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Healthcare Fraud and Medical Malpractice

| Apr 23, 2015 | Uncategorized

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Image credit: 123RF Stock Photo[/caption] Medical malpractice happens when a patient is injured or killed as a result of inadequate medical care and negligence. Common reasons for medical malpractice include: misdiagnosis, lack of communication among medical staff, lack of training, inadequate physical qualifications, and various careless actions. In some cases, however, medical malpractice may be precipitated by greed. Greed within the health care industry is so pervasive that, according to the Chicago Tribune, approximately $60 billion of the $800 billion paid to Medicare and Medicaid for medical services each year is attributed to Medicare/Medicaid fraud. Evidence also suggests that doctors often order unnecessary tests and procedures – whether due to negligence or greed. According to Consumer Reports data, nearly half of primary care physicians say that their own patients get too much medical care, and the Congressional Budget Office says that up to 30 percent of health care administered in the U.S. is unnecessary. Some estimates indicate that $700 billion is spent on unnecessary tests and treatments. Not only are unnecessary procedures costly, but they can also expose patients to additional medical risks. For instance, CT scans may increase a person’s lifetime risk of cancer and the dyes from CT scans and MRIs can cause kidney failure. In 2013, doctors and executives at Chicago’s Sacred Heart Hospital were charged with ordering unnecessary medical procedures, including unnecessary tracheotomies, and according to the Chicago Tribune, one doctor even overdosed patients with sedatives in order to necessitate tracheotomies and lengthy hospital stays. Even when unnecessary treatments are performed as a result of medical error, rather than fraud, doctors and hospitals often benefit from their own mistakes. Data shows that hospitals actually profit from their own medical mistakes because Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance companies pay the hospitals for the longer stays and extra medical care that patients need to treat preventable medical complications. Healthcare fraud and medical malpractice often involves medications and the pharmaceutical industry, as well. For instance, in 2013, health care giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and its subsidiaries agreed to pay more than $2.2 billion in criminal and civil fines to resolve allegations that the company committed off-label marketing practices in connection its prescription drugs Risperdal, Invega, and Natrecor. Since off-label uses of prescription drugs are not adequately tested and proven to be safe and effective, the use of prescription drugs for off-label uses can lead to serious health problems and medical conditions. For instance, J&J’s drug Risperdal was originally approved to treat schizophrenia, but J&J began marketing the drug to doctors for the treatment of dementia and other psychological disorders – medical conditions for which the drug was not proven to safely and effectively treat. As a result, many patients were put at risk for potential medical problems if they were prescribed Risperdal for conditions other than schizophrenia. If you suspect that you or a loved one were the victim of medical malpractice with the result of inexperience or health care fraud, contact the Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish to schedule a free consultation to discuss a possible medical malpractice claim.   Steinberg Goodman & Kalish  (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families.  We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (888) 325-7299 or (312) 445-9084.

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