April 2011 Archives

April 27, 2011

Surgeon operates on wrong eye of four-year-old boy

When four-year-old Jesse Matlock went in for surgery earlier this month in Portland, Oregon, his parents expected the doctor to help correct strabismus in his right eye, which in medical terms is a wandering eye. The surgeon, however, allegedly operated on the wrong eye, realized her mistake and then repeated the procedure on the correct eye - without telling the patient's parents until the procedures were complete.

Our Maryland Injury Attorneys have significant experience represent Plaintiffs who have been injured by medical errors.

The boy's parents were particularly upset that the doctor performed the second operation without informing the parents of her mistake until both procedures were complete. They learned of the issue when a nurse informed them that the doctor was operating on both eyes, without explaining why, the boy's parents said.

The parents allege that the doctor eventually spoke with them and informed them that she lost her sense of direction because the mark she had made on the correct eye was covered up.

While the extent of Matlock's injuries are unclear at this point, his parents have concerns that the unnecessary surgery may affect his sight in the future.

His parents indicate that they may consult an attorney - and they should.

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April 19, 2011

Proposed Medical Malpractice Reform Bill Would Increase Plaintiff's Burden of Proof

North Carolina Lawmakers have proposed Senate Bill 33, which would bar emergency room patients from recovering damages based on the negligence of medical providers, regardless of the severity or permanency of the injury.

Our Maryland medical malpractice attorneys have significant experience representing
Plaintiffs who have been injured by a medical provider's negligence.

Citing the need for tort reform, proponents claim that the bill will shield from liability any medical provider that provides "emergency medical services." Plaintiff's will need to prove "gross" negligence or wanton and willful conduct on the part of the medical provider. The topic of tort reform is a perennial subject in the Maryland State legislature.

Among the issues raised is the cap on noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering. Presently, Maryland's cap on noneconomic damages is $740,000. The proposed North Carolina bill will decrease North Carolina's cap to $500,000 and increase the Plaintiff's burden of proof. Many states have no cap on non-economic damages.

The problem with the North Carolina bill is that the one-size-fits-all approach unfairly penalizes patients who have been wronged. The more reasoned and fair approach is to allow a jury to decide liability and damages.

Moreover, increasing the Plaintiff's burden of proof would do little to promote public safety and would certainly act as a deterrent for Plaintiffs.

The language in question states: "The defendant health care provider shall not be liable for the payment of damages unless the ... health care provider's deviation from the stand of care ... constituted gross negligence, wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing."

The bill has passed several readings in the North Carolina legislature, but is still in the drafting process.