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Medical Malpractice

September 18, 2009 | Peter Nicholas
The White House rolled out a modest program Thursday examining ways to discourage frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits, but what was meant as a bipartisan overture was quickly denounced by Republicans and business and consumer groups as an empty gesture. The Obama administration said that it would offer $25 million in grants to identify practices that would reduce medical errors, scale back malpractice insurance premiums and spare doctors from nuisance litigation. Traditionally, Democrats have opposed changes in malpractice law, protecting the interests of trial lawyers who are a major source of fundraising support.
September 10, 2009 | James Oliphant and Tom Hamburger
President Obama on Wednesday night called for a new look at how medical malpractice lawsuits were handled as a possible way of containing spiraling healthcare costs. During his address to Congress, Obama said that fears of lawsuits had driven doctors to practice "defensive medicine," which some think has led to expensive and unnecessary medical tests and procedures. "I don't believe malpractice reform is a silver bullet, but I have talked to enough doctors to know that defensive medicine may be contributing to unnecessary costs," Obama said.
December 23, 2012 | By Anna Gorman, Los Angeles Times
The bullet that struck Larney Johnson while he was playing basketball with friends punctured his kidney before lodging in his spine and immediately paralyzing him. Paramedics rushed him to California Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles, where surgeons repaired his kidney. But three years later, he said, doctors made a startling discovery: a surgical sponge had been left behind. Johnson had to undergo a second operation to remove the sponge before spending six weeks in bed recovering.
The family of track star Florence Griffith Joyner is blaming a St. Louis hospital for her death, charging in a lawsuit that doctors failed to detect a brain abnormality two years earlier. Joyner was rushed to Washington University's Barnes-Jewish Hospital in April 1996 after suffering a seizure on a flight to St. Louis, where she was to attend a relay race. The lawsuit, filed in a Missouri court under pseudonyms, says that hospital workers improperly interpreted an MRI and other tests.
January 22, 2011 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times
Two years ago last week, Olivia Cull, 17, was taken off life support. The standout student ? who planned to study classics at Smith College ? had slipped into a coma during a routine, outpatient procedure at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA in Westwood. The story of her death was presented to Congress a few days ago, among cases cited by patient advocates pushing to lift the caps on damages for medical malpractice lawsuits. As lawmakers search for ways to trim healthcare costs, debate continues over the country's medical malpractice laws.
June 27, 1988 | MARYANN HUDSON, Times Staff Writer
The mother of a highly ranked U.S. gymnast said her daughter is in a coma not because of a spinal injury suffered at a meet in Japan, but because of irresponsibility on the part of a Tokyo hospital, which she said caused an accidental asphyxiation. Otilia Gomez said her daughter, Julissa, the country's 13th-ranked gymnast, went into a coma 15 days after first entering Tokyo University Hospital to be treated for a broken neck.
September 11, 2012 | By Hailey Branson-Potts, Los Angeles Times
When prosecutors earlier this year filed murder charges against a physician for prescribing to patients who overdosed, Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley said he was also sending a message to other "Dr. Feelgoods" who over-prescribe. "Enough is enough," he said. "Doctors are not above the law. " But in the months since Rowland Heights physician Hsiu-Ying "Lisa" Tseng was charged, there has been a growing debate among medical professionals about whether prosecutors went too far by alleging murder.
April 7, 2014 | By Jack Leonard and Ani Ucar
A former patient at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center accused the hospital of negligence in a lawsuit filed Monday in which she said she was sexually assaulted last year by a certified nursing assistant after she underwent surgery. The woman alleged in the suit that the hospital failed to adequately respond to complaints of sexual assaults involving the same employee dating back more than a decade. In addition, the patient said Cedars-Sinai never interviewed her or made any effort to investigate after she reported the assault to the hospital June 13. Her lawsuit said she made several attempts to speak to someone at Cedars-Sinai before being told that the employee had been fired and that she could report the matter to police if she wanted further action taken.
The Medical Board of California revoked the license of a Lynwood obstetrician on Tuesday, calling him grossly negligent in his care of seven liposuction patients--including one who bled to death after he abandoned her bedside. Dr. Patrick Chavis' license should be pulled "to protect the public," according to a 28-page decision accusing the physician of violations ranging from botching procedures to allowing his nurse to practice medicine.
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