Learn the facts about medical malpractice

Medical malpractice causes thousands of injuries and deaths every year. Here are the facts you should be aware of.

• Medical malpractice is the third most common cause of death in the United States, after heart disease and cancer, according to research published in the Journal of Patient Safety, which estimates that up to 440,000 Americans die each year from preventable mistakes in hospitals.
• The annual costs to society for medical errors is estimated to be up to $29 billion, and may be much higher.
• Only one out of every eight preventable medical mistakes in hospitals nationwide results in a claim of malpractice.
• In Florida, from 1996 through 1999, there were 19,885 incidents of medical errors reported by hospitals, and 3,177 claims of medical malpractice. This reflects a rate of only one out of every six errors resulting in a claim.
• The actual rate of medical malpractice may be higher than reports indicate, because medical errors are believed to be severely underreported.
• From 1995 to 2000, there was a 4 percent decline in new medical malpractice claims. In 1995, there were 90,212 claims filed; in 2000 there were 86,480 claims filed.
• If you were inured or lost a loved one as the result of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us for a free consultation to learn more about your rights.

Robert Joyce honored with 2016 Champion of Justice award

Attorney Robert Joyce will receive the 2016 Champion of Justice award from the Tampa Bay Trial Lawyers Association. This prestigious award has only been given seven times in the past, and it is only presented to attorneys who have demonstrated an exceptional lifetime commitment to the service of justice.

The Tampa Bay Trial Lawyers Association is a non-profit organization of attorneys who represent consumers. The group seeks to recognize excellence in advocacy, and has chosen to bestow Mr. Joyce with its highest honor.

The seven past recipients of the award are Hon. James D. Whittemore, Tiny Geiger, Esq., Edwin T. Mulock, Esq., Hon. E.J. Salcines, Bill Wagner, Esq. and C. Steven Yerrid, Esq. Mr. Joyce is honored to join this esteemed company.

Mr. Joyce’s previous professional achievements include an “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the group’s highest rating, which is only earned by the top 13 percent of attorneys nationally, and certification as a Civil Trial specialist by the Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization, a distinction earned by only seven percent of Florida attorneys. Mr. Joyce has served as lead counsel in more than 200 civil jury trials, and frequently shares his expertise through lectures to national and international audiences.

The formal presentation of the Champion of Justice award will take place at the annual Gala of TBTLA, to be held in September 2016.

Tampa Bay area pill mill doctor and wife convicted on drug charges

A Tampa doctor who practiced in Pinellas Park, and his wife, were convicted of federal drug conspiracy charges, for prescribing oxycodone and other medications that a jury found led to three patient deaths.

Dr. Edward Neil Feldman, a 76-year-old orthopedist, and his wife Kim Feldman, were both convicted on five related counts in a case that involved $5.7 million worth of medication and three deaths from drug overdoses. They both face time in prison, but only the doctor was charged in the deaths of the patients.

Feldman argued that patients gave him false information to fool him into prescribing drugs, but federal prosecutors said that Feldman willfully ignored warning signs. The Feldmans were ordered taken into custody with sentencing scheduled for May 23.

The doctor had been linked to more patient deaths than the three that were the subject of the case. According to news reports, Feldman’s name was on pill bottles found at multiple overdose scenes. Out of the jury’s hearing, the federal prosecutor told the judge that the government had 16 deaths to choose from in making its case.

Prescribing dangerous or inappropriate medication can constitute pharmaceutical negligence, whether it is in the context of an unethical pill mill or a doctor or pharmacy error. In addition to the criminal charges faced by pill mill operators, civil lawsuits may be filed by patients or their loved ones who are injured by such negligence.