Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matt Arnold answers the question: “What can you sue for in a personal injury case?”
Male circumcision is an ancient practice that is still so prevalent in modern times that it is almost a norm. However, it is important to be aware of the rights of the parents and child involved. An uptick in legislation in recent years has shown an increasing trend for courts to recognize the consent issues surrounding the topic and a child’s right to “bodily integrity.”
Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “May I choose my own doctor in a personal injury case?”
Injured patients have been watching and waiting for a result in the second of what will likely be many personal injury lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson over its DePuy metal-on-metal hip implants. The wait is now over as a jury in Texas came back after a week of deliberations and found that the hip implants were defectively designed. As a result of the defective design and lack of warning by Johnson & Johnson, jurors awarded a total of $500 million to a pool of five plaintiffs.
Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Do I have to sign a release allowing the insurance company to get my medical records?”
Everyone has heard horror stories of what can go wrong in surgeries. These tales often involve scalpels or bandages left behind inside a patient’s body or amputation of the wrong appendage. Though these mistakes are gruesome and terrible, they’re also fairly rare occurrences. Though medication errors may not be nearly as attention getting as some of the more extreme examples of medical malpractice, experts say they present a far greater danger to patients, occurring with alarming regularity and potentially causing serious damage when the mistakes do occur.
Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What exactly is a wrongful death claim?”
Dr. J.B. Perdue says “ambulance-chasing lawyers” are to blame for the first known settlement of a lawsuit ever made by North Carolina’s medical examiner system.
The lawsuit was filed after Dr. Perdue declared a living man dead.
Larry Green was found by emergency responders lying face down beside a road in Franklin County, North Carolina on January 24, 2005. Green had a noticeable head wound, and one paramedic could find no vital signs.
Dr. Perdue was summoned to the scene. After examining Green, Perdue ordered the man to be placed in a body bag and transported to a morgue. A paramedic suggested to Dr. Perdue that Green might be breathing, however Dr. Perdue dismissed this by saying that left-over air was merely escaping Green’s body.
According to court documents, some eight witnesses saw Green’s chest and abdomen move while on the scene. In addition, as Green was placed into the body bag, witnesses saw his right eyelid twitching. Dr. Perdue attributed this to a muscle spasm, saying it was “like a frog leg jumping in a frying pan.”
Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What if a loved one dies from the injuries sustained in a serious accident while the case is pending?”
Loretta MacPherson underwent successful brain surgery at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle last month. During her recovery from surgery, she sought out medication advice at a local hospital near her Oregon home.
Two days later, she was dead.
Michael Boileau, the chief clinical officer at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, Oregon, said that medical staff had ordered the correct medication for Ms. MacPherson—Fosphenytoin, a drug intended to ward off seizures caused by brain surgery—and the Fosphenytoin had been delivered to the medical center.
However, an internal investigation at the hospital showed that a pharmacy worker had filled a bag for intravenous injection marked “Fosphenytoin” with another drug, Rocuronium. Rocuronium is a potentially paralyzing muscle relaxant used to sedate and stabilize patients during surgery.
After being administered the wrong medication, Ms. MacPherson suffered cardiac arrest and stopped breathing. Doctors advised her son, Mark, that she had suffered irreversible brain damage. Ms. MacPherson was taken off life support and passed away two days after she entered the medical center.
Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What should I do if I have been injured by another party but I can’t afford a lawyer?”
How long does it take to get a medical malpractice case into the hands of a jury? Eleven years and counting, at least for one North Carolina plaintiff. Sadly, Pamela Justus did not live to see her claims against neurosurgeon Michael Rosner, Park Ridge Health and Adventist Health litigated in a court of law.
Jurors in Henderson County Superior Court viewed Ms. Justus’ video testimony on Monday. The testimony was recorded more than two years ago—before Justus’ death. Justus said she hoped her lawsuit would keep what happened to her from happening to anyone else.
Mrs. Justus has alleged that Dr. Rosner performed unnecessary spinal procedures which failed to correct her medical problems of pain and fatigue and created additional medical problems, including neck and back pain, severe headaches, nausea and a paralyzed vocal cord. Dr. Rosner performed the surgeries in 2000 and 2001. Mrs. Justus died on Sept. 20, 2012.
Dr. Rosner’s medical license has been suspended repeatedly by the N.C. Medical Board. The board found in 2003 that Dr. Rosner had performed unnecessary surgeries on at least eight patients, including Mrs. Justus. In his spinal decompression surgeries, Dr. Rosner would carve away portions of the spine and the back of patients’ skulls in order to treat chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia. More than 20 lawsuits have been filed against Dr. Rosner alleging medical malpractice and professional negligence. Mrs. Justus filed her lawsuit in 2003.
Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matt Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question: Can I wait a few months to pursue a personal injury claim?
Medical treatments involving stem cells have been hailed as holding the promise of a new generation of treatments for a variety of diseases, ailments and disorders. Now an American woman is learning that experimental stem cell treatments performed in Portugal eight years ago may have produced some unintended results.
The woman was suffering from paralysis. Doctors had used a similar method on some 20 other paralysis patients; more than half reported recovery of movement or sensation. The American woman’s treatment did not involve the controversial method of transplanting of embryonic stem cells; instead, doctors removed tissue from her nose and implanted it in her spine. Doctors hoped the cells would turn into other cell types similar to cells near the site of the woman’s injury, acting as a kind of bodily “repair kit.”
Instead, after the stem-cell operation, the woman experienced increasing pain. In 2013—eight years after the stem cell operation—doctors discovered a three-centimeter-long growth made up mainly of nasal tissue on the woman’s back. Doctors also found small pieces of bone and nerve branches that had not connected to the woman’s spinal nerves.
Doctors said this circumstance occurred in less than one-percent of operations and that many patients receiving the treatment had seen a “remarkable recovery.”
Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “What exactly is a wrongful death claim?”
A distraught mother from North Carolina has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a security company after she claims they put her son in a cab and sent him home despite him already being dead. The horrible incident took place in November 2011 at the Cumberland County Hospital.
The woman says that her son, A’Darrin Washington, had been going to the Cumberland County Hospital for 10 years for treatment of his recurrent pneumonia. Washington suffered from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was used to dealing with a variety of health complications.
A week before the fatal cab ride, Washington checked himself into the hospital complaining of severe illness. Doctors initially misdiagnosed Washington as suffering from bacterial pneumonia. Days later, the doctors realized their mistake and began treating Washington for fungal pneumonia, finally giving him the proper medication. Then, only a few days later, the doctors decided he was better and ready to be discharged.
The lawsuit claims that Washington felt weak and was complaining of poor health prior to the discharge. Despite his asking to remain in the hospital, security officers working for AlliedBarton called a cab to take him home. Other hospital staff complained at the time that Washington was “uncooperative” and had refused to talk or to move. Evidently his lack of cooperation was due to the fact that he was, tragically, already dead.
Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “Do I have to sign a release allowing the insurance company to get my medical records?”
A recent Pennsylvania medical malpractice case involved a detour into the controversial subject of same-sex relationships and whether same-sex couples, who cannot legally marry in the state, have the right to make a claim for loss of consortium.
A judge in Philadelphia this week decided to throw out the loss of consortium claim by the same-sex couple in a medical malpractice suit filed against Temple University Hospital. The order comes as many groups, including the ACLU, are actively pushing forward a variety of cases challenging existing rights for same-sex couples.
In the case, Tammy and Jesseca Wolf have argued that denying Tammy’s claim for loss of consortium based on her gender violates the Pennsylvania Constitution’s right to equal protection. Loss of consortium is a category of damages that is awarded for the loss of family or marital companionship caused by another person’s wrongful or negligent acts. Generally, in North Carolina and other states that allow such claims, this loss can only be brought forward by married couples.
The case began with Jesseca Wolf claimed that doctors at Temple University Hospital left a metal object in her foot following a recent surgery. Temple took issue with the med mal suit, especially with the loss of consortium claim by Tammy. Temple filed a motion saying that state law should not recognize consortium claims for injuries that happen prior to marriage. The logic goes that because Pennsylvania law does not recognize same-sex marriage, then the loss of consortium claim must be dismissed.
Everyone’s heard of confidentiality agreements; those documents you sign agreeing not to disclose certain important bits of information. What people may not realize is just how often such confidentiality agreements are employed in North Carolina to keep critical information regarding medical malpractice or dangerous devices or drugs from going public.
The agreements, which help ensure that settlement stay secret, often only work to the benefit of the doctor, hospital or manufacturer responsible for causing devastating harm. The victim of the negligence receives next to no benefit from such agreements. Even more disturbing is how they can be used to shield the public from important information about dangerous practices or products.
A recent case involving a North Carolina mother who’s young son died due to negligence among the hospital staff where he was taken after falling ill highlights just how rarely such cases make news. The woman was told to sign a confidentiality agreement to receive her settlement and that the whole case would go away if she did. She refused, saying she wanted the public to know about the medical safety issues that led to her son’s death.
The mother’s decision to speak out and not sign the confidentiality agreement is very rare. The majority of such lawsuits in North Carolina end with the victim signing an agreement promising not to reveal important information in exchange for a set amount of money.
The danger of this approach is that, for example, in the case of a defective product, if all those injured sign a confidentiality agreement and the company is able to settle the cases quietly, then the public will never be made aware of the problems associated with the dangerous product, depriving other potential future victims of the chance to safeguard their families.
A real world example of this is the case of the faulty Firestone tires. Years before the nationwide recall was announced, the company began settling cases involving the failing tires on Ford SUVs and made sure each plaintiff signed confidentiality agreements. These dangers were thus not revealed until much later, something that experts say led to 270 additional deaths.