images-2More than 25 lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson subsidiaries, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer Corporation, in consolidated cases in the Louisiana federal district court regarding the serious side effects of the blood-thinning drug, Xarelto.

Xarelto has been associated with serious side effects, including internal bleeding, gastrointestinal bleeding, brain bleeds and death.

It has been reported that thousands of individuals — patients who have been prescribed Xarelto as a blood-thinner  — have been affected. The presiding federal judge is Judge Eldon E. Fallon.

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thA $2.5 million wrongful-death judgment was entered in favor of the family of Walter Mankowski, who died on April 7, 2009. At that time, there was no special administrator appointed until after the deadline for suing, and the defendants moved to dismiss the case.

A probate estate was never opened for Walter Mankowski and Susan Mankowski, who filed the complaint on March 25, 2011 alleging that she was suing as “Special Administrator of the Estate of Walter Mankowski, deceased.” The problem is that a probate estate was not opened, and Susan did not request appointment as a special administrator under Section 2.1 of the Illinois Wrongful Death Act until Sept. 10, 2013.

The defendants argued that the initial complaint was a nullity because the court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over the claim and that an amended pleading could not “relate back.”

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images-1General practitioner physician Dr. Ram Thawani was the attending physician for Peter Gates during his hospitalization at Chicago’s South Shore Hospital on Oct. 23, 2009. Gates, 57, died from a brain herniation, which is a swelling of the brain, and a brain hemorrhage on Oct. 29, 2009. Gates was survived by his wife and seven daughters.

The Gates family filed a lawsuit against Dr. Thawani claiming that he was negligent in choosing not to order a CT scan of the head, despite complaints of severe headaches with pain, described as level 10 on a scale of 1-10. Gates was also taking a blood thinner, Coumadin, at the time.

The defendant doctor argued that the headaches had waxed and waned and were associated with a fever of recent onset. He also said there was no focal neurological deficits to point to any problem in the brain, and the brain hemorrhage was a sudden event that no surgical intervention could have averted.

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imagesEric Topol, M.D., is the director of Scripps Translational Science Institute, which is believed to be one of medicine’s most innovative programs about the digital future in medicine. The book written by Dr. Topol, “The Patient Will See You Now” was reviewed in the New York Times Book Review section on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015.

Commenting on the future of medicine and how it will be administered, he writes, “We are about to see a medical revolution with little mobile devices. Smartphones will play a role well beyond a passive conduit.”

Dr. Topol’s book says smartphones will be used to accomplish what doctors in their offices and at hospitals have been doing for many decades. The author says smartphones will be able to perform blood tests, medical scans and even parts of the physical examination. This is what Dr. Topol calls “bottom-up medicine.”

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images-1On June 1, 2009, the defendant surgeon Dr. Aaron Siegel agreed to assist a urologist during a urological surgery on 60-year-old Ivory Lakes at the Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill. She had been a patient of Dr. Berger, the urologist, for about a year, treating for retroperitoneal fibrosis. Retroperitoneal fibrosis is a condition that causes urinary flow problems in both ureters. The surgery involved a procedure to free the ureters and encase the ureters with tissues harvested from the patient; the procedure was designed to prevent recurrence of the urinary flow problem.

Dr. Siegel’s role at the surgery was limited to being an assistant to Dr. Berger. Dr. Siegel never met the patient before she was placed under anesthesia, and Dr. Siegel did not know anything about her medical history or what specific procedure was planned.

During the surgery, Dr. Siegel held retractors, provided visualization for Dr. Berger and suctioned fluids from the operative field. However, one of the ureters tore when Dr. Berger grasped it, and it then it disintegrated when he tried to grasp it above the tear. Dr. Berger than decided to remove the kidney due to the lack of a viable ureter.

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imagesThe state of South Dakota has imposed a medical malpractice cap that leaves many who are injured or killed without a remedy. It was reported recently that a young woman who brought herself to a hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D., because she was carrying a dead fetus for removal from her uterus found things going from bad to worse.

The hospital did a procedure to remove the fetus, but things in the recovery room left the woman in shock. The doctor who examined her did not notice that the first doctor who removed the fetus had perforated her uterus during the procedure. She was literally bleeding to death.

A nurse eventually noticed that something was wrong and rushed the woman back to the operating room where the doctors performed emergency surgery to remove her uterus. She survived the ordeal, but lost the ability to have children.

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imagesOn Jan. 8, 2008, Nicole Yerkovich, who was 35 at the time, was taken by ambulance to the emergency department at LaGrange Memorial Hospital because of severe abdominal pain and nausea. The ER doctor at the hospital ordered a contrast CT scan of her abdomen and pelvis to see if she was suffering from an appendicitis attack. The CT scan was initially read by a teleradiologist who reported she could not visualize the appendix and therefore could not rule out appendicitis. The teleradiologist recommended the hospital’s doctors obtain the delayed images to get better visualizations of the appendix and noted a moderate amount of free fluid in the pelvis, which could have been due to a ruptured cyst.

The following morning, the in-house radiologist, Dr. Vladislav Gorengaut, reviewed the same CT scan and reported there were no definite findings to suggest appendicitis. He noted there were ascites, which may be caused by peritonitis, and there could be a gynecological issue such as a ruptured hemorrhagic ovarian cyst. Ascites refer to the accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity in the abdominal area.

Based upon the first report of Dr. Gorengaut, the emergency department doctor canceled the delayed CT scan and instead admitted Yerkovich to gynecology and ordered a pelvic ultrasound. Dr. Gorengaut read the ultrasound and reported there was echogenic fluid most likely representing blood from a ruptured ovarian cyst.

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images-1Anthony Bausal was transported by ambulance to the emergency department at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington, Ill., on Sept. 20, 2008. Bausal had a cellulitis infection in his left leg, increased pain and shortness of breath. He also had underlying conditions of lupus nephritis, cardiomyopathy and chronic anemia.

Bausal, 34, was admitted into the hospital, where additional testing showed that he had a dangerously low cardiac ejection fraction of 20-25% (55% is considered normal), which is the measure of how the well or poorly the heart is pumping out blood through the body. He also had acute anemia and a gastric ulcer with erosive gastritis of the stomach.

One of the defendants, a general surgeon, Dr. Darryl Fernandes, was consulted on Sept. 25, 2008 because of concern about an infectious process in Bausal’s left leg.

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images-4At issue in this South Carolina Supreme Court case was whether the medical malpractice statute of repose applied to indemnify the claim of Columbia/CSA-HS Greater Columbia Healthcare System — also known as Providence Hospital. The trial court in the Court of Appeals in South Carolina held that it does and thus barred the indemnity action brought by Providence Hospital. Because the statute of repose barred the indemnify action brought by the Providence Hospital, the Supreme Court of South Carolina affirmed the lower court’s and the appellate court’s decision.

In 1997, Dr. Michael Hayes and Dr. Michael Taillon were working as emergency room physicians at Providence Hospital as independent contractors. Arthur Sharpe came to Providence Hospital in the emergency room on the same date. He was complaining of chest pain. Drs. Hayes and Taillon evaluated Sharpe and diagnosed him as suffering from gastric reflux. Sharpe was then discharged from the hospital; in fact, he had actually suffered a heart attack. That heart attack was determined a few days later when he went to seek other medical care.

Because of the misdiagnosis, on May 25, 1999, Sharpe and his wife filed a medical malpractice and loss of consortium suit against Providence Hospital and Dr. Hayes. The Sharpes did not name Dr. Taillon as a defendant. Providence Hospital settled with the Sharpes on June 10, 2004.

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images-2In what appears to be a change in 100 years of law, the 11th U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta has ruled that Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines can be successfully sued for medical malpractice by passengers who have been negligently injured or killed by the ship medical providers.

The federal appeals court refused to reconsider the decision that essentially opens the doors for cruise ship passengers to sue cruise lines for medical malpractice.

In a hearing that was held in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, Ga., the appeals court rejected a bid by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines to revisit its ruling. The court noted that none of the 11th circuit judges voted in support of reconsideration.

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