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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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]
How Do I Know If It's Medical Malpractice?
At Donahoe Kearney we like to say "trust your gut." If you feel a serious injury or medical condition was caused by a medical mistake in a hospital, HMO or doctor's office, it is at least worth checking into it. There are common factors we see in medical malpractice cases, and you should know about these.
Most of the time your gut will tell you if a medical mistake was preventable. But just in case you need some confirmation, we recommend that you read our free report 7 Symptoms of Medical Malpractice.
Here's the digest:
1). No system for following up on test results;
2). Doctors not evaluating the patient;
3). Hospitals, HMOs and Doctors not telling the patient about alternative diagnoses, treatment, and therapies;
4). Doctors not having available all of the information because they aren't asking questions, reviewing your medical records, or listening to you;
6). Doctors not consulting the right specialists; and
7). None of these situations apply but your gut tells you something is wrong.
Do you think you may have been affected by a major medical mistake, or a preventable medical mistake? If you have a serious injury or medical condition and, call us today to get information you need and determine whether we can help. You will speak with a live person here in Washington, D.C.: no cost and no obligation. You can reach a real person today to discuss your case in full confidence at 202-393-3320.
My Child is Profoundly Disabled Due to Medical Malpractice. How Do I Find A Good Home Health Aide for Her?
Choosing a home health aide is an extremely important decision. You and your disabled child rely on the aide for feeding, bathing, and turning her; all of the things she needs when you can't do them.
First, do the legwork and the research; find a reputable company who employs the home health aides. Most public companies will have "review" applications on their website. If they don't, ask for a reference. Also, make sure that the agency in question does not have an adverse history when it comes to litigation. While settlements are often confidential, lawsuits are not. A simple google search comprised of "your agency + "lawsuits" should help you to confirm the reputation of the agency.
Next, meet the proposed aide. Take the time to write down the questions that you want to ask. Don't be afraid to ask about the aides' experience or qualifications and the specific care needs or care plan for your daughter. Find out why he or she does what they do. Take measures to determine their commitment to the job. Most of the time you can tell the difference between somebody who likes their job, and somebody who does not.
Finally, set forth your expectations for communication. Get into the habit early on of asking for a digest of the day. If your home health aide knows you will be wanting information, he or she might be more likely to take note and remember what goes on during the day. It's better to establish communication early on rather than try to enforce it later.
At Donahoe Kearney we strive to get the best possible settlement for your loved one who may have been hurt as a result of malpractice. We know that parents of disabled children have an overwhelming responsibility. That's why we wrote Picking Up the Pieces After Medical Malpractice: A Parents Guide; an informational book to help parents dealing with medical malpractice. To order your copy today click here or call us at 202-393-3320. No obligation, no cost.
My Child Was Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. What Will Be the Lifetime Cost of Care?
Parents of a child with Cerebral Palsy worry about the future of their special needs child: their health, well-being, and unfortunately, their finances. They worry because most likely, the child with Cerebral Palsy (even severe) will long outlive his parents and will never be able to care for or support him/herself.
And as a parent, you want (and your child deserves) the best medical care and treatment for his condition, not just the minimum, especially if the child's disability was caused by medical malpractice. That is why the law allows damages for all of the future care and treatment your child needs: nursing care, medications, doctors visits, modifications to your home to make it handicap accessible, a wheel chair accessible van, and a lot more. Let's face it, these services and products cost a lot of money.
According to a study released by the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) entitled: "Economic Costs Associated with Mental Retardation, Cerebral Palsy, Hearing Loss and Vision Impairment - United States, 2003" the costs in the U.S, of caring for people with cerebral palsy can reach into the billions over a lifetime. The study shows that “lifetime costs in 2003 dollars are expected to total $51.2 billion for persons born in 2000 with mental retardation, $11.5 billion for persons with Cerebral Palsy, $1.9 billion for persons with hearing loss, and $2.6 billion for persons with vision impairment.”
Needless to say; that is a profound amount of money needed to care for people with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. And providing for a child with cerebral palsy can be an incredible individual burden on you as parents and on your family - running well into the millions of dollars. It's even worse when we consider that many times cerebral palsy could have been prevented at the hospital and some parents and families may not even know their child's cerebral palsy was caused by medical malpractice due to hospital errors or doctors' mistakes.
If you or somebody that you love has been affected by a hospital error that caused cerebral palsy, please give us a call today to speak to a live person. At no cost or obligation we can send you a book about getting resources for special needs children and discuss whether or not your case was preventable. As experienced medical malpractice lawyers, we can get you started on the right road to getting the resources your child needs. Call us at 202-393-3320; a real person will answer the phone today.
A Doctor in a D.C. Hospital said My Baby had Hypoxia at Birth. What is Hypoxia?
Hypoxia is a lack of oxygen to the tissues in the body. Sometimes it is used to describe a lack of oxygen to the brain as well, meaning the baby is not getting sufficient oxygen to his brain before or during birth. It is a devastating, sometimes fatal condition that can cause severe brain damage.
Lack of oxygen to the brain at birth is sometimes called asphyxia as well. The term to describe the severe, permanent injury to the baby's brain is hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy; usually called HIE.
This is certainly a cause of cerebral palsy, and can often be medical malpractice if the residents, interns and medical students in the hospital did not recognize and act on the signs and symptoms in time to prevent the injury to the baby. These signs and symptpms can include fetal tachycardia (elevated heart rate), non-reassuring fetal monitoring strips, maternal bleeding, and decreased heart rate in the baby.
If a doctor told you your baby was hypoxic at birth (that he or she was deprived of oxygen during or around the time of birth and it caused an injury to his brain), you should have the medical records evaluated by an experienced D.C. medical malpractice lawyer to determine whether the injury was caused by medical malpractice and should have been prevented.
The only way to really know if your child's condition, like cerebral palsy, was caused by medical malpractice is to take that first step and have the medical records reviewed. You may be one step closer to getting your child the resources he or she needs to live a full and healthy life and to provide everything required by the medical condition.
We've helped many families with a child affected by medical malpractice in every D.C. hospital. And medical malpractice happens in every D.C. hospital; "good" hospitals can still cause serious injuries.
Medical malpractice cases take time to review and analyze; so call us today so we can get started working to get you and your family the resources you need.
What is Considered Medical Malpractice in the District of Columbia?
The legal definition of medical malpractice in D.C. is conduct that falls below the standard of care that a reasonable, prudent healthcare provider should comply with. What does that mean? It just means the hospital, HMO, doctor, or nurse didn't follow established rules to keep the patient safe. And because the health care provider chose not to follow those rules, the patient was harmed.
Sounds simple, right?
Most of the time when a patient is catastrophically injured or dies in D.C. hospitals, HMOs, clinics and doctors' offices it is the result of a system failure. Not just one mistake by one person, but a series of problems with no system in place to keep them from harming the patient. And many times, it doesn't even really involve medical care. One example is when a test result that identified a life-threatening condition was faxed to a doctor's office, but then just filed in the patient's chart because the staff member didn't know how serious it was (and the patient died from it 3 days later but would have lived if she had gotten treatment).
Medical malpractice can be almost anything; like an early discharge from the hospital, an unrecognized, untreated disease like pulmonary embolism, and/or cerebral palsy in a baby because the interns and residents didn't recognize fetal distress.
There are many examples, but medical malpractice in D.C. (or Maryland or Virginia.) is usually a series of bad choices by the doctors and nurses, without a hospital system in place to prevent those choices from harming the patient.
If you know someone harmed by the medical system, have them order one of our free, no obligation books, guides or reports, or have them call us at (202) 393 - 3320 to confidentially discuss their situation.
But don't put it off - these cases have time limits and take a long time to prepare before they can be filed. You don't want to lose out on resources you need because you waited too long.
My doctor in D.C. got my due date wrong and now my baby has serious complications - do I have a medical malpractice case?
One of the most important (and first) steps of good obstetric procedure is dating the pregnancy.
Once a pregnancy is dated, then other important dates of the pregnancy are determined and prenatal care is scheduled accordingly. For instance, let's say a doctor mistakenly thinks a 24 week pregnancy is actually a 23 week pregancy, and he treats the mother and baby accordingly. This is critical - and we have handled a DC medical malpractice case against a hospital in Washington, D.C. just lke this - because 24 weeks is considered viability (the age at which a baby can live outside the womb). Obviously, this will be critical for good obstetrical medical care and management.
Premature babies are more likely to have developmental delays and sometimes significant health problems, but there are medical interventions that can reduce these risks.
In our case, a well known obstetrician didn't correctly date the pregnancy. But the hospital's mistake was not having a system in place to make sure a simple but vital piece of medical information was checked. Any intern or resident could have checked the dates and correctly calculated the number of weeks - but no one did. Every doctor and nurse just wrote down the incorrect number because someone else had.
Unfortunately, with inadequate prenatal care, birth injuries are more likely. In fact, mothers who receive the best prenatal care are more likely to have heatlhy pregnancies and healthy children in the long run. So, it's important to make sure prenatal care offered to pregnant mothers is adequate.
One simple mistake like this can compound and it could mean injury for baby and mother - it may also mean medical malpractice in some cases. When an experienced obstetrician dates the pregnancy wrong because he was rushing, wasn't listening, or because of simple miscalculations, and no one else bothers to check it, both baby and mother can suffer.
Especially if a miscalculated due date was never checked by others on the team - by residents, fellows, interns, and nurses - then you may have a case for system wide failure that led to your baby's injury.
But, remember, every case is different and only an experienced attorney can give you advice for you. Give us a call at 202-393-3320 if you think you may be dealing with medical malpractice that caused cerebral palsy, developmental delays or other birth injury.