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Improperly performed caesarian sections can lead to birth injury or death of a mother or child.


The decision to perform a caesarian section, which consists of a procedure that can be used to deliver a child surgically when a natural vaginal birth is either unsafe or not occurring as planned.  The decision to perform a caesarian section can be extremely influential on the health and the life of both the mother and the child who undergo the procedure.  When a C-section is used, the doctors who recommended the procedure must be properly trained.  


Doctors can be held accountable and liable when a C-section is not performed correctly or not done in proper situations. 


A C-section is medically necessary and should be performed in many situations.  If properly done, a

C-section has probably saved millions of lives of both children and mothers worldwide since it was first performed in the late 19th century.  Medical experts now contend that C-sections are done too often and for the incorrect reasons.  The doctors involved in the C-section can be held accountable if the C-section is performed on a patient for whom is not appropriate, or if the patient is not given the right information before deciding to have the elective C-section.   If the procedure is done inappropriately, the plaintiffs might have a right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. 







After her son suffered an injury during his birth, a jury awarded the mother and father $55M.  The baby was born November 2009, one week past his due date.  The obstetrician who did the delivery according to the news source was scheduled to induce the mother the day before the baby was born.  Thereafter, the mother’s water broke a few hours prior to the scheduled induction.  The doctor administered Pitocin to increase the contractions but her labor progressed slowly.  The labor slowed down and eventually completed stopped.  The mother was quite small, therefore, it was possible that the baby was too large to pass vaginally.  After more than 24 hours had passed since the mother arrived at the hospital, the obstetrician decided to use vacuum extraction device.  This device attaches to the baby’s scalp to pull the baby through the birth canal.  The baby’s shoulders became stuck and the vacuum was used for 17 minutes.  The baby was born limp and colorless.   The baby was diagnosed with Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, which included neurological impairments caused by oxygen deprivation. 


Now the child has cerebral palsy, impaired motor skills, difficulty speaking and is unable to go to the bathroom on his own.  He will likely need assistance for the remainder of his life.   In the medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital, the parents allege that the administration of Pitocin caused the baby fetal distressed.  The Pitocin should not have been administered in this case because it could cause contractions to become too forceful thus causing trauma to the baby.  Furthermore, they explained that while the vacuum was being used on the baby, the fetal monitor showed a prolonged period of significant oxygen deprivation.  During the trial, the hospital argued that it provided the appropriate care and did not cause harm to the baby.  The hospital provided testimony from a nationally renowned expert at John Hopkins, Harvard and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who agreed that the hospital provided appropriate care.  However, in this case, the jury disagreed and found in favor of the Plaintiffs.





The family of a girl who suffered disabling injuries as a result of negligent treatment by the doctors and the hospital involved in the child’s birth, had been awarded a settlement from the defendants to compensate them for the damages caused by the medical negligence.


This case is an excellent illustration to show the difference between birth injury claims and lawsuits filed because of birth defects.  If birth injuries and birth defects can each be a source of significant problems for families involved as well as a successful lawsuit to compensate the family for their losses.  Although, there are key differences between the two types of lawsuit that sometimes cause confusion.


Birth injury lawsuits generally allege medical malpractice in most birth defect claims concerns products liability. 


Birth injury claims are usually centered on the medical treatment provider to the mother and child during the time of the child’s delivery.  A child who is injured or disabled as a result of a birth injury claim, would have been born healthy if it were not for the medical negligence involved in the delivery of the child.   This can receive compensation for a birth injury claim if they can prove that the attending doctors and medical staff provided substandard care which resulted in the injury to the child.


Many personal injury claims based on birth defects that allege that something which often includes a drug or medical treatment that was done to the mother during pregnancy which injured the baby’s development causing a disability or defect while the baby was in the womb.   The family of a child born with birth defects because of a drug taken by the mother during pregnancy, may have an unsafe products lawsuit against the manufacturer of the drug.





Pregnant women over 40 years old may be at increased risk for birth injury. 


Several reasons can cause a mother and child at an increased risk for having a birth injury.  Although the responsibility of the doctor is not to commit medical malpractice, it should not be affected by high risk pregnancies.  After the expecting mother is 35 years or older, risk for injury increase both for mother and child.  A higher standard of care for these patients might be required by doctors.  When medical providers have been involved with fertility treatments for women before the child was conceived.


Risks begin to increase at age 40


After the age of 40, women who give birth may be at increased risk of child birth injury.  There is an increased risk of placental previa after the age of 40.  This happens when the placenta blocks the uterine wall and increases the risk of hemorrhage as well as placental abruption, which causes the placenta to separate from the uterine wall.  Women over 40 are additional required to have a caesarian section which might not be performed correctly.  Failure to address these increased risked causes might result in medical malpractice for the doctor.  Additional ultrasounds and stress tests might be required in a woman who is over 45 and pregnant.  Failure to include these additional tests increases the odds of a birth injury and miscarriage.   The legal duty of the doctor is to give the woman over 40 the standard of care as a patient with similar background would receive from a reasonably competent healthcare provider.  Failure of the doctor to do this level of care could result in a medical malpractice lawsuit if the patient or baby is injured as a result of this neglect.


Study finds benefits to children born to older mothers


There are benefits to children of mothers who become pregnant when they’re older, according a recently released study.   The children are taller, do better in school, and were more likely to attend college according to this study.  Since older parents may be more financially stable and experienced with child rearing which enables them to better take care of children born later.


Are you the victim of medical malpractice?   If you think you or a family member have been a victim of medical malpractice which caused a birth injury, you should contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney.






A lawsuit alleging the denial of disability benefits for a veteran who suffered injuries during a privately performed surgical procedure suggested by the Veterans Affairs doctor was allowed to continue.  The Federal Circuit said there were unresolved issues as to whether or not VA care prompted the surgery.


We MUST care for our Veterans!


The United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims must review the disability benefits filed by the veteran claiming he became disabled after a certain nerve was served during the heart procedure, so said the 3 judge Federal Circuit Panel.






In a medical malpractice lawsuit accusing the defendant doctor of malpractice concerning gallbladder removal surgery, which caused the patient numerous injuries requiring multiple surgeries, a Pennsylvania state jury awarded the woman $2M in the medical malpractice lawsuit. 


Following a four-day trial and 80 minutes of deliberation, the jury determined that the doctor deviated from the proper standard of care when he cut into the wrong body part of the patient during the surgery, which caused bile to flow freely to other areas of the body, causing injuries requiring surgery and other invasive procedures to repair the patient’s biliary system. The jury awarded the patient $750,000 in noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering and $1.25 million for future noneconomic damages, according to the verdict form.


The suit was filed in July 2014 and alleged that during the 2013 gallbladder removal surgery called a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, the doctor misidentified a body part that needed to be cut in order to remove the organ and instead cut into a nearby structure which caused the bile leak and subsequent injuries to the patient’s liver.  The claims were that the doctor failed to use a long-established surgical technique which would’ve prevented his error and also didn’t recognize his error at the time of the surgery.


It was only by reason of the patient’s deteriorating to the point of near respiratory failure that her physicians recognized something was very wrong.  Five days after the surgery, a radiology study indicated signs of a bile leak, which was confirmed the next day by a gastroenterologist. As a result of her injuries, she is at an increased risk of liver failure, which may require a transplant in the future.





Yes! These things happen!!


Patient dumping because of insurance or financial reasons.  Misdiagnosing a medical condition.  Mistakes with medication and misinterpreting test results.  Concerning the above-mentioned emergency room errors, usually the most common type of emergency room error concerns misdiagnosis.  The most commonly type of misdiagnosis are heart attack, stroke, infection, and meningitis. 


You might have a medical malpractice claim if one of the above emergency rooms has caused a serious injury.  There might be a wrongful death claim against the negligent doctor if the results are fatal.  Doctors, hospitals, surgeons and other health care support staff might be negligent if there were emergency room errors. 


Causes of emergency room errors


Fortunately, most emergency room errors are preventable.   Emergency room errors which are common causes for injury include overcrowding, staff stressed and/or fatigued, lack of equipment or resources, low staffing, not obtaining medical history, rushing one patient to another, deviating from a standard protocol, shortage of hospital beds, and inexperienced staff. 


If you believe that your injuries or the injuries of a loved one were caused by emergency room errors, you could be entitled to compensation to recover damages.






A medication error, according to the National Coordinating Counsel of Medication Error Reporting and Prevention, consists of a preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in control of the health care professional.  Many studies have explored this subject since there is a large number of Americans who would die each year due to prescription errors.   A report by the Institute of Medication stated that between 44,000 to 98,000 people die in hospitals because of medication errors which could have been prevented.


Things Causing Medication Errors


The work environment leads to medication errors.  It could be attributable to interruptions, inadequately staffing, sleep deprivation, language barriers and lack of data concerning the patient.  These can be caused to the following factors:  Ordering errors – when the physician orders the wrong drug.  Administration errors occur when the drug is given to the wrong patient.  Transcription errors occur because incorrect data was entered into the medication administration record.  Dispensing errors because many of these errors involve the pharmacies supplying an incorrect medication or dose.


Although the pharmacist is paramount to reduce medication errors.  In their conclusion, in order to reduce medication errors, the process must identify where most errors occur and implement a quality improvement program to reduce the risks of errors.   Reporting errors by employees should be emphasized in a good-faith nonpunitive environment which leads to the reduction of pharmacy errors. 






Why do prescription errors occur?  What can we do to limit prescription errors?


Inadequate Work Environment


Having enough pharmacists is a requirement in order to reduce prescription errors.  Approximately 50% of pharmacists in the United States said they had so much work that they could not do their job well.  More than half of retail and chain pharmacists stated that they had a high stress environment because they had to meet high quotas.  Pharmacists now have limited time for lunch and breaks.  They have impaired cognitive function.   Studies have found that pharmacists who have adequate lunch periods and breaks make fewer mistakes.  83% of pharmacists stated that performance metrics contribute to pharmaceutical errors. 


Daily the pharmacy dispenses 250 or more prescriptions a day.  This converts into 31.25 prescriptions per an 8-hour shift or 1.2 minutes to fill out and prepare each prescription.  This does not include the time it takes for pharmacists to check for medication drug allergy interactions, contra indications, or answering phone calls from insurance companies, prescribers, and patients.


Lack of consultations


The California board of pharmacy learned that 85% of pharmacists indicated that their work load was too high and 73% said that they were understaffed, which did not enable to engage in consultations. Normally, at a minimum, consultations include the name and description of the medication, directions of use, potential side effects, and expecting benefits.   Pharmacy errors could be corrected in 89% of these situations if they had proper consultations.  Unfortunately, time did not afford them enough consultations. 


The key to limit prescription errors 


Adequate staffing needs to be addressed at the pharmaceutical organizational level.  This will enable proper quality insurance programs incorporating technology to restructure the work environment and to engage in consultation. 






When the decedent complained about the drug, his doctor switched the decedent to Methadone, a narcotic pain reliever, and the prescription was filled by a pharmacy.  After taking the first pills, he died within 36 hours. 


Many pharmacies are coping with a shortage of pharmacists.  While the prescriptions are increasing traumatically.  To satisfy this increased business of prescriptions, pharmacies have increased more reliance on technicians who have less training and lower salaries than pharmacists who fill the prescriptions.   The prescription instructions were to take 4 pills as needed for chronic pain.  The autopsy showed that the since the decedent was not instructed how to take the prescription, he died of Methadone toxicity. 




Do you check your prescriptions for accuracy after you pick them up?  Has a pharmacy ever made a mistake filling your prescription? 


Assuming that the prescriptions are properly done, millions of patients pick up their prescriptions daily.  Prescription errors injury 1.3 million individuals each year according to the FDA.  Additionally, they kill at least one person a day.  Healthcare costs from prescription errors are estimated at approximately $21B yearly.





Why can’t we be properly compensated?


The House Committee approved legislation that would make it more difficult for patients to personally obtain damages from the physicians.  This was a major concern for physicians pertaining to medical malpractice lawsuits.  The legislation which was approved by the House Judiciary Committee caps damages which would be paid by doctors, hospitals and nursing homes. 


The majority of states already have limits on monetary awards paid by healthcare providers.  This legislation would cover healthcare providers who are insured under Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans or military health plans.  Democratic lawmakers stated that this legislation might indirectly protect pharmaceutical companies and medical device makers who sell faulty products.  Furthermore, this legislation places caps on non-economic damages which would give immunity to pharmaceutical companies in lawsuits in which the plaintiffs were harmed by FDA approved prescriptions. 





Including neglected patients and after two dangerous patients escaped a year ago, the inspectors continue to find the same safety issues at Washington State’s largest psychiatric hospital. 




The inspectors learn that the hospital administrators make decisions that adversely affect patient safety.  The staff was not properly trained or qualified and there was a fear of retaliation from managers who focus more on bureaucracy rather than safety issues. 


In order to correct the safety issues of the two dangerous patients escaping, the state is hiring additional staff members. When a former worker faced retaliation because he reported a patient neglect, the Judge issued an injunction against the hospital that requires the hospital to answer to a pattern of retaliation.  The judge also ordered a $1.1M award to the former worker who faced retaliation. 





To settle a lawsuit that the hospital bills for unnecessary tests, the Detroit area hospital agreed to pay $791,000. 


Why does this happen??


Hundreds of patients who the government says were intentionally mistreated and misdiagnosed by Fata did this because he wanted to make money.


In one case, Fata diagnosed the patient with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma when she didn't have the disease and treated her with chemotherapy and radiation — treatments that have stripped her immune system and left her with chronic health issues.


The once-prominent Oakland County doctor pleaded guilty in September 2014 to poisoning hundreds of patients intentionally through unnecessary treatment and raking in more than $17 million from fraudulent billings.  Following the doctor’s arrest in 2013, the federal government seized many of his assets and set up an $11.9 million restitution fund, which is designed to help victims recover medical costs and other expenses. The government had seized $13 million in total assets from Fata.  The lawsuit was against Critterton Hospital Medical Center which used Dr. Fata.  Dr. Fata’s office manager blew the whistle and will be awarded $158,000. 




U.S. Attorney’s office said that the hospital voluntarily disclosed the lack of necessity in the lab tests.  The doctor was sentenced to 45 years in prison for these despicable actions.






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.




Tim Chelpaty Law Office

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