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Proposition 46 Would Increase Awards to Malpractice Victims

Dr. Bruce Fagel on KTLA

Dr. Bruce Fagel discusses the Patient’s Safety Act and the danger of doctors on drugs with Jim Nash from KTLA 5 News on Friday, October 17, 2014.

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The Collateral Source Rule under the Affordable Care Act

Plaintiff Magazine

The need to prevent a double discount of plaintiff’s future medical-care cost damages. By Bruce Fagel Since the enactment of the Afford-able Care Act (ACA) the defense bar has moved quickly to add the ACA as a collat-eral source that could potentially reduce most of an injured plaintiff 's recovery for future medical-care costs. At several re-cent national meetings, authors have pre-sented research papers that suggest that the ACA should simplify and reduce cal-culations of future medi ... Read More View PDF

Damages in Medical-Malpractice Cases Under MICRA

Plantiff Magazine

Evaluating the case as to the class of damages i s critical to the decision of whether to take the case. By Bruce G. Fagel The evaluation of damages in a medical malpractice case starts with the initial evaluation and decision to accept the case. MICRA has created two classes of plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases. One class includes those plaintiffs who have a claim for only non economic damages. These include wrongful death claims involving children or the elderly, where the heirs have no ... Read More View PDF

Asking the Jury for Pain-And-Suffering Damages, Including PTSD

Advocate Magazine

Start by selecting the right jury and following with evidence that clearly establishes the physical and emotional pain. BY BRUCE G. FAGEL Any case involving pain-and-suffering damages starts with the selection of a jury. Since most jurors will use their personal experience to evaluate all issues in any case, especially damages, all jurors need to be questioned about any personal experiences with physical pain, emotional suffering, disability, or any other issues in their background that will aff ... Read More View PDF

Medical Malpractice Settlements: Who Benefits?

Daily Journal

Friday, June 8, 2012 Medical malpractice settlements: who benefits? Protecting the public health is a critically important function of government. Communicable diseases or new drugs that can impact large numbers of people are the focus of organizations with centralized authority and broad investigatory powers, like the CDC or FDA. However, when it comes to protecting the health of individual patients, there is no central authority. The protection of patients in hospitals is left to a voluntary o ... Read More View PDF

Medical Malpractice in The 21st Century

Forum Magazine

12 FORUM March/April 2012 Consumer Attorneys Of California Medical Negligence It has been more than 35 years since the California Legislature passed the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) in response to a perceived “crisis” in the availability and cost of medical liability insurance. A keystone of this legislation was the limit of $250,000 on non-economic damages which has been cited by proponents of tort reform as the way to reduce medical malpractice claims. Since this ... Read More View PDF

Medical Malpractice: Beyond the Discovery “Three Step�?

Plaintiff Magazine

BY BRUCE G. FAGEL The traditional and time-honored method of discovery in all medical-malpractice cases involves three separate steps: First, obtaining the complete medical records on the plaintiff from all doctors and hospitals involved in the care; second, sending those records to a medical expert, who hopefully provides a favorable opinion on negligence and causation; and, third, taking depositions of defendant doctors and nurse employees of defendant hospital to find out what they meant in t ... Read More View PDF

Medical Malpractice: Beyond the Discovery "Three Step"

Advocate Magazine

Advocate Magazine February 2012 Medical malpractice: Beyond the discovery "three step" Putting a case in context for the jury requires finding background information that supports your theory of liability and your expert witnesses. BY BRUCE G. FAGEL The traditional and time-honored method of discovery in all medical malpractice cases involves three separate steps: First, obtaining the complete medical records on the plaintiff from all doctors and hospitals involved in the care; second, ... Read More View PDF

Using Tort Reform As An Excuse: Why Health Care Cannot Be Reformed

Daily Journal

Monday, December 12, 2011 Using tort reform as an excuse: Why health care cannot be reformed The health care industry, upon which we are all dependent, promotes the need for torn reform as an excuse for not being able to improve patient safety. As a result, the victims of medical negligence are subject to double discrimination, first by being victims, and second by being denied due process. This is a terrible price that the American public must face for an industry that cannot find a way to suff ... Read More View PDF

Attorneys for Dr. Conrad Murray Ran With a Classic Medical Malpractice Defense

LA Daily Journal

Verdict is in: lessons learned from the Michael Jackson trial. BY BRUCE G. FAGEL A doctor administering a powerful anesthetic agent to a patient in a home setting without vital sign monitors or resuscitation equipment is such an extreme departure from any acceptable standard of care that even Dr. Conrad Murray's own medical expert could not justify it. While such negligence may sound like a one of a kind aberration in the practice of medicine, it is not. There are nurses in intensive care un ... Read More View PDF

Trial of Dr. Conrad Murray: What Does it Really Mean?

Daily Journal

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 Trial of Dr. Conrad Murray: What does it really mean? On a legal level, the criminal trial charging Dr. Conrad Murray with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson is much closer to a medical malpractice case than to a typical criminal case. From this trial, the public will learn about the meaning of terms like "standard of care," "causation," and "battle of the experts," which are basic to every medical malpractice case. W ... Read More View PDF

Learning To Live With MICRA

Advocate Magazine

Advocate Magazine October 2011 Learning to live with MICRA Despite MICRA, California plaintiffs are in a better position than those in several other states BY BRUCE G. FAGEL In the 36 years since MICRA was enacted in California, tens of thousands of patients injured by preventable medical errors, have been denied just compensation for their injuries. The value of the $250,000 cap in 1975 dollars has steadily decreased to less than $70,000 today. For the child who suffers severe brain damage beca ... Read More View PDF

Three Recurring Themes in Medical Malpractice and Catastrophic Brain Injury in Health Care

Plaintiff Magazine

Three recurring themes in medical malpractice and catastrophic brain injury In health care, everything is important and nothing is "not" important. There is no auto-pilot mode BY BRUCE G. FAGEL Catastrophic brain injury as a result of a severe hypoxic or ischemic event is the type of medical malpractice case that represents the greatest cost to hospitals, society and the family of the injured victim. There are three main reasons why these injuries occur and they are recurring themes in ... Read More View PDF

The Casey Anthony Verdict: Important Lessons for Civil Attorneys

Daily Journal

Monday, July 18, 2011 The Casey Anthony verdict: Important lessons for civil attorneys In the days since the Casey Anthony verdict, most of the public press, pundits and public opinion polls clearly shows great dissatisfaction with the verdict. Whether or not Anthony got away with murder, as most people believe, the greater concern is the perception that the jury got it wrong. Even many pundits who say that they support the jury system have said, at the same time, that the jury got it wrong. To ... Read More View PDF

Proving and Obtaining Reasonable Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases

Forum Magazine

Forum Magazine Vol. 41, Number 3 May/June 2011 Proving and Obtaining Reasonable Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases By Bruce G. Fagel, MD, JD Many attorneys rightly assume that the MICRA limitation on non-economic damages, coupled with the difficulty of proving liability in medical malpractice cases, make such cases not economically worth pursuing in California. Civil Code § 3333.2 limits recovery of non-economic damages to a maximum of $250,000, making it very difficult to represent child ... Read More View PDF

Mediating Medical-Malpractice Cases

Plaintiff Magazine

Mediating medical-malpractice cases Top ten practical tips for resolving medical-negligence cases at mediation By Bruce G. Fagel Successful mediation of a complex medical negligence case requires a thorough understanding about both the facts of the case and the mediation process. The following 10 suggestions will help improve the probability of a successful resolution of a case at mediation. 1. If liability is a significant issue in the case, offer plaintiff’s liability experts for deposit ... Read More View PDF

Why Medical Malpractice Still Matters.

Advocate Magazine

Despite MICRA limitations, medical-negligence claims still have a crucial role in society BY BRUCE G. FAGEL We all know the statistics on medic al-negligence cases: 80 percent of cases that go to trial result in the defense verdicts, and even if you win for the plaintiff, under MICRA, the recovery and attorney fees are limited. So why not just handle other types of personal-injury cases that do not limit recovery or attorney fees? There are three important reasons medical-negligence cases need t ... Read More View PDF

Medical-Malpractice Cases Should Focus on the Facts, Not the Experts

The Plaintiff Magazine

Medical-malpractice cases should focus on the facts, not the experts Don’t let the defense make your experts the focus of the case. Make jurors first focus on the facts that are in dispute and then weigh experts’ opinions BY BRUCE G. FAGEL Under the law in California and every other state, proof of liability for claims of negligence against a health-care provider requires expert testimony on both standard of care (negligence) and causation. While expert testimony is necessary to defe ... Read More View PDF

Will Tort Reform Reduce Health Care Costs?

Daily Journal

Monday, February 7, 2011 Will Tort Reform Reduce Health Care Costs? In his recent State of the Union address, President Barack Obama seemed to renew interest in medical malpractice tort reform as a way to reduce the cost of medical care in the United States. Referring to the need to reduce the costs of health care, which his health care reform plan did not address, Obama stated that he would listen to ideas for tort reform as a way to rein in "frivolous lawsuits." He reminded the count ... Read More View PDF

Brain Cooling in Neonates: The Medical-Legal Implication

Forum Magazine

Cerebral palsy can be the outcome of either negligent or non-negligent obstetrical care. However, regardless of the cause, a child diagnosed with cerebral palsy faces a lifetime of required medical and attendant care. Such care places an emotional and financial burden on both the family and society. Where there is sufficient evidence of negligent obstetrical care, such "brain-injury baby" cases can result in a financial recovery that at least provides some assistance to a family faced ... Read More View PDF

Withdrawal of Life Support and Medical Malpractice: The Unethical Dilemma

Daily Journal

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 Withdrawal of Life Support and Medical Malpractice: The Unethical Dilemma One of the most perverse of the many unintended consequences of California's limit on non-economic damages in medical negligence cases is that it creates a financial incentive for doctors and hospitals to "bury their mistakes." When the cause of a patient's condition is negligent care, the physicians and hospital have a very large financial interest to discontinue care and allow ... Read More View PDF

Are There Too Many Medical Malpractice Claims or Not Enough?

Daily Journal

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 Are There Too Many Medical Malpractice Claims or Not Enough? By Bruce G. Fagel On Aug. 4, 2010, the American Medical Association (AMA) issued a survey of U.S. physicians along with a press release stating that their survey of 5,825 physicians showed "an average of 95 medical liability claims filed for every 100 physicians, almost one per physician." The survey also referred to data from the Physician Insurers Association of America (a group of physician owned o ... Read More View PDF

Improving Medical Care in California: Why Doctors Don't Care

Daily Journal

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 Improving Medical Care in California: Why Doctors Don't Care By Bruce G. Fagel The California Medical Association claims to represent 35,000 doctors in California and is one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Sacramento. It was the moving force behind the passage of MICRA (Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act) in 1975, which, among other changes, limited recovery for non-economic damages for the victims of medical malpractice to $250,000. The California Medica ... Read More View PDF

The Right to Be Healthy

Daily Journal

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 The Right to Be Healthy By Bruce Fagel It is unfortunate that for all of the brilliance and foresight of our founding fathers, the lack of scientific knowledge about the human body in the late 18th century was such that the Bill of Rights does not contain a right to be healthy. The right of free speech and the right of protection from unreasonable search and seizure grew out of justified concerns at the time that people needed protection from an over-bearing governme ... Read More View PDF

Medical Malpractice after the Health Care Debate

Consumer Attorneys Of California

By Bruce G Fagel, MD, JD +Whatever details fmally emerge in the health care legislation that gets signed by President Obama, there will be two significant, but unintended, consequences that will directly affect medical malpractice cases. First, the health care debate will likely make it more difficult to prove liability to a jury in most medical malpractice cases, especially those involving catastrophic injuries. Second, and far more significant to most Americans, is that providing health insura ... Read More View PDF

Health Insurance For All Is Not The Answer

Daily Journal

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 Health Insurance for All Is Not the Answer By Bruce Fagel The problem with the current health care reform debate is that it is focused on providing health insurance to all Americans, rather than focusing on providing health care. The difference is critical, because health care insurance is unlike any other type of insurance that people or businesses have. The basic premise of all insurance - from auto insurance, to liability insurance, to homeowners insurance, to lif ... Read More View PDF