounds to file a nursing home abuse, medical malpractice, or another kind of injury case.

Two workers accused of beating mental patient, Charlotte.com, August 23, 2008

Cherry Hospital workers accused of beating patient, WRAL.com, August 23, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Cherry Hospital

Patient Bill of RIghts, DukeHealth.org

18 More North Carolina Patients Exposed to Tainted Surgical Tools Sue Duke University Health System for Personal Injury

July 9, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

In Durham County Superior Court, 18 patients who underwent surgeries at Duke hospitals in 2004 are suing Duke University Health System for personal injury because they were operated on with surgical instruments that were washed in hydraulic fluid. The plaintiffs are alleging fraud and negligence because of the exposure to the fluid, which had been used to clean an elevator. They are seeking compensatory and punitive damages for an undisclosed amount.

Over 3,600 patients at Duke Raleigh and Durham Regional hospitals in North Carolina underwent operations in November and December 2004 involving the use of the tainted instruments. The surgical tools were accidentally cleaned with hydraulic fluid after elevator repairmen drained the fluid and placed them in empty detergent drums. The drums were then sent back to the hospitals where they were used to clean the instruments. Duke has already settled claims by over 60 patients that say they suffered personal injury because of the fluid.

Some Duke patients claim they sustained infections and immune system reactions as a result of their injuries. Last month, 67 patients sued Cardinal Health and Steris Corp., the companies that provide Duke with sterilization equipment, for personal injury related to their role in the fluid mix-up.

Hospitals, doctors, surgeons, nurses, and all other health care providers are supposed to provide patients with the proper medical care in an environment that is clean and safe. Failure to provide these duties of care can lead to personal injuries with plaintiffs filing medical malpractice lawsuits.

Other common medical errors include:

• Surgical mistakes
• Wrong diagnosis
• Administering the wrong tests
• Delayed diagnosis
• Nursing negligence

In North Carolina and South Carolina, our medical malpractice lawyers can help you assess whether you have grounds for an injury claim or lawsuit.

Patients sue Duke over tainted tools, Charlotte.com, July 2, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Duke University Health System

Hydraulic Fluid Facts

John Ritter’s Wife Actress Amy Yasbeck Testifies During Wrongful Death Trial

March 3, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

Amy Yasbeck, the wife of late actor John Ritter, resumed her testimony today in the wrongful death trial against the two doctors who treated her husband before his death. Yasbeck and Ritter’s children are suing radiologist Matthew Lotysch and cardiologist Joseph Lee for $67 million. Ritter died in 2003 from a torn aorta.

The Ritter family is accusing both doctors of failing to diagnose and provide the proper medical care for Ritter that could have saved his life. They say that Lotysch failed to detect an enlarged aorta during a 2001 scan and that Lee made a fatal error when he treated the actor for a heart attack instead of an aortic dissection on the day that he arrived at the emergency room in 2003.

Lotysch disputes their claim. During his testimony last week, he said that he told Ritter that the actor should see a specialist because he had triple vessel coronary disease. He also says that Ritter’s aorta looked normal at the time of the scan. Yasbeck claims that Ritter believed the scan results showed that he was in good health.

On Friday, jury members heard a voice message that Ritter left for his wife telling her that he was going to seek medical attention for what he believed was food poisoning. He died in the emergency room later that day.

Henry Winkler, Ritter’s friend, and Katey Segal, his co-star on the show “8 Simple Rules … for Dating My Teenage Daughter,” also submitted their testimonies on behalf of the plaintiffs. The show was considered a hit and Ritter’s family believes he would have made over $67 million if he had continued to appear on the show had he lived.

Ritter was a beloved film and television actor who also starred in the hit TV show “Three’s Company.” He died on September 11, 2003 at age 54.

Failure to diagnose, wrongful diagnosis, delayed diagnosis, providing a patient with the wrong medical treatment, surgical errors, and prescription errors are all too common forms of medical malpractice.

If you believe that you have been the victim of a medical error by a doctor, a nurse, or another medical provider In North Carolina or South Carolina, one of our medical malpractice attorneys can meet with you to discuss your case.

John Ritter’s widow, ex-wife testify in wrongful-death lawsuit, USA Today, March 3, 2008

Ritter Speaks at Wrongful-Death Trial, EOnline, February 29, 2008

Winkler testifies at Ritter trial, Los Angeles Times, February 14, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Actor John Ritter dead at 54, CNN.com, September 12, 2003

John Ritter, IMDB.com

North Carolina Nurses at Goldsboro Mental Hospital Hugged and Danced While Patient Sat in Chair for Over 22 Hours Before Dying, Says Report

February 1, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

An investigative report found that the nurses at Cherry Hospital, a mental hospital in Goldsboro, North Carolina, failed to feed or help patient Steven H. Sabock, 50, while he sat in a chair for over 22 hours last April. He died the next day of a heart ailment.

Security footage of the hospital shows a nurse standing nearby and not doing anything to help Sabock, while he choked on his medicine. The footage also shows health care technicians playing cards, watching TV, and talking on the cell phone in the same room where Sabock was sitting. He reportedly sat in a chair located in the day room through four work shifts.

Throughout that time, no one gave Sabock food or helped him to the bathroom. Instructions by a doctor to give him fluids every two hours and monitor his vitals every six hours also appear to have been ignored.

Eventually, technicians stood Sabock up, pushed a chair under him, and took him to his bedroom. The footage shows emergency equipment being carted down the hall five minutes later.

Investigators say that Sabock did not eat anything on the day that he died and even though he was eating very little on the three days leading up to his death, a nutritional consult or physician exam did not take place.

Sabock’s father, Nicholas, says that during an attempted visit to see his son at Cherry Hospital, staffers turned him away. Sabock’s wife also says that the state of North Carolina sent her a letter reporting “major negligence” in the care the hospital provided to him.

Medical Malpractice
Patients are admitted to mental hospitals because they require specialized attention and care. When failure to provide that care results in injury or death, the hospital, doctors, nurses, or other staffers can be held liable for personal injury or wrongful death.

Our North Carolina medical malpractice lawyers represent clients whose loved ones were injured or killed because of the negligent actions of a doctor, a nurse, a hospital, or another medical provider.

In North Carolina, you have three years from the date of when the medical malpractice action caused injury or death, or one year from when the injury was (or should have been) found out to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Patient dies after waiting 22 hours at hospital, Chicago Sun-Times, August 20, 2008

Nurses ignored patient as he died, CharlotteObserver.com, August 20, 2008

Related Web Resource:

Cherry Hospital, Goldsboro

Types of Medical Malpractice, WrongDiagnosis.com

Parents of North Carolina Man Sue Franklin County Medical Officers for Son’s Wrongly Declared Death

January 15, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

In North Carolina, the parents of Larry D. Green, the man who Franklin County medical officers wrongly declared dead in January 2005, have filed a personal injury lawsuit against Franklin County’s medical examiner, Franklin County Emergency Medical Services, the emergency responders who were at Green’s pedestrian accident scene, Louisburg Rescue, and EMS.

Green, now 31, was critically injured in Louisburg in January 2005 when he was hit by a motor vehicle while walking across U.S. 401 north. He was declared dead, placed in a body bag, and sent to a morgue. It wasn’t until after his body had been at the morgue for over two hours that the coroner realized that Green was alive.

The lawsuit, filed by Green’s parents, Larry Alston and Ruby Kelly, alleges that medical officials did not properly check Green’s vital signs and that he would not have sustained permanent injuries if they had done their job correctly. Green’s mother, Ruby Kelly, says that she sustained emotional trauma after seeing the crash scene and believing that her son was dead.

Green was in the hospital for two months. Injuries included a serious head injury and leg injuries. It wasn’t until five months after the accident that he started to talk again. Green now resides in a Wilson nursing home, and he may never fully recover from his injuries.

Last month, J.B. Perdue, the Franklin County medical examiner named in the lawsuit, stated that pronouncing a person dead is not part of his job. He said his responsibilities are to investigate the cause of death.

The lawsuit says that Perdue saw Green’s eye twitching and chest moving at the morgue but did not make sure Green was dead before starting his forensic evaluation.

Green’s family is accusing emergency medical technicians and paramedics of not following policy in their handling of Green. Medics admit that they did not use a stethoscope or electrocardiogram monitor to make sure that Green was dead after failing to detect a pulse or breath.

If you or someone you love was injured because of medical malpractice or negligence, you must contact a personal injury lawyer immediately.

Death blunder draws lawsuit, The News & Observer.com, December 28, 2007

Family Of North Carolina Man Mistakenly Declared Dead Files Suit, All Headlines, December 28, 2007

After body bag, life goes on, The News & Observer.com, January 24, 2007

Related Web Resource:

No further state action warranted against Franklin County EMS personnel, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, February 9, 2005

Five Diseases that are Frequently Misdiagnosed and North Carolina's Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations

October 2, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

A CNN.com article published on Saturday lists five diseases that are commonly misdiagnosed by doctors:

1) Aortic dissection
2) Clogged arteries
3) Cancer
4) Infections
5) Heart attacks

The article offers suggestions that patients can use to empower themselves from being the victim of misdiagnosis, including:

1) Request additional tests
2) Ask yourself if your symptoms could be indicative of a different illness than what your doctor has diagnosed
3) Make sure that you follow up on test results—your doctor may have forgotten about your tests

Misdiagnosing a patient’s illness can lead to serious injuries, health problems, and even wrongful death. Misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, and delayed diagnosis are just a few of the many kinds of medical errors that a medical caregiver can make. When a patient becomes even more ill or dies as a result of a medical error, the injured patient or his or her surviving family members may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against any negligent parties.

In North Carolina, the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is either three years from the time that medical malpractice incident occurred or one year from the time that the injury or death caused by medical malpractice was discovered. A lawsuit cannot be filed, however, more than four years from the time the medical malpractice incident, which led to the injuries or death, took place.

Other kinds of common medical malpractice errors can include surgical errors, failure to obtain informed consent from a patient, negligence, failure to property monitor a patient’s vital statistics, lab errors, prescription errors, and other errors by primary care physicians, nurses, dentists, orthodontists, hospitals, hospital workers, and other medical providers.

If you or someone you love is seriously injured or killed because of a medical error, you should speak with a medical malpractice lawyer right away. Medical care providers are required to fulfill a certain standard of care when treating patients. When that standard of care is not fulfilled and a person is seriously injured or dies because of this negligence, you need an experienced medical malpractice lawyer working for you that knows how to thoroughly investigate and prove your case.

You are entitled to compensation for your injuries or loss, pain and suffering, and any related damages, including loss of work, lost income, permanent disability, medical costs, future medical care, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Five commonly misdiagnosed diseases, CNN.com, September 29, 2007

Related Web Resources:

Medical Malpractice in North Carolina: Medical Malpractice, Wrongdiagnosis.com

Wrongdiagnosis.com

Medical Malpractice, Insurance Information Institute

19-Year-old North Carolina Teen Dies in DWI Car Accident And Adults Are Charged With Serving Alcohol to Minors at a Party

August 28, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

Four adults in North Carolina have been charged in the deadly DWI accidental death of 19-year-old Emily Mosely on August 17. Terry Moseley, one of the adults charged, is Emily’s father. He is charged with three counts of giving alcoholic beverages to a minor.

According to North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement agents, Terry Mosely purchased alcohol at an ABC store in Greensboro. He then brought the alcohol to a party that was hosted by Sandra McBride, Stephen Dale McBride, and their 21-year-old son Stephen Lee McBride in Walnut Cove. All three of them are also charged with providing alcohol to teenagers.

Emily, her 18-year-old ex-boyfriend Richard Oakley, and her 16-year-old sister drank alcohol that night. Oakley says that that everyone at the party had been drinking. The prescription drug Xanax was also somehow involved.

Oakley lost control of his car near Stokesdale while driving Emily and her sister from the party. The car fell into an embankment on Lauren Road. Oakley and Emily’s sister were not seriously hurt in the car accident, but Emily was thrown out of the motor vehicle and died. Oakley has been charged with reckless driving and DWI (driving while impaired).

Terry Mosely, Stephen Lee McBride, Sandra McBride, and Stephen Dale McBride say they did not serve alcohol at the party.

Wrongful Death
When a person dies because another party acted negligently, the family members of the deceased may be able receive compensation through a wrongful death claim or lawsuit filed against the responsible parties. In North Carolina, surviving family members can recover compensation for a number of damages, including funeral/cremation/burial costs, medical costs related to the treatment of the injuries that led to the wrongful death, loss of companionship, pain and suffering, and loss of financial support.

The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim in North Carolina is two years, and there may be more than one party that can be held liable for your loved one’s death—whether the negligent person(s) acted directly or indirectly to cause the deadly accident.

Deadly accidents also resulting from medical malpractice, dangerous or defective products, nursing home abuse, and unsafe premises can often lead to wrongful death claims and lawsuits against the responsible parties.

Adults Charged in Fatal DWI Accident, My Fox WGHP, August 27, 2007

Related Web Resources:

DWI, NCSU.edu

Wrongful Death Overview, Justia.com

 
 

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