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Radiology Malpractice in Utah: Was Your Radiologist Negligent?

Studies such as x-rays, MRIs, and CT scans can provide vital information regarding a patient’s condition, but only if the correct study is performed and only if it is interpreted accurately.  Occasionally, a critical study will be misread by a radiologist.

Research suggests there are several common types of radiology malpractice committed in Utah and around the country. (See The Causes of Medical Malpractice Suits against Radiologists in the United States, Jeremy Whang, M.D., Radiology, February 2013)   These include:

  •  Errors in diagnoses.  For example, failing to identify and comment on abnormal growths, tumors or other problems in the breasts, lungs, or other organs.  Another example would be failure to correctly identify a bone fracture.
  • Errors of communication with other physicians.  Sometimes the radiologist may correctly interpret the study, but fail to pass his or her findings on the the proper ordering physician.
  • Failing to recommend additional imaging studies.  Often findings in one study suggest the need for additional studies.  Sometimes the quality of a study is too poor to provide useful information.  In these situations and others, a radiologist may need to recommend additional studies or tests.

As a Utah medical malpractice attorney handling cases against radiologists on behalf of injured patients, I have seen these types of errors in various cases.  Of course not every radiological mistake causes harm to a patient.  However, when cancer goes misdiagnosed, a brain bleed is missed, a fracture is missed, or some other critical finding leads to serious injury, the patient may have a valid lawsuit against the radiologist.

The only way to determine if a valid claim for radiology malpractice in Utah exists is to have it reviewed by a qualified Utah medical malpractice attorney.  In addition, a qualified medical expert radiologist would generally be required to win a case.

If you suspect you or a loved one are a victim of radiology medical malpractice in Utah, please feel free to contact me, attorney Jared Faerber at (801) 943-1005 for a free, no obligation consultation about your situation.

Campylobacter Sickens 45 in Utah this Summer

RawMilkUtah

This summer, Utah state food inspectors suspended Ropelato Dairy’s license to sell raw milk after dozens of people became sick after drinking the campylobacter contaminated milk.  Raw milk is milk that has not be pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria such as salmonella, listeria, E. coli, and campylobacter.  Other products such as cream and queso fresco can also cause foodborne illnesses if they contain contaminated raw milk.

Those sickened ranged from age 2 to 74 and included people in Davis, Cache, Morgan, Salt Lake, Utah and Weber Counties.

Campylobacter, or campy, causes diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, headache, nausea and vomiting.  The illness is particularly dangerous for young children, the elderly, or those with weakened immune systems.  In severe cases, it can lead to complications such as paralysis and death.

A difficult problem is that raw milk contaminated with disease-causing bacteria does not look or smell any different than uncontaminated raw milk.  Therefore, there is no easy way for consumers to know if the milk is safe.

Since 2009, there have been 14 documented outbreaks of campylobacter infection associated with drinking raw milk in Utah alone.  This resulted in over 200 people becoming ill.  A study released by the the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found raw milk to be 150 times more likely than pasteurized milk to cause illness in those who consume it.

As a Utah lawyer who handles foodborne illness cases, I have assisted many people to recover financially from those responsible for selling contaminated products.  If you or a loved one have been sickened in a foodborne illness outbreak in Utah, feel free to contact me at The Faerber Law Firm, PC (801) 943-1005 for a free consultation.

Video: Utah Medical Malpractice Lawyer Discusses Top 5 Signs of Medical Malpractice

 

This video by Utah medical malpractice lawyer Jared Faerber discusses some of the signs or hints that malpractice may have occurred.  Of course, none of these things prove malpractice, but they can be things that warrant further investigation.  If you believe you may have a case, you should consult with experienced Utah medical malpractice lawyers.  Feel free to contact attorney Jared Faerber at The Faerber Law Firm, PC (801) 943-1005 for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Utah Lawyer: Top 5 Signs of Medical Malpractice

DoctorMask

You suspect you may have been injured by medical malpractice, but how can you know?  Medicine is complicated and requires years of training and experience to truly understand.  Doctors and nurses are dedicated professionals.  However, even the most careful person can make a mistake.  When those mistakes occur in a medical setting, serious injury or death can result.

As a Utah medical malpractice lawyer, I have noticed certain patterns, or signs, of possible medical malpractice.  These things certainly don’t prove malpractice, but they may indicate the need to explore, usually with an experienced attorney, the possibility of medical malpractice.  Here is the list:

1.   Delayed Diagnosis.  

Was your cancer, heart attack, infection, or other disease not discovered until it was too late to receive effective treatment?  Were your symptoms ignored or attributed to another, less dangerous, disease?  Did the health care provider procrastinate needed tests and procedures without adequate justification?  These types of things may indicate malpractice.

2.  Your Doctor Failed to Order a Common Test or Additional Tests

Some diseases and disorders are treated with a standard series of tests.  Failure to perform these tests may be malpractice and may result in misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis.  Sometimes a very simple test can reveal a disease and allow early treatment and even a cure.

3.  You Received the Wrong Medication or the Wrong Dosage

Medication errors are quite common in the health care setting.  Errors can occur by the prescribing physician, at the pharmacy, or at administration in the hospital.  Many medications have similar sounding names and are easy to confuse.  Minor changes can result in massive overdoses with devastating consequences.

4.  Your Condition Does Not Improve

This is probably one of the weaker signs of malpractice on this list because often people fail to get better even in the absence of malpractice.  However, sometimes patients fail to improve because they were misdiagnosed and are receiving the wrong kind of treatment.  The wrong treatment or medication will not only fail to improve your condition, it may also make it worse.

5.   Severe Bed Sores or Pressure Ulcers

Bed sores, also called pressure ulcers or pressure sores, can develop in a hospital or nursing home setting due to prolonged pressure on the skin.  Stage III and Stage IV ulcers can even expose muscle and bone and can become infected.  They are usually preventable with proper care, including positioning and movement.

Of course this list is not comprehensive.  There are numerous other signs and types of medical malpractice.  The only way to know if you have a valid Utah medical malpractice lawsuit is to contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.  I’ll be happy to talk to you for free about your concerns at The Faerber Law Firm, P.C.  at (801) 943-1005.

 

Misdiagnosis is the Most Common Type of Medical Malpractice

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New research has confirmed what I have observed in my nearly 15 years as a Utah medical malpractice attorney:  diagnostic errors are a common, and often deadly, form of medical malpractice.  A misdiagnosis can occur when the health care provider reaches  the wrong diagnoses or reaches the correct diagnosis, but too late.  Examples include failing to diagnose certain forms of cancer until they are too advanced, failing to correctly diagnose a heart attack or stroke, or mistaking a deadly illness with something harmless.

Dr. David Newman-Toker and colleagues reviewed 25 years of medical malpractice payouts and published the results of their findings in the medical journal BMJ Quality and Safety.  They found that diagnostic errors cost $38.8 billion in malpractice claim payouts between 1986 and 2010, and they were the most likely type of error to result in death or disability.  These types of errors created larger damages than medication errors and surgical errors.  It is likely that misdiagnosis is an equally serious source of medical malpractice in Utah as it is in the rest of the United States.

The question for the health care system is how can we reduce these types of errors?  In my experience as a medical malpractice lawyer, diagnostic errors are often the result of poorly coordinated care.  Sometimes physicians and hospitals fail to communicate accurately with each other and coordinate their care with each other.  Providers sometimes fail to take the time to carefully question their patients about past care and tests.  Diagnostic errors can also arise when providers fail to see the big picture and focus only on one or two symptoms.  Errors by one physician are relied upon by others thus lengthening the failure to diagnose.

While controversial, it would be beneficial if hospitals and physicians would track and disclose their misdiagnoses.  That way, others could study these mistakes and learn to avoid them.  Patterns could be recognized and additional resources could be directed to avoid common diagnostic errors.

Of course, these remedies do nothing to help those who have already been victimized by a misdiagnosis in Utah and around the country.  If you or a loved one has been injured due to a delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis, I would be happy to discuss your situation for free.  Please contact me at The Faerber Law Firm, PC at (801) 943-1005.

 

 

 

 

 

What makes a good car accident injury case in Utah?

To prevail in any personal injury claim in Utah, the injured party must generally prove three things: 1) negligence; 2) causation; and 3) damages.  Each of these elements must be proven for an injured party to win their claim.  If any element is missing, the plaintiff will not recover.

What is negligence?

Negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care to prevent harming others.  It is acting carelessly.  Excessive speed, failure to yield the right-of-way, and inattention are just some examples of negligence on the roadway.

What is causation? 

Causation in this context simply means the negligence (or carelessness) of the defendant caused the injury or injuries involved.  This sounds simple, but can become complicated when the injured party has prior injuries, or the accident was such that establishing a connection between the accident and the injury becomes difficult.  Generally, the treating physician is in the best position to document causation.  Experts, however, are sometimes employed to establish this critical element.

Damages

Finally, the Plaintiff must show damages.  Personal injury damages in Utah include both economic and non-economic (or general damages).  Economic damages are those that can be specifically measured such as past and future lost wages, past and future medical expenses, property damage, and other out-of-pocket expenses.

Non-economic damages, or general damages, are harder to measure.  However, they are equally important and justified for Utah car accident victims.  They include monetary compensation for pain and suffering, and the loss of enjoyment and life.  These types of damages can be a very significant portion of any claim.

What is my car accident case worth? 

I’m often asked this question by clients.  It depends on several factors including the strength of the liability, the medical expenses involved, the degree of pain and suffering, insurance coverage, and many other factors.  Each case is different and values vary greatly from state to state and case to case.  It generally requires an experienced attorney to properly evaluate your claim.

Over the course of my legal career, I have evaluated hundreds of personal injury claims in Utah involving car accidents, bicycle accidents, large truck accidents, and other types of injuries.  If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident, I would be happy to provide a no-obligation, free consultation regarding your case.  Please contact me at The Faerber Law Firm at (801) 943-1005.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Utah medication errors are a common form of medical malpractice

Pills and a medication bottle

Medication errors are among the most common medical errors, harming at least 1.5 million people every year, according to a recent report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. The extra medical costs of treating drug-related injuries occurring in hospitals alone conservatively amount to $3.5 billion a year.

Errors are common at every stage, from prescription and administration of a drug to monitoring of the patient’s response.  These errors occur at the pharmacy level, at hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care facilities. It estimated that there is at least one medication error per hospital patient per day, although error rates vary widely across facilities. Not all errors lead to injury or death, but the number of preventable injuries that do occur is troubling.

New computerized systems for prescribing drugs and other applications of information technology show promise for reducing the number of drug-related mistakes. Studies indicate that paper-based prescribing is associated with high error rates. Electronic prescribing is safer because it eliminates problems with handwriting legibility and can automatically alert prescribers to possible interactions, allergies, and other potential problems. Many providers have already switched over to electronic systems.

Confusion caused by similar drug names accounts for up to 25 percent of all errors reported to the Medication Error Reporting Program http://www.usp.org/hqi/patientSafety/mer operated cooperatively by U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP). In addition, labeling and packaging issues were cited as the cause of 33 percent of errors, including 30 percent of fatalities, reported to the program. If you or someone you know has been injured by a medication or pharmacy error, contact experienced Utah medical malpractice lawyer Jared Faerber today at The Faerber Law Firm (801) 943-1005 for a free, no obligation consultation.

Cancer Misdiagnosis in Utah: A Medical Malpractice Lawyer’s View

Many types of cancer are curable- particularly if caught early.  For example, if a breast cancer diagnosis is made at Stage 0 or 1, the five-year survival rate is close to 100 percent.  However, if the diagnosis is missed, the chances for a better outcome decline.  At Stage IV, for example, the five-year survival rate is typically less than 20 percent.  Early diagnosis is therefore key.  A missed or delayed diagnosis of cancer due to medical negligence is therefore often actionable in Utah and other states.

Delayed or misdiagnosed cancer cases often involved common causes.  These include the misinterpretation of chest x-rays, mammograms, PAP smears, and other tests.  Other negligent causes of a delayed diagnosis might include a physician minimizing or ignoring your complaints, relying on a less than definitive means of diagnosis when a definitive test, such as a biopsy, is available.  Sometimes doctors might improperly assume your complaints have a “benign” cause.  For example, they might attribute rectal bleeding to hemorrhoids when your symptoms might warrant further testing and investigation.

Missed diagnosis of cancer cases involve a loss of chance for a better outcome.  These are real and tragic injuries.  My firm has successfully handled delayed cancer diagnosis lawsuits on behalf of people in Utah and Salt Lake City and can help you or your loved one seek justice.  We work with oncologists and other experts nationwide to prove your claim.  Feel free to contact us online or call (801) 943-1005 directly for a free consultation. 

 

Utah Medical Malpractice Lawyer for Victims of Heart Attack Misdiagnosis

A leading cause of death in the United States is coronary artery disease, or a narrowing of the arteries supplying blood to the heart.  This condition often results in a heart attack.  In some cases, a heart attack kills almost instantly and nothing could be done to save the victim.

However, in other cases, appropriate and timely diagnoses can make the difference between life and death.  Some heart attack victims who get proper treatment immediately may have the opportunity to avoid serious heart damage and resume normal life.

Too often, medical mistakes in Utah deprive heart attack victims of this opportunity.  Why is this?  Here are some common reasons why heart attacks are misdiagnosed:

  • Heartburn–  Chest pain is a common and indicative sign of a heart attack.  Doctors sometimes misdiagnose patients with a gastrointestinal problem and send the patient home, when, in fact, they are suffering a heart attack.
  • Patients don’t fit the heart attack profile-  Heart attacks can be misdiagnosed in patients who don’t fit the profile of the “typical” male over the age of 45.  Women and younger men can, of course, also suffer from heart attacks.  Sometimes the symptoms are slightly different.  However, a doctor’s failure to perform a thorough exam, order necessary tests, and consult cardiac specialists may lead to a heart attack misdiagnoses.
  • Mild Symptoms– Heart attack symptoms vary greatly from one person to another.  One person may or may not experience all of the typical symptoms.  A physician may dismiss a patients symptoms such as nausea and fatigue as not serious.
  • Undiagnosed in the Emergency Room- Sometimes a heart attack may go undiagnosed in the emergency room, particularly if the patient is a woman or younger man.  EKG’s may even be normal.  A heart attack may be misdiagnosed as GERD, musculoskeletal pain, or a respiratory problem.

If you believe a loved one’s death or serious injury was the result of medical malpractice in Utah due to the failure to properly diagnose a heart attack, please contact Utah Attorney Jared Faerber at The Faerber Law Firm at (801) 943-1005.  We have helped numerous victims of medical malpractice in Salt Lake City and throughout the State of Utah.  We are happy to discuss your potential case with you for free.