Category Archives: Medical malpractice

Why a Day Spa Visit Can Lead to Months of Misery

By David Macaulay, Veritas Legal Media

Spending a few hours at a day spa may seem like a relaxing way to unwind but recent lawsuits have revealed a your day out may lead to months if not years of misery.

Although accidents at day spas remain rare, a rapid growth in both the number of day spas and the range of treatments available has increased the risk factor.

 

In a disturbing recent case in Florida Edna Viviana Ayala, the 39-year-old owner of a day spa, the Viviana’s Body Secrets Spa in Doral, was arrested after allegedly inject­ing customer Isabel Gon­za­lez with a sub­stance that left her face badly infected and deformed, the Huff­in­g­ton Post reported.

The report suggested Gon­za­lez paid $890 to the beau­ti­cian for two rounds of what she thought were vit­a­min treatments.

What happened to Gonzalez demonstrated that just because a treatment is high end doesn’t mean it’s safe.

Just a week after the second round of treatments, Gon­za­lez started to realize all was not well. Her symptoms included itch­ing, swelling, red­ness and infection.

Soon her con­di­tion became so grave she was admit­ted into an emer­gency room. Her face ended up badly deformed.

The Huff­in­g­ton Post reported public safety offi­cials later learned that Ayala was not licensed to per­form the injec­tion, which is con­sid­ered to be a med­ical pro­ce­dure. She was arrested last week on charges of aggra­vated bat­tery, prac­tic­ing med­i­cine with­out a license and caus­ing seri­ous injury by prac­tic­ing as a health care pro­fes­sional with­out a license. Her attorney insists the day spa did not inject Gonzales with anything.

Although this may seem like an extreme case, it illustrates the potential problems in the fast-growing day spa sector.

Although day care staff may wear white coats and look professional, it does not mean they are medically qualified. While this may not be a problem in the case of a facial, a manicure or a pedicure, more day cares are offering invasive treatments that may be considered medical procedures.

One of the best ways to safe­guard your­self at the spa is to make sure you are receiv­ing ser­vices from a licensed and cer­ti­fied indi­vid­ual. Check out his or her medical credentials before your visit.

You should also check a provider for any public health violations. A report published in 2004 sug­gested that more than half of all pub­lic hot tub spas in the U.S. had recorded a public health violation. Of about 5,000 spas inspected, 57 per­cent vio­lated at least one safety vio­la­tion. Poor water qual­ity was the most com­mon rea­son for a violation.

Notwithstanding the recession there has been a rapid growth in day spas in the United States. As of 2008 there were about 21,300 day spas and the number of providers has grown at an annual rate of 21 per­cent in the last five years.

If you receive a serious injury at a day spa you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney.

Contact David Macaulay at veritaslegalmedia@hotmail.com

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Study Questions Claims Texas Malpractice Cap Brought in More Doctors

Caps on what a medical malpractice victim can claim remain controversial because they can mean it’s not worth lawyers taking on som cases in states that have a cap, even when a patient has suffered considerable harm.

Texas imposed one of the most severe caps on what a victim of medical malpractice can claim in the country in 2003, following claims lawsuits were leading doctors to quit the profession in the state.

And while supporters of the reform have pointed to an influx of doctors into the state since, a major new study suggests this may not be the case.

 Before Texas adopted tort reform in 2003, proponents claimed that physicians were deserting Texas in droves,” the April, 2012 paper by academics David A. Hyman from University of Illinois College of Law, Charles Silver of the University of Austin School of Law and Bernard S. Black from Northwestern University’s School of Law, says 

Then after tort reform was enacted, supporters pointed to a massive influx of physicians into Texas due to the improved liability situation.

 “We find no evidence to support either claim,” the study concludes.

Texas has one of the most stringent caps in the nation. Under the Texas reforms a cap on non-economic damages against physicians and other licensed health care providers  is limited to $250,000 and total non-economic damages are capped at $500,000.

The cap can be as high as $750,000 if there is more than one individual held liable for medical malpractice.

 The cap was a clear part of the Republican mantra in the state. Texas Governor Rick Perry justified the reform in a speech when he said.

“The threat of litigation has a domino effect . . . causing malpractice carriers to raise rates, which in turn force many doctors to leave Texas, or in some cases to leave the practice of medicine altogether. And ultimately this hurts patient access the most.”

 The new study questions assertions that themedical malpractice cap led to a major influx of doctors into Texas, citing possible other factors.

“For example, after Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana in 2005, many citizens of Louisiana relocated to Texas,” the study states.

 It also targets the way backers of the cap have seized on the number of  licenses applied for and issued. They did consider physicians leaving Texas or retiring, the study says. Statistics by the Texas Board of Medical Examiners “do not reflect net changes in Texas’ population of physicians,” the report states.

Nor did the authors find any evidence that the lack of a cap before 2003 was a disincentive to doctors moving to Texas.

“Physician supply was not stunted prior to reform, and did not measurably improve after reform,” the study sai 

“Limiting med mal lawsuits might be a good idea, or a bad one. But the core message from this study, and our related study of the impact of tort reform on health care spending – both consistent with other research – is that tort reform is a small idea, when it comes to the larger and linked questions of health care access and affordability,” the  study concludes.

 The report appears to undermine the arguments of those who have argued providing immunities to doctors would bring more of them to Texas.

 This argument, in itself, raise the question why Texas would want doctors who are anxious to have lesser liability from medical malpractice.

 A number of organizations including the Committee for Justice for All, argue the caps are depriving patients of the standard of healthcare that they need.

More than 20 states have placed a cap on non-economic damages, which limits how much money a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case can get for non-economic compensation, such as pain and suffering.

Lawyers say the main driver behind caps on damages are the lobbyists working for the medical malpractice insurance companies. It is clerly in their best interest to have legislation past that limits the amount of money they will have to pay out to injured patients

 

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Trans Vaginal Mesh Lawsuits Mount

Jan. 2012 – Veritas Legal Media – 757-582-1836 – veritaslegalmedia@hotmail.com

 Have you ever had an oper­a­tion or a sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure that caused more prob­lems than the con­di­tion it was meant to rec­tify?  If so, you can prob­a­bly sym­pa­thize with hun­dreds of women who are tak­ing out law­suits over vagi­nal mesh implants.

Lit­i­ga­tion on this issue moved for­ward on Jan. 26, 2012, at a hear­ing in Miami, FL, when lawyers sought to coor­di­nate the many trans­vagi­nal sur­gi­cal mesh law­suits that are presently being brought across the USA.  Lawyers have filed motions with the U.S. Judi­cial Panel on Mul­ti­dis­trict Lit­i­ga­tion (JPML) rep­re­sent­ing women who say they suf­fered injuries after being implanted with vagi­nal mesh, which has been used for the treat­ment of stress uri­nary incon­ti­nence (SUI) and pelvic organ pro­lapse (POP).

Massivelaw­suits are now being brought against three man­u­fac­tur­ers — Amer­i­can Med­ical Sys­tems, Inc., Boston Sci­en­tific Corp. and Ethicon, Inc.

This has been a prob­lemacross the US for some years and it’s not as if the reg­u­la­tors haven’t had time to make patients aware of the dan­gers.  In Octo­ber 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion issued a notice about trans­vagi­nal sur­gi­cal mesh.  It said the FDA had received more than 1,000 reports from nine sur­gi­cal mesh man­u­fac­tur­ers of com­pli­ca­tions that were asso­ci­ated with sur­gi­cal mesh devices.  Painful com­pli­ca­tions listed by the FDA included  bowel, blad­der, and blood ves­sel per­fo­ra­tion dur­ing inser­tion of the mesh and pain and dis­com­fort in the wake of operations.

The reg­u­la­tion, or in this case, the lack of reg­u­la­tion of these prod­ucts, is a cause for con­cern. These vagi­nal mesh prod­ucts were approved through the FDA’s con­tro­ver­sial 510(k) fast-track approval process, a sys­tem that’s more than 35 years old and under fire.  Unlike drugs there is no test­ing require­ment under 510 (k). The only require­ment is that a prod­uct should be sub­stan­tially equiv­a­lent to a device that has already been approved for sale. This highly con­tro­ver­sial approval process was also used for DePuy hip trans­plants – another device that has led to intense suf­fer­ing for patients, not to men­tion mul­ti­ple lawsuits.

Recently the FDA sent out a let­ter to man­u­fac­tur­ers of mesh prod­ucts call­ing for new post-marketing stud­ies on trans­vagi­nal mesh.  This seems like a clear case of clos­ing the sta­ble door after the horse has bolted, although if it helps bring change in the reg­u­la­tion of sur­gi­cal devices, some good will have come out of it.

Unfor­tu­nately, change has come too late to help many women who have been left in pain by faulty devices that stud­ies have shown pro­vide lit­tle clin­i­cal benefit.

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