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July 2015 Archives

THE COST OF MEDICAL MISDIAGNOSIS? IT CAN END UP IN THE MILLIONS

Medical malpractice attorneys exist to help those who have been harmed by the mistakes of doctors and other medical professionals. In cases where those mistakes lead to serious, debilitating problems or even death, it's very important to get justice. That justice was sought recently in the case of Gregory Leigh, who lost the use of his shoulder after a surgical procedure that was not actually needed. Leigh now has permanent disfigurement of his shoulder, nerve palsy, and can't extend his arm fully or raise it higher than his head. None of those problems with his left shoulder will get any better, and Leigh's attorney contends that the problems were from a doctor's misdiagnosis that could have been easily avoided.

Ex-Congressman Planning Malpractice Suit Against Federal Government

Steve LaTourette, an ex-congressman from Ohio, is planning to sue the federal government for malpractice. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year, and contends that his diagnosis could have been made much earlier if he would have been given crucial information on his health status. LaTourette was admitted to the hospital twice in 2012 for gastrointestinal pain and pancreatitis, and had an MRI in March of that year. The MRI showed a lesion on his pancreas, and it was recommended by the radiologist that LaTourette seek follow-up care. He claims that this information was never passed on to him, and he was never given the results of the MRI.

Johns Hopkins' Physician Sexual Misconduct Case is Costing the Hospital $190M

While most people put a lot of trust in their doctors, medical professionals are only human. Some of them make mistakes, and occasionally one of them will do something that seems both terrible and intentional. Such was the case with Dr. Nikita Levy, a gynecologist who recorded his patients in secret during their exams. While this happened back in February of 2013, it has taken some time to determine what will be done about it and what kind of compensation will be provided to the victims.

Proposed Alternatives To Malpractice Litigation Threaten Right to Jury Trial

Even when medical malpractice occurs and causes serious injury and death, a lawsuit rarely follows. When a lawsuit is filed, that generally results in an out of court settlement, or a jury trial if the case goes all the way to court. However, there's an alternative being proposed by Ohio Representative Jim Butler that would change the way medical malpractice claims are handled. His "comprehensive medical reform" would create a mandatory, binding administrative bureaucracy that draws some of its ideas from worker compensation regulations. Unlike the worker compensation system, however, which does not require a worker to prove their employer negligently caused his or her injury, Rep. Butler's proposal would force injured patients to take on the medical establishment and prove negligence to obtain compensation.

Injured by a Doctor? You May Need a Medical Malpractice Lawyer

People make mistakes. Unfortunately, that means doctors don't always get things right - that's why the "practice" of medicine is called an art and not a science. If you've been injured by a doctor, either by an honest mistake or a doctor's negligence, you may need a medical malpractice lawyer. With the right attorney, your interests can be protected and you can receive fair compensation for any physical or mental injury you sustained.

Medical Malpractice Lawyers and Personal Injury Lawyers Honored as Super Lawyers

For the 11th consecutive year, the medical malpractice lawyers and personal injury lawyers at Leeseberg & Valentine have earned the distinction of being named "Super Lawyers."  Congratulations to Gerald Leeseberg and Anne Valentine for being named Super Lawyers. Both were honored among the Top 50 lawyers in Columbus.

Should we hire a lawyer? The Hospital where our mother died has apologized and wants to talk with us.

I would always recommend that a family in your situation be represented by legal counsel. The hospital will most certainly have their legal counsel present at any meetings to represent the interests of the hospital and their insurance carrier; there is no reason or benefit to your family to not have an attorney as well. You may actually jeopardize your legal interests at such a meeting, because anything you say would constitute what the law refers to as "admissions," and could be used against your family during a trial, if such a trial ever occurs.

Can a bank be held responsible for costs caused by negligent misrepresentation during a debit card dispute?

Q: Can a bank be held responsible for costs caused by negligent misrepresentation during a debit card dispute? I will not have a problem proving the negligent acts. I have incurred delays and costs caused by their failure to follow the proper procedures in the dispute.

Can I Sue My Physician for Failure to Diagnose a Serious Esophagus Issue?

Q: Can I file a medical malpractice claim against a physician I used to see? The reason I ask is that while I was in his care I had some issues with strictures in my esophagus and at one point couldnt even swallow my own saliva. He told me I was getting better but I ended up seeing a specialist and had to have 3/4 of my esophagus removed. Plus numerous other procures and surgeries due to this problem. I still have to go every 2-3 months to have my remaining esophagus stretched so I can swallow solid food. My doctor said I will probably have to have this done for the rest of my life.

Can I Get Sued for More Than My Insurance Coverage?

Q: If I carry the state minimum auto insurance but someone sues me in court for more, what happens if I don't have it? If I own only the clothes on my back, rent, don't own my car, have no assents, and live off of $1,000 Social Security Disability a month, am I known as "judgment-proof?" What if someone sues me for a car accident but I have no real assets to take?

Sound The Alarm On Medical Mistakes

Many years ago, in 2000, the National Institute of Medicine performed a study evaluating the frequency and nature of errors in patient care. The results were astounding: an estimated 98,000 patients died annually as a result of preventable medical mistakes. Hundreds of thousands more were estimated to have suffered serious injuries from improper medical care. The rates of injury and death attributable to iatrogenic [physician caused] injuries and nosocomial [hospital-related] injuries, when compared to other leading causes of death such as heart attacks, cancer, accidents and the like, reflected that medical malpractice was an epidemic. A great hue and cry arose, and well-meaning programs and initiatives by the medical profession were instituted to attempt to stanch the metaphorical and literal blood-letting.

A Question about Misdiagnosis of a Child's Rhino Virus and Infection

Q: I took my daughter to my local hospital and and they told me she had the flu. She was getting worse so I took her back and they said it was the same flu that would last 7-10 days. Didn't do any blood work on her. I followed up with family dr that Monday morning which sent her straight to children's hospital where she ended up having the Rhino virus and a blood bacterial infection. Is this something I can sue our local hospital for since they did not properly treat her and told me it was something it wasn't?

My Father Passed Away in a Nursing Home from Neglect. Can I Sue?

Q: My father passed away in a nursing home recently. The state conducted an investigation and even interviewed me. They found "Immediate Jeopardy (to health of residents)", failure to address and seek timely medical attention, no one was trained in CPR when he required it and ultimately passed away. Also, no written records of providing him with most of his medications and going against his personal doctor's orders. They were cited for numerous violations. Would there possibly be a lawsuit I could file as it seems he passed away due to their negligence? Thank you.

Medical Errors Are the Third Leading Cause of Deaths in America

In 1984 the Institute of Medicine estimated that up to 98,000 Americans died each year from medical errors. However, updated statistics were published in the Journal of Patient Safety, Sept. 2013 - Vol. IX - Issue 3, which indicates the number is now between 210,000 and 440,000 preventable medical errors that directly contribute to the death of patients.

Perfection vs. Reality in Medical Malpractice Cases

Nobody expects doctors and hospitals to be perfect. But we do expect them to act carefully and reasonably in caring for us and our family. And like each of us, if they do not act carefully and reasonably, they are accountable for any harm caused by their actions. If a medical mistake hurt you or your family, those responsible for the harm must be held accountable. And someone needs to make them make it right. That's where the right lawyer comes in. Cases which involve harm caused by medical mistakes are commonly referred to as medical malpractice cases.

Columbus Medical Malpractice Lawyers Gerald Leeseberg and Anne Valentine Honored As "Best Lawyers in America"

Once again, Medical Malpractice Lawyers Gerald Leeseberg and Anne Valentine have been selected as two of the Best Lawyers in America for Personal Injury Litigation for 2014. This honor marks the 17th consecutive year Mr. Leeseberg has been granted such distinction, and the 11th straight year for Ms. Valentine. Both continue to prove themselves as consistent and dedicated members of the legal community and this recognition is certainly deserved.

Leeseberg & Valentine Named "Best Law Firm" - Columbus Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Once again, the medical malpractice lawyers and personal injury lawyers at Leeseberg & Valentine have earned the distinction of being named one of the "Best Law Firms" in the country by U.S. News & World Report's 2014 Best Lawyers publication. Leeseberg & Valentine was named a Tier 1 law firm for personal injury litigation, which is the highest distinction given by the publication. This honor is especially rewarding in that the "Best Law Firms" are determined by a rigorous evaluation of a combination of client feedback and our firm's reputation among other lawyers in the legal community.

Supreme Court analyzes foreseeability of harm in medical malpractice cases;

Recently, the Supreme Court of Ohio heard oral arguments in the case of Cromer v. Children's Hospital Medical Center of Akron. The case addresses the issue of whether the precise harm to the patient in a medical malpractice case must be foreseen by the defendants, in order for negligence to be shown. One case cited by the parties arguing Cromer was Needham, another case involving foreseeability of harm. Having served as trial attorneys in Needham, it is important to note some facts from that case that may be relevant to the outcome in Cromer and its implications on medical malpractice cases.

If Your Doctor Admits to Medical Malpractice, Is the Statement Admissible?

In Estate of Johnson v. Smith, Supreme Court of Ohio recently addressed Ohio's "apology statute" (R.C. 2317.43) which prohibits the use of a physician's statement of sympathy to a victim as evidence of an admission of liability, and prohibits the statement's use in medical malpractice cases. The protected statements are those expressing sympathy, empathy, or condolence to the patient. For example, a statement from a doctor to a patient that the doctor is "so sorry this happened to you," is protected by the statute.

The Impact of Tort Reform On Medical Malpractice Lawyers

At the 2013 American Bar Association Midyear Meeting, Research Professor Stephen Daniels presented his findings on the impact of tort reform on medical malpractice lawyers and personal injury lawyers. Specifically, they studied the peoples' access to justice and the effects of tort reform on plaintiffs' lawyers' practices. In explaining his research, Professor Daniels explained why he no longer takes medical malpractice cases - especially those involving children, the elderly, and "stay-at-home moms." The reason is the statutory cap on non-economic damages in medical cases enacted in Texas in 2003. Ohio enacted the same type of legislation in 2003 also, and that legislation led to the same results here in Ohio.

Medical Malpractice Payments Do Not Contribute to Rising Health Care Costs

A 2013 study conducted by Public Citizen has concluded that medical malpractice payments on behalf of doctors are not contributing to any increase in health care costs. Specifically, the study determined that the number of medical malpractice payments on behalf of doctors in 2012 was the lowest on record. Further, the 2012 medical malpractice payment amounts were the lowest recorded. Despite these decreases, health care costs continue to increase as does the financial burden on patients.

Nursing Home Abuse, Neglect, and Medical Malpractice on the Rise in Ohio

Medical malpractice and medical negligence within nursing home facilities represents a very real and growing problem. This month, the Ohio Attorney General announced an increase in allegations of nursing home abuse and neglect in Ohio. In 2013 alone, over 130 cases of nursing home abuse and neglect have been reported due to, primarily, inadequate medical care. This is an increase by almost 60 cases from 2012.

US Drug Watchdog Now Urges All DePuy Pinnacle Hip Implant Recipients to Call Them For the Names of the Best Law Firms if a Blood Test Reveals Elevated Metal Levels

If you underwent a hip replacement procedure and received a DePuy Pinnacle implant, please review this important press release to assist in identifying a potential medical malpractice or product liability lawsuit.

Kentucky Hospital Conspires With Cardiologists in Medical Malpractice

A London, Kentucky hospital and 11 cardiologists performed over 3,000 unnecessary cardiac catheterization surgeries and countless other heart procedures on healthy patients. These unfortunate victims of medical malpractice will now be required to take dangerous blood-thinning medications for the rest of their lives. The US attorney's office and other governmental offices are currently investigating the hospital and doctors. USA Today brought the story to us:

New Website Tells True Stories of Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Victims

For years, the public has been fed a giant misinformation campaign designed to convince people that their constitutional right to file a lawsuit, when they have been injured or harmed, should be restricted or eliminated. Much of that campaign seeks to get people to believe that the court system needs "reform," in the manner of closing the courthouse doors to ordinary Americans when they need it the most.

Wall Street Journal - How to Stop Hospitals From Killing Us: Medical Errors Kill Enough People to Fill Four Jumbo Jets A Week. A Surgeon With Five Simple Ways to Make Health Care Safer.

By MARTY MAKARY, Wall Street Journal - September 22, 2012

Columbus Medical Malpractice Lawyer Gerald Leeseberg Honored As One Of The "Best Lawyers in America"

Attorney Gerald Leeseberg has been selected by his peers as one of the Best Lawyers in America  forPersonal Injury Litigation in its 2013 edition. This honor marks the fifteenth consecutive year Mr. Leeseberg has been granted such distinction. He has proven to be a consistent and dedicated member of the legal community and this recognition is certainly warranted.

Leeseberg & Valentine Attorneys Honored Again

The medical malpractice attorneys and personal injury attorneys at Leeseberg & Valentine have once again been honored by being designated as 2012 "Super Lawyers" and "Rising Stars" in the legal profession. This designation was made by Ohio Super Lawyers magazine and was bestowed on the attorneys by members of their profession without any input or solicitation by the firm. In addition, the Columbus law firm itself has been designated as a 2011-2012 "Best Law Firm" by the prestigious U.S. News & World Report, and Ms. Anne Valentine has been named to the list of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Ohio and the list of the Top 25 Women Lawyers in Columbus. This recognition by others outside the firm is particularly gratifying because it is based on the continued success our medical malpractice attorneys, injury lawyers, and staff have achieved on behalf of our clients.

Leeseberg & Valentine Continues to Be Recognized for Excellence

Leeseberg & Valentine has earned an impressive placement ranking in the 2011-2012 U.S. News - Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" list. The rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that included thousands of clients, highly skilled lawyers and law firm representatives. An unprecedented amount of data was collected, emphasizing the scope of this endeavor and the significance of our firm's presence in this unparalleled guide to law firm expertise. 

Persuading The Jury To Bring In The Verdict You Want - Effective Closing Argument

If you represent the plaintiff, the verdict you want the jury to bring in is a finding of liability and comprehensive damages. In the present era of litigation where difficult and enormously costly barriers and hurdles have been placed in the way of a plaintiff seeking to recover, it is not economically feasible for plaintiff's counsel to recommend that a client pursue a claim without very substantial damages. It seems axiomatic that the larger the award required to compensate a plaintiff, the greater the burden of persuasion. Persuading a jury to bring in the verdict you want obviously begins long before closing argument: without the proper foundation, an "effective closing argument" is impossible. It is not the purpose here to discuss how to prove liability or damages as a predicate to having the jury "bring in the verdict you want," but rather to provide some ideas for when, and how, it might be beneficial to ask the jury to award a specific amount of damages.

Speaking Objections At Depositions: A Roundtable Discussion

Editor's Note: Recently, Ellen Hobbs Hirshman [EHH] hosted a "roundtable" conference call with three plaintiffs' lawyers, one defense lawyer, and a judge, to discuss obstructionist tactics during depositions, and how to handle them. The plaintiffs' attorneys were Gerry Leeseberg [GL] of Leeseberg & Valentine in Columbus, Ohio; Steve Collier [SC] of Connelly, Jackson & Collier, in Toledo, Ohio; and Toby Hirshman [TH] of Linton & Hirshman in Cleveland, Ohio. The defense attorney was Bill Bonezzi [BB]of Bonezzi, Switzer, Murphy, Polito & Hupp in Cleveland, Ohio. The judge was Richard McMonagle [JRM]of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. Here are some of their insights. Special thanks go to Laura Ware, who acted as Court Reporter for this conference call.. EHH: We're discussing how to deal with speaking objections and inappropriate conduct in depositions. Let's start by talking about the type of conduct we encounter in our day-to-day practices. Gerry, why don't we start with you.

Sundance Review: Hot Coffee

Susan Saladoff's documentary is entertaining and informative, vividly illuminating the wrongs of systems like tort reform.

Doctors and Insurance Companies Purchase their Policy at the Ohio Supreme Court

Although judicial elections tend to attract far less notice than top-of-the-ticket races, the scandalous "justice for sale" financing of Republican candidates to Ohio's top court cries out for attention. The Democratic party is fielding two excellent candidates, Chief Justice Eric Brown and Appellate Judge Mary Jane Trapp, but GOP opponents Justice Maureen O'Connor and Justice Judith Lanzinger are once again riding a wave of campaign cash and independent expenditures by businesses and organizations whose interests are tied up in cases before the Ohio Supreme Court. The Justice at Stake campaign notes that Ohio Supreme Court races have cracked $1 million in TV spending, all of it benefiting Republicans.

Malpractice Reform Is No Panacea For Rising Health Costs

New findings indicate that putting limits on malpractice awards and enacting similar tort reforms are unlikely to do much to curb the nation's surging health care costs. In fact a new study, published last week in Health Affairs suggests that costs associated with medical malpractice are far less than the $650 billion figure (26% of all money spent on health care) cited by some Republicans who have made tort reform a cornerstone of their vision for "bending the cost curve" in health care. The newly calculated figure, $55.6 billion, represents just 2.4% of health costs.

SB 86 Opponent Testimony of Gerald Leeseberg

Attorney Gerald Leeseberg of Columbus, representing the Ohio Association for Justice, said in opposition testimony that the current version of the bill still provides blanket immunity for negligent medical care on the part of emergency room personnel for any patients in any circumstance.

Infection Costs Student His Legs

An Ohio State University freshman who had both his legs amputated last spring after he became infected with a flesh-eating bacteria has sued many of the doctors and nurses who treated him and the hospitals that employ them.

Leeseberg & Valentine Attorneys Honored Again

The attorneys at Leeseberg & Valentine have once again been honored by being designated as "Super Lawyers" and "Rising Stars" in their specialty in the legal profession. This designation was made by Ohio Super Lawyers magazine and was bestowed on the attorneys by members of their profession without any input or solicitation by the firm. In addition, the firm itself has been designated as a 2010 "Best Law Firm" by the prestigious U.S. News & World Report, and Ms. Valentine has been named to the list of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Ohio and the list of the Top 25 Women Lawyers in Columbus. This recognition by others outside the firm is particularly gratifying because it is based on the continued success our attorneys and staff have achieved on behalf of our clients. 

The Arbino Autopsy: S.B. 80

"You are deluding yourself about the Court," said the priest. "[T]hat particular delusion is described thus: before the Law stands a doorkeeper. To this doorkeeper there comes a man from the country who begs for admittance to the Law. But the doorkeeper says that he cannot admit the man at the moment. The man, on reflection, asks if he will be allowed, then, to enter later. 'It is possible,' answers the doorkeeper, 'but not at this moment.' Since the door leading into the Law stands open as usual and the doorkeeper steps to one side, the man bends down to peer through the entrance. When the doorkeeper sees that, he laughs and says: 'If you are so strongly tempted, try to get in without my permission. But note that I am powerful. And I am only the lowest doorkeeper. From hall to hall, keepers stand at every door, one more powerful than the other. And the sight of the third man is already more than even I can stand.' These are difficulties which the man from the country has not expected to meet, the Law, he thinks, should be accessible to every man and at all times...."

I thank God for our trial lawyers

It's killing season in election year 2004. Special-interest groups have been lambasting trial lawyers, blaming these so-called "predators" for higher health insurance premiums and fewer specialty physicians. This year, the outcry is louder than ever because Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards was a plaintiff's attorney.

Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers Elects Anne Valentine as New President; Endorses Ohio Supreme Court Candidates

Anne M. Valentine, partner in the Columbus-based Law Firm Leeseberg & Valentine, officially became the new president of the Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers during the organizations annual convention May 11, 2000. Ms. Valentine is the first woman to be elected president of the Academy.

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