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April 1, 2009

View Archives Issues

  • Mold lawsuit highlights serious risk to patients, liability

    The deaths of three young cancer patients within a month of each other at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, FL, were caused by toxic mold released during a hospital construction project, according to a lawsuit brought by the parents.
  • Children died from infections related to mold

    High-powered Tampa, FL, attorney Steve Yerrid, JD, says the three children at the center of the lawsuit against St. Joseph's Hospital did not have to die from toxic mold. If only the hospital had taken the right steps to control the risks associated with a construction project, the children might have survived, he says.
  • Mold management plan a must for hospitals

    Any facility subject to water intrusions from flooding, faulty HVAC systems, or any source of water into the building envelope should have a written mold management plan, says Suzanne M. Avena, JD, an attorney with Garfunkel Wild in Great Neck, NY, specializing in environmental law.
  • Building materials, cleanup key to mold

    Most health care providers are more at risk for mold toxicity than the Florida hospital now facing lawsuits related to pediatric deaths, says one mold suppression expert.
  • Insurance recovery may be hard for mold damage

    Don't assume that your insurer will cover mold-related liability, cautions David Dekker, JD, an attorney specializing in construction for Howrey LLP in Washington, DC.
  • Ruling may up risk for 'apparent authority'

    Risk managers take some solace in knowing that not every allegation of malpractice will fall on the hospital, that sometimes the individual physician or physician group will be responsible for defending the claim. But there is cause for concern with a recent court ruling that could increase the chance of the hospital being held responsible under the "apparent authority" concept.
  • Details matter with 'apparent authority'

    David V. Kramer, JD, an attorney with DBL Law in Crestview Hills, KY, points out that a disclaimer on the consent form must be worded carefully to ward off claims of "apparent authority."
  • How to win that 'unwinnable' case

    Every risk manager eventually faces that malpractice lawsuit that seems too big, too tragic, too difficult to fight. When the circumstances are terrible and you can't imagine trying to explain your actions to a lay jury, the temptation can be strong to just settle it and make it go away - even if that means paying a large sum beyond your insurance limits.
  • Good witness prep can improve odds

    When defense attorney James J. Nosich, JD, of McGrane Nosich in Coral Gables, FL, was faced with a seemingly unwinnable case of a quadruple amputee alleging failure to diagnose, he didn't hold out much hope of his client being found not liable. But he vowed to fight, and the defense strategy began with the jury selection, trying to select jurors who could put sympathy aside and concentrate on the facts of the case.
  • Legal Review & Commentary: Failure to diagnose child's bacterial infection leads to amputation: $3 million settlement

    A child presents at a hospital emergency department (ED) complaining of a fever and rash. A physician's assistant employed by the hospital examined the child and described the rash in the child's chart. The child was discharged with instruction to see a pediatrician but with no guidance as to how to manage the fever. The child's symptoms became worse, and the child was eventually diagnosed with staph sepsis.