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Kentucky Woman Sues County Hospital After Medical Staff Allegedly Missed Her Cancer Diagnosis

(Fleming County, KY, March 3, 2021) — A Kentucky hospital misinformed a woman of her cancer diagnosis and attempted to cover it up, according to the woman’s lawsuit. The misinformation and lack of action led to the tumor continuing to grow untreated for nearly a year. Case Background The plaintiff, Kim Johnson, had a mammogram at Flemming County Hospital after feeling a lump in her right breast. Johnson’s mother died of breast cancer, so she was hyper-aware of the tumor. Much to her relief, Johnson received a letter in the mail a few weeks after her mammogram that informed her there was “no evidence of cancer.” Johnson, 53 at the time, went back to her life with seven kids and multiple farm animals. However, the lump in her breast did not subside. Her primary care physician, having been informed of the negative cancer screening, prescribed steroids for a staph infection. After nine months, the lump had grown more prominent and more painful; at Johnson’s request, the primary care physician referred Johnson to a different hospital for another mammogram. Johnson’s Fears Confirmed Johnson traveled 80 miles to Elizabeth Fort Thomas Hospital, where Dr. Heidi Murley ordered a mammogram and an emergency biopsy upon reading the results. Murley soon informed Johnson that she had stage 4 breast cancer, and it had spread to her lymph nodes and bones.  Rightly, Johnson wondered how the other hospital missed the cancer almost a year earlier. Murley wondered the same thing and reviewed the mammogram from Flemming County Hospital. She found apparent evidence of cancer in the image and determined that Johnson should have been scheduled for a biopsy within 30 days of that initial radiology appointment. Johnson confirmed that she only received one letter from Flemming County Hospital informing her that her mammogram was clear. Confused, Johnson followed the advice of a nurse in Murley’s office and sought legal counsel.  Johnson Sues Johnson’s lawyers filed a lawsuit against Flemming County Hospital in September 2016. To Johnson’s shock, the hospital responded and said they sent two additional letters after her initial visit directing her to schedule a follow-up appointment. She insisted she had never seen those two letters, but Johnson and the hospital settled the lawsuit for $1.25 million in 2018.  However, the plaintiff hired Andrew Garrett, a digital forensics expert, to analyze the evidence in the case. After multiple visits to the hospital and an extensive review of the documents in question, Garrett determined that the hospital created the two letters after Johnson filed the lawsuit—two years after her initial mammogram. Garrett also found evidence of two different hospital workers editing Johnson’s file various times to erase evidence of medical negligence.  The plaintiffs filed a motion to undo the settlement in 2019. Although the trial judge denied the motion, Johnson and her attorneys unsuccessfully appealed the decision in November and are now appealing to the Kentucky Supreme Court.  The defense argues that hospital computer systems frequently glitch, and the evidence related to computer records is unreliable. Johnson’s legal team ascertains that the codes used to change the documents belong to active employees, arguing that the defense is invalid. Case Result Although the outcome of her lawsuit remains unknown, Johnson is focusing her time on her children and her farm. She has undergone more than 50 rounds of chemotherapy and 40 rounds of radiation to treat the growing tumor; the cancer has continued to spread and is now in her neck. At the time of her diagnosis, doctors told her she would live for less than one year. Nearly five years later, Johnson is still fighting.  Source: NBC News Contact a Virginia Medical Malpractice and Negligence Lawyer If you believe your case is severe enough to warrant legal action beyond a formal complaint with the Virginia Department of Health, you need to speak with one of our attorneys. Our legal team has decades of combined personal injury experience, including with medical malpractice cases. We can review your circumstances and advise you on the best course of action. Contact Lantz & Robins, P.C., today to schedule an initial consultation.

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What Are the Four D’s of Medical Negligence in Virginia?

When you visit a doctor, you expect that they will treat you to the best of their ability. You should be able to trust your doctors and other medical professionals. However, not all medical providers provide the required standard of care, resulting in mistakes. Some of these mistakes rise to the level of medical negligence, which means you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. To successfully resolve a medical malpractice claim, you need to prove the 4 D’s of malpractice. Because medical negligence claims are typically complicated to pursue, we recommend contacting a skilled Virginia medical malpractice lawyer for assistance.  What Are the Four D’s of Negligence? The four D’s of negligence are duty, dereliction, direct causation, and damages. If you cannot prove even one of these elements, you won’t have a valid claim for medical malpractice.  Duty Is the Physician’s Duty of Care All health care professionals are legally obligated to uphold a certain standard of care when treating any of their patients. This duty requires medical professionals to use the same high standard of care that similar medical professionals would use. They must also inform their patients about any potential risks of treatment or procedures and keep their patients’ personal information confidential. Dereliction Occurs When the Health Care Provider Breaches Their Duty When a health care provider is derelict in their duty, they can be held responsible for their actions. Examples of dereliction include when a health care provider prescribes the wrong medication or performs an unauthorized procedure. Other derelictions occur when a surgeon leaves a foreign object in someone’s body after surgery or a patient develops an infection after a procedure because a medical professional didn’t properly sanitize the work environment. Direct Causation Involves Showing That the Health Care Provider’s Negligence Caused Your Injuries The third D is direct causation. Proving direct causation requires showing the health care provider’s actions were the direct cause of your injuries. In some cases, proving direct causation is very easy, while it’s far more complicated in other cases. One example of direct causation is when a surgeon operates on the wrong body part. Damages Are the Financial Losses and Harm You Suffered The final element is damages. You must be able to show you suffered some financial and physical harm to have a case. Without the ability to show there was some negative impact to you, you don’t have the 4 d’s of negligence to successfully recover damages in a Virginia medical malpractice case. Damages in a medical malpractice case include physical and emotional harm, additional medical expenses, lost wages, and more. If you have suffered harm due to a medical professional’s actions, you need to contact a Virginia medical malpractice lawyer who can advise you whether you have a valid case to pursue. Contact Our Richmond Medical Malpractice Lawyers Don’t try to handle a potential medical malpractice claim on your own. Let an experienced Richmond medical malpractice lawyer represent you. You need a legal advocate who can protect your rights and gather the necessary evidence to prove the four d’s of negligence. Contact Lantz & Robins, P.C., today to schedule an initial consultation. Let us help you fight for the compensation you deserve and hold the negligent health care providers accountable for the harm they caused you.

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Tips for Hiring the Best Medical Malpractice Attorney in Richmond

There are no two ways about it: if you are the victim of medical malpractice, you have a right to sue for damages.  All medical providers have an obligation to give the best care they possibly can. When a medical provider violates this maxim, it can create serious problems for their patients and their families. If you are thinking about suing over medical malpractice in Virginia, you want to know how to find the best medical malpractice lawyers in Virginia. However, it is not always clear how to find a good medical malpractice attorney. These tips are to help show you how to find the best medical malpractice lawyers possible. Shop Around First, be sure to shop around while you are looking for a medical malpractice attorney. Don’t just hire the first lawyer you speak to. Check-in with a couple of other attorneys. In doing so, you can check the approach suggested by your attorney against other attorneys’ advice. If you speak with three attorneys who offer three different approaches to your case, pick the one that best suits your case’s individual needs. Because most medical malpractice attorneys offer free consultations, you don’t have much to lose. If an attorney will not meet with you without charging a fee, you may want to steer clear of them. Look for Reviews While you are choosing which attorneys to speak with, look for reviews of those attorneys. Websites like Google often have attorney reviews, but there are also attorney-specific review sites like Avvo and Findlaw that have attorney reviews. You may find a red flag in a review or multiple reviews that will help you avoid wasting your time speaking with an attorney who is not a good fit for you. If you know anyone who has sued over medical malpractice in the past, you can also speak with them for recommendations. Many attorney websites will have client testimonials too. These can be of great help in screening medical malpractice attorneys. Be Cautious If They Promise You the World Remain wary of any attorney who promises you the world or guarantees that they will get compensation for you. A good medical malpractice attorney will not make such promises and will probably tell you that there is a range that you might see in a settlement. A good attorney will not guarantee to you that they will get you X amount of money because such guarantees can be difficult to follow through on. A rule of thumb to remember in this regard is if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you speak with several attorneys that give you similar settlement estimates, you can have confidence that they are being upfront and honest with you. Experience and Focus Finding a lawyer who has extensive experience with medical malpractice is a must. The same goes for any area of law. A lawyer with experience in a given area will know the ins and outs of that area of law. Drawing on their experience, they will be ready for whatever direction your case takes. Without an experienced medical malpractice attorney, your medical malpractice case may face unforeseen challenges in the claims process that can derail it. Finding a lawyer who has medical malpractice as one of their focus areas is a good way to find one with specific experience in the area. Different areas of law require different skill sets. It is difficult, if not impossible, to master every area of law and keep up with that mastery. Every area of law is constantly evolving, so you want an attorney who is keeping up with the evolution of medical malpractice specifically. If medical malpractice is one of their focus areas, it is a good sign that they have experience with it.  Contact Lantz & Robins, P.C. If you are shopping around for medical malpractice attorneys in Richmond, Virginia, contact us at Lantz & Robins, P.C., for a free consultation. As medical malpractice is one of our focus areas, we have extensive experience in the field and can help guide you through your claim from start to finish. Don’t just take our word for it; check out our case results and testimonials pages to see what we have done for our previous medical malpractice clients. Our goal is to give you the best medical malpractice help possible, so don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions. Call us today!

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What is the Statute of Limitations in Virginia for Medical Malpractice?

If you were harmed due to medical malpractice, you likely have many questions and want to know what you should do next. What types of cases qualify for medical malpractice? How long do you have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Virginia? To learn more about medical malpractice and how long you have to file your particular lawsuit, contact a Richmond medical malpractice lawyer today. At Lantz & Robins, P.C., our trial lawyers have over 40 years of combined experience helping clients just like you get the compensation they deserve. We have handled numerous Virginia medical malpractice lawsuits. We understand how complex medical malpractice cases are. Let us put our knowledge and skills to work for you.  How Long Do You Have to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Virginia? The amount of time you have to file a lawsuit is known as the statute of limitations. This deadline varies based on the type of claim you are presenting and the circumstances surrounding your case. The deadline for personal injury cases in Virginia is two years from the date of the accident. Medical malpractice is somewhat different. In most cases, you have up to two years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit. If your family member passed away from medical malpractice, you have two years from the date of their death. If the victim is a child, the medical malpractice statute of limitations for a minor in Virginia can be confusing. There are different rules in place if the child is under eight years old—you must bring an action before their 10th birthday. That means if your child is five years old at the time, you could have up to five years. If they are close to turning eight, you would have only two years. If your minor child is 10 years or older, you have two years to bring an action. Are There Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice in Virginia? There are limited circumstances that could change your filing deadline.  Continuing Treatment Rule The continuing treatment rule says that if you’ve had substantially uninterrupted treatment for the same condition, your time to file a claim would not begin counting down until the last treatment date. However, this is a very complex exception. Your attorney will be able to tell you what deadlines apply in your individual case. Foreign Objects In some cases, medical malpractice involves a foreign object, such as a needle or surgical sponge, being left in your body. In that case, you have two years from the date it occurred, or one year from the date when you discovered the foreign object or reasonably should have discovered it, whichever amount of time is longer. Fraud If there is proof of concealment, fraud, or intentional misrepresentation that prevented you from discovering the malpractice, then you have a year from the date of discovery or when it reasonably should’ve been discovered. Failure to Diagnose Some medical malpractice cases involve a negligent failure to diagnose a malignant tumor or cancer. In those cases, you will have a year to file a claim after you learn of the diagnosis if certain conditions exist. However, this rule applies only to cases where the omission or underlying act occurred after July 1, 2008. Government Employees Another exception to the two-year rule to note is when your malpractice involves a medical professional employed by the Commonwealth of Virginia. That could be a doctor at UVA or VCU, for example. These claims fall under the Virginia Tort Claims Act. Under these rules, you must provide notice to the Commonwealth within a year of the alleged malpractice. Statute of Repose Even if an exception applies that would extend the statute of limitations in your case, Virginia’s statute of repose may prevent you from bringing your claim more than 10 years after the malpractice occurred. For example, if you discover a foreign object 13 years after surgery, you would not be able to bring a claim even though you would typically have a year from the date of discovery. What Happens If You Miss the Deadline to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit? Missing the deadline means the statute of limitations has expired or run out. If this happens, you cannot legally pursue a claim any longer. If you were in the middle of negotiations with the insurance company, they do not have to continue settlement talks with you. That is one of the reasons why retaining a skilled Richmond medical malpractice lawyer is crucial. When you hire us as your attorneys, we will make sure a lawsuit is filed before the deadline. How Do You Know If You Have a Case for Medical Malpractice? When you see a medical professional, you expect that the people you entrust your life to will ensure you receive the proper care. When mistakes occur and you suffer harm at the hands of a doctor, nurse, anesthesiologist, etc., you may have legal recourse for your injuries. However, not all incidents will rise to the level of medical malpractice. Your case must meet specific criteria for you to bring a successful claim for damages.  Duty First, you must prove that the physician had a duty to provide you with reasonable care. The existence of this duty depends on whether you had a doctor-patient relationship. There has to be an identifiable relationship showing you are a patient of the medical professional. You cannot claim damages for decisions you made following an offhand comment from a physician at a social gathering, for example. In most cases, it’s relatively straightforward to show a doctor-patient relationship. Where it can be tricky is if you had a consulting doctor who didn’t administer treatment directly. Breach The next element you must show is that the physician breached their duty to you. You don’t have the right to sue just because you’re unhappy. To prove they breached their duty, you must provide evidence that another reasonable doctor with similar training and experience […]

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Common Examples of Medical Malpractice in Richmond, VA

If you were injured during a medical procedure, you may be wondering what to do next. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals are held to a high standard of performance. There are risks associated with any medical procedure, and healthcare professionals are bound to make mistakes. Some mistakes, however, are unacceptable. If the medical professional who treated you was negligent in providing or omitting treatment, your medical malpractice complaint may set an example in VA that can discourage other providers from acting negligently.  What Are the Four Elements of Negligence? Negligence is a legal theory that allows injured parties to recover financial compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress, among other losses. Proving negligence requires you to establish four elements:  Duty,  Breach,  Causation, and  Injury.  When a healthcare provider takes you on as a patient, they accept a duty to provide you with reasonable care. To prove that your healthcare provider breached their duty, you must prove that their treatment fell below the required standard of care for their profession. The standard of care for a healthcare professional requires that professional to behave as a reasonably prudent healthcare professional would in the same circumstances. If your provider breached their duty of care and caused you injury, you can file a complaint about medical malpractice.  What Are the Most Common Examples of Medical Malpractice in VA? Medical negligence can occur in any number of treatments and procedures. If a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional failed to act as a reasonably prudent person in their profession and in the same circumstances would act, they were medically negligent. There are certain procedures and mistakes that most commonly result in medical malpractice cases. Examples of medical malpractice in Richmond include:  Diagnostic errors, Birth injuries,  Medication errors (type of medication and dosage), Hospital-borne infections, Nerve damage,  Surgical errors,  Premature discharge, and Anesthesiology errors.  If you experienced an example of medical malpractice in VA or you were otherwise harmed during a medical procedure or treatment in Virginia, you should speak to an experienced Virginia medical malpractice attorney. A medical malpractice attorney can explain your options going forward and communicate with insurance companies on your behalf.  What Percentage of Malpractice Cases Make It to Trial? Medical malpractice cases are complex and time-consuming. In addition to meeting with clients and writing court briefs, medical malpractice attorneys spend a significant amount of time negotiating with insurance companies and hospital legal departments. The settlement is often the preferred method for resolving a case. The settlement is often more efficient and less expensive than taking cases to trial. However, when insurance companies and hospital claims departments make unreasonable settlement offers, experienced medical malpractice attorneys have no choice but to take the case to trial. In a 2007 report, the United States Department of Justice found that only 5% of medical malpractice cases go to trial.  How Lantz & Robins, P.C., Can Help  The attorneys at Lantz & Robins, P.C., have years of experience litigating medical malpractice claims in Richmond, VA. Our clients are our first priority. We will research your claims, communicate with hospital claims departments, negotiate with insurance companies, and file necessary documents with the court. Contact us today for a free consultation. Our medical malpractice attorneys will walk you through your options, step by step, in the hopes of securing your best financial recovery. We look forward to hearing from you.

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