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North Carolina Personal Injury Blog

$3M medical malpractice award follows patient suicide

  • 16
  • April
    2014

Chronic pain is a frustrating and debilitating medical condition. While diagnosis of the source of the pain followed by the appropriate treatment may ease or even end the pain, these cases may be difficult to diagnose for a number of reasons. However, there are standards doctors must meet when treating patients who suffer from chronic pain in order to ensure they do not suffer avoidable complications. When a careless doctor’s pain treatment leads to an even more desperate situation, the consequences can be tragic.

A man who began to seek treatment in 2008 for his chronic lower back pain received shots from a doctor in May and December of that year. He returned in January 2009 and received another shot, which still didn’t completely stop the pain. After that injection, a painful lump began to form at the injection site. He mentioned it to a nurse at the clinic during his next visit and was told that it was not a problem.

A number of wrongful death cases found in veteran hospitals

  • 09
  • April
    2014

The Center for Investigative Reporting has compiled data from the VA that revealed a pattern of medical negligence.  In the 10 years after 9/11, the agency paid out $200 million to settle almost 1,000 wrongful death claims. Some of these are  hospital malpractice claims that cover a broad range of errors.

The allegations against the VA include instances of careless doctors, misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose psychological disorders and other conditions, and fatal medication errors.

GM product liability case spurs push for motor vehicle safety

  • 02
  • April
    2014

After navigating more negative publicity than any company in a long time, the only good thing that seems to be a result of the GM defective product recall is the expedited attention to other safety measures that may save lives in North Carolina and across the country.

The Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently joined in announcing the requirement of rear visibility backup cameras in all vehicles manufactured beginning in May 2018. Even though safety advocates applaud the new regulation, they criticized the agencies for the delay in issuing the rule. A law was passed in 2008 requiring the DOT to act on the issue by 2011. By the agency’s own statistics, 15,000 people are injured each year in back-over accidents and 200 are killed. 

Toyota settlement includes 'probation' for company executives

  • 27
  • March
    2014

In the midst of recent reports about deaths caused by faulty ignitions in GM vehicles, the U.S. Justice Department has announced a settlement with Toyota for $1.2 billion, which lawmakers say could serve as a blueprint for the way the GM case is handled. The settlement is based on the company’s insufficient warning to the public in North Carolina and across the country of dangerous defects that could cause sudden acceleration of the vehicles.

In a case that began with a product liability-related issue, the government finally found a way to satisfy safety advocates who have argued for years for criminal charges when manufacturers ignore reports of a dangerous automobile design defect or defective auto part. The Justice Department ultimately charged the company with wire fraud, which has previously been used to prosecute other crimes including securities fraud and corruption in politics.

North Carolina dental board seeks input on sedation dentistry

  • 20
  • March
    2014

The North Carolina dental board has recently requested public input regarding the creation of new rules on training, sedation, and emergency response following the deaths of two patients under sedation in 2012 and 2013. Investigations determined that both deaths were caused by fatal medical errors made by the dentists involved. The dental board concluded that the first death was caused by the dentist failing to pay attention to the patient’s medical history and ignoring warnings from staff that the patient was turning blue. The second death was caused when the dentist administered anesthesia to a patient who was not a good candidate for the type of anesthesia that was used.  

Medical malpractice occurs when any medical provider, dentists included, causes injury or death to a patient through treatment that falls below the accepted standard of practice within the medical community. Apparently, the dental board agreed that both of these anesthesia errors fell below the standards of practice because both dentists involved have been suspended. 

Doctors found to share responsibility for prescription drug abuse

  • 13
  • March
    2014

A study recently released by the American Medical Association includes statistics that may be surprising to some North Carolina residents. One such finding is that prescription drug overdoses are now responsible for more deaths in the United States than traffic accidents. The second such surprise is that these are not drugs purchased in back alleys from drug dealers. They are prescription drugs prescribed by doctors for their patients. Some of these prescriptions may rise to the level of medical malpractice.

In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention labeled the addiction and overdose crisis an epidemic.  Most of the prescription drugs that account for the epidemic are narcotic painkillers.  Drugs such as OxyContin and Vicodin are at least partially responsible for more than 16,000 fatal overdoses each year.

North Carolina man investigated for fraudulent health clinic

  • 06
  • March
    2014

Medical malpractice can come in various forms. Sometimes the accused is not even a qualified medical professional. This can be an especially frightening case, when you are taking prescription drugs and shots from a person posing to be a medical professional. Recently, a North Carolina man was accused of practicing medicine without license and authorities have now shut down his fraudulent clinic.

The investigation in this case is not completed and investigators have obtained warrants. The man has been charged with, among other serious allegations, identity theft as a physician. The prospect of being administered flu shots and other prescription drugs from a man who is accused of stealing a federal registration number is difficult to grasp. Medical errors are made by those who are qualified to be practitioners, so one can imagine the mistakes that could potentially be made by someone who is unqualified. 

State DOT examines cause of fatal accident on North Carolina road

  • 28
  • February
    2014

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is investigating an accident that resulted in the death of a motorcyclist. The area where the accident occurred, Midland Road in Pinehurst, has been called unsafe because of the number of pine trees that line the median of the four-lane road. The DOT is looking at ways to prevent another fatal car accident from occurring on the North Carolina road.

The 31-year-old father of two was killed earlier this month when his motorcycle was struck by a car. The driver of the car, a 72-year-old woman, received citations for death by vehicle, which is a misdemeanor, and a safe movement violation. Neither she nor her passenger was injured.

North Carolina hospital errors affect 18 neurosurgery patients

  • 21
  • February
    2014

Finding out that you have to have surgery is a discovery that usually comes with some fear. You likely have a fear of the procedure, the pain of the wound and the recovery. When you or your loved one goes into surgery, you expect that everything that will be used in the surgery has been properly sterilized to help keep you protected from germs, bacteria and organisms that can get you sick. For some patients who had brain surgery in North Carolina, surgical instruments that weren't properly sterilized might end up getting them sick with an incurable disease.

Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem says that 18 patients might have been exposed to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. This neurological condition is difficult to diagnose because patients usually die within six months after symptoms materialize.

21-year-old charged after fatal Garner hit-and-run

  • 14
  • February
    2014

Losing a loved one in a car accident is an extremely difficult ordeal for the North Carolina families that go through this. When the car accident is a hit-and-run, families often feel an added level of frustration and despair. Being involved in an auto collision and leaving the scene - failing to see if you can help save a life and neglecting to accept responsibility for your actions - is morally reprehensible. 

On Thursday night, two people were killed in a hit-and-run car accident in Garner, North Carolina. According to a news report, a tractor trailer spun out after running into an ice patch on Interstate 40 in the area of U.S. 70. Two vehicles drove off of the road in order to get out of the path of the spinning tractor trailer. Another tractor trailer driver stopped his vehicle after the accident to see if he could assist. That driver and the driver of one of the vehicles that had pulled off the road were then struck by another vehicle; neither of them survived.

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