The Importance of Medical Error Reporting & Disclosure 

The Importance of Medical Error Reporting & Disclosure

 
When a pilot makes a wrong decision, he has a co-pilot by his side to assist him in correcting it. When a school teacher makes a mistake, she usually has time to realize her mistake and correct it before any harm is done. When a doctor makes an error, they are most likely the only ones who have the ability to correct and sometimes even notice it.

Like it or not, doctors are human and are very capable of making mistakes.

However, unlike most people in the workforce, when they make a mistake it can greatly impact the lives of the individual they are assisting.

According to a study published by the journal Surgery, according to malpractice records, the most common error during surgery was leaving an object inside the patient, which happens around 39 times a week.  Operation on the wrong body part or even the wrong patient occurred around 20 times a week according to their study. Not only that but these numbers were reported to be on the low end of occurrences according to the study conductors.

Doctors are not likely to report their errors, especially if they feel that the patient is not in much danger. Doctors risk legal liability, loss of reputation, loss of privileges and even license revocation. Not only do these reasons keep doctors from reporting their mistakes, but they may also fear to cause the patient unwanted distress.

Here are the top reasons why doctors should report their mistakes.

Deceiving the patient – By not disclosing the error, the doctor is interfering with the patients informed consent. This is because after an error more procedures or medications may be necessary without the patient understanding fully why it is needed.

Causing the patient even more harm – The error itself can very well cause the patient meaningless harm. However, by failing to inform the patient of the error, it could lead to even more damage. The damage may be more emotional than physical, but causing the patient to worry about why they are not recovering as quickly may lead to emotional trauma.

Lack of Justice – The patient deserves to receive the compensation that is owed to them after a terrible mistake in the doctor’s office. If the doctor fails to disclose to them their errors then proper compensation cannot be given to them.

After knowing these facts, it’s hard to see how any case against non-disclosure could ever triumph.  It’s clear that non-disclosure is a deception to the patient and in clear conflict to doctor-patient relationship ethics. Doctors must rise above their human nature and admit if they make a mistake by placing the patient’s welfare above their own self-interest.

If you or someone you know has ever been subject to a mistake made by a doctor or health care physician you could very well be entitled to compensation.  Call our office for a free consultation and we will do our best to win justice for you, (903) 526-1600.


School Bus Accident Liability

School Bus Accident Liability

It's been less than a week since the accident that took the life of a young boy in Athens Texas. This accident has affected many in our state and has raised awareness for improved school bus and train track safety standards. According to several news articles, the bus driver made the correct stop before crossing the track but unfortunately was still struck by the train. School buses may initially seem to be an unsafe form of transportation for children with their lack of seat belts and the large number of children that usually occupy the vehicle at one time. However, the fact remains that school bus fatalities are rare with an average of four to six annual fatalities, but they do still happen too often. Even though fatalities don't occur at an alarming rate it still causes a large number of injuries each year. These injuries can leave children injured emotionally as well as physically for long periods of time. For that reason, we feel it's important that East Texans know who is liable if their child is injured on a school bus.
In most cases, one of the following will be responsible for your child's school bus injury:

  • The school
  • A private bus company
  • Another driver
  • A parts manufacturer
  • A public entity

If your child is injured your first reaction may be to blame the school your child attends. This may be the case, but only under certain circumstances:

  • The driver was performing negligently while under the school's employment.
  • The vehicles malfunction caused the accident and should have been noticed under routine maintenance.
  • The school contracted through a private bus company did not legally have to perform the duties that caused the accident.

There are many layers to who is responsible for getting your child home safe while on a school bus. The laws vary from state to state and from school district to school district so it's important to ask for help from a local professional. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families affected in last Friday's accident. We know authorities are doing all they can to make sure all the facts are in place before any blame is placed. If you're struggling with knowing who is liable for you or your family members injury in any situation, don't hesitate to call our office for a consultation. (903) 526-1600


Pool Liability Tips

Do you own a pool? Plan to go swimming soon? There are some things you should know before taking a dip.
1. If you own a pool, you have to take great care to protect others. Backyard pools can be considered what is called an Attractive Nuisance. What that means is that unless you specifically put up safeguards, such as a locked gate, you might be held liable for anyone who is injured in your pool whether you invited them or not.
Pools also require a lot of care and attention to make sure their chemical balance is correct. An improper chemical balance can quickly cause minor to severe injuries.
2. If you are injured at a public pool you should investigate your city’s local rules. In some cases you cannot simply file a personal injury lawsuit against a publicly operated pool. Instead, you might need to start with a notice of claim with your local government.
3. Did you know that in most states pool lifeguards are legally required get a number of certifications involving swimming and pool safety? In Texas, for instance, a lifeguard needs to have special lifeguard, CPR, and first aid training. In some cases, states also limit what a lifeguard can be paid to do. For instance, they can’t man the snack bar and perform lifeguard duties.
Improper lifeguard training can be one area to look at when injured at a pool.
If you or someone you know has questions about pool liabilities, you can give us a call (903) 526-1600.


When Is An Employer Responsible For An Accident?

When you are hit in a car accident the driver that hit you can be held responsible, but often times so can the company he was working for.
Sometimes this liability can be obvious. A company employee driving a company branded vehicle while wearing a company uniform during work hours will most likely be found to be working for his or her company for liability purposes. There are other cases where perhaps an employee isn't performing his normal job duties or isn’t working during normal office hours, but is considered to be on a special errand for his employer so both they and the employer can still be found to be liable.
That said, the law can be confusing. If that same person in the same vehicle wearing the same uniform hits you while on their way to or from work, their employer might not be found responsible. In a case like that, the employee wasn't technically on the job yet or had finished their job duties for the day and so any accident they cause will be found to be their fault alone.
The distinctions between an employee being on the job or just coming and going from his or her job are just one of many different liability rules you are likely to encounter if you are the victim of a car wreck. The important thing to remember is that is that you don't have to handle these complexities alone. If you or a love one was involved in an accident and are having troubles recovering damages give us a call. Our experienced attorneys will work with you every step of the way.


Followup: New Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder

Last year, we highlighted some of the verdicts being awarded against Johnson & Johnson and their talcum powder products. Combined, two of the biggest awards amounted to a little over $100 million paid to women who developed cancers after using Johnson & Johnson's products. Studies had pointed to dangers of the products as far back as the 1970's but the products remained on sale even to the modern day. Last year we also noted that more than 1,000 other women had filed suit against the company, and now we've seen another one of those lawsuits reach a conclusion.
NBC News reported that on May 4th, 2017, a woman in Virginia was awarded a record-setting verdict of $110.5 million after using Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder products for over 40 years. The drug company stated that it would appeal the decision, but for now the case will stand as one of the largest amounts awarded in a cancer lawsuit.
If you or a loved one has developed or died from ovarian cancer and would like more details on the risks of talcum powder, please contact Martin Walker Law at (903) 526-1600 or by emailing us at info@martinwalkerlaw.com