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How could this be???


Concerning Jurisdiction, a Pennsylvania Judge dismissed a nursing home death lawsuit.  A lawsuit that was filed against a nursing home alleging that it was responsible for the resident’s death resulting from a fall was dismissed by a Pennsylvania judge, ruling that the victim was a resident of the state in which the facility was in, thus eliminating federal jurisdiction. 


A U.S. District Judge granted the nursing home’s bid to dismiss a lawsuit from the estate of the 84-year-old resident of the facility who died after a fall. The suit, filed by estate administrator, alleged that negligence on the part of staffers at the nursing facility caused her to suffer a fall that led to her death. The court agreed that the suit had to be dismissed, as the resident at the time of her death was a Pennsylvania and not a Florida resident, meaning the federal court lacked jurisdiction.  “[T]here is no question that plaintiff resided in Pennsylvania at the time of her death and the nursing home records show that, when admitted, she intended to remain there,” the court said. “Thus, defendant has produced sufficient evidence to rebut the presumption favoring the previously established Florida domicile.”


What happened?


She had been admitted to the nursing home in early October 2015, according to the complaint. Shortly after that, the facility reportedly judged that she needed a two-person staff assist to move from her bed to a chair. On Oct. 20, 2015, less than two weeks into her stay, the victim fell while two nursing assistants were transferring her from her bed to a chair. The fall, the complaint alleged, was about three feet and caused a fracture to her hip and a head contusion, among other injuries. She died later that day, according to the complaint.







Settlement of a baby’s injury largest in California history! 


A mother and her 3-year-old child were awarded a $20M settlement, the largest in the state history of medical malpractice for California, after a feeding tube error followed the girl’s birth. 


Baby Sophia was born prematurely but healthy in 2013.  Four days thereafter, the mother entered the newborn ICU to find the baby pale and not moving. 


Why do these things happen??!!


Because of human error, the machine attached to the baby’s feeding tube did not operate properly.  This caused the baby to get too much glucose, resulting in an imbalance of electrolytes.  Sufficient oxygen couldn’t reach Sophia’s brain and she suffered irreversible brain damage and cerebral palsy. 





A medical malpractice arising from pre-term labor and baby’s resulting in brain hemorrhage trauma, a jury awards $14.5M


The mother was admitted to the hospital on several occasions due to pre-term labor.  The labor was stopped with medication and bed rest.  Again, the mother went into labor and gave birth to her baby at 25 weeks of gestation.  the baby suffered a brain hemorrhage, resulting in cerebral palsy, cognitive delays, visual impairments and other issues which will require lifelong care. 


The parents filed an action against the medical center.  The lawsuit continued for 11 days.  The jury reached a Plaintiff’s verdict in favor of the parents, awarding $14.5M.



How to Avoid Motorcycle Accidents


First off, do not drink and ride.  Approximately 50% of all motorcycle accidents involve alcohol use.  Maintenance for the motorcycle.  Making sure that the motorcycle is in tip-top running condition, which includes checks of the tires, headlamps, turn signals, engine and brakes helps to avoid accidents. 


Motorcyclists Clothing


Motorcyclists should wear protective clothing such as sunglasses, jacket, faux gloves, long pants and boots. 


Motorcycle Training


90% of all motorcycle accidents involve motorcyclists being taught by friends.  Therefore, it is essential to get professional training. 


Motorcycle Helmets


Wearing a helmet substantially reduces head injuries, which can lead to serious bodily injury or death. 


Avoid Lane Sharing


Sharing a lane with another motor vehicle does not anticipate motorcycles can lead to serious accidents. 








Hemorrhaging in a maternal death, such as one that was caused in this case, have been on the decline nationally. 




In New York City, 38 related deaths were attributable to hemorrhaging.  More than 630 live births took place between 2006 and 2010 according to the City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.  Headlines can be scary when deaths are caused by medical errors.  In 1999, the Institute of Medicine published a report indicating that 98,000 people were dying in the United States as a result of preventable medical errors.  The number has now increased more than 250,000 which makes preventable medical errors in hospitals the third largest cause of death in the United States in 2013.  Research in this area is very difficult because of various reasons.  When a person dies in a car accident it is rather clear what caused the death.  This also is applicable for suicide, homicide, or drug overdose.  When an 86 year patient with dementia and cancer dies and has also been given a drug in a too high dose a few weeks earlier, is the error that killed or the underlying disease or age? 





In spite of a Tort Reform Statute, woman who lost all her limbs recovers $25M lawsuit.




A court ruled that Wisconsin’s Tort Reform Statute does not apply to a case in which there was a $25.3M recovery for a woman who lost her arms and legs because of medical malpractice.  The woman was admitted to a hospital with severe abdominal pains along with fever. The doctors who treated her recognized the signs of infection and included it in her diagnosis but did not relay this information to her.  She was released home without being told about the option of antibiotic treatment to address any possible infection and she was referred to her personal gynecologist.  The following day, her symptoms worsened and she visited a different emergency room where she was promptly diagnosed with septic infection caused by Strep A.  thereafter, the infection spread and her limbs were amputated in order to survive.   Her mobility was ultimately attached to prosthetic limbs. 




The Wisconsin Tort Reform Statute limited the amount of non-economic damages to a medical malpractice plaintiff can recover.  This law was enacted with the aim of reducing non-economic damage awards.  The jury awarded approximately $16.5M for non-economic damages.  The Court ruled that Wisconsin’s Tort Reform Statute had the presumption of overall constitutionality but ruled that the cap violated the lady’s right of due process and equal protection.  The Court’s rational was that the case fell within a case of medical malpractice victims who are most affected by the cap and that applying the cap to these specific plaintiffs was not rationally related to the legislative’s goal of reducing healthcare costs and implementing the gap. 







A husband thought that the worst was completed after his wife prematurely gave birth to their child at home.  The wife was placed in an ambulance after the emergency responders arrived.  Photos of the newborn were taken by the parents and family members were called.  Everybody was happy.




Less than 12 hours after giving birth, the mother was pronounced dead.  She had bled to death after a series of surgical procedures at the hospital. 


Lawyers filed a notice of claim against the hospital operated by New York City Health and Hospitals, as well as more than 6 doctors who treated the mother, alleging malpractice and medical negligence.  In a study released by the Institute of Health Metrix and Evaluation, the United States is one of several countries whose maternal mortality rate has in recent years risen although there have been improvements in healthcare.   Researchers believed that the recent increase is attributable to heart problems and chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and obesity.






WHY? WHY? WHY?   Pfizer, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies agreed to a multimillion dollar settlement on charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) when its’ overseas subsidiaries were engaged in bribing of doctors and other health officials to increase the sales of their product.   Pfizer would have to pay $45M in penalties.  Additionally, the Justice Department stated that Pfizer HCP Corporation would have to pay an additional $15M to settle similar charges. 


Do Big Pharmacy Companies really need to do this?


The initial charges were initiated under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and regard activities that appear to have wide spread support on foreign shores by indigence cultures regardless of the legality.  These illegal activities are alleged to have occurred as far back as 2001, and involved the bribes and payments to doctors.  Pharmaceutical companies continue to increase their activities in foreign markets because of the manufactured drugs at less costs than similar production in the United States.  The sale and marketing of pharmaceuticals in emerging markets where citizens now have the financial means to purchase said vacation, the capacity to resist such an ingrained culture of corruption in several countries has been seen to leave pharmaceutical officials on that ground.







A Connecticut State Jury Awards $12M in medical malpractice lawsuit alleged perforation of ascending colon during elective laparoscopic hernia repair.


So Tragic!


A Connecticut State Jury awarded $12M to a couple in a medical malpractice action brought after the wife suffered a perforated colon during an elective laparoscopic hernia repair.  The couple alleged that the perforated colon was not timely diagnosed and treated.  Consequently after the delay, the wife suffered profound septic shock, acute respiratory failure, metabolic encephalopathy with coma and prolonged intubation and ventilative support. 







Georgia Jury awards $8.4M in a medical malpractice lawsuit brought on behalf of an infant who suffered hypoxic ischemic brain injury at birth. 


The mother was admitted to a northeast Georgia medical facility to deliver a full-term baby.  Several hours before the delivery, the baby’s heart rate was noted at deaccelerating and variable.  The baby was born severely depressed with Low APGAR scores and metabolic acidosis.  He was not intubated for 8 minutes and continued to deteriorate, resulting in a full code and resuscitation.  The baby was diagnosed with hypoxic ischemic brain injury and cereal palsy.


The lawsuit proceeded to trial and the jury returned a verdict in favor of the child’s parents for $8.4M. 







More likely than not, male doctors have legal action more than female colleagues.  Male doctors are almost 2 ½ times more likely to have legal actions then female doctors according to a new study investigating sex differences in legal action.


Published in the BMC Medicine


The findings indicate these trends after reviewing the results from 32 studies relating to Medico-legal Action.  The difference between the sexes was found to have maintained consistency over 15 years, but the likelihood of Medico-legal Action in taking against male doctors was 2 ½ greater than it was for female doctors.  Further studies have offered potential explanation because of the disparity between the sexes may lie in that male doctors work more hours than female doctors. 







The doctor who delivered the Dixon baby did not respond to emails or phone calls because he was on vacation.  The doctor worked at a federally funded facility.  He was represented by lawyers from the United States Attorney’s office.  Subsequently, Dixon learned that she was not the first parent to sue the doctor for serious injury to newborns at birth.  The doctor delivered two babies in 2013 who were permanently brain damaged and a third who was disabled for life.  According to lawsuits filed by other parents, in another case, a patient accused the doctor of rushing to deliver her baby and used a vacuum device that disfigured her daughter, in September 2013, with permanent damage to nerves in her shoulder and neck.  The child’s mother agreed to settle the lawsuit for $92,200 according to court records. 


How is this possible!?!


In another case, which has not yet gone to trial, advised that a baby whom the doctor delivered in May 2013, according to the legal complaint.  The lawsuit accuses the doctor of ignoring signs that the baby was in distress and waited to long to perform an emergency C-section.  This caused permanent brain damage to her daughter. 


In all these cases, the mothers received their prenatal care from nurses and midwives at these federally funded clinics located at North Shore Medical Center where the doctor was on-call as the obstetrician.  


Irrespective of the $33.8M verdict, the doctor did not receive any reprimand and no other disciplinary action was taken against him and his Florida medical license.  He was not personally liable for the $33.8M judgment.  The United States government was responsible to pay the judgment.  The doctor joined the facility when he signed a contract that paid him $350 for every baby he delivered, according to the lawsuit.  He was board certified to care for pregnant women and deliver babies, and records say he delivered approximately 2,000 babies before the Dixon case.


It is difficult to find the truth.  Although the doctor had several medical malpractice lawsuits, there was no record of this trouble or fraud on his medical license.   Director of the non-profit National Medical Malpractice Advocacy Association in Texas, Deirdre Gilbert, said that patients might never be aware that their doctor have a history of medical malpractice because monetary settlements with injured patients are often confidential.  In many other cases, a doctor isn’t named in the lawsuits.   In the 3 medical malpractice lawsuits involving the doctor in Florida, the defendant was the United States Government, which is liable under federal law for injuries caused by its medical employees.  The Florida Department of Health fails to inform patients of any type of malpractice, they only say the license is “active and clear.”  The Health Department for the State of Florida says that it does not investigate decisions for malpractice unless the patient files a formal complaint.  The Florida Board of Medicine can discipline doctors for malpractice, including imposing fines and revoking their license.  Florida law requires doctors to report adverse incidents that involve them.  Although the doctor was reported in this case, consumers still might not hear about it.  If the Health Department for the State of Florida investigation panel issues a probable cause finding, those records then become public. 


Risk of brain damage


Despite the doctor’s experience, since he began practicing in Florida in 2009, medical experts who testified in the Dixon case found that the doctor failed to act on signs that the fetus was in distress. 







It will cost $33.8 million!!


When the obstetrician arrived at the bedside of a pregnant mother at North Shore Medical Center in Miami, the mother was in her final stage of delivery and ready to deliver her baby boy.


This was not a high risk pregnancy.  During the next 90 minutes, the doctor made several errors that led to a tragic outcome for the baby boy.  Through a federal lawsuit, the family was awarded a medical malpractice judgment in the amount of $33.8M.  Nurses were ordered to restart a drug strengthen contractions as was ordered by the doctor.  The doctor failed to perform a C-section.  The doctor walked away several times for long periods.  During one of these long periods, for about 8 minutes, the doctor called his stock broker.  When the baby boy was delivered, his face was blue and his limbs were numb.  The medical team was able to revive the infant.  By that time, he suffered severe brain damage due to a lack of oxygen. 


The court’s judgment will help to pay for a lifetime of round-the-clock for the disabled son.  








$9M award in Federal Jury Medical Malpractice case!!


Federal Court is the venue where the majority of medical malpractice cases are tried since the malpractice is alleged to have occurred in the state.   A healthcare facility has received federal funding, the lawsuit is normally tried in Federal Court where it is defended by the United States Attorney’s Office. 


A Federal Jury awarded the surviving family members $9M in a case where the 40-year-old mother of 6 lost her own life and that of her unborn child in a Chicago hospital.  The 7-month pregnant patient went to the hospital with a chief complaint of shortness of breath.  Instead of being transferred to the intensive care unit, she was placed in a regular room since she was diagnosed with pneumonia.  Subsequently, her condition became worse.  Nurses attempted to communicate with her doctor by phone but were unsuccessful.  The lawsuit alleged that instead of transferring her, the nurses did nothing.  After about 1 hour, the patient was found unresponsive and could not be revived.  The child was delivered still-born during emergency caesarian section. 




During the trial, the doctor and the nurses blamed others. 








Informed consent impacts a medical malpractice lawsuit.  The risk of proposed treatment must be explained by the doctor to the patient.   The patient’s consent must be obtained by the doctor before giving the treatment.  This requirement is called “duty of informed consent.” 


Some medical malpractice cases informed consents plays a significant role.  If a doctor were to decide that the best course of treatment to treat a patient’s digestive problems is with a dangerous procedure involving stomach tissue transplant and grafting.  If the situation is not an emergency,  the doctor believes the procedure is the best way to cure the problem.  The physician obtains tells the patient what the course of treatment would be, the patient asks no questions and prepares for surgery.  The surgeon performs the surgery very well, but due to no fault of the doctor, the patient loses ability to digest certain foods properly.


More than likely the new patient will have a claim for medical malpractice, although the doctor made no mistakes performing the surgery.  A patient could win the medical malpractice case proving that the doctor made a mistake prior to the surgery because he failed to obtain “informed consent.”  


Informed Consent Requirements


Information requirement demands that a physician provide a patient with adequate information to decide whether or not the proposed course of treatment is proper.  The consent requirement states that the doctor obtain the patient’s actual consent.   There are no exceptions to the Consent Rule.




A patient arrives unconscious and not able to communicate, the physician’s duty is to save the patient’s life.  The doctor is not required for informed consent until a reasonable arises to do so.   The patient cannot refuse to consent and sue the doctor for treatment already provided.  Although the patient can refuse to consent to additional treatment and the doctor must honor that decision.





Tim Chelpaty Law Office

121 Wyatt Dr. Suite #2

Las Cruces, NM 88005


Office Hours:
Monday - Friday
9am to 5pm


Las Cruces

Silver City





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