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Special Edition Legal Case Study

Healthcare Professionals and Medical Malpractice: A Case Study with Risk Management Strategies 

Medical malpractice claims can be asserted against any healthcare provider. Although there may be a perception that physicians are held responsible for the majority of lawsuits, the reality is that healthcare professionals, including physical therapists, pharmacists and counselors are more frequently finding themselves defending the care they provide.

 

 

Case Study: Improper treatment resulting in patient death 

The patient (plaintiff) was a 68-year old chronically ill female with a history of diabetes, severe ankylosing spondylitis, neuropathy, myopathy, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, obesity and falls. The physical therapist and the defendant physical therapist assistant (PTA) were employed by a home health agency and were providing home based physical therapy care to the patient following a recent hospitalization. Read the Full Case with Risk Management Recommendations 

Read Previous Issues of the HPSO Special Edition Legal Case Study: Physical Therapist Edition

Pharmacist Edition
 

Case Study: Alleged wrongful death resulting from the failure to counsel the decedent on the dangers of concurrently taking Flomax, Diltiazem and Lexapro 

The decedent patient (plaintiff) was a 48 year old male who was well known to the defendant pharmacist as a multiyear customer of his pharmacy business. The patient had a history of diabetes, obesity, and hypertension and was a smoker. He was taking Diltiazem for hypertension and Lexapro for anxiety and depression. He presented with a prescription for Flomax to treat newly diagnosed urinary symptoms related to prostate enlargement. Read the Full Case with Risk Management Recommendations 

Read Previous Issues of the HPSO Special Edition Legal Case Study: Pharmacist Edition

Case Study: Alleged breach of confidentiality, incorrect diagnosis and alienation of affection resulting in emotional distress, loss of his marriage and loss of his relationships with his children 

The defendant counselor identified that the wife and children were at risk and she recommended to the wife that she leave the marital home to live with her parents who were located several hours away. The defendant counselor reported the husband's behavior as child abuse in compliance with state child protection regulations. The wife left the marital home with the children and subsequently filed for divorce and sole custody of the children due to the husband's emotional and physical abuse in the family. Read the Full Case with Risk Management Recommendations

Read Previous Issues of the HPSO Special Edition Legal Case Study: Counselors Edition

July 2013 Legal Case Study 

Woman Claims Inadequate Assistance While Using "Wobble Board" - Fall and Fractured Hip - $100,000 Settlement. 

The plaintiff had a history of falls, gait and balance problems. She was referred to the defendant health clinic for physical therapy to help improve her balance. During a session in April 2010 she was doing a “wobble board” exercise with two aides standing one on each side of her. 

One aide stepped aside to adjust the weight on the machine. In adjusting the weight, all the resistance was released from a cable which the plaintiff was holding onto. The plaintiff lost her balance and fell. She suffered a fractured right hip which required open reduction surgery. 

The plaintiff claimed that it was negligent to have only one aide at her side while she was on the “wobble board.” 

According to reports, a $100,000 settlement was reached. 

With permission from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts; Lewis Laska, Editor, 901 Church St., Nashville, TN 37203-3411, 1-800-298-6288.

Recently Posted Legal Case Studies

ISSUE DATE DESCRIPTION
December 2014​
Physician Gives Woman Prescriptions for Diflucan and Percocet at Same Time, Intending Woman to Take Percocet Later -Woman Fills Prescriptions at Same Time Without Warning From Pharmacy - Death From Taking Them at the Same Time - Defense Verdict
November 2014 ​Woman Claims Fall During Transfer From Bed to Wheelchair for Physical Therapy - Fractured Hip - Defendants Deny Fall Occurred and Claim Woman Suffered Pathologic Fracture Related to Osteodystrophy From Kidney Failure – Defense Verdict
October 2014
Failure to Properly Monitor Woman Taking Reglan - Tardive Dyskinesia - $250,000 Settlement
September 2014 Nephrologist Writes Prescription for Potassium For Woman On Dialysis Which Was Not Clear and Was Interpreted at a High Dosage - Nurses and Pharmacist Don't Follow-up on Hospital Computer's Notation of a Need for Confirmation
August 2014 ​Woman With Multiple Sclerosis Claims Failure to Provide Protection From Falls During Therapy - Therapist Opens Door On to Woman, Causing Fall and Fractures - Defense Verdict
 July 2014
​Local Pharmacy's Pharmacist Accesses Woman's Prescription History Because Woman Had Previously Dated Her Husband and She Suspected Transmission of STD - Pharmacist Tells Husband, Who Then Texts Woman With Details of Her Prescription History
June 2014 EMTs Determine Premature Baby to be Non-Viable Without Checking for Heart Beat - Baby Determined to be Alive Upon Arrival at Hospital - Death Before Two Months of Age Due to Lack of Oxygen - $1 Million Settlement.
​May 2014 Phlebotomist Performing Physical Exam for Insurance Application Allegedly Causes Median Nerve Injury - Man Develops Complex Regional Pain Syndrome -$5 Million Gross Verdict.
April 2014
​Man Suffering From Anxiety and Other Issues Agrees to Hospital Transport, Then Decides Not To Go To Hospital When Ambulance Arrives at Hospital
March 2014 Teenager Diagnosed with Molluscum Contagiosum and Prescribed Verr-Canth to be Used at Home - Defendant Admits Fault, but Claims Pharmacy's Actions Were Intervening Cause - Pharmacy Settled for Undisclosed Amount-$3.5 Million Gross Verdict 
January 2014
Woman Given Prescription for 100 Milligram Dosage of Phenergan Which Was Filled By Pharmacy Despite Claims That Prescribing Physician Called to Cancel Prescription Due to Dosage Error - Resulting in Lingering Tinnitus - $1.4 Million Verdict
December 2013 Failure to Provide Proper Support to Woman During Physical Therapy Blamed for Fall and Death - Physical Therapists Claim She Slid From Bed and Was Lowered to Floor - $1,158,392 Verdict​

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