The Nation’s Poorest Nursing Home Care is in Our Own Backyard

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Federal statistics have reported the state of Ohio is ranked as one of the poorest states for nursing home care.

As a medical malpractice attorney for 36 years, you can imagine this does not sit well with me. My first question when I read the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s article on Ohio nursing home care was, “what underlying factors are the cause for Ohio’s poor nursing home care?”

Nursing home negligence and abuse can be difficult to monitor for a multitude of reasons and, for this reason, many instances of negligence are under reported.

An estimate of only 1 in 14 elder abuse incidents are reported.

Without filed complaints, statistics for nursing home abuse may be even lower than the recent federal statistics illustrate!

The rating system used nationwide is called Nursing Home Compare. This allows “consumers” to compare nursing home information to make the right choice for their loved one by providing ratings of 1 through 5 stars.

This system rates the following factors:

  • Health inspections
  • Staffing within facilities
  • Quality measures for residents (addresses their treatment, physical health, pain, etc.)

Unfortunately, resident opinions are not included in the standard rating system. Many complaints often go unheard or are not properly managed.

In a startling discovery, almost half of Ohio’s nursing homes received below-average ratings for their care.

Here are some of the highlighted facts from the federal statistics as of December 2016:

  • There are 963 nursing home facilities in the state of Ohio.
  • All nursing homes are ranked through the federal Nursing Home Compare rating system.
  • 41% of Ohio nursing home facilities received 1 or 2-star ratings on this rating system.
  • The state of Ohio only requires 75 hours of aide training in nursing facilities, whereas other states like California require 150 hours.
  • 30% of Ohio’s nursing homes were fined approximately $6.37 million in a 3-year span.

My job as an attorney is to fight for the injured victim’s justice and Make Them Pay. When it comes to nursing home negligence, fighting for justice is not enough. My duty to those who are injured by negligent medical professionals is to fight for change and ensure these injuries never happen again.

It is important that you or anyone who has been hurt by a negligent nursing home reports any and all incidents immediately.

You can do so by filing an online complaint with the Ohio Department of Health as soon as possible.

If you or a loved one has suffered nursing home negligence and/or abuse, call me today. As your Ohio nursing home negligence attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373.

Ohio’s 3 Foot Law When Passing Bicycles

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Ohio’s 3 Foot Clearance Law for Bicycles.  

With spring right around the corner, we will soon see an influx of bicyclists on the road.  Cycling is great exercise, and we have gorgeous landscapes to travel via bicycle across Ohio and beyond!  As an avid outdoor enthusiast I can certainly appreciate the love of cycling. However for many cyclists, this is also the most dangerous time of year!  Drivers are not used to looking for, or avoiding bicyclists on the roads.

3 Feet of Clearance Saves Lives

In December 2016, Governor Kasich officially signed a law that requires all motor vehicles to maintain at least 3 feet of clearance from a cyclist on the road.  While passing, vehicles must provide ample room and wait to pass based on traffic patterns.  While many local levels of government have had similar laws in place, the December action makes this mandate the state minimum in Ohio.

Sharing the Roads in Cleveland and Across Ohio

Most cyclists are well versed in the safety protocols that accompany their outdoor pastime.  From using proper equipment to following traffic laws – Operating a bicycle safely is certainly a committed task!

Unfortunately, it is also one of the most dangerous forms of exercise.  From distracted driving threats to fluke accidents, it can be a deadly hobby.  Even if a cyclist does everything correctly and by the law, a dangerous driver can quickly cause irreparable injury or death.

Slow down and pass with care as the temperatures start to rise in Northeast Ohio! A cyclist’s life depends on it.  If you or a loved one was injured in a bicycle related accident,  call my offices immediately.  As your Ohio accident attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373.

 

Surviving an Accident: Now and in the Future

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Catastrophic Injury Will Have a Catastrophic Impact

Surviving the initial emotional and physical trauma of an accident is often only the beginning.  Personal injury and accident claims serve to hold the guilty party accountable, and provide an injured victim the means to live as normal of a life as possible. From financial demands to physical restrictions, the long-term effects of an accident or serious injury can last for years and even indefinitely.

As an experienced personal injury attorney, I have had the pleasure and heartache of meeting some of the most determined, motivated and inspiring people in our great state. These folks have often been blindsided, their ENTIRE life changed in an instant. The intense pressure and stress of recovering from the initial accident itself can be incredibly overwhelming.  This is often the number one reason for delay in consulting with an attorney!  You simply must process things over time, as the pain and sense of unknown can be too much to bare.  Unfortunately, this is precisely why you need a legal expert in your corner as soon as possible!

A Hypothetical Timeline – How the Events Unfold

Immediately following an accident, the foreseeable future is consumed with physical and healthcare unknowns.  From diagnosis to treatment, prevention and medication – The accident has completely changed your immediate future, or the future of your loved one.  It is common to be incapable of making decisions during this taxing time.  Whether you or a family member was injured, the emotional toll is immeasurable.

Looking past the initial physical obstacles and forward to the road of recovery can become an even larger time for concern.  While consumed with the severity of an injury, it is common to focus simply on surviving!

What happens next?  Over the coming days, months and years – Your world as your know it has changed.

In the event of a serious injury, here are some common things to consider –

  • Loss of independence
  • Having to move – Your home cannot accommodate your injuries
  • Drastic and painful changes to your physical appearance
  • Loss of mobility
  • Wound care
  • Physical therapy
  • Continued doctor care and/or surgeries
  • Permanent injuries – Hip , back , etc.
  • Future medication, PT, doctor visits, etc.
  • Change / Loss of job – Cannot perform job functions

Your accident or injury is simply not over, when it is over.

If you or someone you love has suffered a catastrophic injury, call my offices immediately.  As your Ohio injury attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373.

New Studies in Cerebral Palsy Site New Risk Factor

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New Studies in Cerebral Palsy Focus on Maternal Weight

The newest round of cerebral palsy studies will almost certainly be cause for concern.  Many risk factors come into play with cerebral palsy, and many instances are due to negligent hospital care before or during the birthing process.  Of course your physician will be quick to shine the spotlight on the risk factors that are outside of THEIR control.

Risk Factors for Cerebral Palsy

A recent study found a link between maternal weight and an increased risk of cerebral palsy.  The Karolinska Institute in Sweden and the Michigan School of Public Health recently announced findings that link obesity with a 22% increased rate of cerebral palsy.  While the credibility of the study and subsequent findings is not called into question, the motivation of careless, negligent physicians may be.

Physicians and medical staff are quick to site non-negligent reasons as the cause for any birth injury.  This effectively shifts the blame off of the physician or hospital, and will often leave parents confused and devastated.

A Review of Common Causes of Cerebral Palsy

  • Negligent Breech Birth
  • Complicated Labor or Delivery
  • Incompatible RH Blood Type
  • Low Birth Weight
  • Infections
  • Traumatic Injury
  • Twins / Multiples

Other Widely recognized risk factors:

  • Exposure to Toxins
  • Syphyllis, Herpes
  • Rubella or Chick Pox
  • Viruses like Zika, Cytomegalovirus
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Seizures
  • Thyroid Problems

What to do if you Suspect Your Newborn has been Injured

Regardless of any pre-existing risk factors, or anything that your medical staff claims, it is important to seek legal help immediately.  The hospital and medical facility will not claim fault, and can easily overwhelm any parent in a time of crisis.

If your child has suffered a birth injury, or has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, call my offices immediately.  As your Ohio birth injury attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373.

Dead in Bed Medical Malpractice

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Dead In Bed – A New Wave of Malpractice or the Same Concerns?

‘Dead in bed’ malpractice is sweeping the headlines and tragedies are adding up.  Imagine, your loved one’s routine procedure went great, but unexpectedly is found dead or severely brain injured due to lack of oxygen or other adverse effects.  The increasing rate of dead in bed medical malpractice is alarming, but is it a new problem or the same medical negligence wrapped in new packaging?

Classifying ‘Dead in Bed’ 

The term ‘dead in bed’ generally refers to an otherwise healthy patient who experiences death or an adverse event during recovery following a medical procedure.  A patient is left unattended to rest and/or recover from the procedure, only to die unexpectedly. From elective surgeries to required procedures, the cause of death in these cases is not related to complications from the procedure.

Local Investigations in Northeast Ohio

Recent investigations have shed light on the alarming trend. One of the largest investigations was a local study which found that post operative administered medication, specifically opiates, are the leading factor. If misused, opiates can cause critical suppression of a patient’s respiratory system/breathing  – Pain management changes over the last decade may be the single largest factor in the increasing occurrence of ‘dead in bed’.

A confidential ‘dead in bed’ national registry launched two years ago to track cases of this nature. Hospitals are directed to report ‘dead in bed’ cases but many are hesitant or avoid/under- report them.  As estimated 50,000 documented cases during the last decade fall into the ‘dead in bed’ category. Some investigations indicate that pain over-management with drugs is becoming commonplace, since hospitals are essentially awarded federal funding based on patient grades for pain management.

These preventable tragedies are yielding millions in payouts for hospitals right here in Cleveland and across the country.  A recent case in Akron resulted in a women being placed on life support and then died, only to find that her tragic death was preventable – She was served Dilaudid and left unattended.  Instead of using effective and very affordable monitoring solutions, the patient likely had her respiratory system suppressed until the amount of oxygen was no longer viable to support her brain and essential organs.  The same hospital system is under fire for investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in marketing at local athletic facilities, yet bypass the easy monitoring solutions.

The technology is readily available to monitor oxygen levels – It’s just not being used. For a small fee, even patients that are considered low risk in recovery can be monitored around the clock.  In addition, changing the way hospital surveys are performed and how medication is administered can have a profound impact.

If your loved one died in recovery following a surgical procedure, you must call my offices immediately. 

As your Ohio medical malpractice attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373.

 

Ohio’s Deadly Winter Weather

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Dangerous Car Accidents: Why Ohio is one of the Deadliest States for Winter Driving

While Mother Nature may be at bay for the time being, there is no doubt that we have seen some deadly Winter weather here in Ohio this year and in year’s past. From headline news to tragic social media vigils, Northeast Ohio has no shortage of scary tales to tell. A combination of elevation and snow belt lake effect can often lead to a deadly one-two punch.

As a lifetime Cleveland resident, I have witnessed some wicked weather and serious accidents!  This means our roadways and our safety are at stake.  With car accidents killing more individuals in the US each year than any other weather hazard, it’s time to start looking at the facts.

Deadly Winter Weather in Numbers

  • In the last 5 years, roughly 4,000 individuals in the US have died as a result of Winter weather related accidents
  • For the 4 – year period from 2011-15, nearly 800 deaths were caused as a result of snow, ice or sleet on the roadways
  • Ohio alone has seen more than 420 Winter fatalities since 2012
  • The average number of Winter weather related deaths in Ohio is 86 per year

With these staggering numbers,  it is hard to deny the seriousness and risk involved with driving in Winter!

Protecting Yourself and Your Loved Ones on the Roads

Driving defensively and staying focused are the two best ways to keep yourself safe in any weather condition.  Unfortunately, Winter weather is just one dangerous element!  Distracted driving, folks who think they have more control on the road than they do, speed, texting and just plain dangerous conditions can all lead to deadly accidents.

Whenever possible, avoid driving during dangerous storms and allow ample time for street crews to clear the roads.  Many employers will extend forgiveness and work from home days, or at the very least a delayed start to the work day!

The statistics also show that historically, Friday and Saturday are the two deadliest days in Winter related accidents – This means if you are on the road for leisure, it could be be a deadly gamble.

If you or someone you love was involved in a Winter weather accident, call my offices immediately.  Insurance companies can be quick to blame the elements when other factors need to be taken into consideration.  As your Ohio car accident attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373.

The Steps After a Workers’ Compensation Claim Appeal

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What Can I Expect After I File My Workers’ Compensation Claim Appeal?

Navigating the process of a workers’ compensation claim appeal can be an arduous task! Once your workers’ compensation claim appeal is filed, there are three appeal levels with the Ohio Industrial Commission.

Acquiring legal representation is highly recommended at this point in the process. Moving forward on a workers’ compensation claim can be a daunting, exhausting process without expert legal help in your corner. As your workers’ compensation attorney, I have the resources and experience necessary to advance your case and get the justice you deserve.

Here are 3 levels of workers’ compensation appeals and what to expect during the process:

Level 1— District Hearing

  • This will be heard by an attorney, so attorney representation is highly recommended.
  • Any information that supports the injured worker’s dispute will be presented here.
  • The OIC reviews this information and makes a decision to deny or approve the appeal.
  • If the appeal is denied, it will move into level 2.

Level 2—Staff Hearing

  • Injured workers and employers have a right by Ohio law to appeal the DHO’s decision.
  • Disputes are presented to the Staff Hearing Officer, or SHO.
  • It is then reviewed and if the appeal is denied, written appeals must be filed within 14 days of this decision.

Level 3—Commission Hearing

  • A Commission level hearing is granted on a discretionary basis, and not as a right through the appeals process.
  • Reaching the level of a Commission hearing with legal representation is strongly recommended
  • Commissioners can refuse the appeal or accept it

If you have just filed a workers’ compensation claim, or you are beginning the process of appeals, call my offices immediately.  The Ohio Workers’ Compensation Commission and the claim and appeals process is not an easy system to navigate. As your Ohio workers’ comp attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373.

 

3 Unbelievable Facts About Medical Malpractice

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Battling the Myths of Medical Malpractice

Fact 1. Medical malpractice happens often.

Annually, it is estimated that anywhere from 40-80,000 individuals die as a result of medical malpractice.  From simple errors with very little repercussion, to catastrophic tragedies – Medical malpractice occurs on a daily basis across the country.

As the victim of medical malpractice, it is important to seek help. Your health care providers, insurance companies and even family and friends can perpetuate the falsehoods and guilt surrounding medical malpractice. The bottom line is if you have suffered an injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, they deserve to pay.

A large part of what I do as an experienced medical malpractice attorney is to educate my clients and their loved ones! Medical malpractice is not preying on the human aspect of health care – Every physician and health care professional will lose a patient or have an unpredictable scenario come into play.

Medical malpractice claims ensure careless, negligent individuals are held accountable.

Fact 2. Malpractice claims DO NOT drive up healthcare costs or drive up insurance rates, driving out the good doctors.

Being bullied by the insurance industry and folklore surrounding medical malpractice is the foundation of many thought processes on the topic.  Decent, law abiding citizens in general are not confrontational, and will avoid causing issues – Even at the expense of a lifetime of pain and suffering or worse – the loss of a life. Financial falsehoods only serve to perpetuate this behavior.

The cost of malpractice insurance is a FRACTION of the costs caused by medical malpractice and other errors.  Conservatively, costly medical errors and malpractice is about 50% higher than the cost of medical malpractice insurance – and that is a low estimate.

Furthermore, the results and continuity of care required after a medical mistake can be a burden on the tax payers, not on the healthcare system or insurance. Malpractice related insurance payouts are less than a single (1) percent of all costs related to insurance and healthcare in the US. This has remained consistent for almost two decades, and we still see rising costs and blame in our insurance rates each year.

Trust me when I tell you, even the good physicians are not opposed to legitimate medical malpractice claims – Bad doctors give a bad reputation to any health care institution.

Fact 3. Doctors are not always investigated and/or disciplined by a medical board.

In Ohio for example, a physician may or may not be reported, investigated or disciplined by the Ohio state medical board.  How is this possible?

Similar to other crimes and criminal activity, reporting it can be the difference in preventing future occurrence. Holding a negligent medical professional accountable can save a life in the future.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of medical malpractice, call me immediately. As your Ohio medical malpractice attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373

Heartbreaking Headlines for CTE

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25 Year Old Football Player Diagnosed with CTE Posthumously

Following his tragic death as a result of an infection and heart attack, a 25 year old former college football star had definitive markers showing Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, also known as CTE.  Rewind two decades to where it all began; a six year old boy expressed interest in and began playing football.  As a father myself, it is difficult to imagine telling your son or daughter no to such a simple request! Knowing what I know now, I cannot fathom the regret, pain and destruction this seemingly innocent decision has.

Understanding CTE and What Is Happening

CTE signs and symptoms can be elusive, and mimic symptoms of other illnesses.  CTE is the result when the tau proteins in our brains no longer support their normal cell function.  Tau proteins move nutrients and other essential elements from one area of a cell to another.  After repeated or severe head trauma, tau proteins can begin to change.  Imagine crumpling a piece of paper and flattening it out again – the paper is still there, but it will never look or function the same.  The tau proteins begin to form tangles, impacting their function and also impeding the transport system within a cell itself.

Symptoms of brain injuries will vary depending on where the injury occurs.  When tau protein changes are happening in the brain, it begins in the prefrontal cortex, located in the area we know as our forehead.  This part of the brain governs emotion, behavior and decision making skills.  Because CTE can only be concretely diagnosed after death, the fact that the signs and symptoms are somewhat ambiguous is just fuel on the fire. For this 25 year old victim, his CTE evidence was irrefutable, with over 10 different areas of his brain showing the tau protein malformations.  This was the first time in history where such a profound case of CTE was found in such a young individual.

Symptoms of CTE

There is no treatment or cure for CTE at this time.  The first step is for us as a society to recognize the problem in the medical community and begin to research and study more widespread to identify symptoms and work towards treatment or a cure.

Identifying the potential signs and symptoms of CTE for you or a loved one is critical.

  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Memory Loss
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Abusive behavior
  • Aggression
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Blurred Vision
  • Insomnia
  • Neck Pain
  • Tinnitus
  • Anxiety
  • Speech problems

If you or a loved one suffered repeated injuries and concussions, call me immediately. As your Ohio injury attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities.” You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373.

 

Personal Injury Safety at the Gym

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Hitting the Gym

At the beginning of every year, many people flock to area gyms and recreation facilities to fulfill their resolution for a healthier, more active lifestyle.  Today’s gyms have virtually everything imaginable; from cross fit classes to dance, weights, complex equipment and more.  The rudimentary basement-style gyms are truly a thing of the past!

Whether you are a seasoned gym goer or you have just joined, the dangers lurking around every corner do not discriminate.  There is definite reason why a waiver of liability and injury accompanies most gym memberships and class enrollments! I have seen incredibly scary, painful injuries stemming from an innocent day at the gym.

Legal Recourse for Fitness and Gym Related Injuries

The actual legal recourse for your gym related injury is impacted by many factors.  The potential scenarios and resulting injuries are endless, and the law has to take into account every single aspect.  For some of my clients, their misconception that a signed waiver automatically means there is no recourse available, can cost them dearly.

When you sign up for a gym membership or fitness classes, it is likely that you are directed to sign a waiver that expresses your ‘Willingness to Assume’ any and all assumption of risk.  This statement may be the literal words on your contract!  One common ruling is that the unfair, broad nature of it is refutable in the courtroom.  Alternatively, negligence on the part of the facility workers and management can also be grounds for legal recourse.

Key Facts for Gym Injuries

  • Your waiver does not automatically excuse the facility or individuals
  • DIY exercise and instructor led exercise can both lead to preventable injury
  • Failure to maintain and inspect equipment may be negligence
  • Failure to properly clean and maintain a facility may be negligence
  • Facilities must have proper medical response equipment on site
  • You have a reasonable expectation of safety

Negligent and reckless behavior at your gym facility can lead to serious injuries for you!  Having an experienced personal injury attorney is critical for your case.  The very first step you take to pursue a claim will be met with a motion for summary judgment, showcasing your signed waiver.

If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a gym accident, call my offices immediately.

As your Ohio personal injury attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities.” You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373