Expert Witnesses May Become Harder to Line Up
Cleveland, OH (Law Firm Newswire) July 16, 2013 – Another set of changes to medical malpractice rules has been passed in Florida.
“Each time a state trots out more legislation to change medical malpractice rules, it’s a fair bet medical negligence victims end up taking the brunt of the changes,” indicated Christopher Mellino, a Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer.
The most recent legislative addition to the Florida legal landscape is SB 1792, that mandates that an expert witness called for the plaintiff in a medical malpractice case must practice precisely the same kind of medicine as the defendant. They can no longer be in similar fields. “Rather than helping a plaintiff, this piece of legislation effectively limits the pool of expert witnesses that are available to testify in a trial,” Mellino explained. Further, the bill permits, but does not mandate, that other health care professionals called to court may violate patient confidentiality and provide the defendant’s lawyer with details about a plaintiff’s care and treatment.
“Although this supposedly only applies to the fact-finding preliminary process of gathering information about the case, it is questionable whether or not that would be adhered to once an actual lawsuit has been filed,” added Mellino.
The legislation states that once a suit is filed, state court rules then restrict who lawyers may talk to and what kinds of questions they may ask. That process may become redundant if attorneys may question virtually anyone they choose in the initial stages of pre-filing. “This kind of legislation opens the door for invading the privacy of medical records,” said Mellino. It appears the legislative changes present more hurdles and barriers for medical malpractice victims, making it harder for them to hold a medical professional accountable for an error and to find true justice.
Many states, in an effort to address controversial measures touted by tort reform, have brought various laws into effective that directly impact the quality of justice available to a medical negligence victim. “Those individuals are entitled to justice and fair compensation,” Mellino pointed out. “They trusted a medical professional who forever changed their lives. They must be held accountable for their errors.”
Mellino Robenalt LLC
200 Public Sq., Suite 2900
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
Call: (216) 241-1901
- Anesthesia Malpractice Claims Suggest Increase in Surgical Fires
July 14, 2014, Crain’s reported that “a series of operating room fires” burned patients at the Cleveland Clinic in 2009 and 2010. Staff members were forced to undergo extensive training on how to prevent such incidents in the future, but hospitals in general are reluctant to change their procedures unless something happens in their own OR. In June 2013, a patient at another facility suffered second-degree burns to his neck and shoulders during an emergency tracheostomy. The surgical team violated the FDA’s Preventing Surgical Fires Initiative by using an alcohol-based cleanser to prep the patient’s skin, administering 100 percent oxygen, […]
- Military Hospital Malpractice Statistics
June 28, 2014, nytimes.com reported that military hospitals have “consistently had higher than expected rates of harm and complications in two central parts of its business — maternity care and surgery.” Since punishing doctors for medical malpractice hadn’t affected these statistics, in 2001, the Pentagon instructed military hospitals to conduct an investigation, or “root-cause analysis,” within 45 days of a debilitating injury or death. These reports were to be forwarded to the Pentagon’s patient-safety office where analysts would review what happened and come up with a solution to prevent it from happening again. “Unfortunately, R.C.A.s are used relatively infrequently,” a […]
- Woman Files Lawsuit After Doctors Force Her to Have C-Section and Perforate Her Bladder
Often, a birth injury lawsuit will be filed because doctors neglected to perform a C-section in a timely manner. For instance, in 2010, Johns Hopkins doctors left an expectant mother sitting in a hospital for two hours as they waited for blood test results. Her baby was born with cerebral palsy because he’d been deprived of oxygen, according to a CBS News affiliate. Two years later, jurors awarded the family a record-setting $55 million verdict, which broke down to “$25 million for future medical expenses and a life-care plan, $4 million for future lost wages, and $26 million for non-economic […]