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FEBRUARY 2017 ARTICLES

HIP REPLACMENT SURGERY

 

As the United States population ages, hip replacement surgery is becoming quite common place, but it does entail risk.  A common risk from this type of surgery is heart attack or stroke occurring during the procedure.  Breathing problems can also occur after the surgery, as well as post-operative infections and post-operative falls.   Hip replacement surgery risks include allergic reaction to the artificial joint, breaking down of the new joint over time due to wear and tear, excessive bleeding during the surgery, infection in the new joint, blood clots during or soon after the surgery is performed, and weakness and/or stiffness in the new joint. 

 

If the doctor has deviated from the standard of care, he might have committed medical malpractice.  This includes providing inappropriate care as well as failure to provide care when needed. 

 

When does medical malpractice occur in hip replacement?

 

A hip replacement expert must review your records and provide an opinion as to whether the surgery was done improperly and the surgeon was negligent.  If a medical expert is not able to say that the doctor deviated from the standard of care, you might not be able to proceed with your lawsuit against the surgeon.  The Plaintiff in a medical malpractice lawsuit must prove that there was medical negligence which is testified to by a medical expert and medical witness.  When the expert renders an opinion, he will consider the following:

 

               1.            Your complaints

               2.            Your doctor’s objective medical findings

               3.            Your medical condition pre-surgery

               4.            Your doctor’s experience in performing joint replacement surgery

               5.            What the medical text books say concerning hip replacement surgery

               6.            What the doctor explained to you about the risks and benefits of the surgery

 

 

02/27/17

CAUSES FOR 18-WHEELER ACCIDENTS

 

Nowadays, we share the roads with 18-wheeler trucks.  Because of the large size and the amount of weight carried by 18-wheelers and blind spots, there are more risks involving 18-wheeler accident than with regular automobiles. 

 

The following are some of the common causes for 18-wheeler accidents:

 

1.            Driving under the influence.  Unfortunately, 18-wheeler drivers are often driving the influence of illegal drugs, prescription drugs or alcohol, which impair their ability to safely drive an 18-wheeler.  These drivers place other motorists at serious risk for injury or death

 

2.            Minor Traffic Violations.  Frequently, it is thought that minor traffic violations, such as tailgating, speeding and failure to obey traffic signals are minor in nature.  These minor traffic violations become major when it involves an 18-wheeler truck accident.  

18-wheelers cannot stop as quickly as an automobile.   If a truck is tailgating the automobile in front of him and the automobile must brake quickly, more than likely an accident will occur. 

 

3.            Excessive Schedule Expectations.  Truck drivers often operate on very tight delivery schedules.  Frequently, these drivers are encouraged to drive fast to make up for lost time.  Additionally, the drivers could have excess driving hours causing extreme fatigue which can lead to an 18-wheeler accident.  This can lead to improper decision making or falling asleep at the wheel. 

 

4.            Distracted drivers.  Truck drivers use their cellphones for talking or texting.  Often, they use their cellphone to look up an address while driving and this can cause the driver to not look at the road and cause an accident.  Whenever a driver’s attention is averted from the road, this creates an incredible risk for a very severe accident.

 

5.            Jack-knifing.   When a trailer, which is being pulled by a truck, skids forward the truck can fold which is causing a jack-knife.  This can be caused due to faulty equipment, poor road conditions, or improper braking techniques.

 

02/24/17

 

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE-SPINAL FUSION SURGERY

 

Some patients may sue for malpractice because of surgical errors.  In order for a patient to sue for medical malpractice, the patient must prove they have a patient-doctor relationship.  Additionally, they must prove that the doctor was deviated from the standard of care for the area.  During the time of the surgery, the patient must also prove that the doctor caused them injuries.

 

The surgeon might be liable for medical malpractice if he fails to give the patient quality care.  In order to show that the patient did not receive the accepted standard of care requires expert testimony to show that the doctor deviated from the proper care. 

 

What are spinal fusion surgeries?

 

Hardware is placed in the spine to put the spine in position.  This type of surgery is done as treatment for fractures, curvatures and other back problems.  Other types of spinal surgery malpractice consists of surgeries which were unnecessary, hardware was misplaced and procedures resulted in infections.  Spinal fusion is used to stabilize, strengthen and reduce pain in the spine.  According to the Mayo Clinic, common risk of spinal fusion include the following:

 

               1.            Infection

               2.            Poor wound healing

               3.            Bleeding

               4.            Blood clots

               5.            Injury to blood vessels or nerves in and around the spine

               6.            Pain at the bone graft sight

  7.            Accelerated wear and tear on the remaining vertebra and the

                 possibility of more chronic pain

 

Spinal fusion medical malpractice errors consist of the following:

 

1.            Negligently performing the procedure and/or failing to

               recognize the complication

2.            Recommending the procedure when it is not advised

3.            Failing to fully inform the patient of all the risks before the surgery

 

 

02/23/17

 

CEREBRAL PALSY

 

Approximately 10% of every child born with Cerebral Palsy, is attributable to  medical malpractice.  Since a doctor or someone on the medical staff made a mistake, 1 out of every 10 children has Cerebral Palsy because of a medical mistake.

 

What causes Cerebral Palsy?

 

When the brain has suffered an injury usually before or after delivery, Cerebral Palsy is caused.   Cerebral Palsy causes abnormal signals from the brain to the central nervous system.  Depending on the severity of the brain injury, children can be crippled or paralyzed from use of certain muscles.  When there is an abnormally prolonged delivery or a very difficult labor, Cerebral Palsy can be caused.  Occasionally, it is caused because something has occurred with the umbilical cord cutting off the oxygen from the baby thus causing a brain injury due to oxygen deprivation.   How severe the disability is normally is dependent on the amount of time the baby suffered the injury. 

 

Are these injuries preventable?

 

Whether a mother has infections or other complications during child birth should be diagnosed by doctors.  If an infant is too large to be delivered vaginally, doctors should be able to assess the baby’s size before birth and use a C-section.  For instance, physicians should be able to diagnose an umbilical cord prolapse which occurs when the umbilical cord come out before the infant.  Physicians are required to make quick decisions when an infant shows signs of distress whether before, during, or shortly after birth which would save the mother and baby from further complications.  If a baby is delivered and has had oxygen deprivation, the doctor can still prevent the Cerebral Palsy.  Time is very crucial because every second that passes without the infant having oxygen only increases the risk for Cerebral Palsy.  A physician can place the baby in a decompression chamber full of 100% oxygen which helps oxygenate all the tissue.  Thus it reduces trauma to the brain.  Normally, if the baby has been deprived of oxygen and the physician does not use the oxygen therapy hyperbaric therapy, then the Cerebral Palsy is more likely the doctor’s fault. 

 

Should a parent file a Cerebral Palsy lawsuit?

 

A child with Cerebral Palsy has very high medical expenses.  When a Plaintiff wins a Cerebral Palsy lawsuit against a physician, they can be compensated for the medical treatments necessary for the caring of the child with Cerebral Palsy.  Furthermore, the child can be compensated for in-home-care, punitive damages, pain, suffering and mental anguish and lost wages. 

 

02/21/17

 

BONE FRACTURES DURING DELIVERY

 

A bone fracture might occur because the doctor was too rough during delivery or incorrectly used the delivery instruments.  Bone fractures may heal by themselves but in more severe instances babies may need special medical equipment to properly have the bone healed.  For several months, the family might incur substantial medical expenses.  In order to recoup these medical expenses, families may file a birth injury lawsuit against the physician. 

 

Treating bone injuries

 

Broken bones in babies normally occur in the collar bone.  The collar bone might be fractured during a breach delivery in which the child starts crowning feet and bottom first rather than head first.  In this situation, the medical team must act quickly to ensure that the baby receives oxygen.  When acting too quickly, the doctor uses medical devices to deliver the baby.  If these instruments have excessive force, the baby may sustain a fracture.  Skulls, legs, and arms are the areas most fractured.   It is very difficult to diagnose a fractured bone on a baby.  Doctors use x-rays, MRI’s or CT scans to detect bone fractures.  1 in every 1000 deliveries, a child suffers a fractured bone.  Sometimes, the bones will heal without medical assistance.  But, there are other fractures that never heal properly and might stunt growth, impair strength, and limit the child’s range of motion during the remainder of his life.  

 

02/15/17

SPINA BIFIDA 

 

Spina Bifida is a congenital condition in which the embryonic neuro tube, this is a tissue that becomes the spinal cord and brain, does not properly close before birth.  The most common type of Spina Bifida causes the malformation close to the lower back.   The physician may have to perform surgery to close the area if the baby has this type of birth injury.  According to medical experts, taking Folic Acid during the pregnancy can reduce the change of Spina Bifida by over 70%.  

 

Spina Bifida Diagnosis

 

Using an ultrasound enables physicians to diagnose Spina Bifida.  The lemon sign which would be shown on the ultrasound indicates that the concave frontal bones appear flattened or pulled.  Spina Bifida can also be detected by radiologists and they can determine when the ventricles have become dilated. 

 

Spina Bifida complications

 

Babies shall experience different degrees of disability according to the level lesion.  The higher the level of the lesion, the more problems the baby will more than likely have.  Common disabilities attributable to Spina Bifida include the following:

               1.            Attention problems

               2.            Impaired cognitive function

               3.            Abnormal eye movement

               4.            Bowel and bladder problems

               5.            Orthopedic problems such as club feet

               6.            Hip injuries and scoliosis

               7.            Weakness or paralysis of the legs

 

 02/13/17

 

PHARMACY ERRORS

 

Pharmacists have a duty of care to properly fill the prescriptions and maintain a record of all medications.  If the pharmacist violates the standard of care, patients can be seriously injured.  When the pharmacist breaches the standard of care, the pharmacist should be held accountable to compensate the patient.   Attorney Tim Chelpaty is skilled at handling pharmacy errors and to compensate the patient for the damages.

 

Pharmacy Errors are a major problem in the United States.  According to the Food and Drug Administration, there were approximately 1.3 million people injured annually because of medication mistakes.  Data bases containing information about patients are maintained by pharmacies.  Pharmacists should use the data base to be certain that the prescriptions are properly filled considering other drugs which the patient might be taking.  The data bases also alert the pharmacists about any dangerous situations concerning several medications. 

 

Prescription Errors which have occurred are as follows:

 

 1)  Prescription mistakes causing death 

 2) Poisoning because of prescription errors

 3) Prescription errors causing toxicity

 4) Pharmacy errors attributable to under dose

 5) Pharmacy errors contributing because of overdose. 

 

Investigating Pharmacy Errors/Negligence

 

We use expert witnesses to review all of the pharmacy’s documents and maintenance records, as well as the quality control procedures used by the pharmacy.  We identify deviations from the standard of care exposed by the negligence of the pharmacy management.

 

02/09/17

 

 

 

BIRTH BRAIN DAMAGE

 

Brain damage caused at birth is medical negligence.  Parents of a child who suffers brain damage at birth, fear for the future and health of the baby.  Severe hemorrhage normally is the result of physical brain trauma.  Also, when the brain is deprived of oxygen, it can cause catastrophic brain injury.  These two types of injuries are the biggest causes of injuries to an infant. 

 

When there is intracranial hemorrhage, there is bleeding in the baby’s brain which is caused by the rupture of a blood vessel within the skull.  Acute bleeding in the infant’s brain cause result in a deformity of the infant’s skull because of a rough labor and delivery.  Depravation of oxygen can cause brain damage.   To determine if a rough vaginal delivery or lack of oxygen during birth caused the child to suffer a severe brain injury, the parents must obtain the medical records.  In very premature infant births, bleeding in the brain is more common.  When this happens, there is a less amount of oxygen in the blood and inadequate blood flow.

 

Subdural hemorrhages happen between the outer and inner layers of the brain.  With subdural hemorrhages, newborns may develop seizures.  Subarachnoid hemorrhages occur below the inner most of the two membranes that cover the brain.   Subarachnoid hemorrhages usually occur in full term newborns.  Intraventricular hemorrhages occur in the brains ventricles.  

 

 

CARDIOLOGY MALPRACTICE CLAIMS

 

Insurance companies spend approximately $80,000 to defend a cardiologist in a medical malpractice payment.  Cardiologists have a significant economic incentive to do what is best for the patient while attempting to avoid possible medical malpractice lawsuits. 

 

Fact and Medical Malpractice

 

Unfortunately, cardiologists sometimes believe that a patient is suffering from heartburn reflux or some other gastrointestinal complaint.  Heart attacks are misdiagnosed quiet often by the medical staff as well.   Heart attacks rank as one of the top 5 diseases for medical malpractice jury awards.  Medical malpractice awards for heart attacks typically alleged mismanaged diagnostic methods, medical tests, or misdiagnosis.   Diagnostic errors are one of the main causes of loss in cardiology medical malpractice.  Cardiologists could reduce the loss by ruling out conditions carrying the greatest risk of misdiagnosis.  This can be done by good documentation, good physician communication, and proper diagnostic tests.  Changing diagnosis according to the indications available would be keys to good proper conclusions. 

 

Tips to prevent cardiologist medical errors:

 

               Make sure your cardiologist knows all your medications

               The cardiologist should know all allergies

               The cardiologist should write the correct prescription for the patient

               The cardiologist should answer all questions or concerns

               The cardiologist should learn about the patients conditions from all available resources

               The cardiologist should make sure they have all the correct health information

               The cardiologist should make sure the primary care doctor is coordinating the treatment

 

PULMONARY EMBOLISM MISDIAGNOSIS

 

Blockage of the pulmonary artery is a pulmonary embolism.  Usually, it is caused by a blood clot.  The size of the blockage and the speed of the diagnosis and treatment determine the severity of the pulmonary embolism.  A substantial pulmonary embolism can block the flow of blood to the lungs and it can even cause death.  Misdiagnosis of pulmonary embolism is one of the most commonly encountered medical problems.  Pulmonary embolism misdiagnosis is a significant problem because the damage caused by the pulmonary embolism enlarges with time.  Catastrophic damage can occur when a doctor fails to properly diagnosis pulmonary embolism. 

 

The following are common symptoms of pulmonary embolism:

 

               *Calf or thigh swelling

               *Calf or thigh pain

               *Cough

               *Shortness of breath

               *Sharp pain when inhaling

 

Doctors generally consider the pulmonary embolism symptoms.  But, the symptoms by themselves are insufficient to diagnose pulmonary embolism because other ailments have similar symptoms including heart attack.  Patients with deep vein thrombosis, which is a common cause, are 32% asymptomatic.  Usually, the doctor performs diagnostic tests to determine if a patient has suffered a pulmonary embolism.  The tests commonly used are D-dimer, CT-pa, V/Q scan, pulmonary angiogram and lower extremity venous ultrasound.  The results of these tests and the symptoms mentioned above or normally sufficient for the doctor to diagnose pulmonary embolism.  Since other conditions have the same symptoms as pulmonary embolism, misdiagnosis is quite easy.  Misdiagnosis normally consists of the following:  lung cancer, pneumonia, and heart attack.   The doctor performs a differential diagnosis to determine possible medical conditions that can be causing the symptoms.  Test results from the above-mentioned tests, along with the symptoms, can be ruled out because they don’t match the test results.  A doctor can be legally liable for medical malpractice if it is shown that the doctor deviated from acceptable medical standard of care when doing the differential diagnosis.  

 

 

WRONGFUL DEATH

 

What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

 

The lawsuit for Wrongful Death is a claim usually initiated by the surviving family members or loved ones of the decedent who was killed as a result of someone’s negligent conduct.  Also, the result can occur as the consequence of an intentional act.  The lawsuit is normally filed against the person, persons, or entity which were responsible for the death.  

Dealing with the death of a family member, can be the most difficult period of time in your life.  When the family members was attributable to another parties wrongdoing or negligence, usually the grieving process is increased by these negligent acts.  You might have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit.  A wrongful death statute entitles the surviving family heirs to file a wrongful death lawsuit because of another parties negligence causing the death of the loved one.

 

Wrongful death compensatory damages consist of the following:  

 

          1) Funeral expenses
          2) Medical expenses
          3) Damage award will include interest from the date of the decedent’s death
          4) Loss of parental guidance
          5) Loss of income
          6) Potential future earnings.  

 

How Wrongful Deaths Occur

 

Wrongful Death occurs when a person is killed because of the misconduct or negligence of another party.  Heirs who were dependent on the decedent may be entitled to monetary damages.  Wrongful deaths can occur in the following ways: 

 

           1) Automobile accidents
           2) Medical malpractice
           3) Premises liability
           4) 18 wheeler accidents
           5) Motorcycle accidents.   

 

You will need a Wrongful Death attorney.  Because of our experience and resources, we have the ability to handle wrongful death cases and obtain adequate compensation.  

 

 

What should you do if you’ve been involved in an automobile accident?  Below are several things to do after motor vehicle accident.

 

DO NOT LEAVE THE SCENE OF THE ACCIDENT


The state law requires that you stay at the scene of an accident. 
If other people in the vehicles have sustained injuries and you leave the scene, you can be charged with criminal penalties. 

 

INQUIRE ABOUT ANY INJURIES TO DRIVERS AND PASSENGERS

 

Be certain that everyone involved in the accident is alright. 
If medical attention is needed, please get medical assistance. 

 

CALL THE POLICE. 


If there is physical injuries or substantial property damage, call the police. 
Ask the police to file a police report. 

 

EXCHANGE INFORMATION WITH THE OTHER DRIVER. 


Obtain insurance information from the other driver(s), license plate number(s), Driver’s license number(s), addresses, and names. You should not admit guilt unintentionally or unnecessarily. 

Obtain the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses if possible. 
Ask the witness what he or she saw. 


NOTIFY YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY PROMPTLY.

 
Tell your insurance company that you have been involved in an accident.  
You are required to cooperate and tell them the truth.  If the insurance company finds out that you lied about an accident, they could possibly deny coverage for the accident.

 

MAINTAIN RECORDS OF YOUR MEDICAL TREATMENT.


Obtain list of medical professionals whom you seek for treatment. Obtain list of what medical treatment and medications that you receive. It is necessary to obtain copies of all medical reports and bills in order to document you medical expenses. 

 

TAKE PHOTOS OF ANY PROPERTY DAMAGE TO YOUR VEHICLE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.


The photos help document the amount of compensation you are to receive for your property damages.  Obtain a copy of the damage evaluation.  Receive a copy of your insurance company damage appraisal.   If you are not satisfied with the property damage, we can help you. 

Don’t discuss the accident with anyone unless you advise your lawyer.  If we represent you, you should not talk to anybody about the accident.  Please tell them to communicate with us. 

BAD FAITH

 

Insurance Bad Faith occurs quite frequently.  When the insurance company denies the insured’s right to receive the insurance benefits as stated in the contract, there might be Bad Faith.

Common examples of Bad Faith are as follows:  An insurance company denies payment to an insured which can consist of inadequate investigations by the insurance company, coercive tactics, or acts of claims adjusters.  

 

There is stated or implied covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing in every contract.  This means that both the insured and insurance company are to act fairly with good faith within the contract.  The insurance carrier is expected to fully compensate the insured in a timely manner.

 

COMPENSATORY AND PUNITIVE DAMAGES

 

When an insurance company engages in Bad Faith, this action is called a Tort or a Civil Wrong.  The insured has a right to file a lawsuit against the insurance company seeking compensatory damages for money owed and punitive damages.  In order to punish the insurance company for its misconduct, let a Bad Faith attorney help.  Bad Faith claims are complex and they require expertise of a lawyer who has experience with these types of cases, and will thoroughly examine your claim and fight for the maximum compensation.  

 

WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN MAKING A CLAIM?

 

Remember to submit in writing problems with your insurance carrier.  Remember also, include all communications with the adjuster and the claim itself.  Maintain written notes if you speak with someone by telephone with the insurance company.  Be certain to include the person’s name and the date of the note.  


WHAT IF THE INSURANCE COMPANY IS SIMPLY DELAYING THE CLAIM?

 

1.     Put your complaint in writing and send it to the insurance company. 
2.    Know who the claim adjuster is and be certain to reduce all communications to writing. 
3.    Obtain the name of the claims adjuster supervisor and send him/her a detailed letter. 

 

THE INSURANCE CARRIER ADVISES ME MY CLAIM IS NOT COVERED DUE TO A PROVISION.  WHAT CAN I DO?


If the policy provision can be interpreted more than one way and your interpretation is reasonable, the insurer is usually bound by the interpretation.  The policy is interpreted against the insurance company because it wrote the policy.  

 

HOW CAN I FIGHT MY BIG INSURANCE COMPANY? 


We can sue your insurance company.  Attorneys such as myself can handle Insurance Bad Faith Claims on a contingency fee basis.  This fee arrangement allows you to pursue your case.  The attorney fees are based on the ultimate recovery or settlement. 

WHAT TO DO AFTER A SLIP AND FALL

 

As soon as possible after the slip and fall, you should obtain medical treatment.  Prompt medical treatment will show that you were injured and will help the credibility of your claim.  You should inspect the area where you fell.  You should be able to determine the cause of the fall.  If possible, immediately obtain pictures of what caused you to fall.  

 

Next identify witnesses.  Obtain the names, addresses, and phone numbers of anyone who witnessed your fall.  Even if someone did not witness the fall, they could describe the conditions of the floor and your pain.  

 

ACCIDENT/INCIDENT REPORT

 

You should complete the accident if the slip and fall occurred in a business.  If possible, you should request a copy of the accident report.  Do not give the insurance company a recorded statement.   If you give a recorded statement without the assistance of an attorney, you might say something to minimize your injuries or liability.  

 

SOCIAL MEDIA 

 

You should not use a social media.  Insurance companies frequently look at social media to determine whether or not they could use anything you posted to minimize your damages and their liability.  The insurance companies use the social media to counteract anything you might allege concerning the slip and fall.  

 

STORE REPRESENTATIVES

 

Do not talk to store representatives.  In addition to using insurance claim adjuster investigations, store representatives might call you directly.  You should not talk to store representatives because you might say something that adversely affects the legitimacy of your injuries.  

Contact

Tim Chelpaty Law Office

121 Wyatt Dr. Suite #2

Las Cruces, NM 88005

 

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday
9am to 5pm

Alamogordo
575-437-9972

Las Cruces
575-525-3123

Silver City
575-388-9050

 

Email

info@timchelpaty.com

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