December 2009 Archives

December 17, 2009

Illinois Supreme Court Delays Release Of Medical Malpractice Reform Decision



Earlier this week the Illinois Supreme Court announced that it would likely release its decision on medical malpractice reform in the case of Lebron, et al vs. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, et al today.

Unfortunately, it appears that the court did not release the decision today as anticipated. This is not an uncommon occurence. The Lebron case was argued before the court over one year ago and the supreme's decision is much anticipated by the trial bar and general public.

The Medical Malpractice Reform Act of 2005 was determined to be unconstitutional by Judge Diane Larsen of the Circuit Court of Cook County. Her ruling determined that caps on damages in medical malpractice cases are not allowed by the state constitution, something that the Illinois Supreme Court has decided on two prior occasions.

December 14, 2009

Psychiatic Malpractice: Glaxo Said To Have Paid $1 Billion To Settle Paxil Lawsuits



Bloomberg News is reporting that GlaxoSmithKline has paid almost $1 Billion to settle lawsuits over the antidepressant drug Paxil since 1993. Almost $400 million of those dollars have been used to settle lawsuits over claims that Paxil users were more likely to commit or attempt to commit suicide after taking the drug. Another $200 million was used to settle claims regarding Paxil related birth defects.

To date almost 450 Paxil related suicide lawsuits have been settled by the drug manufacturer. There are an additional 600 claims outstanding claiming that Paxil caused birth defects. In October, a Philadelphia jury found the drug maker responsible for birth defects in a 3 year old boy and ordered a $2.5 million dollar award to the boy and his family.

At Goldberg & Goldberg we routinely handle drug product liability cases and have the largest drug product liability verdict in Illinois history, and award of more then $127,000,000. Please feel free to contact us for a free consultation.

December 11, 2009

Actor James Woods Settles Medical Malpractice Case And Gets An Apology



Hollywood actor James Woods setttled a medical malpractice case brought on behalf of his brother who died while he was a patient in the Emergency Room of Kent Hospital in Kent County, Rhode. The Providence Journal Online Edition is reporting that while the financial terms of the settlement are confidential, the hospital took the unusual step of apologizing to the Woods family for their mistake.

james woods.jpg

Woods said the impetus for the settlement came with a phone call from hospital president Sandra Coletta. In that call, he said he heard something he'd never heard from Kent Hospital before, someone saying she was sorry for his family's loss.

It has been widely reported that apologizing for medical mistakes is the number one way a doctor or hospital can help curtail a medical malpractice claim. Often times patients and their families are looking for closure after the loss of a loved one. An apology is often the piece of the grief puzzle that helps wounds heal and allows people to move on after a tragedy.

For his part, Woods said the conclusion would give him, if not closure, some piece of mind about the meaning of his brother's death. "It makes it possible for me to go to my brother's grave and ask if I've done the right thing," he said.

December 7, 2009

Don't Get Sick On Christamas: Medical Malpractice Over The Holidays



Conventional wisdom says don't get sick over the holidays. Hospitals are understaffed, doctors are distracted and the overall quality of medical care is diminished at even the finest of institutions. Over and over again we see cases at otherwise fine Chicago area hospitals that have one thing in common. The negligence occurs over the Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year's holidays. Unfortunately, we can't choose when we get sick and people certaintly need medical help over the holidays, so keep the following in mind:

Become an advocate for yourself. Hospitals run on skeleton shift over any major holiday. Do not simply assume that Doctors and Nurses are thinking about you and your condition, they are not. they are thinking about the holidays like everyone else. Remind them of critical information and ask questions. If you are not satisfied with a response make sure they explain it to you again in plain english until you understand.

Go up the Chain of Command. if you are unhappy with the care you are receiving or if you are felling neglected, ask to speak with a supervisor, the head of the department or the vice-president of nursing. Doctors are accountable to the chairman of their service as well. Demand someone pay you the proper amount of attention.

Do not accept substandard or substitute care just because it is a holiday weekend. Hospitals are required to maintain full operating staffs and are required to provide services like Ct scans and MRIs over a holiday weekend. If these things are unavailable due to a holiday staffing shortage then the hospital is required to transfer you to a facility that is operational. Do not accept the excuse that a service cannot be provided because it is a holiday weekend.

Follow this tips and advice and hopefully you holiday hospital stays will be short and uneventful.