“A woman whose fetus was stillborn cannot sue the doctor who performed an emergency Caesarian section in a futile attempt to save its life, an appeals court ruled.” The unanimous five-judge panel called the plaintiff’s theory “remarkable.” [Reuters via White Coat]
View from Massachusetts General Hospital: drug shortages getting “dire” [WBUR, earlier here, here, here, etc.]
Medical liability roundup: Sheriff arrives at Ohio doctor’s home to enforce $9.7 million award blaming lack of Caesarean section for cerebral palsy [TribToday] North Carolina legislature overrides Gov. Beverly Perdue’s veto of liability limits [News & Observer via White Coat] Trial-lawyer-friendly Florida Supreme Court could strike down malpractice award limits in pending case [Orlando Business Journal]
Could it be that Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) — known for his extensive involvement in pharmaceutical issues over many years as a Congressional nabob, and for his long, close alliance with the plaintiff’s bar — is really unfamiliar with the story of Bendectin, one of the staple horror stories of litigation run amok in the drug field? [Carter Wood, ShopFloor] Background here, here, here, etc., etc. The whole clip, starring Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA), is worth watching: Bilbray wonders aloud whether there are any lawyers he can sue when unfounded lawsuits put needed medical technologies out of reach.
A Brooklyn woman intends to pursue further levels of judicial review after an appeals court denied her damages in a breast-feeding mix-up “because the error was discovered and fixed inside the hospital and her infant didn’t get sick or injured.” [Brooklyn Paper; another breastfeeding mixup case]
White Coat sums up a recent jury verdict: “Obstetrician ordered to pay $3 million to patient born with cerebral palsy … 18 years ago.” The doctor, from Glens Falls, N.Y., “has $2 million in insurance coverage and may have to cover $1 million of the verdict himself,” according to the story. Statutes of limitations in medical malpractice actions are often “tolled” (suspended) until a child reaches the age of majority, so that it is by no means unheard-of for families to file suit a decade and a half after a medical occurrence.
Social life of a blawger, cont’d: I sat at David Lat’s table at CEI’s evening with Judge Kozinski [Above the Law] Judge Learned Hand, writing in an antitrust case, “was very knowledgeable about everything except how the world works.” [among the many funny things Judge K. said]
For those keeping count, at least seven Roman Catholic dioceses in this country have filed for bankruptcy in abuse scandal [Hartley]
“A rapidly growing number of Big Apple moms are delivering their babies by Caesarean sections, with convenience and doctors’ fears of malpractice lawsuits fueling the dangerous trend according to a study by the nonprofit group Choices in Childbirth.” [NY Post/MyFox Boston]
And now here comes the lawsuit against the hospital, blaming it for the baby’s deficits. Attorney Harold “Tripp” Sebring III has couched the suit against University Community Hospital in Tampa as one on behalf of the child, Brianna Rose Lumley, rather than the mother, Robin Lumley. Per Chicago psychiatric trauma specialist Alexander E. Obolsky, the suit represents “chutzpah”: “This is America. You’ve got to love this country. This woman doesn’t know she is pregnant, but somebody else should.” (Colleen Jenkins, “St. Petersburg Times, Oct. 7).
“– and not simply like liability risks.” Still smarting from the trauma of an obstetrics malpractice trial, a young doctor gets a surprising and heartening patient referral. (Steven Erickson, M.D., “The true final verdict of my malpractice trial”, Medical Economics, May 16) (so far as I know, not the same S.E. who’s guestblogged for us).
Lawyers blame Jacksonville Navy hospital doctors for Kevin Bravo Rodriguez’s severe cerebral palsy (Nov. 12; Nov. 4, 2004; Feb. 2, 2004; Aug. 13, 2003; etc.). He cannot see, speak, swallow, or move his arms and legs, and will not live past age 21. Modern technology saved Bravo Rodriguez’s life after he was born without a heart-rate or respiration, and keeps him alive with 24-hour care that was adjudged to cost $10 million over the course of short life. The verdict included $50 million in pain and suffering. Because this was a Federal Tort Claims Act case, a judge was the finder of fact, and Carter-appointee Senior District Judge Jose A. Gonzalez can be credited with the largest FTCA verdict in history, which (including the millions in jackpot attorneys’ fees) will come out of taxpayers’ pockets unless it is reversed on the government’s promised appeal. (Nikki Waller and Noaki Schwartz, “A bittersweet $60.9 million”, Miami Herald, Nov. 25). This is attorney Ervin Gonzalez’s second appearance in Overlawyered this year for a $60 million+ verdict—see July 10.
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