Category: Birth Injuries

Medical Malpractice Claims: The Burden of Proof and O.J. Simpson

by John McKiggan

When someone dies unexpectedly, or suffers a serious but unexpected injury, while they are in a hospital or under the care of a doctor, it is human nature to assume that the hospital or doctor must have made a mistake. Many clients come to me and say: “How could this have happened? The doctor must have screwed up!”

We all want to believe that when something really bad happens to good people, someone will be held responsible. But that is not always the case.

Burden of Proof

Income Loss in Medical Malpractice Claims

by John McKiggan

Most of my medical malpractice clients have suffered catastrophic injuries that prevent them from being able to return to work or, in the case of infants and children, will prevent them from ever being able to work.

Economic Losses from Medical Malpractice

There are 2 ways to calculate economic losses suffered as a result of medical malpractice. The court will have to determine whether you have suffered an actual income loss or whether you have suffered a diminished earning capacity.

The Consumer’s Guide to Medical Malpractice Claims in Canada

by John McKiggan

The latest edition of my book, The Consumer’s Guide to Medical Malpractice Claims in Canada: Why 98% of Canadian Medical Malpractice Victims Never Get a Penny in Compensation, is now on its way back from the printers.

You can get a copy of the book by contacting me through this blog. However, I am going to be posting excerpts from the book over the next few weeks to give you a taste of the information contained in the book.

Lynn Butler sent me a very kind note after reading a copy of the book. Here is what she had to say:

How Do I Know if I Have a Medical Malpractice Claim?

by John McKiggan

When I am asked to review a possible claim for a client wondering if they have been a victim of medical malpractice, it often takes months of investigation and requires reviewing hundreds of pages of medical records and reports. In many cases I have to get a medical expert to provide a medical-legal opinion on the issue of standard of care or causation.

However, there is a way for you to figure out for yourself if you have medical malpractice claim that is worth talking to a lawyer about to see if you may have a claim.

Two Simple Questions:

Doctors Forcing Patients to Sign Gag Orders

by John McKiggan

Can you believe this?!

There are doctors who are forcing patients to sign a contract promising not to criticize the doctor, “his expertise and/or treatment.”

No signature-No medical care

Simple Checklist Helps Prevent Deaths and Complications after Surgery

by John McKiggan

The New England Journal of Medicine has published a study showing that using a simple checklist helped decrease the number of surgery related deaths by more than 40%. The research showed that major complications after surgery fell by almost 1/3.

Using a Checklist

The checklist required the operating team to review a list of questions which included:

You Can File a Complaint About Your Doctor!

by John McKiggan

I get several calls a week from patients, of family members of patients, who are concerned about the care that they, or their family member, have received from their doctor or hospital.

In most cases, a careful investigation of the facts reveals that there are no grounds for a medical malpractice claim (in other words, the doctor or hospital wasn’t negligent) or that there may have been negligence in the patient’s care, but the cost of filing a lawsuit would be more than the potential recovery.

Explaining these facts to my clients is one of the more frustrating aspects of being a medical malpractice lawyer. I hate telling patients that I believe there was negligence in the care they received but that I don’t think they should pursue a compensation claim.

Altered Medical Files: “I think my records have been tampered with!”

by John McKiggan

Altering medical records does not happen as often as it appears to happen on television or in the movies. However, it happens enough that experienced medical malpractice lawyers develop a sense of when further investigation into the legitimacy of a medical record or chart is warranted.

One of my favourite movies of all times is The Verdict with Paul Newman. I love the scene where he finally realizes that he can prove that the defendant doctor altered the medical files of the woman who was left in a coma because of the doctor’s negligence.

Lessons Learned From Past Cases:

No “Wrongful Life” in Canada: Supreme Court

by John McKiggan

In Canada there is no such thing as a claim for “wrongful life”. In a ruling released last week, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal a Court of Appeal decision that confirmed that Canadian law does not recognize the tort of “wrongful life” as a legitimate cause of action.

In Hergott, et al. v. Bovingdon the defendant doctor prescribed a fertility drug for the plaintiff mother. The doctor did not explain the risks of taking the drug to the mother.

The drug caused the mom to become pregnant with twins. Unfortunately, the twin pregnancy caused a premature birth, and the premature birth caused the twins to be born with severe disabilities.

Medical Malpractice Claim Over Birth Injuries Dismissed

by John McKiggan

An obstetrician’s failure to obtain informed consent was not the legal cause of an infant’s brain damage, according to a decision from Ontario.

The Ontario Court of Appeal just released a ruling upholding a trial decision dismissing a claim of obstetric malpractice.

In Cruz v. Robins the trial judge held that the use of forceps during the infant plaintiff’s delivery caused the baby’s brachial plexis injury and brain damage. The judge found that the parents, Mr. and Mrs. Cruz should have been consulted and should have been informed of the option of a caesarean section and its risks. Further, he found that they should have been advised of the risks involved in proceeding with a mid-forceps delivery. Nevertheless, the trial judge concluded that had the appellants been advised and given the choice, the same result would have occurred.