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Medical Malpractice: Did A Doctor Misdiagnose Your Adult Onset Asthma As The Flu?

Posted by on Apr 21, 2016 in Uncategorized |

If a doctor misdiagnoses your adult onset asthma, and you experience a severe asthma attack some time later, contact a personal injury lawyer about bringing a medical malpractice case against the doctor. Although the flu virus may be life-threatening for some individuals, such as the elderly or very young, it may take one or two weeks before they succumb to the virus. However, asthma has the potential to be immediately life-threatening or deadly if it advances to an attack that blocks the air passages to your lungs. Here’s what adult onset asthma is, why asthma can be deadly and how an attorney may assist you with your case. What’s Adult Onset Asthma and How Is It Different From the Flu? Although most people develop asthma as children, some individuals experience asthma as adults. Adult onset asthma may show up when you’re exposed to things that give you allergies, such as dust and cats. Exercise, stress and even dry air may be causes of asthma.  While adult onset asthma and the flu virus can cause a number of similar symptoms, such as wheezing and tiredness, the symptoms produced by asthma may occur frequently, or at any time, and aren’t contagious to anyone. The flu tends to be more prevalent between October and May and may be contagious. Additionally, treating the flu virus is much different from treating asthma. Treatments for the flu virus usually include taking antiviral medications and fever reducers to make you feel better, which is usually in one or two weeks after you become sick. To treat asthma, you generally need to take long-term medications that control and prevent your symptoms. Asthma usually causes the tissues of the respiratory system to narrow and flame up. The medications help keep the tissues from completely closing up, which can lead to an asthma attack.  If you do experience an asthma attack, you would need to take quick-relief medications that immediately relax and open up your constricted air passages. A lack of air may cause a number of severe problems, such as difficulty speaking and unresponsiveness. If your doctor didn’t ask you about all of your symptoms or perform the correct tests during your exam, it’s critical that you allow a personal injury attorney to represent you. How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help You? A personal injury attorney may want to know if your doctor used the right diagnostic tests during your exam. Many doctors use tests to determine the cause of their patients’ respiratory problems, especially if the patients have symptoms of asthma. The tests are designed to diagnose asthma or rule out other respiratory illnesses by measuring how much air you can inhale and exhale out of your lungs. The tests may also reveal how fast you can empty air out of your lungs. For instance, spirometry tests are used to measure how much air you can exhale before and after using a bronchodilator. A bronchodilator releases medicine that opens up your airways. If you blow more air into the spirometry device after using a bronchodilator, you may have asthma. The doctor should also ask about your past and present medical histories to see if you have problems with your respiratory system. For example, some people who develop asthma experience allergies. The doctor should also ask how long you experienced your symptoms and when they first occurred. If...

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Restaurant Food Burns: 5 Factors That May Impact Your Case

Posted by on Apr 1, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Enjoying a night out to eat can easily be hampered due to a personal injury. One of the more common injuries you may come across at a restaurant is a food burn injury. Food burns can occur in your mouth and other parts of your body if the food is spilled. If you’re seeking compensation for your injuries and emotional damage, then there are several factors in the case to the consider. By consulting with a personal injury lawyer, you can determine how the burns and specific situation can help build your case. Incident Reports When the burns first occurred, many restaurants may have you fill out an incident report. This is a personal report that restaurants keep on file to help track various injuries. The details in this report are important in your case because they will likely be brought up again and could even be used against you if the restaurant feels like you changed your story. If you have a copy of the incident report or took images of it for your own record, then a lawyer can look through the various details and help you use them for the case. If your burns forced immediate treatment, another person in your dinner party may have filled out the report. If this is the case, then the witness statement could be used to help prove your case and reach a proper settlement. Waitstaff Mistakes In many cases, determining a settlement is about deciding who is at fault. In the case of burn injuries, many times you will be blamed for burning yourself. Sometimes the waitstaff is to blame for the incident and you can work with your attorney to prove this. Negligence on the waitstaff can be proven if the staff member did not warn you about a hot plate or hot food. It can also be shown if the waitstaff tripped and spilled out food onto you and caused the burns. Even without a tripping incident, a waitstaff member may hand you a plate that you grab, drop, and burn yourself with because it was not properly handed over. These small details can all impact a case and change the outcome. Restaurant Cleanliness Sometimes a restaurant’s cleanliness may lead to burn injuries. For example, if there is debris under the table you are sitting at, you can slip on it, step on it, and get distracted by it. This could lead you to knock a hot item over and receive burns in the process. If the restaurant did not properly clean the seating area before you arrived, they could be held liable for the injuries. The conditions of the tables, chairs, or booths could be a factor in the case as well. For example, if a chair is wobbly, the unbalanced legs could cause you to mishandle a bowl of hot soup and spill it on your lap. An attorney can use expert witnesses to examine the restaurant conditions and see how they affected the course of your injury. Dishware Conditions The dishware at the restaurant that you eat with could also impact the way you are injured and burned. For example, you may order coffee in a mug. If the mug handle snaps off and the coffee spills, your burns are to blame on the...

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How To Regain Custody Of Your Children After Spending Time In Prison

Posted by on Feb 29, 2016 in Uncategorized |

If you are a parent who was convicted of a crime and spent time in prison, you may be worried about regaining physical custody after you have been released.  Know Whether You Are Eligible to Gain Custody  There are certain felony convictions that automatically revoke your right to physical or legal custody. These convictions vary from state to state but generally include violent crimes, domestic abuse, and child abuse. In some states, a felony conviction for drug possession or a DUI may also negatively impact your ability to gain custody of your children once you have served your prison sentence.  Other non-violent felony convictions may make it easier for the other parent of your children to argue for sole custody but may not have a negative affect on your case for custody if the other parent does not want custody of your children or is not able to care for them.  Knowing your rights and limitations will help you decide whether you want to try for physical custody, legal custody, or simply stronger visitation rights with your children.  Practice Your Legal Rights While Incarcerated  As an incarcerated parent, you often retain several legal rights regarding your children. For example, while you will not have physical custody of your children, you may retain partial legal custody of them, allowing you to participate in important decisions regarding their care and lifestyle.  Also, importantly, you may be allowed to have visitations with your children while you are incarcerated. It is important that you exercise this right if it is available to you. This will show that you want to continue being involved in your children’s lives and help you maintain an emotional bond with them while you are incarcerated. If visitation is not available at your facility or due to your conviction, keeping in contact with your children through letters can help establish a bond as well.  Arrange for Placement With a Responsible Adult While You Are In Prison  In general, if you are in prison, the other parent will automatically receive physical custody of the children during your period of incarceration. If they are unavailable or unsuitable as a guardian, it is in your best interest to arrange for your children to be under the care of a responsible adult during your incarceration. This prevents your child from going into foster care and helps protect your parental rights.  To arrange for temporary custody, you and the responsible adult will have to make a notarized statement detailing your arrangement.  Work With Child Protective Services If Necessary  If your children were removed from your home by child protective services at the time of your incarceration, it can be a long process to regain custody of them. However, it is important that you work with CPS to meet the requirements they set in order to regain custody of your children. This may include a long checklist of items such as maintaining an adequate residence, securing employment, and attending parenting classes. Rather than fight against CPS for your children, it is best to approach the situation with an attitude of working together to create the best environment for your children. If you are unable to meet certain requirements, such as gainful employment due to your felony conviction, ask your casework for help finding assistance to...

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3 Things To Know About Your Income And Filing For Bankruptcy

Posted by on Feb 1, 2016 in Uncategorized |

When you finally reach out for help from a bankruptcy attorney for your financial problems, the attorney is likely to explain the differences between Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13. After hearing the differences, you may instantly want to choose Chapter 7, simply because it offers a discharge of most unsecured debts; however, this might not be an option. You will first need to determine if you qualify, and a large part of this decision is based on your income. Why Income Matters In Bankruptcy The money you earn helps bankruptcy attorneys determine which branch of bankruptcy you will qualify for. When people earn a lot of money, the bankruptcy court will make them repay some of their debts through a Chapter 13 case. For people who do not earn a lot, Chapter 7 allows a fresh start by discharging many of the debts they may owe. The way your attorney will determine which you qualify for is through a means test. A means test is used to compare your total income to the median income in the state you live in. The median income represents the average income of people living in your state, and every state has a different median income amount. The median income in each state is also separated by family size. This is because people with more family members need more income to support these additional people, while people with a lower number of family members can often live on less. If your income falls below the state median income, you will qualify for Chapter 7. If your income is above this amount, you will not qualify, which means you will need to use Chapter 13 if you want to file for bankruptcy. How Your Income Is Calculated To calculate your income, your lawyer will need to know exactly how much money you earned and received over the past six months. Once this amount is determined, your attorney will double it to get an annual income amount for you. Your income for the last six months will have to include a lot of different things, including: Wages from your job Any bonuses you received from work Income from self-employment or side jobs Money you received from an inheritance Lottery winnings Child support you received during this time Unemployment income In addition, you will also need to claim income from anyone else living in your house. If you are married, you will have to include your spouse’s income even if he or she will not be filing with you. Your median income must include all income from the household you live in. Why Timing Is Vital If your lawyer determines that your income is too high, he or she may review every type of income included in this figure. If there was some type of extraordinary income, such as lottery winnings, that caused your income to exceed the guidelines, your lawyer might suggest waiting to file for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court only looks at your income for the last 180 days. If you struck it big in the lottery 100 days ago, you might be better off waiting to file for bankruptcy for another 80 days. By doing this, you would not have to include the lottery winnings in your income, and this could drop...

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3 Telltale Signs Of Nursing Home Neglect

Posted by on Jan 8, 2016 in Uncategorized |

It can be scary to turn over the care of your loved one to the strangers that work in a nursing home or similar residential care facility. It’s easy to worry that your elderly relative or friend won’t get the same kind of care they were getting at home. The truth is that most of the professionals that choose to work in elder care are caring, compassionate, and skilled. However, there are definitely worrying cases of abuse and neglect out there, and it’s natural to be concerned about the quality of care your loved one will receive. You can help ensure your loved one’s safety and good health by knowing the signs of neglect and keeping an eye out for anything suspicious. Take a look at a few telltale signs that you should be on the alert for. Understaffing Occasional short-staffing happens in nearly every medical facility, and by itself it isn’t a sure sign that neglect is occurring. However, understaffing does make it more likely that neglect will happen – perhaps unintentionally – and if the issue is chronic, neglect is even more likely. Health officials say that understaffing is linked with problems like malnutrition, dehydration, and infections. You may not be able to count the staff members at the nursing home, but there are ways to tell if the facility is understaffed. When you’re visiting, look for call lights above the doors of the residents’ rooms. Are they answered and turned off in a reasonable amount of time, or do they stay on without a response? Do staff members seem frustrated and rushed? Is it difficult to find a staff member when you want to talk to one? Do you rarely see the same staff members twice, even when you visit around the same days and hours? These are all signs that the nursing home may be understaffed. Bed Sores Bed sores, or pressure sores, occur in bed-ridden or sedentary patients. These are a major red flag for nursing home neglect. This is because in most cases, bed sores are very preventable. Patients who are at risk for bed sores should be repositioned regularly in their beds or chairs and should have the heads of their beds elevated at no more than a 30 degree angle. Their skin should be kept clean and dry, they should be properly fed and hydrated, and the skin under any medical devices should be assessed daily. These are relatively simple tasks that should be part of taking care of any patient. If a patient begins to develop bed sores, it’s a sign that they may not be properly hydrated, that they aren’t being turned or cleaned often or thoroughly enough, and that they aren’t being monitored as they should be. There may be some cases where bedsores are unavoidable, but in many cases, they are a direct result of neglect. Unexplained Health Problems Chances are that your loved one already has some medical issues that caused them to need a nursing facility in the first place. Many elderly people develop multiple medical problems. Because of this, it can be tough to tell if an illness or health issue is the result of their pre-existing condition or the result of sub-par care. However, there are some problems that you should be on...

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Homophobic Harassment In The New York Workplace: When Can You Sue Your Employer?

Posted by on Dec 13, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Nobody should have to endure hateful slurs and harassment at work, but American gay people must increasingly cope with this kind of conduct. Studies show that between 15 and 43 percent of gay people experience discrimination or harassment at work in the United States. If you find yourself in this position, it’s important to know when you can take legal action against a New York City employer. Learn more here. Legal protection State and federal laws protect employees from discrimination in the workplace. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 specifically outlaws discrimination against anyone on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. While this federal legislation does not specifically call out discrimination against somebody due to their sexuality, most lawyers agree that homophobia is a form of gender discrimination. New York State and City human rights laws also prohibit this type of discrimination. In fact, New York laws extend the federal law to include more employers and to cover harassment due to sexual orientation and/or gender identity. As such, any type of homophobic abuse in the workplace is illegal. A hostile working environment If you suffer harassment or abuse at work, you should first raise the matter with your internal human resources team and/or your immediate line manager. Many companies have robust grievance procedures that will tackle these problems, and many gay workers don’t need to take further action. However, some gay people find themselves in a hostile working environment that remains unchanged. In a hostile working environment, the extent or severity of the abuse is so significant that the worker finds it difficult to do his or her job properly. If the situation remains unresolved, you can sue your employer under anti-discrimination laws. Employer responsibilities Under anti-discrimination laws, New York employers must take all necessary action to tackle anything that can lead to a hostile working environment. The actions that an employer may take will vary considerably from one company to another, but courts favor companies that take proactive steps, including diversity training courses, diversity networks, counseling services and written disciplinary policies. Employers must act on specific complaints. As such, if you take a problem to your line manager, and he or she does nothing about it, you may have grounds to take legal action. However, if you don’t report the problem, you may find it harder to sue your company, especially if you decide not to use an established grievance or harassment reporting procedure. The facts that a court will consider New York courts will consider various facts when deciding if the employer has illegally allowed a hostile work environment to develop. A judge will consider how often harassment occurs, the seriousness of any misconduct and the effect the abuse has on the plaintiff’s work. There’s no exact formula or definition. If the circumstances are serious enough, a judge may even uphold a complaint based on one event. Steps you should take If you decide to file a discrimination lawsuit against your employer, you’ll need to provide evidence to support your allegation. Evidence to consider includes: A personal diary of homophobic events, including dates, times and as much detail as possible. Witness statements and accounts of homophobic events. Copies of any homophobic material, such as emails or notes left on your...

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3 Steps To Getting You And Your Child Away From Your Verbally Abusive Spouse Quickly And Legally

Posted by on Nov 16, 2015 in Uncategorized |

No one has the right to verbally abuse you or your children, and that includes your spouse. If you have finally gotten fed up enough with this abuse that you want to leave your spouse and take your child with you, then you are making a great decision. However, if you simply flee the home and take your child with you, you will risk losing custody of your child in the end. Instead, follow these three steps to getting you and your child out of the abusive home quickly while still obeying all laws and improving your chances of obtaining full custody of your child after your divorce.  1. Find a Safe Space and File a Motion for Temporary Child Custody When dealing with an abusive spouse, you don’t want to keep you and your child in the situation any longer than you have to. You also don’t want you or your child to stay in the marital home during divorce proceedings, because that leaves the possibility of your spouse abusing you and your child even more in retaliation to you getting out. However, if you simply leave with your child without permission from the courts, you give your spouse the opportunity to make you look like the “bad guy” or “the loose cannon” later in proceedings, and your spouse could even report to the police that you kidnapped your child.  To avoid all this but still get you and your child out of the situation quickly, first determine where you are going to take your child that is safe. Use discretion when making phone calls to family and friends, and erase your phone history regularly to avoid your spouse finding out what you are doing.  Once you know where you will take your child that is safe, file a motion for temporary child custody with the local family court. When filling out the form, you will have to state why you feel having temporary sole custody of your child is in your child’s best interest, so be sure to include full details of the abuse going on in the home. You may be granted immediate custody upon completion of this form, although some states require a short hearing that you must attend and again voice your reasons to a judge.  Once you have this order in place, you are free to go to your safe place with your child and begin working on getting your lives back together away from the abuse. If needed, you can then file a motion for temporary child and spousal support. If you are considering not filing for this support, remember that you are entitled to it and it will help reduce the burden of temporarily caring for your child alone along with paying for a lawyer and paying legal fees during the upcoming divorce. 2. File for Divorce Once you and your child leave the home and your spouse is alone to dwell in self-pity, remember that he or she may pull tricks to help get you back into the abusive home or may even seem to feel genuinely sorry for their abuse, as many abusive people do in cycles. They may promise to change and beg you to come back and even make you feel like you are the abusive one by taking...

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5 Issues Minor Drivers Need To Understand About Drinking

Posted by on Oct 15, 2015 in Uncategorized |

If you are under the age of 21, there are several rules that apply to the possession and consumption of alcohol that can negatively impact your future. While a DWI is one thing you should definitely be worried about if you drink and drive, it is important to realize that there are other negative ways that drinking can impact your right to drive, even if you drank very small amounts or are not driving when you are caught drinking or in possession of alcohol.  The Blood Alcohol Content Limits Are Usually Lower Than You Think  While each state has different Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limits in regards to what constitutes driving under the influence or driving while impaired, the limits for those under the legal drinking age are usually much lower than those for an adult. While the adult limit is usually around .08% BAC, a minor can be charged with a DWI with a much lower BAC. Federal regulations require states to impose a limit of .02%, but many states have a limit of .01% or .00%, meaning a minor can face serious charges if they operate a vehicle after just one drink.  You should also keep in mind that these lower limits apply to anyone under 21, not just those under 18.  Most States Have Use and Lose Laws  Use and lose laws state that you do not have to be operating a vehicle to lose your licence if you have been drinking. This means that if you are the passenger in a vehicle and have been drinking, you can lose your licence. Additionally, if a party you are at is broken up by the police and you have been drinking, or if you are found in possession of alcohol, you can have your license suspended.  The amount of time your license would be suspended depends on your state laws, but is usually between one month to a year. Some states may suspend your license until your 18th birthday.  Penalties Can Include Fines, Community Service, and Jail Time  You may assume that because you are a minor, the penalties for drinking and driving will be less severe. However, they are often comparable to the penalties that adults face and can include fines, community service, and jail time.  Fines for a DUI or DWI are usually between $500 to $2000 and jail time ranges between a few days and a year. However, depending on your history and current circumstances, many minors can agree to longer community service sentences to replace fines or jail time. An experienced lawyer can help you plea for an appropriate sentence.  Required Disclosure Can Affect Your Future  You will generally have to disclose a DUI or DWI on applications for jobs, school, and financial aid, which can affect your future options for employment and education. In some cases, you will be able to have your criminal record either expunged or sealed when you turn 18. However, this is not always an option. Also, keep in mind that many of your college applications may be due before you turn 18, so you will still have to disclose your conviction when you apply.  You May Lose Your License If You Refuse to Submit to a Sobriety Test All states have implied consent laws. These laws state...

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Disabilities Following The 9/11 Attacks: Compensation Options For Victims

Posted by on Sep 24, 2015 in Uncategorized |

The 2001 September 11 attacks immediately resulted in 2,996 deaths. This number includes passengers and crew on the four hijacked planes, people working in the attacked buildings and some of the first responders who tried to rescue people from the burning towers. Unfortunately, the devastation did not end there. In the years that have followed, many people have started to succumb to life-threatening illnesses and disabilities as a result of the disaster. Learn more about the special compensation fund set up for these people, and find out why they may soon need to pursue other options. The legacy of 9/11 When two hijacked planes hit the World Trade Center in 2011, 24,000 gallons of jet fuel ignited, setting off a chain reaction that would result in a giant, toxic cloud of smoke and dust that engulfed much of the city below. Without any consideration for their personal safety, thousands of fire fighters and police officers attended the scene, breathing in significant quantities of toxic materials including asbestos, carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulfide. Since then, thousands of people have developed illnesses and disabilities as a result of this toxic cloud. These people are now receiving treatment for conditions that have occurred as a result of 9/11, and experts expect this number to grow. Notably, many of these victims have developed cancer, respiratory problems and sinus issues that mean they can no longer work. The September 11th Victims Compensation Fund The original September 11th Victims Compensation Fund (VCF) operated from December 2001 to June 2004. Congress set up the fund as a way for families and victims to claim compensation for losses suffered as a result of the terrorist attacks. Faced with overwhelming demand from victims, the U.S. President reopened the fund in 2011, under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010. You can file a claim under the Zadroga Act if you were at any of the crash sites between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002. Crucially, recovery workers helping to remove debris from the site continued to suffer exposure to hazardous chemicals, so the fund also compensates these people. The fund operates on a strict ‘no-fault’ basis and aims to avoid lengthy litigation that is not in the interests of the victims or their families. To date, 21,000 people have filed claims with the VCF. Eligibility for VCF claims For people with 9/11-related injuries, the window of opportunity under the VCF will soon close. To claim compensation through the fund, first responders and survivors must register with the VCF before October 3rd, 2016. Campaigners want Congress to approve bills that would extend the program past this deadline, as many victims will continue to need support after this date. Nonetheless, assuming this deadline does not change, 9/11 victims will need to consider alternative options to claim compensation. Alternative compensation options Most injured 9/11 victims cannot claim workers’ compensation at this late stage. Employees (or their families) must notify employers of an injury no later than thirty days after an accident takes place or no more than thirty days after a death related to an injury. After this, you must then file a claim according to certain statutes. You must normally file your claim within a year after the accident. As such, it’s now too late to...

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4 Things You Should Know About Signing A Prenuptial Agreement

Posted by on Sep 1, 2015 in Uncategorized |

When you get married, you are expecting it to be a lifetime commitment. Unfortunately, this is not the case for a large percentage of marriages, as 40 to 50 percent of US marriages end in divorce. If you have many assets or own a business, you might want to look into creating a prenuptial agreement for you and your future spouse to sign before you walk down the aisle. Before you commit to a prenuptial agreement, there are a few things that you should know about these agreements. What Exactly Is a Prenuptial Agreement? A prenuptial agreement is a document that is signed by a couple sometime prior to their wedding (usually, an ample amount of time prior to the wedding) that details the property rights that will go to the members of the union in the event of a divorce or death. A prenuptial agreement can override a number of laws that can determine who receives what property in the event of one of these phenomena. For example, a prenuptial agreement that is constructed properly can override laws such as the Community Property Law, which is a law that states that everything accumulated over the course of a marriage will be split 50/50, and the Equitable Distribution Law, which is a law that is in place where the assets will be distributed evenly over what the court deems to be adequately fair. Limitations There are some limitations on prenuptial agreements and they can occasionally be rather strict. Many of the legalities of prenuptial agreements constitute provisions for religious faith or religious beliefs concerning children of mixed faith households, as well as household maintenance costs. Many people falsely believe that having their future spouse sign a prenuptial agreement will give them custody rights for their children no matter what the circumstances; however, this is not the case. A prenuptial agreement cannot provide one with custody rights for unborn children, either. There is nothing in a prenuptial agreement that may promote a divorce, either. In other words, you cannot have someone sign something that says something along the lines of ” A divorce is necessary in the event of infidelity.” Proper Prenuptial Agreements One cannot merely sign a piece of paper and have a prenuptial agreement go into effect. There is a rather complex system of legalities set in place before a prenuptial agreement is officially set in motion or takes effect. Both parties signing a prenuptial agreement should definitely have an attorney, have their attorney look over the prenuptial documents and make sure that everything looks fair, safe and legally accurate. In addition, both parties must reveal all assets over the course of the document. If one or both parties is found to have “hidden” or “secret” assets that were not revealed over the course of the document, the chances of the document being thrown out altogether and having zero legal standing is quite great. Although the time frame varies from state to state, a prenuptial agreement must be signed an ample amount of time before the wedding in over to avoid the prospect of coercion. Is A Prenuptial Agreement Right For You? Take a prenuptial agreement into consideration if you are bringing a formidable amount of assets into the relationship (such as if you own a small business,...

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3 Surgical Devices That May Be Dangerous

Posted by on Aug 7, 2015 in Uncategorized |

It’s easy to picture negligent doctors or incompetent medical staff when you think of the defendants in malpractice lawsuits. But the truth is that sometimes patients are injured not through any fault of the doctors or nurses, but by medical devices that should be safe and helpful, but turn out to be dangerous instead. Just as any other product manufacturer can be held legally responsible for defective products, medical device manufacturers can be held responsible for faulty surgical equipment. Take a look at a few products that have caused problems for patients and find out what to do if you’ve been harmed by medical or surgical devices. Robot Surgeons Robot-assisted surgery sounds like a remarkably high-tech medical advancement. And it is! The idea behind the robots is to provide a highly precise, remote-controlled surgical procedure that can be performed with just a tiny incision, reducing scarring and recovery time for the patient. It’s a terrific innovation – when it works. Unfortunately, when it doesn’t work, the results can be disastrous. Lawsuits filed by patients or family members after robot-assisted surgeries allege that the robotic devices led to life-threatening and fatal complications. Many of the complaints allege that the complications stem from burns that are apparently caused by the robotic devices’ tendency to shoot sparks. What’s especially problematic is that these burns – often on internal tissues or organs – are not necessarily immediately visible to doctors. Delayed treatment after such an injury could end up being even more damaging than the initial injury. Surgical Mesh Surgical mesh is a sterile, plastic-like woven material that has a number of useful applications during surgery. It’s commonly used to repair hernias or to hold prolapsed organs in place. It can also be used to treat incontinence in some patients. This is a very useful material, but when it doesn’t work as intended, the side effects can be dire. One particular type of surgical mesh – transvaginal mesh, used for women who have a prolapsed uterus or who suffer from stress incontinence – had at least 4,000 complaints reported to the FDA in the period between 2005 and 2010. The complaints include very serious side effects like erosion, which occurs when the mesh wears away the tissue of an internal organ, and organ perforation, which occurs when the mesh actually penetrates a hollow organ like the bladder or bowel. These problems can usually be fixed by removing the mesh, but mesh removal is a difficult and dangerous procedure that can require multiple surgeries. Even with multiple surgeries, it’s not always possible to remove all mesh – the mesh is designed to allow the body’s natural tissues to grow around it, and as a result, it’s often too deeply embedded to remove entirely after it’s been in place for awhile. Surgical Warming Blankets Blankets probably sound like the most innocuous surgical instrument possible. Operating rooms (and hospital rooms generally) are often kept cold due to the machinery in the rooms, and anesthesia and the shock of surgery can cause patients to have chills. Surgical warming blankets are simply sterile, thin blankets that are inflated with a forced-air machine and used to keep the patient warm. It’s hard to imagine that they could be dangerous. However, malpractice lawsuits against one manufacturer of surgical warming blankets...

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