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Understanding Medical Tests June 23, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury, Personal Injury Law.
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Part of our job as personal injury attorneys is to understand an injured victim’s medical records.  It’s important to know what certain tests show in order to best advocate for an injured party.

Quad Cities Injury Lawyers Blog has a good tip.  Simply check out You Tube.   I’ve used RXlist.com to better understand medications that client’s take.  I’ve used Medicinenet.com for a written description of procedures and tests.   So, why not use You Tube for a video of the same thing.  It’s pretty impressive.  I can’t vouch for the accuracy but after reading about a procedure or test you can tell if what you are seeing is, in fact, the proper procedure/test.

Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in West Allis, Janesville,  Plymouth,  and Germantown.

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Time part two September 26, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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I previously wrote a post ending with a question for the blogosphere.  The general question concerned the remedies involved when a hospital destroys medical records before the mandated 5 year holding period.  Well, Michael Brown of Peterson, Berk and Cross emailed me with an answer:

A provider’s destruction of medical records would also violate HIPAA federal privacy law. Your client could file a HIPAA complaint to Dept of Health and Human services, but the best that will yield is a slap on the wrist to the provider, with no civil claim or damages.

If the records were destroyed at a time the provider should have reasonably contemplated litigation would occur (e.g. if a hospital destroys records of a patient who suffered injuries during a medical procedure and is likely to file a malpractice claim), there may be spoilage law that applies. In the federal context, you can check out the landmark Zubulake cases, which set forth serious standards and penalties for document retention. Keyciting the Zubulake cases may lead you to influential State law cases concerning spoilage.

Thanks for the answer Mike.  I think there should be more someone could do when their medical records are lost or destroyed.  Any legislators out there that can help us out?

www.jonpgroth.com

 

 

 

Wash ’em. September 18, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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This is a very troubling story I found at the Wall Street Journal

In short, an infection caused by the superbug C diff. is wreaking havoc on patients at hospitals. 

The WSJ has a good run down about how this infection is caused and what hospitals are doing to stop its spread.

One of the most basic ways is to wash your hands with antibacterial soap andn water not alcohol based gels.  Read the article and be an advocate for your health if you go to the doctor.

Time is (Not) On My Side September 4, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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I talked with one of my favorite clients today.  At the end of our talk she said, “I have a professional question.”  That’s when a lawyers ears perk up and you try to remember every class you ever took in law school.  Who knows what topic is going to be discussed.

She asked about medical records.  Her records were destroyed.  She had the same primary doctor for years.  That general practitioner retired.  Her medical records were sent to another medical facility for ‘safe keeping.’  Well, they weren’t that safe because the facility destroyed them.

According to Wisconsin Administrative Code medical records must be “preserved” and “maintained” for at least 5 years.  (See HFS 124.14(2)c)). But, what happens if the records are destroyed! 

I’ll let you know the answer after I do a little research.  If you know, please post a comment!

Thank you.

www.jonpgroth.com

 Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Sheboygan, Slinger, Pleasant Prairie and Wauwatosa.

$840 Million August 26, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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If any doctors complain about the high cost of malpractice insurance in Wisconsin please refer them to this story from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In Wisconsin, Doctors must pay the first $1 million in malpractice insurance.  If a doctor’s negligence causes injury and the compensation due the victim is more than $1 million then a state fund pays the rest.  So, Doctor’s in Wisconsin only need to pay for $1 million in malpractice insurance. 

When you hear stories about how lawsuits against doctors are causing them to leave the state take it with a grain of salt.  In other states Doctors must pay for much more insurance.  Many doctors would be happy to only pay for $1 million in coverage.

Another interesting bit from this article.  Payments from this large fund to victims who file medical malpractice claims total $20 million per year.  The fund had $840 million in funds available.   A lawyer for the State of Wisconsin said the fund “can easily pay the $20 million or so in claims made against it each year.” 

Again, take this into account when you hear doctors gripe about lawyers and lawsuits.  There is much more to the story.

www.jonpgroth.com

 Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Milwaukee, Lomira, Sturgeon Bay and Wauwatosa.

Let There Be Light! June 22, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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spotlight on medical care costsIt is time to shine the light on hospital costs.  Medical care pricing is hidden in a shroud of secrecy (even though info is out there you may need a MD and CPA to understand it).  Many people don’t really care what a medical procedure costs because “my insurance will pay it.”  Remember that employers and individuals pay for insurance.  The more health insurance premium’s increase the less likely it is that an employer will hire that next employee.

If you’d like to know the cost of some medical procedures at a local hospital check out Wisconsin’s PricePoint website.  You can search by inpatient and outpatient services.  Don’t be afraid to shop around.  Not all hospitals offer the same quality and price.  (As someone who has handled medical malpractice cases I can personally vouch for the quality comment).

This inforamation is great for consumers and invaluable for personal injury attorneys.  At-fault insurance companies are always looking to pay as little as possible for what the law says is their responsibility.  This information helps personal injury attorneys fight for their clients in proving what a reasonable medical expense actually is.

For more information about the cost of medical care in Wisconsin check out Sunday’s Business section in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

www.jonpgroth.com

 Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Wausaukee, Kenosha, Oconto and Wauwatosa.

A Bad Situation Even Worse June 18, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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I was contacted recently by a very upset daughter.  Her widowed father had passed away.  She felt his death was his Doctor’s fault.  Sadly I had to inform her that I would listen to her story but would not be able to help her no matter what she said.  In Wisconsin (Sec. 655 Wis. Stats.) an adult child has no claim for the loss of a parent because of medical malpractice.  The estate of the parent has a claim for pain and suffering but I don’t know of a situation that we would be able to prove pain and suffering when the witness had already passed.  

This is an interesting snag in the law.  I hope to write about it more in the future.

www.jonpgroth.com

Should I Stop Going to the Doctor? May 5, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury, Personal Groth.
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You’d be surprised how many times I hear this question.  My usual follow up question is, “Are you still in pain?”  When the answer is “Yes” I respond with “Yes, go to the Doctor to make sure: everything is going as planned/doesn’t get worse/you don’t need to do more or less.”

Many people feel guilty about going to the doctor.  They don’t want to take up the doctor’s valuable time.  “Someone else might be injured worse than me.” 

When you are involved a car accident, motorcycle collision or some other injury the law in Wisconsin says that you need to be put back into the position you were before the collision.  The way we can tell whether you are getting better or how to value your injury is by reviewing the medical records.  Doctors help injured people.  If you don’t go to the doctor to get better and to follow up with your injuries then how will anyone know if you could have gotten better or if you may get worse. 

In short, go to the doctor if you are having problems.  Doctors are here to help.  Let them.

www.jonpgroth.com

Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Mukwanago, Waukesha, Lena and Two Rivers.