D.C. Maryland and Virginia medical malpractice, accidents and work injuries questions answered by D.C. injury attorneys.
Here are some of the questions people have when they first contact us about D.C., Maryland and Virginia medical malpractice, serious car accidents or workers compensation.
We try to provide as much information as we can based on our experience as medical malpractice lawyers in D.C., Maryland and Virginia and based on representing many hundreds of people who have been injured in accidents or at work in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
Here are the basics:
Patients permanently injured by medical malpractice, or the families of patients killed because of medical negligence, when a hospital, HMO or healthcare corporation doesn't follow basic patient safety rules deserve justice - resources to help with the harms and losses due to the injuries or death of their loved one.
Drivers who don't follow the rules of the road, driving recklessly, driving drunk, speeding, and texting should be accountable for the harm they cause when their actions cause a car accident or wreck.
Workers hurt on the job deserve workers compensation benefits for lost wages, medical treatment and permanent injuries. If a worker is killed on the job, his family deserves workers compensation death benefits - to at least help with the financial loss of a loved one.
But since every person is unique, if you have questions or need information about an injury or death in your family, please contact us to talk it through. We'll talk to you, schedule a free initial meeting and give you all the information we can.
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Do you struggle with a serious injury caused by a hospital in D.C.?
You're not alone.
Some estimates put deaths (not just injuries) due to medical malpractice at 58,000 per year - that's a national outrage. And many conditions require around the clock medical care and treatment. But how do you know if your injury or medical condition was due to malpractice in a DC hospital, instead of just a terrible outcome?
You see, all medical malpractice is preventable - by definition. What we mean is that there are established patient safety rules designed to keep patients safe that doctors and hospitals have to follow. Thank about it, every job has rules. It could be as simple as a checklist, or an order of doing things, or a system for following up on a test that was done.
It's usually simple steps to keep patients safe. But a lot of hospitals don't have them or don't follow them, and that's where the problem comes in.
One clue is that you went into the hospital for a routine procedure - a minor surgery, for example, and had a catastrophic injury or condition that wasn't related to the surgery at all - like a problem with anesthesia. Or that you were given the wrong medication after surgery, or the wrong dosage, or something you were allergic to.
And unfortunately, we see medication errors a lot - many times, it is not just one person in the hospital who makes a mistake. It is the doctor ordering the wrong medication, one that may have severe side effects or consequences for someone in your condition, maybe the medication is contraindicated. The nurse then gives you the medication but doesn't follow up and monitor you after she gives it, to see if you are having complications. And the hospital pharmacist doesn't tell the providers that the medication is contraindicated.
We call that a system failure - and it should never happen. It should not happen to adults and it happens at prestigious children's hospitals, where babies and children are severely injured due to medical malpractice - and that should never happen to kids no matter how inspiring their struggle to overcome their disability is.
If you're struggling with a life changing injury after being in the hospital, you need to take action - to get the best advice and guidance on how to make things right. If you're this kind of person, call us today at (202) 393 - 3320 or order a completely free, no obligation book guide or report we have written to help you get started.
But don't put it off - the sooner you take action, the sooner you can take back control of your life (and hold the hospital accountable so they don't do this to someone else).
What Should I Do if My Doctor Says I'm Fine But I'm Not?
Here's the thing about doctors; sometimes they are in a hurry. Sometimes they don't pay attention. Sometimes they are arrogant. And sometimes the combination of those things results in a misdiagnosis.
The Washington Post ran a story this week about a woman, Lina Kharnak, who turned out to have endometriosis, but didn't find this out until years after she had begun investigating the source of her pain. She had painful, heavy periods, radiating pain in her back and leg, and UTI's, constipation, and trouble urinating for two weeks before her period. She was told it could be sciatica or spinal stenosis, or side effects from being 25 pounds overweight.
She eventually saw a specialist who told her that she didn't have endometriosis and that she should stop "self-diagnosing." She went to yet another specialist, who told her that it was not endometriosis. She was told once again that her problem was not gynecological.
They didn't believe her. The doctors never stopped to consider other causes and never referred her to another specialist or consultant for a second opinion.
But she was not to be deterred. She sought out a longtime friend and gynecologist, who did a CT scan of her abdomen and pelvis. Turned out "the kidney was badly swollen because it was blocked and unable to drain urine properly." The kidney had stopped functioning altogether.
She looked up an "endo specialist" (practice mostly focusing on endometriosis) while she was scheduled to have the dead kidney removed. This specialist could see that even though she didn't have traditional endometriosis pain, an MRI revealed a widespread disease. They scheduled an intense and difficult nine-hour surgery to perform a hysterectomy and remove her ovaries. She had to consult with a colorectal surgeon, a nephrologist and a neurologist in order to prepare for the surgery. The surgery was successful and Ms. Kharnak has "returned to work free of the pain that had largely defined the past seven years of her life."
As with anything else, there are some really good doctors and there are some not so great doctors. It's easy for doctors to be arrogant and dismissive. They have education and power that most people don't have, and that kind of power needs to have a system for checks and balances to make sure mistakes get fixed and patients don't get hurt because of them. That's why Patient Safety Rules exist. There have to be safeguards against doctors being dismissive and failing to order or follow up on tests because they are in a hurry, or for any other reason.
Do you believe that Patient Safety Rules have been violated in the case of your medical treatment or the medical treatment of a loved one and that led to a misdiagnosis or serious injury? Give us a call today at 202-393-3320.
Ms. Kharnak was convinced that there was something wrong with her, probably largely because she was the one who had to deal with the pain. Endometriosis is scar-like tissue that usually lines the uterus building up outside the uterine wall. It's a very painful condition and it would have been simple for the doctor to conduct the scans (the CT, MRI) that would rule out endometriosis for sure. Instead they told her that she wasn't presenting with normal symptoms (some of them, not all of them) and gave her other diagnosis, like sciatica or pain due to being overweight.
We want to be able to trust our doctors, but there is a gut check "test" that should go along with your medical treatment. Does it pass the "gut check" test? One of our clients recently told me that a doctor is pushing surgery, even though this isn't what the client wants. Another has come to me with questions about the efficacy and safety of epidural steroid injections. And their questions are fantastic; yes, you should be questioning the doctor's treatment. Not to the point of getting in the way of your own recovery, but if it doesn't feel right there is a chance your gut it worth paying attention to. Decisions about surgery or other invasive treatments shouldn't be taken lightly.
Give us a call today at 202-393-3320 if you believe that you have been misdiagnosed or Patient Safety Rules have been violated.
I have a serious injury, but do I have a medical malpractice case?
Medical Malpractice at a Hospital in D.C.
Many times we get phone calls from folks who have been legitimately, seriously injured in a hospital and they want to know if they should file a lawsuit against the doctor, HMO, or hospital. And many times, people have legitimate claims of negligence or medical malpractice. But the thing about medical malpractice is that there is a lot to consider besides just the injury, and a lot of people don't know that there are sometimes years of investigation that go into a medical malpractice claim before a lawsuit is even filed.
Especially cases involving children or babies - sometimes the extent of the harm won't be known until the child is 4 or 5 years old (other times it is obvious - in cases involving cerebral palsy, damage to the child's brain, or paralysis). So, a good DC medical malpractice attorney will let you know not only how long you have to file a case (to make sure you are within the statute of limitations - the time limit for filing a case) but how long it will take to determine the extent of your child's injuries or developmental delays.
In fact, medical malpractice claims are so hard to pursue that only a handful of attorneys are actually practicing in this area.
The first thing that you need to prove is that the doctor, nurse, tech, or hospital was negligent. This can be established by reviewing medical records, medical literature and texts, hospital protocols, the practices of other hospitals across the country and other information to determine the set of patient safety rules the hospital should have followed - this is often called the standard of care. You have to also prove that violating those rules was a cause of your injury.
This can be determined initially by reviewing your medical records, medical literature, protocols, etc. but it also requires analysis and testimony by expert witnesses, which typically costs thousands of dollars (another reason not many lawyers handle DC medical malpractice cases - they are expensive).
Now, if people don't have a serious, permanent injury, why do we tell them we can't help them, even if the hospital was negligent?
I need a lot of medical treatment because of a medical malpractice issue in a hospital. How can I get the medical care I need?
When medical malpractice causes serious injuries, it means you'll need a lot of medical care you never planned on.
When hospitals, HMOs and healthcare companies commit medical malpractice in DC, Maryland or Virginia, they should pay for the harms they cause. Sometimes that is easy to determine - a construction worker who can't work anymore after becoming paralyzed due to medical malpractice can determine how much money he would have earned in his career.
But what about future medical treatment and other needs caused by medical malpractice? How do you make sure you and your family get everything you need to live as normally and independently as possible after a life changing injury?
As part of our medical malpractice cases, we analyze everything that you need - all of the future medical care caused by the malpractice, plus the equipment, modifications to your home and car, everything to make sure you can live as independently and be as mobile as possible.
The cost of all of the medical care you'll need are part of the damages (the harms they caused and should pay for) in a medical malpractice case.
But at least in DC, Maryland and Virginia, hospitals, HMOs and doctors rarely admit when they've done wrong, so they probably won't offer to pay for all of the medical care you need (and certainly won't tell you everything you're entitled to).
Instead, we have to hold them accountable.
There is a lot to process when you or a family member have been seriously harmed by medical malpractice - talking to us will help you focus on your health and recovery.
Call us today at (202) 393 - 3320 to get started - we'll send you a free, no obligation guide to medical malpractice in DC, Maryland and Virginia that will help.
Could cerebral palsy have been prevented?
One of the hardest parts of investigating a medical malpractice case in DC, Maryland or Virginia against a hospital is having to deal with the internal conflict that one may feel about calling the birth of a precious child "a medical mistake." And a lot of people use this term but it's not accurate. Medical malpractice means the hospital didn't follow established patient safety rules to keep you and your baby safe. It's not a medical mistake - the hospital was negligent - but whatever term you use, as a parent of a child with cerebral palsy, you know you have greater responsibilities than most parents do.
And one of the big ones is the financial responsibility you have for a child with cerebral palsy.
One thing we know is for sure is that taking care of a child with special-needs can be an exhausting, 24/7 occupation. And we don't pretend that resources are not an issue in this matter. We're upfront with the families of kids with developmental delays - if your child's disability was caused by medical malpractice or hospital negligence, we'll help you get the money to take care of your child. No matter your health and financial situation now, you won't always be there to take care of him when he's an adult - what happens then?
That's why we do what we do.
Here is an excerpt from one of our publications, our Special Needs Resource Guide. It tells you a little bit about our philosophy.
The days are long but the years are short…
If you are a parent or grandparent caring for a special needs child - a child with developmental disabilities and delay or cerebral palsy for example - then you know that is a 24/7 occupation. As many people have said, “the days are long but the years are short”. How do you know what is out there in terms of resources for you and your child or family? Since caring for a disabled child or young adult is a full time, around-the-clock occupation, we have put together this book of resources available for parents, caregivers and families with disabled or special-needs children.
Many of the resources available are public benefits, some are private benefits. Some may have specific disabilities they are a resource for, such as cerebral palsy or autism. Many resources may depend on where the disabled child lives, or income levels, or other factors. We wanted to make it as easy as possible for you to have a list of available resources in your area to use as a starting point in advocating for your child. There are many other opportunities, resources, and benefits available to children with special needs and their families that are not listed here.
And we're certainly not experts on raising special needs kids (or any kids for that matter). These are resource opportunities we've identified; many from parents of special needs children we have helped. And parents are always giving us ideas. If you know of other resources or ideas that work and could help parents and families with special needs children, please let us know. You can email ideas and resources to [email protected] or call (202) 393-3320.
We do this because identifying medical malpractice that led to your child's cerebral palsy could potentially make an enormous difference for your child. And for you.
If you think that your child's developmental delays or cerebral palsy may have been the result of medical malpractice, hospital negligence, a medical mistake, call us today. There could be time limitations so you don't want to wait. Plus, you will be one step closer to getting the resources that can help your child and your family. You can reach us a 202-393-3320 and you will speak to a person who wants to hear your story.
How Can I Help My Child in a Medical Malpractice Case?
When a child is hurt by medical malpractice in a hospital, or by a doctor, the effects can be devastating.
What is available to a child hurt by medical malpractice?
When a child is the patient harmed by medical malpractice, there are a number of factors to consider to make sure the child gets a full recovery. And remember, a child can be injured in utero, before they are born or due to medical malpractice in treating the mom when she was pregnant - like not screening for or treating an infection that leads to premature delivery and a severely premature baby. That child can suffer from the effects of prematurity and have a medical malpractice case.
Legally, we call the compensation for someone harmed "damages" - really the harms and losses someone now has because of negligence or malpractice, and these can vary depending on: how badly the person is injured, whether they can work, whether they need future medical and nursing care at home, and a number of other factors.
One of the factors we always look to is what types of services, therapies and resources can help the child now, and in the future. For example, a child who is developmentally delayed may benefit from early intervention, occupational therapy and neuropsychological testing and evaluation to determine the best way to maximize his or her potential. That will depend on the child's needs, of course, but we look for everything we can to get the money and resources that child needs.
So, we look at all of the future care and treatment available that will make the child's life better - additional nursing care if the child or young person can't care for themselves (and respite care for the family who often provide the majority of the nursing care), tutors, counseling, physical therapies. We work with experts to evaluate the child's needs and the cost to get the child everything he or she needs and work to prove it as an important part of the medical malpractice case against the doctor or hospital.
We've published resources on medical malpractice in DC, Maryland and Virginia for parents who are facing this issue. Please order a book, guide or report - they are free, helpful and written for you.
And like all parents, the people we work with just want the best for their child and family. So if you're strugling with whether or why your child was hurt by medical malpractice and want to learn more about what you can do about it to help your child's future, call us at (202) 393 - 3320.
Can I Settle My Own Medical Malpractice Case?
Great question - one we get a lot. Here are the basic things to know about settling a medical malpractice case with a hospital in D.C.
First, how strong is your medical malpractice case?
The first factor to evaluate is the strength of your case - are you right about the medicine, the standard of care and causation, and do you have credible, well known (in the medical field or their specialty) experts testifying for you?
Evaluating and testifying experts are a critical factor in any medical malpractice case, whether you file the case in Maryland, D.C. or Virginia (sometimes you may have a choice of where to file the case). And that is one of the major things hospital risk managers and hospital lawyers look for in evaluating a case. They will send the case to be reviewed by their own chosen expert witnesses as well to see if they can get opposing opinions and to evaluate the medical aspects of the case - the standard of care, causation and the harms and losses to the patient.
Another important factor hospitals evaluate in any medical malpractice case are the legal damages - the harms and losses that the malpractice caused, and the cost of these, both in terms of financial costs and the changes to the patient's life. We believe this is such an important factor - it's the consequences of what happened to you and your family - that it should be addressed early in the case - first thing.
Call us today and we will send you our confidential intake form to tell us your story, or you can speak with an intake specialist at 202-393-3320.
We do things differently than most medical malpractice lawyers, so we have the patient evaluated by several experts to assess the future medical care and treatment and the cost of this, plus the person's functioning. These assessments include evaluating whether they will be able to work, whether they need modifications to their home and/or home health aides, and many other changes.
We want the hospital that caused these losses and damages to know the extent of the damage before the medical malpractice case is even filed - so they know it is a serious matter and can begin preparations to evaluate and ultimately settle the case.
So when we put our name on a case against a DC hospital or medical facility, they know it's a serious matter.
There are many decisions to make and factors to consider on whether any specific medical malpractice case will settle in DC, Maryland or Virginia and medical malpractice lawyers need to be thinking about these from the moment they first talk to you - at least that's the way we do it.
Medical malpractice cases take a long time to evaluate - there is a lot to do, so don't wait - get started today by ordering our free guide to medical malpractice cases in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Call to talk to us at (202) 393 - 3320 so we can get you the information you need to make the best decisions for you and your family. And if we think you can settle your own medical malpractice case, we will point you in the right direction.
All intakes are free and completely confidential, so what have you got to lose? Give us a call at 202-393-3320 to get started today.
How does a family survive medical malpractice?
When a hospital, HMO or doctors group does not follow established patient safety rules, the effects can be devastating for the patient. Many times, without warning, a loved one's life is now tragically altered. A previously healthy person needs around the clock care for his basic needs, cannot work, sometimes cannot even communicate with his family.
If you're faced with medical malpractice, what do you do?
Every family is different, of course. And in working with families for over 20 years in medical malpractice cases, we've seen many different responses - from divorce because the strain of caring for an adult child harmed by medical malpractice, to a father and kids pulling together and becoming closer after the death of a young wife and mom.
There are several things we discuss in great detail with the people we help.
First - it's not your fault. The guilt or feeling that you could have done something different is natural, and it's totally, completely wrong. You have no control over the actions of physicians, nurses, technicians, specialists or (as we see in medical malpractice cases over and over) the lack of systems the hospital, HMO or doctor's office has in place to prevent medical malpractice.
We all want to say we would have done something different - gone to a different hospital, chosen a different specialist, intervened with a busy doctor, etc. It's natural to think that after a serious injury happens to someone we love.
Second - it's not your family members fault. Look, its natural to blame others - to say "I told her not to take him to that hospital." Or I told him to take better care of himself, so he wouldn't need to go into the hospital in the first place.
Third - your whole family is exhausted. The physical strain of caring for someone who is disabled, a child, husband, wife or parent, is enormous. The physical and emotional stress of caring for another person's medical needs - medications, turning her at night to protect her skin, lifting him into and out of the car or from the bed to the wheelchair, and coordinating care is exhausting.
Finally (and few people will tell you this) the financial toll and the worry about money is profound. The medical costs and technolgy required just to keep your loved one comfortable are increasing every year. But Medicaid and other insurance (if you're eligible) are paying for less and less every year.
And you want the best for your loved one. And your family. And yourself. You need financial resources to do that.
Its a hard thing to come to terms with - the fact that a medical system you put your trust in caused this, that you didn't ask for this or do anything to bring this on yourself or your family. But here you are.
What is your next step?
The families we work with in medical malpractice cases in DC, Maryland and Virginia get a lot more than basic legal advice. Call us to talk confidentially about scheduling a strategy session to come up with a plan to help you and your family, and what we've done for other families harmed by medical malpractice in the DC area. If you're not ready to talk yet, order a guide or report we publish. We'll send it to you so you can learn more and make the best decisions for your family.
But don't wait. Because of how we work (we're different than other medical malpractice lawyers) we only accept a few cases at a time.
What are Developmental Milestones, and How Do I Know if My Child Is Hitting Them?
Developmental milestones are timeframes in which an infant or child should be learning to do certain things. Some examples of developmental milestones include rolling over, sitting up, walking, having words, forming sentences, and so on. And failure to hit certain milestones could be indicative of something called developmental delay.
Developmental delays are more than just being a bit behind. They could include long-term and prolonged "lagging" in gross (sitting up, holding her head up, crawling and walking are examples) and fine (dexterity) motor skills, as well as language. Developmental delays can be addressed by early intervention, but if they are substantial enough and/or turn into developmental disability, it may be a good idea to see if you child's delays are a result of medical malpractice.
Pediatricians, child neurologists, neuropsychologist, and other experts use developmental milestones as a tool to help diagnose cerebral palsy and other conditions. Most of the time it's parents and grandparents who sense something is wrong. It is also incumbent upon your pediatrician to be monitoring your child's development.
Medical malpractice during pregnancy or birth is typically a preventable injury sustained to the child's brain. Lack of oxygen, infection, or extreme prematurity can certainly cause a child to be developmentally delayed. Sometimes this can be diagnosed shortly after birth but other times the results of the injury are not evident until much later.
Parents may not know the true cause of their child's injury.
Many times, an injury to the brain means a person cannot control certain muscles, so it's important to assess your child's gross motor skills especially if you had a difficult or "high risk" pregnancy.
If your child has trouble with gross or fine motor skills talk to him or her doctor about it. And keep a journal of what your child can do and what he or she struggles with, plus take pictures or video. It will help you remember everything and give the best information to your doctor.
If you think your child is not meeting developmental milestones, it may just be that she is developing at her own pace. But if you suspect a birth injury or trauma or difficult labor played a part in causing developmental delay, take action to get all the information today.
Give is a call at 202-393-3320 if you have any questions about development delays. You can speak with a real person for no cost and no obligation. You can also request your free copy of our resource guide for special-needs children: Getting Everything Your Special Needs Child Deserves. Just give us a call today and we will put your free copy in the mail.
My Radiology Results Were Read Incorrectly. What Should I Do?
Radiology is the practice of taking and interpreting images of the body in order to determine things like bone fractures, cancer detection, herniated discs, deep-vein thrombosis, bone-density analysis, and other types of injuries, diseases and conditions. The role of the radiologist is critical in many types of diagnostics, treatments, and recoveries.
But hospitals don't always follow the rules of good medical treatment when it comes to analyzing results and communicating those results to the appropriate physician or treatment facility. And radiologists don't always follow the appropriate protocol to communicate imminent dangers that show up on the images. This is why we have a field of law called medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice law exists so that people who have been seriously affected by the negligence of a hospital, HMO, physician, or other types of medical personnel and facilities can be fairly compensated for the harms, expenses, and loss that results from this negligence. Hospitals, HMOs, doctors, and others in the medical field have to follow patient safety rules, which often means establishing and following systems, checklists and protocols to ensure that the level of care and medical treatment is appropriate for the patient's condition and is done in time.
Many times a test result can determine what type of treatment the patient needs; surgery for a tumor, anti-coagulation medications for blood clots, steroids for an auto-immune disorder, etc.
We have helped a family that lost a mom because of an undetected blood clot (pulmonary embolism) because the radiologist didn't properly communicate the life-threatening blood clot he saw to the primary care physician. We helped another family who lost their mom when the radiologist did not correctly interpret a scan showing a blood clot, as well as a 12 year-old who became paralyzed because his MRI wasn't interpreted until after he was discharged from the hospital (and they never called his parents with the results).
If your radiology results were interpreted incorrectly, or they weren't properly communicated to the physician who ordered the test, you may have a compensable claim if the mistake resulted in a serious consequence. If you're not sure, give us a call and we will talk to you about it and tell you what we think. We like to say: go with your gut. It's better to call and ask than to not call at all.
And remember, all cases have deadlines, so don't put it off.
You can reach us a 202-393-3320 or [email protected]