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Surgical Errors: Crucial Mistakes that lead to Medical Malpractice

There’s a lot at stake when a physician is performing a surgical procedure. Almost any procedure involves some degree of risk of a complication, and it is up to the surgeon to ensure that such a possibility remains extremely unlikely. Unfortunately, there are times when crucial mistakes are made in the process and patients end up suffering terrible consequences. In these cases, the physicians performing the surgery can be found negligent and responsible for an incident of medical malpractice.

One common mistake that lead to surgical errors happen before the patient is wheeled into the operating room. The pre-operative planning stage necessitates physicians to become familiar with their patient’s medical history. This includes learning of information regarding their past medical conditions, possible allergic reactions to certain types of medications, as well as genetic predispositions to certain diseases and ailments. Failure to gather all the necessary information could lead to a physician making use of a specific technique or medication that is incompatible and inappropriate to the patient’s current medical condition and medical history.

Another cause of surgical error happens during the surgery itself, when the physician, as well as the surgical staff, becomes negligent during the procedure. Incompetent performance can cause a doctor to accidentally damage an organ near the site of the incision or leave items such as lap pads and sponges inside the body cavity after suturing the incision. This particular mistake causes the patient to suffer from an infection after the surgery. An anesthesiologist who isn’t paying close attention to the patient might mistakenly give the wrong dose, endangering the patient through the course of his or her procedure.

In some cases, mistakes can also happen after the surgery is completed. Aside from ensuring that the procedure is successful, physicians and other hospital staff are also tasked to make sure that the patient is able to recover properly. Crucial mistakes happen during this step in the process when doctors and nurses become neglectful in post-operative care, failing to spot signs of infection and other complications.

Surgical error attorneys at The Sampson Law Firm also point to other instances of surgical error, such as mishandling of surgical instruments, incorrect surgical procedures, and improper suturing. View more about other mistakes that lead to such devastating outcomes.

The Anticoagulant Wars

Boehringer Ingelheim, not willing to give up its leadership in anticoagulants, has managed to get approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to include deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism in the list of indications for its drug Pradaxa (dabigatran etexilate mesylate). The contender for the throne of Pradaxa is Xarelto (rivaroxaban), the hot newcomer in the field distributed in the US Johnson & Johnson (J&J) in partnership with manufacturer Bayer AG. J&J posted a 3.5% increase in its first quarter earnings for 2014 compared to the same period the previous year, and Xarelto sales contributed significantly to this revenue.

However, J&J and Bayer have had no such luck so far with expanding the use of Xarelto to manage acute coronary syndrome (ACS), embolic stroke, and peripheral artery disease. They have been turned down by the FDA three times for clinical trial design problems, the latest in March 2014, but the two companies are not giving up. They are currently in the throes of three new studies that will hopefully get the nod from the regulatory body. Xarelto is currently approved for ACS in 40 countries outside the US.

The biggest hurdle for Pradaxa in regaining its client base is the ongoing litigation that brings into question the safety of using the drug. It was approved in 2010 and the first lawsuit was filed in March 2012 at the height of its popularity and is currently in multidistrict litigation (MDL). However, Xarelto may be going down the same road. It was approved in July 2011, and the first lawsuit was filed in February 2014. According to the website of law firm Williams Kherkher, more cases are being filed for dangerous side effects. There has been speculation that an MDL may also be in the offing in the near future.

If you are currently on Xarelto and have sustained serious harm from its side effects, don’t be afraid to draw your own gun. Consult with a reputable Xarelto lawyer in your area and find out how you can get compensation for your injuries and losses.

Gaining Confidence through Micropigmentation

Enhancing one’s eyes, lips and cheeks with the use of make-up may be easy to some, but may be hard for others. Well, regardless of the level of ease, one thing is sure – it takes time. And to do it every day, plus a couple more times daily, can be a tiring routine.

It was during the early part of the 20th century when the application of what is now called “permanent makeup” began; but it was in the 1930s when the technique became a hallmark in fashion that salons offered it to women as a form of complexion treatment, using vegetable dyes as pigments.

Today, this same treatment is called dermapigmentation, cosmetic tattooing, permanent makeup, permanent cosmetics or micropigmentation (which is its most common name). Micropigmentation adds permanent color to the skin through the use of organic pigments that are embedded beneath the epidermis. This is done by using a hand-held device with a very thin needle that can puncture the skin hundreds of times a minute, making the treatment basically much like a tattooing procedure. The purpose of the treatment, however, can either be as corrective procedure or cosmetic enhancement.

As a corrective procedure, micropigmentation is done to solve uneven skin pigmentation, scarring to the skin, and so forth. As cosmetic enhancement, it helps to define the eyes, and make the lips and eyebrows look fuller; it also gives an eye shadow and a look of blush effects.

Over time, other uses for micropigmentation were introduced, including removal of beauty spots, camouflage of scarred skin, nipple reconstruction (which involves enlarging or decreasing the size of the area around the nipples), and hairline tattooing.

Though being punctured by a thin needle hundreds of times a minute definitely sounds painful, it is not the same in a micropigmentation procedure. In fact, a treatment that usually lasts for 40 minutes, aside from the possibility of some mild discomfort, is essentially painless. Clients, though, have the option of being injected with an anesthetic to do away with any discomfort during the treatment.

A well-trained and experienced plastic surgeon, who should be the person performing the procedure, recommends micropigmentation to those who:

  • Value good looks the whole day every day, but with minimal effort
  • Want to correct uneven facial features;
  • Do not have enough time every day for make-up application;
  • Have oily and sensitive skin, or have allergies to make up;
  • Are too active and/or sports minded (like swimmers) and would always want to look great;
  • Have shaky hands and/or poor eyesight and, so, find applying make-up quite a difficult task; and,
  • Have thin or missing eyebrows because of alopecia, constant tweezing, or chemotherapy treatments

On its website, the Bergman Folkers Plastic Surgery clinic believes that good make-up makes a person look good, and feel good and confident, and it is this confidence that propels a person to do well. Micropigmentation may not only be directed at making people look great, but in making them feel good to excel in whatever they do.

Curtains Go Up Again on Fungal Meningitis Outbreak

The story that began in 2012 when vials of pain and swelling relief medication were found to be contaminated with fungal meningitis continues to unfold. Failed mediation has signaled a resumption of civil litigation.

New England Compounding Center (NECC) was first named in civil lawsuit alleging liability for the production and distribution of contaminated methylprednisolone acetate. Sixty-four people died and 751 people were infected before the contaminated batches of medication were pulled out. NECC has since declared bankruptcy, but not before agreeing to a $100 million settlement to benefit the victims and the company’s creditors.

Now the curtain has gone up against Liberty Industries Inc., the contractor which designed and maintained the clean rooms at NECC. According to, Liberty had taken on the duty to provide facilities that would ensure the safety and cleanliness of the medications that went through these clean rooms, and failed miserably. In the case of NECC, other preparations that may have also been contaminated due in part to Liberty’s negligence include betamethasone, triamcinolone, and cardioplegia solution.

While this does not let NECC off the hook, the focus is now on the clean room company. NECC is based in Massachusetts but shipped the contaminated products to at least 23 states, including California where one personal injury case was filed by Dawn Younani, who received three shots from contaminated batches of methylprednisolone acetate following a surgical procedure. Other Californians may soon have use for Irvine personal injury lawyers to represent them in civil litigation against Liberty and to make a claim against NECC.

While the fungal meningitis outbreak scare is winding down, the statute of limitations has not yet run out for those who have only been recently made aware that their conditions may have been due to inoculation via contaminated drugs caused by the negligence of NECC and Liberty. Symptoms of fungal meningitis include:

  • Altered mental state
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Neck pain or stiffness

If you suspect that you may have contracted fungal meningitis from contaminated drugs from NECC, have yourself tested immediately. If the tests come back positive, contact a personal injury lawyer in your area to assess your case.

The Good and the Bad of Topamax

This last six months or so has been a rollercoaster ride for pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) when it comes to its Jekyll and Hyde product Topamax. J&J recently received approval for the use of Topamax (topiramate) for 12 to 17-year-olds to prevent the onset of migraines. This was a few months after the company suffered its second major setback in court for failure to warn litigation for the same product where the plaintiff was awarded $11 million in damages.

Topamax is an anti-epileptic medication that was first introduced in 1996 and was found to be highly efficacious, contributing to its popularity. However, the product was routinely prescribed for off-label uses such as weight loss and for treating bipolar disorder, which would have been fine…except for the side effects. By 2011, it was apparent that Topamax caused birth defects in women who took the medication while they were pregnant.

Topamax lawyers for the plaintiffs alleged that J&J’s subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals has known about the risk to patients and their unborn children but failed to warn them or their physicians about it. That, coupled with aggressive marketing strategies that encouraged off-label use of Topamax, was a recipe for disaster for which J&J is now financially liable.

With this new approved use of Topamax, which is now clearly labeled to indicate risks to pregnant women and for off-label uses, it is presumed that J&J will more than recoup their present and future losses in the legal arena, although the company intends to appeal the 2 verdicts that have been handed down against them. There are currently more than 130 cases still pending against J&J for Topamax.

If your child was born with birth defects because of Topamax, you may have an actionable case. Consult with an experienced Topamax lawyer in your area to find out if you can sue for compensation.