The Wagners - A Serious Injury Law Firm blog shares Personal Injury stories and opinions relevant to Halifax, Nova Scotia residents. Let us know what you think.

Hospital Negligence

Victor Lewin
Tuesday, July 11, 2017

There are many instances each day in which patients are provided with care by hospital staff that meets and even exceeds the standards expected of them. Unfortunately, there are also instances in which patients do not receive adequate care by hospital staff. This can occur because of simple human error or deeper systemic inadequacies. Though some patients who receive inadequate care will recover nonetheless; tragically, others will be catastrophically or fatally injured. If the inadequate care provided by hospital staff is such that it does not meet accepted professional standards, an injured patient or his or her family may have cause to pursue a claim for compensation.  ..

Maximum Medical Improvement: What is it?

Victor Lewin
Monday, June 12, 2017

What is Maximum Medical Improvement?

In the context of personal injury law, Maximum Medical Improvement (“MMI”) is the point at which, in the opinion of your physician, your injuries have improved as much as they are likely to, and no further change in your condition is expected. In other words, you have reached a state where your condition cannot be improved any further, or, with respect to the healing process, you have reached a treatment plateau. When you reach the point of MMI, your condition has stabilized and any functional improvement is unlikely, even with further medical treatment or physiotherapy.

Who can determine whether an individual has reached the point of Maximum Medical Improvement?

Put simply, a physician is the only person who may determine whether you have reached the point of MMI. Oftentimes, they will also provide the date at which this point was reached. When you reach the point of Maximum Medical Improvement your physician may then begin to determine the partial or permanent impairment that will likely affect you for the rest of your life. This becomes crucial as the opinion provided by the physician will outline your permanent level of disability, and your permanent level of disability will help determine the extent of compensation which is available to you.

Independent Medical Examinations

Although your physician may determine that you have reached the point of MMI, the defendant may ask you to submit to an independent medical examination (“IME”). During this process, you will present to a qualified physician. They will read and analyze your medical records, they will conduct an in person examination, and they will determine whether you have reached the point of MMI. If a report is generated, the defendant will then provide this report to you, the plaintiff. Independent medical examinations are often requested by defendants in order to refute the allegations made by the plaintiff i.e. that there is some level of partial or permanent disability. The defendant may also dispute the extent of the disability or impairment. Generally speaking, as the level of impairment decreases, the level of compensation, which is available to the plaintiff in a court of law, will decrease as well.

What is the importance of reaching the point of Maximum Medical Improvement in the personal injury context?

A tortfeasor, or more specifically, the person who is legally responsible for causing your injuries, is required to put you back in the place you would have been in had the negligent act not occurred. MMI is critical to this legal principle. It is critical because the court will determine your functional ability just before the negligent act, in order to compare it to your functional ability after the negligent act. The point of MMI will allow the court to determine your long term functional handicap, or ability, after the negligent act. The tortfeasor is liable, or legally responsible, to compensate you for the difference in your functional ability.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured due to someone else’s negligence, and you are unsure what you can claim for, the legal team at Wagners can help you. You can reach us at 902-425-7330 or 1-800-465-8794.

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Heart Surgery Infection: 2 Patients in Quebec Diagnosed with NTM

Victor Lewin
Friday, March 17, 2017

Heater-cooler devices are commonly used during open chest surgeries and other operations to control a patient’s blood temperature through use of temperature-controlled water. The machines have been under scrutiny recently due to international reports of nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) infections associated with the devices. ..

CEREBRAL PALSY: DIAGNOSIS

Victor Lewin
Wednesday, November 16, 2016

This Blog is the fifth in a series of posts on Cerebral Palsy (CP) and its relation to medical malpractice. To obtain more information on CP, please reference our previous blog posts.

Please do not hesitate to call Wagners if you have further questions about medical malpractice and CP and would like to consult with a lawyer. Wagners has extensive experience in medical malpractice and complex litigation, and has represented clients throughout Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI. Wagners has been successful in many birth trauma cases, and has obtained for its clients the much needed and lifelong financial support for families with children of CP.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of CP is based on the child’s development over time. Physicians, particularly pediatricians, are responsible for monitoring a child’s developmental advancement and growth benchmarks. A general movements assessment, which involves measuring movements that occur spontaneously among those less than four months of age, is an oft-used method for diagnosing CP.

Further diagnostic tests, such as blood tests and medical imaging, may be used to rule out other possible causes, and abnormal results can help to detect a high likelihood of associated conditions, such as epilepsy and intellectual disability.

Time is of the essence: an early diagnosis of CP is critical for maximizing a child’s ability to expand their capabilities and lifelong potential. An early diagnosis can lead to necessary interventions that will help a child diagnosed with CP master everyday tasks, increase mobility and improve their quality of life. Early interventions will be in the form of whatever therapies and treatments a child may need, and can address movement, cognitive development, social interaction, and behavior.

The family of an individual with CP is likely to incur significant expenses related to the ongoing need for medical care, special education services, developmental assistance, and assisted living. Other factors, including occupational limitations and the indirect costs of lost productivity and wages, also contribute to the overall expense.

If you suspect that medical malpractice may have played a role in your child’s CP, Wagners may be able to seek compensation for the losses incurred by you and your family, including pain and suffering, medical expenses, and past and future treatment costs.

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CEREBRAL PALSY: CLASSIFICATIONS

Victor Lewin
Wednesday, November 09, 2016

This Blog is the fourth in a series of posts on Cerebral Palsy (CP) and its relation to medical malpractice. To obtain more information on CP, please reference our previous blog posts.

Please do not hesitate to call Wagners if you have further questions about medical malpractice and CP and would like to consult with a lawyer. Wagners has extensive experience in medical malpractice and complex litigation, and has represented clients throughout Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI. Wagners has been successful in many birth trauma cases, and has obtained for its clients the much needed and lifelong financial support for families with children of CP.

What are the Different Types of Cerebral Palsy?

There are three main CP classifications by motor impairment: spastic, ataxic, and dyskinetic. Additionally, there is a mixed type that shows a combination of features of the other types. These classifications reflect the areas of the brain that are damaged.

(a) Spastic Cerebral Palsy is by far the most common type of CP, occurring in upwards of 70% of all cases. It results from damage to the motor cortex of the brain. The almost exclusive impairment present is spasticity (muscle tightness), which often leads to a very early onset of muscle stress symptoms like arthritis and tendinitis. Occupational therapy and physical therapy regimens of assisted stretching, strengthening, functional tasks, and/or targeted physical activity and exercise are the primary ways to manage spastic CP.

(b) Ataxic Cerebral Palsy affects coordinated movements. Fine motor skills such as writing, typing, or using scissors might be affected, as well as balance and posture, especially while walking. Control of eye movements and depth perception can be impaired. Ataxic CP does not produce involuntary movements, but instead indicates impaired balance and coordination.

(c) Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy is separated further into two different groups; athetoid and dystonic. Athetoid Cerebral Palsy is mixed muscle tone — hypertonia and hypotonia mixed with involuntary motions, especially in the arms, legs, and hands. Dystonia/Dystonic Cerebral Palsy includes cases that affect the trunk muscles more than the limbs and results in a fixed, twisted posture. People with Dyskinetic CP have trouble holding themselves in an upright, steady position for sitting or walking, and often show involuntary motions. The brain damage occurs to the extrapyramidal motor system and/or pyramidal tract and to the basal ganglia. In newborn infants, high bilirubin levels in the blood, if left untreated, can lead to brain damage in the basal ganglia (kernicterus), which can lead to Dyskinetic CP.

(d) Mixed Cerebral Palsy displays symptoms of dyskinetic, ataxic and spastic CP appearing simultaneously, each to varying degrees, and both with and without symptoms of each.

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Essure Permanent Birth Control System

Victor Lewin
Monday, November 07, 2016

In 2001, Health Canada approved the use of a medical device that would alleviate the need for women to undergo a procedure to prevent unwanted pregnancy. The device, touted as a permanent birth control measure, is known as the Essure Permanent Birth Control System and is manufactured by the German-based Bayer HealthCare AG, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. Before the device was approved and made available, an invasive procedure known as tubal ligation was the usual course of action to permanently prevent pregnancy.  ..

Heart Surgery Infection: Heater/Cooler Infections Found in Canada

Victor Lewin
Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Two major Canadian hospitals have begun the process of notifying thousands of their patients who have undergone open-heart surgery since 2012 of the possible risk of contracting non-tuberculosis mycobacteria (NTM) from heater-cooler devices that are used to control a patient’s blood temperature during surgery.  ..