Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

A woman and her four children sued two doctors and a medical group, alleging a cause of action for the wrongful death of the woman’s husband from medical malpractice during surgery. The doctors and their medical group filed a joint motion for summary judgment, with the doctors invoking the “Good Samaritan Law” (see Bus. & Prof., § 2396) and their group arguing that, absent liability on the doctors’ part, it could have no vicarious liability as their principal. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion. The family appealed, and California’s Second District Court of Appeal affirmed.

hospital room

On May 15, 2012, the husband underwent scheduled, elective shoulder surgery at a hospital in East Los Angeles. A doctor performed the surgery. At the same time that a doctor was performing his shoulder surgery, two other doctor was performing heart surgery in an adjacent operating room.

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A patient sued a dentist for dental malpractice, alleging that his negligence in performing a dental implant procedure permanently damaged a nerve in her jaw. He moved for summary judgment based on the one-year limitations period that Code of Civil Procedure section 340.5 establishes for all professional negligence claims against health care providers. The trial court granted the motion and entered judgment against the patient. The Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed.

dentist

Section 340.5’s one-year limitations period starts when the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered both her injury and that someone’s wrongdoing likely caused it. The patient testified she felt an electric shock as the dentist drilled the socket for her implant, and she immediately thought he had done something wrong. On the next day, she returned to his office to complain about the pain.

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Celebrity dentist Sherri L. Worth has been temporarily prohibited from practicing dentistry in California. The state dental board suspended Worth’s license this month, based on allegations that she put her patients in danger. On February 2, Worth’s attorney and Deputy Attorney General Shannon Brubaker signed a Stipulated Interim Suspension of License to “save time and expense.” Through this, Worth has waived the right to a hearing and is prohibited from practicing dentistry until the suspension is terminated.

dentist chair

According to the Dental Board complaint, seven patients alleged that Worth committed incompetence, numerous acts of negligence and gross negligence, fraud, excessive treatment, and over-diagnosis. Examples include billing over $11,000 for two patients’ laser surgeries that were never performed, falsifying dental records, performing expensive restorations to already healthy teeth, and Photoshopping a digital x-ray to cover up two defective crowns. Worth’s actions, the board claims, demonstrated “a gross lack of clinical skill and diagnostic ability” and rendered her an immediate danger to patients.

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The California Court of Appeals for the First Appellate District recently reversed a lower court’s grant of summary judgment for a defendant doctor in a medical malpractice lawsuit, holding that the lower court incorrectly found the plaintiff’s expert was unqualified simply for being licensed outside the United States.  sling

Plaintiff Lidia C. Borrayo sued defendant Dr. G. James Avery, alleging he engaged in medical malpractice during the course of her treatment for a condition called thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS). Avery moved for summary judgment, which the trial court granted after sustaining his objection to her sole expert witness’ declaration. On appeal, the plaintiff argued that this expert witness — a physician licensed to practice medicine in Mexico — was qualified to provide an opinion about the standard of care to which the defendant was held.

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