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					  ReSource ReCaps                                                                                         Wednesday August 24, 2011

                                         Medical Professional Liability News
                 A weekly update of significant news articles from around the nation and the world relating to
           medical professional liability insurance and reinsurance. This news recap is provided with our compliments
                                                 by ReSource, an Integro Company.

Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Results in
$2.5M Jury Award                                                                               Inside this issue:, Baltimore, MD                ton, of Miller & Zois LLC, who repre-          (MD) Maryland Medical Malpractice        1
August 23, 2011                                 sented Dixon’s wife Kathleen, and their        Lawsuit Results in $2.5M Jury Award
                                                two children, Michael Dixon and Eliza-         Greater Awareness of Practice Guide-     2
The family of a man who died as a result                                                       lines Helps Reduce Unrecommended
                                                beth Lessig. One of those signs was that
of a doctor’s failure to diagnose that he                                                      Tests
                                                Dixon had not produced urine in 24
was suffering hemorrhagic shock has                                                            (NH) Midwife Settles Suit for $730,000   2
                                                hours. He also had a rapid heartbeat, low
been awarded $2.5 million in damages                                                           Study Finds Response Time to Cardiac     2
                                                blood pressure and was losing lucidity,
by a Maryland jury.                                                                            Ailments Much Improved
                                                all of which should have clued Harding in
                                                                                               Physician Errors During Patient Hand-    2
The Maryland malpractice lawsuit was            on Dixon’s blood loss, the attorney ar-        offs Lead to Liability Claims
filed by the family of Lawrence Dixon, 59,      gued.
                                                                                               (AR) Medical Malpractice Rates Fall      3
who died on May 17, 2007, two days af-
                                                The defense claimed that Dixon died be-        (PA) $5.2 Million Malpractice Award      3
ter fracturing his pelvis in a fall. The law-
                                                cause of a medication known as kayex-          Against Ex-Wyomissing Doctor Upheld
suit initially included Montgomery Gen-
                                                alate. It is a thick drink that reduces high   (FL) $36.7 Million Verdict Against Or-   3
eral Hospital and other staff members,                                                         lando Abortionist Upheld
                                                potassium levels. Harding’s attorneys
but eventually the lawsuit was narrowed                                                        (WA) Sono Bello Settles Lawsuit for      3
                                                argued in court that Dixon drank the
down to just the primary care physician.                                                       $1.8M in Liposuction Death
                                                shake and it went directly into his lungs,
                                                                                               (CA) CMA Defends California’s Land-      4
According to allegations raised in the          cutting off oxygen. However, Harding           mark Medical Liability Law Before Ap-
complaint, Dr. David Harding failed to          made no mention of it on Dixon’s death         pellate Court
notice Dixon was bleeding internally            certificate.
when he examined him. The family al-
                                                The Montgomery County Circuit Court
leged that if Dr. Harding had noticed the
                                                jury awarded Dixon’s estate and his wife
internal bleeding he could have saved
                                                each $1 million in non-economic dam-
Dixon’s life, but as a result of the failure
                                                ages. They also awarded his children
to diagnose the bleeding, Dixon ulti-
                                                $250,000 each. Due to Maryland’s cap
mately died of multiple organ failure.
                                                on non-economic damages, the total
There were a number of signs Harding            award will likely be reduced to $812,500..
should have heeded that would have
alerted him to the problem, argued Mary-
land malpractice lawyer Rodney M. Gas-
Page 2                                                                                                              ReSource ReCaps

Greater Awareness of Practice Guide-                                 Study Finds Response Time to Cardiac
lines Helps Reduce Unrecommended                                     Ailments Much Improved
                                                                     Medical News Today, East Sussex, TN
American Medical News, Chicago, IL                                   August 23, 2011
August 24, 2011
                                                                     Five years ago the treatment time it took to attend to cardiac
                                                                     ailments was way behind what the standard calls for. How-
A physician-driven approach cut in half the number of un-
                                                                     ever, this has greatly improved and now more than 90% of
warranted tests that doctors ordered for newly diagnosed
                                                                     U.S. heart attack patients who required emergency angio-
prostate cancer patients, research shows.
                                                                     plasty to open blocked coronary arteries received the treat-
Increased awareness of practice guidelines and being pre-            ment within the recommended time in 2010. Five years past
sented with comparative data on tests they and their col-            the rate was a low 44%.
leagues ordered resulted in more physicians following rec-
ommendations on what tests to order, according to a study            In 2010, 91% of the patients were treated within 90 minutes
in the September issue of The Journal of Urology                     of arrival at the hospital, compared with 44% in 2005. Sev-
( It also improved            enty percent of patients were treated within 75 minutes in
the quality of care by reducing variations in practice pat-          2010, compared with 27% in 2005.
                                                                     The median time from hospital admission to emergency an-
Fewer unnecessary tests -- in this case bone scans and               gioplasty fell from 96 minutes to 64 minutes over the study
computerized tomography scans -- mean fewer patients are             period.
exposed to radiation and the inherent risks.
                                                                     Physician Errors During Patient Hand-
                                                                     offs Lead to Liability Claims
Midwife Settles Suit for $730,000
                                                           , Toronto, ON
Concord Monitor, Concord, NH                                         August 20, 2011
August 23, 2011
                                                                     Medical errors that occur while shifting a patient from one
The Concord midwife who last year surrendered her state              physician's care to another has sparked an increase in medi-
license to practice has settled a lawsuit for $730,000 with          cal malpractice claims over the last five years, according to
the family of a child who suffered severe brain injury during        Alan Lembitz, MD, vice president of COPIC, a Denver-based
her birth.                                                           professional liability insurance company. Incomplete patient
Jeanne Browne has also settled a second lawsuit with a               information, missing test results and poor communication
woman who underwent a hysterectomy after developing an               among physicians head the list of errors, as reported in Am-
infection while in Browne's care. The terms of that agree- 
ment, which was finalized in June, have not been made pub-           Changing Practices and Poor Communication at Fault
                                                                     The team approach to health care, including primary care
Browne's settlement with Sarah and Jonathan Sadowski of              physicians and numerous health care specialists, has con-
Concord, whose daughter was hospitalized for 21 days after           tributed to the problem.
her birth in January 2009 and has cerebral palsy...
                                                                        A 2007 study in The Journal of the American Medical        Association found that direct communication between
                                                                          hospitals and primary care physicians is rare - happen-
                                                                          ing only 3 to 20 percent of the time.
Page 3                                                                                                            ReSource ReCaps

Medical Malpractice Rates Fall                                    $36.7 Million Verdict Against Orlando
                                                                  Abortionist Upheld
The City Wire, Fort Smith, AR
August 22, 2011                                         , Front Royal, VA
                                                                  August 18, 2011
Medical malpractice rates are continuing a downward trend
in Arkansas, according to an annual report presented by the       A judge has denied an Orlando-area abortionist a new trial
Arkansas Insurance Department to the Senate and House             in a medical malpractice case decided by a jury last month.
Committees on Insurance and Commerce.                             Orlando Circuit Judge John Marshall Kest also denied a mo-
According to the report, submitted Aug. 15 by Bill Lacy,          tion by James Scott Pendergraft IV to set aside verdicts for
property and casualty division manager, only two of the 22        $36.7 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
companies providing malpractice insurance in Arkansas filed       The case involved a 2004 botched abortion at Pendergraft’s
for rate changes in the last 12 months, and both of those         facility that left its intended target alive, but severely dis-
were decreases. Tennessee-based State Volunteer Mutual            abled. The girl suffers from a host of disabilities in connec-
Insurance Company decreased rates by 5% effective June            tion with the attempted killing, including cerebral palsy, loss
13, while Louisiana Medical Mutual Insurance Company de-          of function on the left side of her body, strokes, mental dis-
creased its rates by 3.7% effective May 3. Both are physi-        ability, chronic lung disease, and seizures.
cian-owned, and both insure physicians and surgeons.
                                                                  It is not clear whether Pendergraft will appeal Kest’s ruling.
Three other companies made initial filings. MAG Mutual In-
surance Company, which insures physicians, filed on March         During court proceedings, a fellow abortionist admitted that
31. Liberty Insurance Underwriters, which insures dentists,       babies are sometimes born alive and left “wiggling around in
filed on Feb. 21. National Union Fire Insurance Company of        the toilet” until they died.
Pittsburgh, which provides professional liability insurance for
physicians’ assistants, filed Jan. 5.                             -orlando-abortionist-upheld/

                                                                  Sono Bello Settles Lawsuit for $1.8M in
$5.2 Million Malpractice Award Against                            Liposuction Death
Ex-Wyomissing Doctor Upheld                             , Seattle, WA
                                                                  August 18, 2011, Harrisburg, PA
August 20, 2011
                                                                  If Aura Javellana were still alive she would be 30 years old.

Pennsylvania Superior Court has upheld a $5.2 million medi-       "She wasn't just my sister, she wasn't just family, she was
cal malpractice suit award for the widow of a Spring Town-        my best friend,” said Aileen Javellana Alvarez.
ship pharmacist after a jury found a former Wyomissing doc-
tor negligent in his death.                                       Aura would be a wife, maybe even a mother.

Gregory S. Volutza, 37, died of a heart attack while at work      "I always imagined me and my sister's kids playing to-
Jan. 24, 2003, in the pharmacy of the former Giant Food           gether,” said Javellana Alvarez.
Store, 2251 Lancaster Pike, Cumru Township.                       Aura was the family's hope. She was the first college gradu-
A Berks County jury on Feb. 9, 2009, found Dr. Donald J.          ate and a software whiz at 28. It all ended after a trip to
McBryan Jr., formerly of Berks Internal Medicine in Wyo-          Sono Bello in Bellevue.
missing, negligent and awarded $4 million to Dianne Volutza       Aura must have been convinced by Sono Bello's ads and
of Spring Township.                                               marketing materials. One ad claimed "Sono Bello's micro      laser liposuction and ultrasound techniques are so...
upheld/890077e9f56241bea6c01a3aaaa5e12d                           settles-lawsuit-for-18M-in-liposuction-death-127971593.html
CMA defends California's Landmark Medical Liability Law Before Ap-
pellate Court
California Medical Association, Sacramento, CA                                  In a post-verdict motion, the defendant moved to reduce
August 19, 2011                                                                 the noneconomic damages award pursuant to MICRA's
Last week, the California Medical Association (CMA) stood                       $250,000 cap. The plaintiff opposed the motion, arguing
in defense of California's successful Medical Injury Com-                       that MICRA is unconstitutional, because the medical pro-
pensation Reform Act (MICRA) before the 5th Appellate                           fessional liability insurance crisis of 1975 no longer exists,
District Court in Fresno. The court heard oral arguments in                     thereby eliminating the rational basis that originally justified
Stinnett v. Tam, a case challenging the constitutionality of                    MICRA. The trial court disagreed and granted the defen-
MICRA's cap on noneconomic damages. The California                              dant's motion. The plaintiff appealed.
Hospital Association, the California Dental Association and                     Today, MICRA is still working to restrain premium rates in
the American Medical Association also participated in the                       California, while states without liability reform are seeing
proceedings.                                                                    dramatically higher premiums. Because of MICRA, Califor-
The original complaint, filed in 2007, concluded with a jury                    nia has a system that is affordable, pays patients for their
verdict awarding the plaintiff $148,302 for past economic                       full economic and medical losses, and promotes patient…
loss, $1,242,093 for future economic loss and $6,000,000              
for noneconomic damages, also called "pain and suffering."                      californias-landmark-medical

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