Fighting misdiagnosis

It may seem like some sort of unrealistic nightmare, but people are misdiagnosed every day in hospitals across the country. In fact, the actual number of people misdiagnosed may shock you: it is twelve million.

That’s twelve million individual cases every year in which someone is given the wrong diagnosis and sent home, and the results can be truly devastating. A misdiagnosis may mean cancer is missed or early signs of a stroke or heart attack. It may mean a condition is missed that leads to chronic pain or discomfort.

Twelve million times each year that happens. But perhaps that number does not affect you the way it should. Think of it instead like this: one in every twenty adults.

Consider how many people live in your neighborhood or apartment building. There are perhaps hundreds. Of those hundreds, one in every twenty will suffer from a misdiagnosis, and that one may well be you.

What can we do about this?

The issue is partly to do with the state of modern American medicine. Doctors simply do not take the time to examine their patients thoroughly. Through careless mistakes, they miss what they should never miss, and they send patients home thinking they are healthy when they are not, or thinking they are ill when they are healthy.

We cannot allow this to continue. The amount of suffering such recklessness causes is unconscionable in a modern society. We have to force doctors to be thorough, whether they want to be or not.

In order to do that, we can consider a few strategies. The first, and most important, is to personally press your doctor to slow down. Come to the office with a long list of questions, and don’t let the doctor leave until all are answered. And don’t just take the first answer at face value and move on. Question everything. Be skeptical of everything. If a test comes back positive, ask about what percentage of those tests come back as false positives. If you aren’t satisfied with the response, demand they test you again. By becoming a problem patient, you may not get a Christmas card from your doctor, but you’ll be sure they treat you thoroughly if only to get out of the room.

The next strategy is to encourage anyone who has suffered from a misdiagnosis to consider legal action. Getting a lawyer to press every case will help hammer home to doctors that their patients have grown wise to their errors and it’s time to either slow down and get it right or go broke.

The final strategy is to develop a lobby to push members of Congress to write laws to help cut down on these problems. Doctors and hospitals obviously have a powerful lobby of their own, but it is time for the rest of us to have our voice be heard, even if we can’t keep up with the massive amounts spent by the medical professionals.


By using all three strategies, we can hopefully finally begin to push doctors to do their job and remember their oath: first and foremost, they should do us no harm.

Read More

Misdiagnosis/Delayed Diagnosis: Is my doctor responsible?

Do you have a medical condition that has gone untreated or mistreated due to a misdiagnosis? If so, there is a chance that your case has legal recourse against possible medical malpractice. There are typically three legal requirements that must necessarily be met before a case can be made for misdiagnosis.

  • There was a doctor-patient relationship.
  • The doctor was negligent.
  • That negligence harmed the patient.

If your case has met these three standards, you might be eligible for legal representation and financial compensation for any damages that have occurred due to your misdiagnosis/delayed diagnosis. To be certain, you should contact a lawyer. In this article, we will explore examples of behaviors that would satisfy the aforementioned requirements and why doctors have a legal responsibility to a correct diagnosis.

Firstly, for a case to be made, there must’ve been a doctor-patient relationship. This is the easiest requirement to prove and if there wasn’t any relationship, how could the doctor possibly misdiagnose a condition?

Secondly, the doctor must have been negligent. What is negligence? The definition of negligence is as follows: an act or omission (failure to act) by a medical professional that deviates from the accepted medical standard of care.

Negligence, as it pertains to diagnoses, is typically present in situations where the doctor strays from common medical practices. If a doctor sees a certain set of symptoms that would indicate a certain illness but diagnoses the patient with another ailment, the doctor might be held liable, particularly if that misdiagnosis caused the patient harm. Moreover, an unreasonable delay in diagnosis on the doctor’s part is typically considered negligence and would satisfy this second requirement. It is important to note that a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis does not necessarily constitute negligence; the real consideration is given to the doctor’s competence in the diagnosis process. If a doctor reaches a misdiagnosis through a commonly accepted diagnosing method, it is much harder to prove negligence.

Lastly, it must be proved that the doctor’s negligence harmed the patient. If a doctor misdiagnoses a patient’s illness but the recommended treatment is still effective and has no detriments, it would be much harder to make a case for reparations. However, many misdiagnoses can have serious implications for the health of the patient. Trained New York medical malpractice attorneys describe implications like infection, sepsis or developing a new condition. Every condition or illness has a certain set of reasonable responses and treatments and a misdiagnosis possibly leads to an entirely different set of treatments. This is why a competent diagnosis is absolutely crucial.

So why is the doctor responsible? Doctors have an obligation to their patients and their health. This obligation is expressed in traditions like the Hippocratic Oath. Patients, although they have the option of going to other doctors, are considered to have a right to competent care from wherever they choose to receive it. Therefore, if you have experienced a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, you should contact a lawyer to see if your case is eligible for legal recourse.

Read More

Car Defect Makes Wrecks even at Relatively Low Speeds Result in Horrific Damage

To children and senior citizens, being involved in a car accident can be a cause of serious trauma, especially if they sustain severe physical injuries. Car accidents are among the most common causes of injuries and deaths in the U.S. More than five million road accidents involving cars still happen on U.S. roads annually – more than two million of these accidents result in injuries, while more than 30,000 result in death.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the top causes of car crashes are drunk-driving, recklessness driving, over speeding and driver error. While all these may fall within the control of the driver, there are also causes identified by the NHTSA that fall outside the driver’s control – these are road defect and vehicle or car defect.

Car defects can be very hard to prove, despite certainty of a driver that something in his/her vehicle failed to function well, thus the car accident. If the defect is indeed proven, the car manufacturer usually makes a recall of the particular model to correct whatever mistake the manufacture of the car resulted to.

Mistakes are often caused by skipping a necessary manufacturing step/procedure or by adding a step in the manufacturing process, but which should not have been added in the first place. Though it may be clear that producing a defective car is never intentional, the fact that it passed quality check from the manufacturer and got released into the market, are but just signs of carelessness and gross negligence.

Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC explains that even if it is impossible to ensure all vehicles that make their way onto the marketplace will be free of defect, automakers do have a responsibility to do everything they can to fix a problem as soon as they become aware of it. That being said, members of the automotive industry may still be held liable for any accidents caused by a defect that occurred before a recall was issued.

In many instances, car makers will try and reach out to accident victims with settlement offers as a way to keep the details of victims’ cases away from the public. Though these offers may seem attractive, this should not be accepted. Depending on the circumstances, it may be best for owners to take their case to court.


Read More

The Most Unscrupulous Practices of Dishonest Brokers

Financial advisors encourage investors to believe in them, building relationships with investors and relying on a foundation of trust and confidence to conduct business. Sadly, there will always be brokers who abuse this trust and use the broker-investor relationship to their own ends. Brokers and brokerage firms often claim they act in the best interests of their investors when, in reality, they may convince investors to purchase investments and securities with incomplete, deficient or misleading information or investments which are not appropriate for their clients.

Though the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) do a fairly good job regulating and policing brokers, it is still very necessary for investors to make a thorough background check of a brokerage firm before trusting it with the money they want to invest.

Below are some of the most unscrupulous practices brokers have resorted to, to boost their commissions.

  • Unsuitable Investments – It is required of stock brokers always act in ways that will benefit their clients, thus, they ought to learn about their investor’s risk tolerance, financial needs and investment goals, before ever recommending an investment that is suitable to their specific situation. Anything less runs the risk of fraud.
  • Misrepresenting or Omitting Facts – Stock broker misrepresentation happens when a stock broker provides misleading information or withholds material facts that would impact an investment decision. Acts of misrepresentation include failure to adequately disclose sales-related compensation, liquidity, risks, or any other material facts. Rather than a fraudulent act, however, a stock broker giving an honest investment recommendation that eventually turns out worthless may just be considered incompetence.
  • Over-concentration – Diversifying your stock portfolio in various types of stock and industries is one way to reduce risk of investment losses. If a broker, however, invests your money or tells you to invest your money in just one type of security or market sector, then you may be a victim of your stock broker over-concentrating your investment portfolio.
  • Unauthorized Trading – A stock broker can only make a purchase in your account with your expressed consent? The only two conditions under which your broker can transact on your behalf are, first, if you granted him discretionary authority and, second, if you gave him/her your expressed and detailed permission. Anything less can be an act of fraud.
  • Churning – If your stock broker has control of your account and he/she buys or sells the same stock multiple times, or commits excessive trading in an effort to pursue quick profits, then churning , another form of investment fraud, may have occurred. Remember that brokers who are paid by commission get more money or commission if they make more transactions.

When a broker fails to live up to his/her professional duties, civil law presents a resolution for victims. Your broker may have put your money in risky investments, ignored your instructions, committed retirement investment fraud, or otherwise abused your trust. If this sounds familiar, you may have the opportunity to get some or all of your money back.

Read More

1 Year Statutory Limit for Injured Cruise Ship Passengers

Spending a cruise vacation in one of the finest cruise liners is can experience one will never have enough of. While waking up in one of the most exciting cities in the world is really exciting, how a passenger spends his/her time while waiting to get there is what makes today’s cruise liners the best “floating cities” one will ever be in.

Unlike in the past when cruise line passengers only had the bar, night club, dance floor, lounge area, pools and some other facilities to enjoy, the amenities cruise ships are designed with today will make even a day not long enough for one to enjoy everything. And despite the much bigger crowd on board, as many ships can now accommodate up to 4000 people (the biggest ship built – the Allure of the Seas, can accommodate 6000+ passengers) one can always find a space in the ship’s library, cinema, casino, gym, basketball courts, pool tables, ping pong tables, bars, pubs and nightclubs, tax and duty free shops, hair and beauty salon, buffet restaurant, indoor and outdoor swimming pool with water slides, jogging tracks, planetarium, rock-climbing walls, aqua park, bumper cars and many others.

As if these are not enough, cruise lines have also began to introduce shore excursions and other shore activities. These activities, which are either conducted by the cruise line itself or by a private tour company, are intended to make the cruise experience more exciting and adventurous and, sometimes, educational too.

Shore excursions and other land activities have actually been very good sources of additional income for cruise ship owners, so that more and more of these get to be introduced (at least one) in each port of call. But as owners’ income increases, so too do the number of accidents involving passengers.

Advertising these excursions as safe can be challenged because these have also been additional causes of accident-causing injuries. Injuries can be due to: tender boat accidents; dock accidents; malfunctioning or defective equipment; motor vehicle accidents, which can happen while passengers are on a car or tour bus en route to the place they will visit; lack of security; or accident while participating in an activity.

Despite the inclusion of an article in the excursion contract (that passengers sign) that exempts the excursion provider or the cruise ship from legal liability in the event of an accident, the law firm Louis A. Vucci, PA, says that there is no law that will stop injured passengers from filing a lawsuit to seek the compensation that they rightfully deserve.

Hundreds of passengers have been injured in the past and hundreds of lawsuits have also been filed, while millions of dollars have been paid by companies as settlement payments. One thing victims only have to be aware of is that delay in deciding to file a lawsuit can mean lost chance for compensation. The maritime law gives injured cruise line passengers only 1 year statutory limit (the time within which to file a lawsuit) starting on the day the injury was sustained.

Read More

The Different Types of Adoption Explained

Couples who cannot have a child need not worry. Their wish of adding a kid or kids to their family is still achievable through adoption. Although the child did not come from their own flesh and blood, it can still be a joyous experience and will give them an opportunity to be parents. According to the website of Marshall & Taylor PLLC, adopting a child is a legal process. In this article, we shall discuss about the different ways of adopting a child.

Adoption Through an Agency

Adoption agencies can either be private or public and is highly regulated in the state where they are operating. Public agencies are responsible for handling children who are wards of the state because they have been abandoned, orphaned or abused. On the other hand, private agencies are often managed by charities and social service organizations.

Independent Adoption

Independent adoption involves a direct arrangement between birth and adoptive parents, sometimes with the help of a go-between such as a doctor or member of the clergy. As this type of adoption can be delicate, it would be wise for the adoptive parent to let an attorney do the paperwork. Not all state allows independent adoption and in some it is regulated extensively.

Adoption Through Identification

Adoption through identification combines independent and agency adoptions. Here, the adoptive parents search for a mother wanting to put their child up for adoption. Once she has found one, they will ask an adoption agency to handle the rest of the process. In identified adoption, there is no “waiting list” for the adoptive parents.

International Adoption

International adoption is the most complicated type of adoption. To successfully adopt a foreign child, the adoptive parents should satisfy both the laws of your state and that of the laws of the host country. IN addition, the adoptive parents should secure an immigrant visa for the child through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS. Upon approval, the child will immediately become a US citizen upon entry to the United States.

Read More

Depakote: A Medical Breakthrough Marred by its so Many Side-effects

For the millions of people in the US who suffer from epilepsy, bipolar disorder or migraine headache, it is the prescription drug Depakote which gives them great relief from their debilitating condition. Depakote, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1983, is actually the brand name of Valproate (VPA), a type of medication used in treating epilepsy and bipolar disorder, and in preventing migraine headaches.

The FDA approval in 1983 was for treatment of epilepsy, specifically, to reduce or prevent severe epileptic seizures. In 1995, Depakote was approved by the FDA for yet another use: as treatment for manic episodes linked to bipolar disorder. Finally, in 1996, Depakote was approved to lessen the recurrence of severe, painful headaches which were caused by migraine.

Considered as a medical breakthrough, this mood stabilizer is able to increase the amount of gamma amminobutyric acid (GABA) in a patient’s brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter (chemical substance) that transports messages between brain cells; it also soothes overstimulated nerves, preventing brain signals which lead to seizures.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are more than two million people in the U.S. suffering from epilepsy; about 125,000 more are added to their number every year. Those affected by migraine, on the other hand, are at least, 20 million.These numbers plus the effectiveness of Depakote eventually made this drug from Abbott Laboratories one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the U.S.

Results from the use of Depakote, however, were not just good news as there were also reports of a large number of side-effects which, according to the website of Williams Kherkher, could either cause lasting health problems or death of patient. Due to these serious negative effects, the FDA was prompted to issue several advisories and warnings on the drug, as well as classify it as a class D drug.

Those who took Depakote reported of side-effects that included: tiredness, slow mental processes, nausea, tremors, weight gain, hair loss, suicidal thoughts or tendencies, pancreatitis and liver damage. In women, Depakote increased the risk of developing polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a condition which causes ovarian cysts and which affects their ability to get pregnant. If taken by a pregnant woman, however, then use of Depakote can result to severe birth defects, like: spina bifida and other neural tube defects besides spinal cord or brain damage; malformed limbs, brain or skull; deformed facial structures, also knows as facial dysmorphism; polydactyl, which is characterized by the growth of extra fingers or toes; facial malformation or cleft palate; autism and lower intelligence; and, different types of heart defects, such as atrial septal.

It is important that people who have been affected negatively by Depakote know that they have a right to pusue legal action against this drug’s manufacturer and probably even recover financial compensation for all the damages/harm they have been made to suffer.

Read More

The EB-5 Visa: For Those Willing to Invest between $500,000 and $1 Million in the U.S.

Wealthy foreign nationals who are willing to invest between $500,000 and $1 million in the U.S., either by creating a new commercial enterprise or by investing in a Regional Center, wherein at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers will be created or preserved, may be eligible for a conditional green card, one of the steps in obtaining a U.S. citizenship status.

Qualified foreign nationals would be issued an EB-5 immigrant visa, also called the employment fifth preference visa. The EB-5 visa program, which is managed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), was created by the U.S. Congress in 1990; its creation was aimed at fueling the U.S. economy through capital investment and job creation by foreign investors.

Between creating a new commercial enterprise and investing in a Regional Center, foreign investors may find it wiser to invest in the latter, which is a 3rd party (privately or publicly) managed investment vehicle. Besides being a job-creating business already, (thus saving the investor time and additional expenses in putting up their own business and recruitment concerns), investing in a Regional Center only usually costs $500,000.

Unlike other EB visas which require a job offer, professional experience, educational and/or post-graduate degree, and so forth, under the Russian EB-5 visa, many things are no longer required, such as: direct family members already in the united states, residency, job offer, professional experience, educational requirement, and knowledge of the English language; for those investing in Regional Center projects, daily management/running of a business is also no longer necessitated.

If investing in a new commercial enterprise, an EB-5 investor must ensure that the commercial enterprise was established either after Nov. 29, 1990, or on/before Nov. 29, 1990, but on the condition that:

  • The purchased existing business would be reorganized or restructured in such a way that the change will result to a new commercial enterprise; and,
  • The purchased existing business would be expanded and result to a 40-percent increase either in the original number of employees or in its net worth.

By new commercial enterprise, the USCIS means “any for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business including, but not limited to: a sole proprietorship, partnership (whether limited or general), holding company, joint venture, corporation, or business trust or other entity, which may be publicly or privately owned. . . This definition does not include noncommercial activity such as owning and operating a personal residence.”

Of the various Employment-Based or EB visa categories, establishing eligibility under EB-5 is one of the most challenging and the most expensive. Besides the $500,000 or $1 million capital investment required (which, by the way, should be made ahead of the green card application), an investor should also meet the job creation requirements within a specified time and make sure that the business receiving the investment meets all requirements in the EB-5 program. The amount of investment alone, with no certainty whether the venture will succeed or fail, makes everything a big risk. Thus, rather than making an investment without fully grasping the probable outcome of such a move, only to fail and waste a huge amount of money in the process, understanding first what this visa program is all about may be necessary.

Read More

Even Parental Agreements or court Decision on Child Custody and Visitation Rights Can be Modified

“Mom knows best!” But does this include knowing fully what her child really needs after she and her husband decide to end their union through divorce?

One very important issue that divorcing couples need to settle is child custody. Whatever decision will be reached by the spouses or by a family court judge regarding who keeps custody of the child, the certain things is, this will affect the child for the rest of his or her life: the way he or she would think, behave, socialize, perform academically, and so forth. The Mayo Clinic emphasizes the need to ensure that it is important to share similar rules between homes, for consistency for the child.

Psychologists, counselors and other child custody experts know how vital it is for a child to have a strong relationship with, and be affected by his or her parents. This is why courts would rather decide on granting both spouses joint custody to allow them to enjoy equal time with their child/children, as well as share decision making duties in everything that will affect their child’s growth and development; joint custody, of course, becomes possible only if the court sees both spouses as “fit” parents, otherwise, custody would be given to just one parent or to whoever the court sees will be able to provide what the child really needs.

As explained in the website of the Law Offices of Baden V. Mansfield, any agreement or decision regarding child custody and visitation rights issues, whether amicably agreed upon by the spouses themselves (through the process of divorce mediation) or decided by a judge (if the divorce process is the traditional court litigation), is binding and will have to be complied with by both spouses. Many times, however things end up other than what the court expects. This is due to one or both parents becoming neglectful in his/her or their obligation, either in the performance of their parental function or in recognizing and respecting the other parent’s rights and person-hood. Most often, though, it is the custodial parent who fails to properly perform his or her function, doing everything possible to separate the child from the non-custodial parent. This failure is known legally as visitation or custody interference and it can be committed by the custodial parent through any one or a combination of any of the following:

  • Alienating the child from the non-custodial parent by creating situations that will render scheduled visitation rights impossible;
  • Severing the child’s affections for the non-custodial parent through negative comments, ill-talks and/or false accusations;
  • Turning the child against the non-custodial parent by consciously and systematically sullying his or her reputation or by spreading hurtful information against him or her. This attitude is more commonly known as Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS).
  • Secretly moving to a distant location or another state in order to keep the children away from the non-custodial parent. This is actually a violation of a divorce decree stipulation which requires custodial parents to inform non-custodial parents regarding plans of moving to another residence, whether in the same city or in another state.

In the event of visitation or custody interference, the non-custodial parent may request the court for a modification in its original decision regarding custody. There are other reasons, of course, as mentioned by the Arenson Law Group, PC, why a request for modification may be made, like the custodial parent re-marrying, passing away, developing a health problem which can limit his or her capability in performing his or her duty in caring for the child, going on active duty, becoming unfit due to dependence to alcohol or illegal drug, getting involved in serious legal problems, or if the child reaches the age of 12 and personally requests for a change in living arrangements.

Seeking modification in custody and visitation agreements or decision is much more complicated and challenging than it seems.

Read More

The Scary Results of Medical Negligence to Mothers and Their Newborns

Through modern medicine doctors are not only able to care more for expecting mothers; they are also able to make the process of birthing a much safer procedure. However, like other types of medical procedures, giving birth also has its trade-offs which present risks about which many mothers are never made aware of.

Ensuring that a baby born is healthy does not just happen in the delivery room. This includes the months when the baby is still inside the mother’s womb, the time when a doctor has to regularly and accurately monitor the baby’s health and condition, mainly by making sure that the mother herself is in good health and that, at the time of delivery, everything is performed in a way that will not cause any injury to the baby. Doctors, of course, observe medical standards of care in protecting the unborn and the mother; failure to do so can result to pregnancy complications and birth injuries.

Record of live births from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show at least 3,900,000 births in the US every year. Mortality rate, on the other hand, is more than 23,000 annually. Besides the high mortality rate in infant death, another major concern of government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), is the number of babies (and mothers) sustaining injuries during childbirth. In 2006, close to 157,700 mothers and newborns were reported to have sustained injuries during childbirth. Birth injury incidences are highest among 25 to 34 years old mothers who undergo tool-assisted deliveries. Of the many different kinds of birth injuries, Ravid & Assoc says that the most commonly reported are:

  • Brachial Plexus Injury (BPI). This injury, which can cause temporary or permanent disability, damages the bundle of nerves that runs from the upper spine to the hand.
  • Bone Fracture. This injury, which usually heals on its own, affects the collar bone or the clavicle. It results  from a difficult or complicated delivery.
  • Cephalohematoma. This involves the collection of blood underneath the skin, particularly, in the periosteum of the skull bone.
  • Caput Succedaneum. This injury is characterized by the swelling of the scalp. It is the result of using too much  pressure during delivery. This injury, though, is not life-threatening and usually heals on its own.
  • Cerebral Palsy. This injury causes damage to the brain, resulting to impaired muscle coordination. Babies who sustain this injury is affected by it for the rest of their lives as there is no known cure for this type of birth

The saddest thing about birth injuries, also called birth trauma, is the fact that these are nothing more than consequences of negligence. Had proper care been observed, these injuries would have been totally prevented. As a result, thousands of medical malpractice lawsuits have been filed in the past, while hundreds more are filed every year, all citing negligence as the cause birth injuries.

It is because of negligence why, according to the website of Habush Habush & Rottier SC ®, many medical professionals fail to provide the standard of care they owe their patients. Due to this failure, they can be held totally accountable whenever their errors result to injuries.

In its website, the law firm Schuler Halvorson Weisser Zoeller & Overbeck P.A., likewise mentions the unfortunate reality of medical professionals not always living up to the standards of their profession. Due to the important roles that they play, however, it is high time that they fully realize the devastating effects which even the smallest mistake can have on their patients and that though they may never have intended to cause any injury, full accountability still rests on their shoulders.

Read More