Recently in Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Category

February 6, 2013

Goldberg & Goldberg Files Wrongful Death Case On Behalf Of 91 Year Old With Alzheimer's Disease Who Froze To Death Outside Retirement Home



On February 6, 2013, the Chicago law firm of Goldberg & Goldberg filed a wrongful death case on behalf of the Estate of Genevieve Klimczak who died on February 12, 2012. Ms. Klimczak was a resident of McHenry Villa, a self described "retirement community" offering 24 hour a day security..."so residents can leave the worries of living alone behind them." McHenry Villa and Home Instead, Inc. have been named as defendants in the lawsuit. McHenry Villa is located at 3516 W. Waukegan Road in McHenry, Illinois.

On February 12, 2012, Genevieve Klimczak a 91 year old resident of McHenry Villa with Alzheimer's disease was allowed to elope from her room at McHenry Villa and walk out of the building through a self-locking door that could not be opened from the outside. Ms. Klimczak's body was found the next morning by employees of McHenry Villa. The temperature overnight was as low as 7 degrees Fahrenheit. At the time, Ms Klimczak was being attended by caregivers from Home Instead, Inc. Ms. Klimczak is survived by her nephews, Donald Lorenz and John Lorenz, and her niece, Evelyn Marthalar.. Mrs. Klimczak was a lifelong resident of Chicago.

February 24, 2011

Tort Reform And The Imagined Health Care Crisis



This blog entry comes courtesy of the President of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association and was published in the February 24, 2011 edition of the Belleville News Democrat:

It is once again time to set the record straight with your editorial board. There was never a health care crisis in this state and there were no "jackpot justice conditions" that caused doctors to flee Illinois.

Your editorial board and the president of the Illinois State Medical Society (ISMS) have chosen to ignore important facts when it comes to medical care access in this state. Over the years, we have consistently increased the number of physicians in our state. That's right. The American Medical Association data reflects increases for each of the last 45 years. Clearly not a climate of doctors leaving Illinois or retiring early.

Funny how it used to be, for years, ISMS would falsely claim doctors were fleeing our state and that we already had a shortage of doctors because of fabricated "jackpot justice conditions." As the data has failed to support that claim, the dialogue now shifts to an attempt to create a "future crisis". In fact, a recent survey - funded in part by ISMS - clearly demonstrated oversaturation of physicians in the largest populated area of our state. That's correct - more than enough doctors in the greater Chicagoland area.

Dr. Steven Malkin, the president of ISMS, recently tried to tie a potential doctor shortage in Hillsboro, Illinois to lawsuits. He suggested lawsuits were preventing doctors from setting up practice in the Hillsboro area. What are the facts? In 2010 there was only 1 case of physician negligence filed in Hillsboro, Montgomery County, Illinois, and that's about the number each year over the last nine years according to the Court Clerk's office. Hardly, a "toxic" malpractice lawsuit environment. Additionally, the number of medical negligence cases filed in Illinois, overall, has steadily declined over the last seven years. Filings are down almost 40% since 2003.

We do agree that a portion of the 2005 law, which was struck down last year, needs to be reinstated. The insurance reforms contained in the law forced malpractice insurance companies to provide greater transparency on rate-setting and payouts, that spurred competition and motivated more companies to enter the marketplace. These measures resulted in a reduction of malpractice premiums for doctors.

Health care in Illinois doesn't improve by taking away the constitutional rights of those injured by medical negligence. It improves by providing better care, and holding those who are careless and their insurance companies accountable. True reform of the insurance industry and a reduction in medical errors is the only way to ensure a thriving healthcare system that works for every citizen of this state.

January 27, 2011

How Walking 10,000 Steps Each Day Enhanced my Insulin Sensitivity in a Couple of Months



The following blog entry comes courtesy of a guest blogger, Stacy H. Federico, who has a blog devoted to raising awareness of Type II Diabetes and the benefits of healthy eating. We would like to thank her for her contribution to our blog.

Taking 10,000 steps every day (or walking about five miles) is incredibly useful to you.

I started walking 30 days ago. I wake up every day at 5:30 and walk about 5 mls (with my dog).

I had been so happy with myself. Recently a buddy told me, "What are you currently doing for exercise today?" I informed her about the walking, and she said, "Yeah, but what exactly are you doing for exercise?"

She declared that walking does not get the heart rate up sufficiently and won't do one thing to enhance my overall health or my waist line and that if I needed to lose any weight, I needed a true workout.

Well , I informed her the 10,000 steps philosophy isn't new...the good news is the 10,000 steps regimen has additionally been linked with an increase in insulin sensitivity in over 50 adults.

In a 5 years Australian analysis of nearly 600 men and women averaging fifty years age, walking a lot more steps was linked to reductions in BMI (Body Mass Index), waist to hip ratio, and insulin sensitivity.

The analysis, authored by professionals from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne, was released inside the British Medical Journal (BMJ). (Available here: http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.c7249.full.pdf?sid=fc7e7b28-17b4-4173-894c-b3e493b71805)

The authors determined that the sedentary person who modified behavior over 5 years to satisfy the 10,000 daily step criteria could have a threefold improvement in insulin sensitivity compared to someone that worked up to 3,000 steps 5 days weekly.

In line with the experts, the connection of step activity with improved insulin sensitivity was principally accounted for by lower bmi.

So you? Are you still reading this report? Move out and walk!

1. Get yourself a pedometer.
2. In case you have a desk job, stand up and walk every hour.
3. Park farther away from entrances.
4. Put down the telephone, eliminate that e-mail, and walk.
5. Walk or jog in place during your preferred tv show.
6. Consider the stairs.
7. Pacing....
8. Go ahead and take puppy for a walk.
9. Hit the shopping center.

Who am I ?: Stacy H. Federico is posting for the diabetic snacks on the go website, her personal hobby blog devoted to tricks to help website visitors to stop Type 2 diabetes and help the awareness on healthy eating.

August 24, 2010

Medicare Liens and Medical Malpractice Litigation



The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) overhauled Medicare's perspective on payment for medical care related to "never events" including a list of delineated hospital acquired conditions. Hospitals will no longer receive reimbursement for conditions that are (a) high cost or high volume or both, (b) result in the assignment of a case to a DRG that has a higher payment when present as a secondary diagnosis, and (c) could reasonably have been prevented through the application of evidence-based guidelines. The ten categories for hospital acquired conditions are: Foreign Object Retained After Surgery,.Air Embolism,,Blood Incompatibility, Stage III and IV Pressure Ulcers, Falls and Trauma including, Fractures, Dislocations, Intracranial Injuries, Crushing Injuries, Burns and Electric Shock, Manifestations of Poor Glycemic Control including, Diabetic Ketoacidosis, Nonketotic Hyperosmolar Coma, Hypoglycemic Coma, Secondary Diabetes with Ketoacidosis and Secondary Diabetes with Hyperosmolarity, Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection, Vascular Catheter-Associated Infection, Surgical Site Infection Following Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) - Mediastinitis, Bariatric Surgery, Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass, Gastroenterostomy, Laparoscopic Gastric Restrictive Surgery, Orthopedic Procedures and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)/Pulmonary Embolism (PE).

While the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have prohibited hospitals from recovering payment for the treatment of secondary conditions acquired in the hospital, practically, these charges are often submitted and paid by Medicare long before and attorney becomes involved and makes a claim for medical malpractice. Careful examination of the supporting documentation Medicare provides at the time they require reimbursement often reveals that benefits were paid for hospital acquired events.

We pay close attention to each and every aspect of our clients cases and work very hard to insure that they receive the maximum recovery. This includes the work we do to check and negotiate all of our clients liens, including Medicare liens.

February 5, 2010

Illinois Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Patient On Medical Malpractice Reform



The Illinois Supreme Court in a 4-2 decision struck down limits on damages awards in medical malpractice cases with its decision in Lebron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital on thursday. The court held that the legislation was unconstitutional. The majority opinion, authored by Justice Fitzgeral held, in part: "[W]e necessarily consider...the legislature's goal in enacting the statue-responding to a health-care crisis. Our separation of powers analysis, however, does not stop there. The crux of our analysis is whether the statue unduly infringes upon the inherent power of the judiciary. Here, the legislature's attempt to limit...damages in medical malpractice actions runs afoul of the separation of powers clause."

This is a major victory for patients and consumers in Illinois. The legislature has tried, on three seperate occasions, to enact caps on damages in medical malpractice cases. For years lobbiests for the insurance industry have argued that medical malpractice awards have contributed to the high cost of health care in Illinois despite the fact that insurace payouts on these claims have remained level for the past two decades.

All citizens of Illinois should have a right to ask a jury of their peers for redress when they have been victimized by negligence, regardless of the profession of the guilty party. To see a copy of the Supreme Courts landmark opinion look here.

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.

November 12, 2009

Medical Malpractice And Tort Reform: Enough Already



Joanne Doroshow wrote an excellent article in the Monday, November 9, 2009 edition of The Huffington Post called Medical Malpractice Tort Reform - We Are Already Suffering And Don't Need More. She points out that unless you are currently living under a rock you have heard the term "tort reform" but, sadly, probably don't know what it really means.

In Illinois we have tort reform as it relates to medical malpractice. Starting in 1985, and every ten years thereafter, the state legislature has based some sort of restriction on the publics right to sue for personal injury. In the late 1990s the Illinois Supreme Court struck down these restrictions, overruling the legislature, and finding them to be unconstitutional. The legislature, bowing to pressure from the insurance industry, tried again in 2005 and passed limits on jury awards as they relate to doctors and hospitals only. That legislation is currently being reviewed for constitutionality by the Supreme Court and we expect a ruling on the issue in the near future.

The term tort reform implies that its results would be beneficial to everyone. Sadly, this is not the case. Tort reform in Illinois will only make it harder for average hard working men and women to seek redress for the harms caused to them as victims of negligence. The tort reform movement was started by and is funded by insurance companies. The same companies that have the most to gain financially by limiting jury awards.

The benefits of our current tort system are far reaching and relatively unsung. Innovations in product and medical safety, health care innovations and auto safety are some of the by products of our jury system. What motivates insurance companies? Money and the bottom line. Are they interested in protecting the little guy? Not at the expense of profits.

October 2, 2009

Illinois Governor Forms Task Force To Make Nursing Homes Safer



In the wake of the devastating three part series in this week's Chicago Tribune exposing Chicago and Illinois nursing homes and their practice of housing sex offenders and convicted felons with regular patients, Patrick Quinn, the Governor of Illinois, has announced the formation of a high level task force to look into these troubling issues.

The goal of the task force is to find safe ways to house those nursing home patients suffering from mental illness. The Tribune report exposed several shocking cases of nursing home abuse and neglect where residents were assaulted and/or raped by mentally ill criminals being housed in area nursing homes.

The Chicago Tribune has developed a website which will allows the public to track convicted felons and sex offenders residing in Chicago and Illinois nursing homes.

August 19, 2009

What Does Medical Malpractice Mean In Illinois



Medical malpractice refers to a medical error or omission commited by a health care provider, usually a doctor nurse or other professional, which deviates from the standard of care or practice for that professional which causes harm or injury. In Illinois, the standard of care is defined as what a reasonably well-qualified professional would do under like or similiar circumstances. If a doctor's care does not comply with the standard of care he is negligent.

In order to have an actionable medical malpractice case in Chicago, Cook County or throughout Illinois, a doctor's negligence has to cause or contribute to cause an injury. It doesn't need to be the only cause, or nearest cause, but can be any cause which in part causes an injury or harm to a patient.

Medical Malpractice is a highly technical practice area within the realm of personal injury law. Lawyers who concentrate on medical malpractice cases typically spend hundreds of thousands of dollars prosecuting their claims and often work on a contingency fee or percentage basis. Some examples of medical malpractice include obstetrical malpractice, failure to diagnose and/or treat cancer, surgical malpractice and nursing home abuse and neglect. At Goldberg & Goldberg we have represented the victims of medical malpractice for more then 40 years.

August 12, 2009

Medical Malpractice: Staggering Numbers Of Preventable Deaths in Chicago And Elsewhere



It has been widely reported that more then 98,000 people die as a result of preventable medical malpractice each year. More people die each month in the United States from medical errors then were killed in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Medical Malpractice has become a vogue issue again as lawmakers talk of limiting the rights of patients who have been injured by negligent doctors and hospitals. The problem with the American health care system isnt medical malpractice lawsuits, its the medical erros themselves. According to a major report from tort reform advocates, if congress eliminated medical malpractice claims it would hardly make a dent in the overall cost of health care in America. Tort reform is not the answer to out of control health care costs.

August 5, 2009

Finding The Right Lawyer In Chicago



Chicago is home to over 70,000 licensed attorneys. Finding a lawyer that is right for you can be a daunting task. The internet and the television airwaves are flooded with advertisements for lawyers that promise big settlements and no fees unless you win. The question you need to ask yourself and the lawyer that you interview is are you qualified, by the nature of your prior experience, to handle my case and see it through to the bitter end.

Medical Malpractice is a very expensive and specialized area of practice. Lawyers who handle medical malpractice litigation typically spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless man hours prosecuting a succesful claim. The skills necessary to be a succesful practicioner are not learned overnight. At Goldberg & Goldberg we have been in the medical malpractice business for more then forty years. The least experienced member of our firm has been handling medical cases for fifteen years. We work up and try all of our cases ourselves. We can, and routinely do, take appellate matters before the state supreme court. We have represented litigants in all manner of litigation in more then twenty different states.

supreme court.jpg

When you interview a lawyer that you have become acquainted with over the internet or through a television advertisement ask him if he handles his cases himself or refers them out to a more experienced lawyer. Ask how many medical malpractice jury trials he has taken to verdict as a first chair lawyer. Ask him or her about past results and ask to see jury verdict reports to document his experience. At Goldberg & Goldberg we have had hundreds of verdicts and settlements in excess of $1 million. We have the largest personal injury verdict in Illinois history. Our track record speaks for itself. We would be happy to show you examples of some of our results in court.

July 21, 2009

Why Saying Sorry For Medical Malpractice Is The Right Thing To Do



Victim's of medical malpractice at Chicago area hospitals should not expect an apology from those doctors or the hospital that is at fault for their injury. It has long been the custom and practice of Chicago area physicians to never dare to apologize or admit any mistakes, no matter how devastating.

Not so at the University of Michigan. Doctors there say that admitting their mistakes upfront and offering fair financial compensation saves time, money and hurt feelings. According to a 2009 article in the Journal Of Health And Life Sciences law, the effectiveness of taking responsibility of medical mistakes goes beyond common decency. According to the article, malpractice claims against a health system with a policy of offering early apologies and settlements fell from 121 in 2001 to 61 in 2006, while the backlog of open claims went from 262 in 2001 to 106 in 2006 and 83 in 2007. Between 2001 and 2007, the average time to process a claim fell from about 20 months to about eight months, costs per claim were halved and insurance reserves dropped by two-thirds.

There is evidence that this approach is catching on in the Chicago area. Apparently the University of Illinois is considering adopting an apologize and settler early approach to adjusting malpractice claims. This type of forward thinking makes sense from both a financial and humanitarian perspective.

July 13, 2009

Black Chicago Area Nursing Home Residents Get Worst Care In The Nation



A study prepared by the Chicago Reporter shows that black Chicago area nursing home residents receive the worst quality care in the country. There is just one nursing home in the Chicago area rated excellent by the federal government where the majority of the patients are black. These homes have more federal violations, medical malpractice and personal injury claims against them then majority white nursing homes.

The Reporter analyzed records from over 15,000 nursing homes nationwide in order to determine whether disparities exist in the quality of care based on a variety of factors, including race. The Reporter found that the worst rating was given to 57% of Chicago area nursing homes where the patient population was majority black.

Nursing homes have to comply with a variety of state and federal regulations that govern the quality of care required of their patients. There is a particular need to regulate nursing homes as they are usually operated as a for profit business and the patients are typically infirm and/or elderly. In 1987 the federal government passed The Omnibus Budget Reconcilliation Act which outlined the rights of nursing home patients, including the right to be properly evaluated at the time of admission and regularly thereafter as well as the right to have a doctor care for them.

June 22, 2009

Capping Medical Malpractice



How do we cap medical malpractice without capping medical malpractice awards for those patients who are injured by the negligence of doctors. Everyone agrees that the health care system in the United States is in need of a drastic overhaul. The key is accomplishing an overhaul without further abridging the rights of the needy.

Andy Hoffman in Friday's Daily Kos Online wrote an excellent editorial suggesting a novel, yet thusfar, unexplored solution to reducing the cost of medical malpractice claims on society. Weed out the worst offenders, those doctors who repeatedly victimize their patients and have no business practicing medicine.

Focusing on medical malpractice caps will do nothing to reduce health care costs. California, as Hoffman notes, has had caps on medical malpractice awards for the past 34 years. The caps in california are drastic, $250,000 limits on malpractice awards, and have had literally no effect on the cost of malpractice insurance or the price of health care in that state. Why not focus on the cause of medical malpractice cases and the conduct of those bad doctors who are driving up prices for everyone else, rather then the victims? Sounds reasonable to us.

June 18, 2009

Some Questions To Ask A Lawyer You Find On The Internet



Searching for a lawyer who practices in the area of medical malpractice in Chicago, Illinois is as easy as opening up you web browser and Googling "medical malpractice chicago." When i ran this search term Google returned 275,000 search results. The first page of results alone listed more then 30 lawyers, including those who have purchased sponsored ads. I know a lot of these lawyers, and some of them do practice in the area of medical malpractice and are very fine attorneys. The vast majority of others are "brokers", business men who earn a living referring cases to other lawyers who are capable of actually working on a case and expecting part of the fee as a result of finding the case.

At Goldberg & Goldberg we have been practicing in the area of medical malpractice in Chicago for more then forty years. We do not broker cases out to other lawyers. We work up and try our client's cases ourselves. Our results speak for themselves. We have collected almost $1 billion in compensation for our clients.

When you interview a lawyer that you have found on the internet about his ability to handle your case you are making an intensely important decision. Can this lawyer carry my banner and accomplish the herculean task of bringing a hospital or doctor to his knees in court. In order to do this you should ask a few basic questions of your potential lawyer to see if he has the right stuff to handle your case. If the lawyer hems and haws when answering your direct question you should consider finding someone else to represent you. Here are some sample questions you should ask:

How Many Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Have You Or Your Firm Tried To Verdict?
This question is a strong indicator of a lawyers intent to actually handle your case himself. You can identify a broker lawyer by asking him or her if the results they have recovered were as primary counsel or whether or not they asked another lawyer to actually try the case on the client's behalf. The Cook County Jury Verdict Reporter publishes lists of every verdict that has been rendered by a jury in Cook County. Ask to see copies of the lawyers verdicts, all trial lawyers keep them.

Do you Refer Cases Out To Other Lawyers Or Do you Work Them Up And Try Them Yourself?
Again, this direct question will help you identify an untalented lawyer broker who is merely trying to refer your case to a capable lawyer and earn a part of a shared fee by finding cases.

Are You In The Position To Finance My Case?
We routinely spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on each case preparing them for trial. If a lawyer cannot afford to finance your case it is a pretty good indicator of their ability to work up and try a medical malpractice case.

These and other direct questions will help direct your case to a lawyer who can actually try your case.