Articles Posted in Professional Negligence

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shoulderA recent California Court of Appeals decision illustrates the importance of not threatening to sue someone, especially in writing, unless you understand the potentially far-reaching consequences of your actions.

In a decision filed just last week, the plaintiff gave birth via Cesarean section at the defendant hospital in October 2013. On the day after the procedure, the plaintiff fell while walking along a hospital hallway, resulting in a fractured right shoulder.

In February 2014, the plaintiff sent a detailed letter to the defendant, describing her injury and allegedly outlining the basis for her “medical negligence” claim. The plaintiff apparently additionally requested damages in the amount of $240,000 and purportedly stated that she would “move to the court” if she did not receive a check within 20 days. The defendant subsequently denied the plaintiff’s claim after its insurer reviewed the plaintiff’s records. In October 2014, the plaintiff’s retained counsel sent a letter to the defendants, stating they were providing notice pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure § 364. The formal lawsuit followed in January 2015.

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pharmacist444Modern Medicine contributor Ned Milenkovich, JD reports on the growing trend of victims being injured or killed by pharmacists’ negligence. The increase is in part due to pharmacists taking on expanded rolls in providing complete healthcare services. Some of these new services include cognitive services, routine blood-pressure screening, blood-glucose monitoring, and cholesterol testing, all of which can result in errors. As statistics show, all too often patients are harmed, sometimes even fatally. Sources reveal that an average of 7,000 deaths per year occur in the United States as a result of adverse drug events, with a corresponding average increase in hospital cost of $4,700 per adverse drug event, all due to medication-related errors.

Applicable California Law

California regulates Pharmacists by requiring that they have a degree and are licensed by the state board. Furthermore, they must comply with all of California’s laws including but not limited to the Business and Professions Code. Any error leading to pharmacist malpractice are governed by general negligence concepts, which include: duty of care, breach of the duty of care (conduct falling below the community standard), and the breach was the proximate cause of the harm, which resulted in damages. These standards extend to the pharmacy, hospital, clinic, or other instances where the pharmacist is acting in there professional capacity. Damages include medical expenses, loss of earnings and earning capacity and compensation for pain and suffering. In cases resulting in fatal injuries a “survivor action” and or wrongful death claims can be made (see my prior Blog post San Diego Woman Killed by Auto Accident Debris for California’s Law on these issues).