Michels & Lew’s Litigation Manager Published in the Journal of Consumer Attorneys Associations for Southern California
Rose Gutierrez, the Litigation Manager of Michels & Lew, was published in the Journal
Are Medical Devices the Next Online Security Battleground
Data analysis, cloud computing and other Digital Age technologies have improved
Why Medical Professionals Are Warning about the Risks of E-cigarette Burns
Electronic cigarettes are receiving favorable notice as a (purportedly) healthier alternative
Drowning Prevention and Pool Safety
Drowning is One of the Leading Causes of Death
Hot summer temperatures in California and throughout the country bring out
Secret Hospital Inspections May Become Public at Last
Secret Hospital Inspections May Become Public at Last
It is hard to fathom that preventable hospital medical errors are
Doctors Still Divided on When Women Should Start Mammograms
Medical Experts Disagree on Mammogram Screening Recommendations
At what age should women start getting breast cancer mammogram screenings?
A Parent's Guide to Preventing Child Drowning
Drowning of a child is a tragically common occurrence: Two children age 14 or younger
Standard of Care
It takes many years of study and preparation to become a doctor. In addition to four years
Paralyzed by the Doctor’s Mistake
Paralysis is obviously one of the most extreme and life-altering medical conditions that a
Most Common Hospital Mistakes
Individuals go to hospitals expecting to get well. However, the number of preventable
Risks of Gastric Bypass Surgery
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one third
UTI - Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections (UTI) occur in females and males, but are more common in females
Adverse Events After Hospital Discharge
After patients are discharged from hospitals, they often fall prey to a host of medical errors
Overview of a Medical Malpractice Case - Part Three of a Three Part Series
Michels & Lew provides superior medical malpractice representation to injured clients
What is Medical Malpractice
Why is it Important?
When a healthcare provider treats a patient in a negligent manner that results in some form of
Researching Your Doctor
Why is it Important?
When choosing a doctor, it is important to be confident that you will receive the best possible
“Screenagers: Growing up in the Digital Age” is a documentary created by Dr. Delaney Ruston
Therapeutic Cooling for Injured Newborns
by Phil Michels
Therapeutic hypothermia (whole body or head cooling) has become standard of care
History of the Zika Virus
The Zika virus was first discovered in Rhesus monkeys in 1947 in Uganda’s Zika forest.
The Risks of Using a Birthing Center
What is a Birthing Center?
Birthing centers differ significantly from hospital maternity wards. A birthing center is
Military Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice claims against the military are subject to laws and procedures
Vaginal Birth After Cesarean – VBAC
“VBAC” is an acronym for vaginal birth after cesarean. There are reasons why
Missed Heart Attacks in the Emergency Room
When the Emergency Room Fails to Diagnose a Heart Attack
When an individual is rushed to the hospital emergency room it is up to the hospital
How to Best Protect Yourself And Your Family From Medical And Hospital Carelessness
US government studies have shown there are over 400,000 preventable deaths per year
Correlation Between Language Barriers and Medical Errors/Medical Malpractice
Language Barriers to Healthcare is a Serious Problem in the United States
More Than Twenty Five Million Americans Have Limited English
Brain Cooling for Hypoxic-ischemic
Hypothermia as Treatment for Newborns Suffering from Oxygen Deprivation
Babies who experienced oxygen deprivation at birth have higher mortality
When bleeding occurs in the space between the brain and the extremely fine tissues that
The Appendix and Appendicitis
The appendix is a small tube-like appendage, resembling a finger or a worm, about
Head Injuries in Vaginally Delivered Newborns
Head Trauma in Newborns Related to Operative Vaginal Delivery
Operative vaginal delivery is a term that indicates the use of forceps, vacuum
What is Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury occurs when the head is struck, jarred, knocked, concussed and/or
Pool Safety and Drowning Statistics
Drowning is known as a submersion injury and refers to suffocation in a liquid
Germs on a scope, so bad they’ve earned the name SUPERBUG, are resulting in dangerous and deadly
What is Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy?
Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a condition in which the brain does not
Infants at Higher Risk for Bacterial Meningitis
Bacterial meningitis is a serious illness. Each year in the United States it kills roughly
The Combative Opposing Counsel
Defense attorneys may talk excessively at depositions to get you off track; they can be
Strategies for Dealing with The Statute of Limitations in Medical Malpractice Cases
The statute of limitations in medical malpractice cases, Civil Code section 340.5
Effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries on Victims and Families
Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI, and the effects of such an injury on its victims, has made
Majority of Medical Professionals Do Not Report Harmful Patient Care
Over 80 percent of errors within hospitals go unreported, according to a study conducted
Tips for Choosing a Doctor and Taking Control of Your Health Care
When deciding on a family physician or specialist, avoid picking a name
Negligent Actions Can Lead to Drowning
Many children will spend their summer escaping the Southern California heat by doing
The Basics of Birth Injuries
There are few times parents are more vulnerable than during the birth of their children. Many emotions
Top Medical Errors
Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals work hard every day to cure peoples' illnesses, help prevent diseases and
A collaborative effort: Promises made and kept
As I near the end of my term, I want to review some of the changes in our association during the past year and thank the people who made them possible.
Citizens united: The protest version
A step beyond the legal and political system
On September 17, 2011, a few hundred people gathered to rally in lower Manhattan, close to Wall Street.
A few months ago 1700 prisoners in California’s corrections institutions statewide went on a three-week long hunger strike.
Ways around the logjam
"Voluntary Efficient Litigation Stipulations” may streamline discovery and motions in limine
The impact of court budget cuts
The Los Angeles Superior Court stands to lose $78 million this fiscal year. Are we are heading back to the bad old days of five-year delays to jury trial?
Adult Supervision Is the Key to Preventing Children From Drowning
When temperatures rise, children are drawn to water for both relief and entertainment, whether in their own backyards or
Physician Offices Nearly as Malpractice Prone as Hospitals
Most efforts to improve patient safety center on inpatient care, but almost as many malpractice claims paid on behalf
Drowning Pool Guide
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 350 children under five years of age drown each year
16-year old girl struck by car at dangerous crosswalk and dies due to negligence
Michels & Lew, a personal injury and medical malpractice law firm, filed claims last Thursday for wrongful death against the cities of La Palma and Cypress, the Anaheim Union High School District, the
On, Wisconsin! The hazards of speaking up
The efforts of Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker to prevent public employee unions from collectively bargaining for wages, and to end the state’s
Could Your Household Products be Emitting Toxic Chemicals?
Every day, in a variety of ways, we use products that, whether we realize it or not, add fragrance to our lives. From laundry detergent and cleaning supplies to lotions and deodorants, fragrances are everywhere. Because scented products are so much a part of our daily lives, most all of us assume that they are safe. A recent study by the University of Washington may prove that assumption false.
Analyzing an array of common air fresheners, laundry products, personal care products and cleaners, the study found many of the chemicals emitted by these products may be considered hazardous, even toxic. Furthermore, one or more chemicals emitted by nearly one-third of the test products are considered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to possibly be carcinogenic (cancer causing).
It took a scientific study to discover these possibly harmful chemicals: neither the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) nor the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) require companies to disclose the chemicals used to concoct a fragrance. This could be changing, however, as the United States Senate is considering...
Diligence and Care Are Key to Preventing Surgical Errors
Acting methodically, exercising diligence and avoiding distractions are some of the best ways to prevent surgical errors, according to
When an emergency occurs, the aquatic professional should assess the situation to determine the degree of injury to the patron,
Home Pool Safety
By Alison Osinski, Ph.D.
Alison Osinski is currently the principal-owner of Aquatic Consulting Services, located in San Diego, California, specializing in aquatic risk management, and aquatic facility design, management and operation. Services include: site inspections, pool design and renovation projects, staff screening and selection, lifeguard audits, expert testimony, equipment specification and testing, pool operator training and certification courses, and water quality analysis. Clients include: health and fitness organizations, schools and universities, social service agencies, therapeutic facilities, water parks and community aquatic leisure centers, amusement parks, swim schools, military bases, camps, zoos, resorts, attorneys, architectural and engineering firms, aquatic agencies and foundations, homeowners, manufacturers of aquatic related products, and municipal park and recreation and safety management departments
The Hidden Risks of Anesthesia
The risks associated with anesthesia have decreased in the past several decades, based on a variety of safety improvements such as improved monitoring techniques and widespread adoption of practice guidelines across the medical profession. However, the use of anesthesiology is still commonly regarded as a high risk activity, and it can result in life-altering injuries.
According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), complications as the result of anesthesia may include blindness, infection, damage to veins or arteries, damage to a patient's mouth, teeth or vocal chords, lung, heart or blood pressure complications, seizure or stroke, allergic reactions, nerve damage, awareness of the operation, or even death.
These risks are not spread equally across all patients and forms of anesthesia. Instead, each form of anesthesia carries unique risks.
- General Anesthesia: When a patient is under general anesthesia, he or she may face a variety of problems, including aspiration.
- Nerve Blocks: Nerve blocks are one form of regional anesthesia, wherein an injection is placed near a nerve to prevent the nerve from transmitting pain....
Lifeguards Needed in California Schools
Recently, Michels & Lew became a sponsor of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA), a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the
Wrong Site Surgery and Pre-Surgery Procedures
Our client, a 72-year-old California man, has sued his doctor and hospital for unspecified damages, claiming that surgeons mistakenly removed his healthy left kidney rather than
Anesthesiologist trashes sedated patient — and it ends up costing her
Sitting in his surgical gown inside a large medical suite in Reston, a Vienna man prepared for his colonoscopy by pressing record on his smartphone, to capture the instructions his doctor would give him after the procedure.
But as soon as he pressed play on his way home, he was shocked out of his anesthesia-induced stupor: He found that he had recorded the entire examination, and that the surgical team had mocked and insulted him as soon as he drifted off to sleep.
Study Finds Surgical Errors Afflict Thousands of Patients in the U.S. Each Year
According to a new study conducted by Johns Hopkins researchers, surgical errors - commonly referred to as "never events" within the medical community because they should "never" happen - continue to negatively impact the lives of more than 4,000 patients in the United States every year. The study, which examined successful medical malpractice claims between 1990 and 2010, found that preventable errors, such as leaving foreign objects in the patient's body, performing surgery on the wrong body site or performing an incorrect procedure resulted in permanent injury or death in more than 38 percent of patients affected. More than 12 percent of physicians were found to be repeat offenders, and settlements in such cases totaled more than $1 billion. An article on the study in The Atlantic quotes lead researcher Marty Makary, who calls for increased transparency in healthcare saying, "I think if all of that information is public, patients will not have to walk into a hospital blind." Makary believes that greater accountability will lead to widespread implementation of preventative measures, which will help make these "never events"...
Child Saved from Drowning at Orange County Swim School While Under Care of Negligent Nanny
The instructor of a swim school in San Clemente rescued an unconscious child from the school's hot tub, performed CPR and saved the child's life according to a recent article in the Orange County Register. Wendy Gallagher, owner of Waterbabies Swim School, spotted the 2 1/2 year-old girl floating in the hot tub while she was teaching in a nearby pool on August 15. The child's nanny had been talking on her cell phone when the incident occurred. The hot tub is provided for students as an after-class reward but has no designated lifeguard; instead, parents or guardians are instructed to closely supervise the children while they are in the water. The child was awake and responsive when paramedics arrived, was taken to an area hospital and released the following morning. According to Kellie Stafford, the school's office administrator, "It just goes to show you have to know how to do rescue breathing." Drowning remains the leading cause of death for children age 5 and under.
Michels & Lew regularly handles drowning cases and is a member...
Healthcare Violations Result in Fines for Six Southern California Hospitals
Los Angeles Times reports that six hospitals in Southern California have been fined by the California Department of Public Health for healthcare violations ranging from sexual assault to leaving medical equipment in patients after surgery. Southwest Healthcare System in Murrieta received a fine of $100,000 - the largest amount the state can impose on a hospital - for a nurse's failure to recognize signs of fetal distress during labor, leading to a stillborn delivery. This is the eighth fine for Southwest since the financial penalty system was created in 2007, giving it more violations than any other hospital in the state. In addition, Chapman Medical Center in Orange was fined for the sexual assault of a female patient by an emergency room nurse, UC San Diego Medical Center was fined for failing to provide "considerate and respectful care" to a patient, and three hospitals were cited for leaving foreign objects inside of surgical patients. Seven additional California hospitals were found to have committed healthcare violations, for a combined total of $825,000 in penalties statewide.
U.S. House Bill H.R. 5 to Limit Awards for Damages in Medical Malpractice Suits
A controversial new bill known as H.R. 5 that sets severe limitations on financial awards for damages in medical malpractice lawsuits is working its way through Congress after receiving the majority of votes needed to pass in the House of Representatives on March 22, 2012.
Originally introduced by Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia in January 2011, H.R. 5 was attached to a bill intended to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), one aspect of President Obama's recent healthcare reform act. Supporters of the bill argue that IPAB will drive up Medicare expenses, but that repealing IPAB will cost millions of dollars in government spending. In order to offset the costs, H.R. 5 will drastically alter both federal and state medical malpractice laws, capping potential awards for non-economic damages at $250,000.
Since it has been estimated that nearly 100,000 people die every year from medical errors, placing such limits on malpractice lawsuits is unthinkable to many consumer advocacy and patients' rights groups, as well as many attorneys who specialize in medical malpractice. The $250,000 maximum...
New Research Finds Childhood Brain Injuries Have Long-Lasting Effects on Cognitive Development
According to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, major brain trauma that occurs during childhood can seriously impede the development of the child's cognitive abilities, motor skills and more - and the effects can be seen for up to ten years after the initial injury. The study, which tested the cognitive, social and behavioral responses of a group of 40 children between the ages of 2 and 7 who had suffered traumatic brain injuries, found that the greatest deficits were present in higher learning skills, such as organizing, planning and reasoning. Serious head injuries can be especially detrimental for young children because their brains have not yet fully developed, and significant damage can stunt nerve growth and alter the natural trajectory of the child's cognitive processes. Continued brain development, while possible with early intervention and supportive rehabilitation efforts, is unlikely to return to normal levels following serious brain trauma at a young age.
The CDC Reports Drowning as the Leading Cause of Death Among Children Under the Age of 4
A new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that drowning is the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 4. Parents are urged to be vigilant when letting their children play in or near the water, regardless of depth. While 10% of drownings occurr in bathtubs, a staggering 50% take place in swimming pools. Dr. Julie Gilchrist, the author of the study, points out that even those children who survive drowning can suffer from "consequences like delayed brain functions and disabilities." In order to prevent such tragedies, all children should be taught basic swimming skills and water safety techniques, and parents should fence off swimming pools and ponds. Additionally, young children should never be allowed near the water without protective life jackets and close adult supervision.
Recent Decision to Remove Doctor Disciplinary Files from Web Stirs Controversy
A recent New York Times article sheds light on the protests regarding Obama's decision to remove a database of physician discipline and malpractice actions from the internet. The National Practitioner Data Bank created in 1986, allows the public - frequently used by researchers and reporters - to view oversight of doctors, trends in disciplinary actions and malpractice awards. In some instances, the database has resulted in new legislation helping contribute toward patient safety. However, the Health Resources and Services Administration have decided to pull the information from the web in fear that the public would abuse the anonymity of the site. Due to the overwhelming number of protests, the Obama Administration is reviewing the decision and making changes to ensure that the information displayed does not violate confidentiality laws.
Studies Show Malpractice Occurs in Outpatient Settings Too
New research indicates that those concerned about medical malpractice should be paying at least as much attention to outpatient settings as they are to inpatient ones. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found, based on data from the National Practitioner Data Bank, that from 2003 to 2009, paid malpractice claims for outpatient incidents decreased at a slower rate than those for incidents at hospitals (19.3 percent, compared with 24.6 percent), and that the proportion of paid claims involving outpatient settings increased during the same period. The study authors point out that there are 30 times more outpatient visits than hospital discharges each year, and that surgical procedures are increasingly being performed in less-regulated physicians' offices and ambulatory surgery centers.
Consumer Product Safety Commission Warns Public of Pool Dangers
With swimming weather upon us again, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is once more reminding parents of the serious risks pools pose to children. Drowning is a leading cause of death among American children younger than five and an average of 350 children drown each year. About 2,600 more are treated in hospitals after near-drowning's-some suffering severe, permanent injuries such as brain damage. The CPSC advises parents to deploy around their backyard pool a system of safeguards including barriers, alarms on doors leading to the pool and pool covers. The group also recommends keeping rescue equipment, a phone and emergency numbers near the pool and knowing CPR. For more information on child pool safety (and on diving safety), view this CPSC publication.
Michels & Lew is a proud supporter of the Drowning Prevention Foundation.
Obama Administration Announces Plans to Reduce Medical Errors
On April 12, 2011, the Obama administration announced a new initiative to reduce medical errors and cut readmissions to hospitals in hopes of tackling errors made by hospitals that kills thousands each year. By partnering with private insurers, business leaders and patient advocates, the campaign hopes to cut the number of harmful preventable conditions by 40% over the next three years, and seeks to cut readmissions to hospitals by 20%. The new healthcare law will provide billions of dollars to improve care by rewarding hospitals and physicians that meet higher quality standards. In coming months, the administration plans to spend $500 million in grants to community-based organizations that partner with hospitals to monitor patients immediately after they are discharged, and another $500 million will go to test models for reducing nine types of common medical errors.
Medicare Publishes Reports Detailing Hospital Errors
In April 2011, the government published data compiled by Medicare detailing adverse events in hospitals such as falls, objects left behind in patients during surgeries, bloodstream or urinary infections associated with catheters, incompatible blood infusions, serious bed sores and more. The information was the first hospital-specific patient safety data ever released to the public and came from a review of hospital bills submitted for elderly and disabled patients between October 2008 and June 2010. Although the bills were only from Chicago-based hospitals, a nationwide report from the Institute of Medicine stated that hospital errors account for nearly 100,000 deaths each year. Many objections stemmed from the release of Medicare's report; however, government officials are committed to shining a light on the wrongdoings of hospitals because of their poor communication, inadequate follow up or other breakdowns in the processes of care. The fact remains that all of these adverse events are preventable and it is the hospitals responsibility to put the proper systems and procedures in place to avoid future errors.