Malpractice News Archive

Adverse events in hospitals on the decline

Several reports have found that the rate of adverse events among hospitalized patients has been declining in recent years.

Jury sides with clinician in medical malpractice case blamed on smoking

A clinician was found not guilty of negligence after his patient, a lifelong smoker, died of cancer.

One in 5 hospitals has failed to adopt a "never events" policy

A significant number of hospitals do not have sufficient policies in place to deal with the aftermath of egregious hospital errors.

Joan Rivers' medical malpractice case settles

Joan Rivers' family filed a medical malpractice suit after her death, and the case has been settled.

Why some clinicians are more likely to be sued

A small percentage of clinicians account for almost one-third of paid malpractice claims.

Rates of clinician discipline vary widely across United States

In the United States, some states have 4 times more disciplinary actions for clinicians compared with other states.

Indiana approves first increase in medical malpractice caps in 17 years

A new bill has passed in the Indiana state Senate that will increase malpractice caps to $1.8 by mid-2019.

Nurse loses license after taking inappropriate pictures of patient

A nurse was charged with a felony and lost her license after distributing pictures of a patient's genitals to coworkers.

Adding new transparency to medical errors

Brigham and Women's Hospital has taken the bold step of publishing a public blog of its medical errors and close calls.

Settlement reached in malpractice suit in which patient was a physician

An undisclosed settlement was reached between the family of a deceased physician and the hospital at which she had just become a pediatric resident.

Parents catch medical errors that hospitals miss

Of the parents surveyed, 34 reported a total of 37 safety incidents.

Several states consider new system for medical malpractice claims

Five states are considering adopting a new Patient Compensation System that would streamline the process of filing medical malpractice cases.

Miscommunication contributes to one-third of malpractice cases

A new study found that communication failures contributed to almost one-third of all medical malpractice cases in the United States.

Indiana proposes first increase of malpractice caps since 1999

Republicans in Indiana want to raise the state's malpractice cap in an attempt to retain the cap's existence.

When can a car crash be considered medical malpractice?

A patient got into a car accident after clinicians failed to warn her of the side effects of the drugs they administered to her.

Medical malpractice claims against anesthesiologists decreasing

The number of medical malpractice claims made against anesthesiologists has significantly decreased since 2005.

Could Denmark be the blueprint for an American medical malpractice overhaul?

Denmark's compensation-based medical malpractice program has several features that could benefit the current malpractice system in the United States.

Which clinicians get sued, and why?

Clinicians are more likely to have been sued if they practice in obstetrics/gynecology, surgery, or orthopedics.

Florida attorney general defends state's medical malpractice limits

The attorney general of Florida has filed a brief defending the state's current monetary cap on medical malpractice awards.

Hospital-acquired conditions have decreased since Affordable Care Act implemented

Since the start of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, patient deaths due to hospital-acquired infections have dropped by almost 90,000.

Autopsy as medical procedure

After an inconclusive autopsy, a hospital refuses to return a deceased patient's heart to his widow.

Insurer practices are subject of $10M malpractice suit

After their daughter died from a brain injury, her parents are suing their health insurance company for breaching fiduciary duties.

Mitigating malpractice risk through defensive medicine

So-called "defensive medicine" accounts for extra, perhaps unnecessary, healthcare costsS

Wisconsin medical malpractice law change urged

Senators and residents of Wisconsin are lobbying to change the state's malpractice laws.

Minnesota auto mechanic awarded $9.1M after anesthesiologists are found liable

A Minnesota man was awarded $9.1M after anesthesiologists interrupted his treatment for dehydration, resulting in paralysis.

Ben Carson's open malpractice cases

Presidential candidate Ben Carson is a retired pediatric neurosurgeon has several malpractice suits against him that are still pending.

Indiana's 15-year-old malpractice cap under scrutiny

Indiana's medical malpractice cap of $1.25 million will be reviewed this month.

Florida court to weigh whether physician was negligent in patient suicide

The Florida Supreme Court will weigh in on whether a physician was negligent in a patient's suicide.

Paralyzed patient awarded nearly $12M by jury

Late intervention to treat an abscess resulted in the patient being paralyzed in both arms and legs.

Male clinicians are sued more often than female clinicians

Male clinicians are more than two and half times likely to be sued than female clinicians.

Surgeon's alleged misdiagnosis leads to $4.2M jury award

After a misdiagnosis of a swollen lymph node, a patient's spinal accessory nerve was damaged.

How hospitals and health centers can avoid malpractice suits

Improved patient communication can help hospitals avoid medical malpractice lawsuits.

As many as 20% of hospitals reject policies to reduce errors

Many hospitals are unwilling to adopt policies that can reduce errors.

Wisconsin malpractice claims lowest of any state

Wisconsin has the lowest medical malpractice claims in the country, which may be due to caps on noneconomic damages.

Defamation award results from operating room misconduct

Clinicians in the operating room were sued for defamation after insulting a patient while he was under anesthesia.

Fate of extended statute of limitations on NY malpractice filings is unclear

The New York Assembly is trying to pass a law that changes the malpractice statute of limitations.

Florida malpractice caps do not apply retroactively

In 2003, Florida created a state cap for malpractice suits, and this cap does not apply to retroactive cases.

Physician-lawmaker is subject of second high-profile malpractice suit

Physicians with a high profile are more likely to garner a lot of attention if they are sued for malpractice.

Pennsylvania sees dramatic drop in medical malpractice lawsuits

In 2014, only 1,463 new cases were filed, which is a 46% decline since 2000 to 2002.

Electronic health records pose increasing medical malpractice risk

Although electronic health records (EHRs) issues were only involved in 1% of a sample of lawsuits from 2007 to 2013, the frequency of EHR-related lawsuits doubled between 2013 and 2014.

Missouri enacts caps on medical malpractice damage

The new legislation, which caps non-economic damages at $400,000, comes three years after a similar law was struck down in the state's supreme court.

Nurse practitioner faces non-compete battle with former employer

Only two states, New Jersey and Massachusetts, have ruled on patients' rights in a non-compete situation thus far.

Missouri tries to set caps on medical malpractice damages again

Supporters of the bill believe it will reduce medical malpractice insurance rates, keep doctors from fleeing the state, and reduce incentives for frivolous lawsuits.

Interoperable medical devices could cut down medical errors

Half of the nurses surveyed reported personally witnessing a medical error due to lack of device coordination.

Medical malpractice reform may not be reducing health-care costs

Investigators looked to see if tort reform positively influenced the number of clinicians and decreased health-care costs overall.

Georgia contemplates radical overhaul of malpractice system

The bill is the latest in a series of attempts to establish an administrative system to handle medical malpractice cases.

Joan Rivers' family files malpractice suit against clinic, providers

The Yorkville Endoscopy clinic has been found deficient by the CMS and has been prohibited from receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds unless it complies with mandated changes by early March.

How does the public perceive medical malpractice?

A survey of Massachusetts residents concluded overwhelming public support for more transparency from providers and hospitals.

Wisconsin lawmaker reintroduces medical malpractice expansion bill

While most states allow adult children and parents of adult children to sue based on a loved one's death, Wisconsin does not.

Medicare penalizes hospitals for preventable medical errors

Hospitals that were penalized for high preventable error rates will have their Medicare payments lowered by 1% over the fiscal year.

Patients can now sue cruise lines for medical malpractice

Prior to the new ruling, cruise lines were immune from medical malpractice lawsuits. Passengers had to sue medical personnel personally.

CA Supreme Court to hear challenge on medical malpractice awards

Currently, California allows up to $250K in noneconomic damages in medical malpractice suits.

Medical errors dropped 17% from 2010 to 2013

Most progress occurred in 2013, when 35,000 fewer patients died in United States hospitals.

Wisconsin malpractice laws make tough cases for plaintiffs

Since 1999, the number of medical malpractice lawsuits filed in Wisconsin has fallen by more than 50%.

HIPAA privacy bulletin released in wake of Ebola outbreak

HHS released details on how patient information can be shared during a public-health emergency.

California medical malpractice ballot initiative voted down

The ballot initiative requiring the drug testing of clinicians and raising of malpractice caps in California has been struck down.

Wisconsin judge refuses to uphold malpractice caps

A Wisconsin judge ruled that the state's malpractice caps law does not apply to a patient who lost all four limbs.

Controversial Florida medical malpractice law upheld

The law requiring any patient filing a medical malpractice suit to release protected health information has been declared constitutional by a Federal appeals court.

How likely is a lawsuit against the hospital that treated first American Ebola victim?

Experts have said that it is unlikely that Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital will see a lawsuit from the first American Ebola victim's family.

Surgeon's 'cognitive bias' responsible for deadly medical error

After a surgeon administered a dye that resulted in the death of a patient, cognitive bias was found to be the cause of the deadly hospital error.

Debate heats up over proposed California medical malpractice changes

Initial public support of Proposition 46 in California has diminished as voters express unhappiness with the ballot's increase in non-economic damages.

Nine facts about medical malpractice every health-care provider should know

New York Law School publishes an update on the state of medical malpractice information in the United States.

California gears up for medical malpractice ballot initiative

Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act would require drug testing for physicians and an increase in malpractice caps.

Alabama widow awarded $4M for undiagnosed heart attack

A widow received the highest malpractice award in an Alabama county's history after her husband's heart attack was misdiagnosed.

Medical errors in Massachusetts hospitals increased 70% from last year

In 2012, Massachusetts implemented legislation that requires more thorough reporting of medical errors, which may explain the state-wide increase in errors.

Medical malpractice filings drop 40% in Pennsylvania

Two new state rulings are credited with the drop in malpractice filings.

Update: 444,000 patients die each year due to medical errors

Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States.

Large malpractice award may challenge Wisconsin damages cap

A Milwaukee patient was awarded $25 million after loss of all four limbs due to undiagnosed group A streptococcal infection.

UVA Medical Center launches programs to combat medical errors

New programs aim to decrease medical mistakes by using simulations and increasing communications amongst the staff.

Doctor suspended for 'sexting' during surgery

Abusing social media is one of the many charges a Washington state physician faces.

Malpractice caps will be on California ballot

California has not raised pain-and-suffering malpractice caps since 1975.

Malpractice attorneys reject majority of potential claims

Rejection common if damages were less than $250,000.

Top 5 reasons for internal medicine malpractice suits

Incorrect diagnoses, breaches of care, and errors during procedures top the list of medical malpractice cases in internal medicine.

Ohio's malpractice claims hit record low

About 20% of claims ended with an indemnity payment.

Outpatient diagnostic errors affect 1 in 20 adults

Brief clinical interaction and limited diagnostic time contribute to misdiagnoses.

Florida Supreme Court invalidates malpractice caps

State strikes down a law capping how much an injured plaintiff can receive for pain and suffering.

Alaska passes 'I'm Sorry' bill for medical malpractice cases

Law makes apologies, expressions of sympathy and words of compassion inadmissable in malpractice cases.

Awards for U.S. malpractice cases increased in 2013

Medical malpractice payouts increase for the first time since 2003.

W. Va nursing home appeals $90 million malpractice verdict

The state's Supreme Court will decide if malpractice caps apply to nursing homes.

House introduces bipartisan "Saving Lives, Saving Costs" Act

The new act proposes lowering healthcare costs and improving patient care using evidence-based guidelines developed by healthcare professionals.

Man wins appeal over stent left in body

California court of appeals reverses malpractice ruling on medical objects left in body.

New Hampshire considers changes to malpractice settlement procedure

A new bill proposes eliminating the penalty for those who choose to proceed to trial.

Jury awards $32.8 million in case against two nurses

A Pennsylvania jury has awarded over $32 million to a young girl who suffered brain damage at birth.

Missouri inches closer to malpractice cap

A House committee has endorsed a bill to cap Missouri medical malpractice awards at $350,000 for noneconomic damages.

California tragedy used as pawn in battle over state malpractice caps

A teen is declared brain dead after complications following a routine tonsillectomy.

Former inmate wins malpractice lawsuit against State of Hawaii

A mistreated scrotal infection eventually led to castration.

Missouri lawmakers propose malpractice caps - again

Statutory cause of action, changes to standard of proof proposed.

Family wins $5 million in Tufts malpractice suit

A jury sided with the parents of an injured child in their lawsuit against two physicians and a nurse practitioner at Tufts Medical Center.

Revisiting Tennessee malpractice reform 5 years later

The number of medical malpractice lawsuits filed in Tennessee has dropped 36% since the state implemented malpractice reform.

Better hospital handoffs decrease medical errors

Adopting standardized communication procedures during this crucial time may help reduce errors.

California ballot initiative seeks to raise malpractice caps

Set in 1975, the $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages in malpractice cases is equivalent to about $58,000 in 2013 dollars.

Medical malpractice more lengthy than other lawsuits

Medical malpractice cases take longer to resolve than any other type of legal case.

Couple awarded $6.7 million for botched hernia surgery

A patient is permanently disabled after a surgeon perforated his small intestine during a hernia surgery and failed to repair the injury.

VA malpractice costs top $800 million in decade

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has faced increasing scrutiny for paying bonuses and raises to healthcare practitioners who allegedly provide substandard care.

Preventable deaths from medical errors underestimated

New estimates place the lower limit of preventable deaths at 210,000 per year -- significantly more than the Institute of Medicine's estimate of 98,000.

Georgia lawmakers propose alternative to malpractice lawsuits

The Patient Injury Act proposes replacing medical malpractice lawsuits with an administrative claims system.

Missouri eases liability fears for volunteer health workers

The Volunteer Health Services Act (SB129) waives civil penalties against volunteer health professionals.

Incorrect EHR settings cause medication errors

Default settings in electronic health records designed to improve efficiency and standardization can cause harm when not used properly.

Malpractice payments not driving healthcare costs

Healthcare costs continue to rise despite reductions in frequency, amount of malpractice payouts each year for the past decade.

Family billed $340K after losing malpractice suit

A judge signed off on the "bill of costs," ordering the plaintiffs to reimburse the defendant for expenses including legal fees, dinners and room service fees for attorneys and witnesses.

Sign Up for Free e-newsletters