Articles Tagged with physicians

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hospital-corridor-1057587-mKimiyoshi Matsuyama went to his doctor’s office for a routine physical examination. Medical records of the visit indicate that Mr. Matsuyama complained of heartburn and difficulty breathing that was associated with eating and lifting. Mr. Matsuyama’s doctor, Dr. Birnbaum, did not order any tests to determine the origin or cause of his patients complaints. At a subsequent trial, Dr. Birnbaum testified that he was aware that Mr. Matsuyama had a history of smoking and was at significantly higher risk for developing gastric cancer than was the general population of the United States. Instead, the doctor diagnosed his patient with gastrointestinal reflex disease and recommended over the counter treatments.

Dr. Birnbaum treated Mr. Matsuyama for approximately three more years. Each time that Mr. Matsuyama complained of an ailment or discomfort he was experiencing (such as a suspicious mole), he was told that it was not something to be fearful of. Subsequently, a mass was found in Mr. Matsuyama’s stomach and he was diagnosed with infiltrative gastric adenoid carcinoma. He began treating with specialists for his condition and subsequently passed away due to the gastric cancer.

The Estate of Mr. Matsuyama brought a complaint against the Defendant Doctor alleging wrongful death. The complaint alleged that Dr. Birnbaum breached the applicable standard of care in evaluating and treating Mr. Matsuyama which resulted in his death. An expert retained by the estate opined that, “in light of Matsuyama’s complaints, symptoms, and risk factors, including the presence of H. pylori, his Japanese ancestry, his having lived in Japan or Korea for extended periods, his smoking history, and other well-known risk factors, an internist exercising the expected standard of care would have ordered an upper gastrointestinal series X-ray or an endoscopy, or referred Matsuyama to a specialist for endoscopy, beginning in 1995.” The Estate argued that had the doctor ordered the appropriate testing as early back as 1995, the cancer that Mr. Matsuyama ultimately died of would have been diagnosed and treated in a way where it may have been curable. Continue reading →

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1334532_48594781As the shades go up and windows open to begin the annual task of spring cleaning, many individuals face only the trouble of allergies and dust mites as a hindrance to this accomplishment.  This was not the case for Geraldine Moran.  As she began her annual spring cleaning routine in 2005, she used a six foot tall ladder to accomplish her mission.  As she was cleaning, Ms. Moran fell and broke several ribs.  She was immediately taken to, what was previously known as, Jordan Hospital in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  Doctors evaluated Ms. Moran and made the decision to transport her to Massachusetts General Hospital as that facility would seemingly have the appropriate staff, equipment, and facilities to help treat Ms. Moran.

Geraldine Moran subsequently presented to Massachusetts General Hospital for her injuries.  While at the hospital, the doctors evaluated Ms. Moran and determined that she cracked her ribs in an unusual manner.  One rib in particular was noted as being cracked in such a way that it’s fine tip was close to Ms. Moran’s aorta.  The aorta is the largest artery in the body which stems from the left ventricle of the heart.  This is vital to the human body as it distributes oxygenated blood to all parts of the body.  Hospital staff did not treat Ms. Moran immediately.  Instead, she was kept overnight for evaluation and was given an epidural for pain. It was also noted that the time of her stay at MGH, she had a persistent cough.  At some point at night or in the early morning hours, the cracked rib with a razor point edge punctured the balloon like aorta during a coughing fit.  Ms. Moran went into cardiac arrest in the early morning hours.  She was pronounced dead at 9:49 am.  An autopsy revealed a 1 centimeter hole in her aorta by the jagged edge of her broken rib.  She was 62 at the time of her death and left three children behind. Continue reading →

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gavel-952313-mAfter an individual has made proper presentment of his or her claims to a health care provider pursuant to 60L (as discussed previously), the individual may file a claim in the proper court in Massachusetts. Once litigation has commenced a Plaintiff has an additional burden to overcome before the case may proceed on its merits: the medical malpractice tribunal.

Under Massachusetts General Laws Ch. 231, § 60B, any time an action is commenced against a health care provider for malpractice, error or mistake, the parties will be required to go before a tribunal consisting of a Judge, a health care provider in the same field as the Defendant, and a lawyer licensed to practice in Massachusetts. At the tribunal, the Plaintiff will provide an offer of proof for the tribunal members to determine if there is sufficient evidence to raise a legitimate question as to the liability of the health care provider or if the case is merely an unfortunate medical result. The Plaintiff is required to produce an offer of proof (a written document) that contains substantial evidence that the Defendant:

  1. is a provider of health care,
  2. who deviated from the applicable duty of care owed to the Plaintiff,
  3. thereby causing damage to the Plaintiff. Continue reading →