Alcohol Fueled Accidents in Ohio

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A Look into Ohio Alcohol-Related Car Accidents

Alcohol consumption is widely accepted in a variety of social and professional settings. We have everything from restaurants to sporting events, networking soirees and parties serving cocktails morning, noon and night. Many argue that buzzed driving is drunk driving and champion other anti-alcohol campaigns.  Large highway billboards are purchased to warn us of the potential of devastating consequences, yet we continue to have higher rates of alcohol related accidents in Ohio when compared to the national average.

Have we finally reached the point that 0.00 is the necessary legal limit?

Even with the prolific growth of ride sharing like Uber and Lyft, we still have an epidemic of deadly alcohol related driving in Ohio and across the US.

  • 12,072 alcohol-related traffic accidents in 2016
  • 12,526 alcohol-related traffic accidents in 2015

A 4% decline from 2015 to 2016 is promising, but we have far to go and more than 1,000 accidents a month to prevent.

Alcohol on our Roadways

Driving down the highway in the wee hours of the morning, we may be more alert and even anticipate encountering an impaired driver.  What happens when you are driving on a Tuesday at lunchtime, and get slammed by a drunk or buzzed driver?   Alcohol related car accidents aren’t on a time clock – and your safety is always at risk.

Even when we do encounter a driver that we deem to be an immediate danger – Try calling 1800-grab-DUI and see how easy it is to report an impaired driver!  After jumping through the proverbial hoops and reaching the correct city, properly and safely providing direction is nearly impossible.

Safety in Numbers

It all comes down to accountability for ourselves, for those we love, for the establishments we frequent, and for safety responders and our laws.

In addition to holding those accountable with higher standards and harsher punishments, truly gaining justice for the victims of alcohol related accidents and changing society as a whole, may be the ONLY way to change the pattern.

If you suspect someone is impaired and behind the wheel,

  • Safely call 911 or 1800-Grab-DUI
  • Stay a safe distance behind the driver
  • In the event of an incident or accident, remain calm and stay near for emergency responders and police, your statement could be the difference in justice being served

If you or someone you love was involved in an alcohol related accident, call my offices immediately.  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.

Driving Safety for our Teenage Children

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Keeping Our Kids Safe Behind the Wheel

It is highly unlikely any of us had a true grasp on the responsibility bestowed upon us when getting behind the wheel at the ripe age of 16.  With Max, Ruby and Gus just a blink away from the drivers seat, I find myself frequently thinking of ways to keep my children safe on the roads, and to teach them the importance of keeping others safe as well. Although many parents strive to create good citizens, many do not adequately prepare their kids for the road.  I unfortunately have to see the devastating impact all too often.

One second, one accident, one mistake can be the difference of life of serious injury or death. For you or a stranger on the road, our responsibility to be safe and operate a vehicle properly is of the utmost importance.

The CDC reports that teen drivers are THREE TIMES more likely to be in a crash than drivers 20 years of age or older.  It’s a simple testament to the times, and unfortunately to all of the distractions we have at our fingertips.

Putting Technology to Work 

A teen child’s worst nightmare is a parent’s biggest weapon in today’s day and age.  The technology available to us may border on privacy invasion and obsession, but if it keeps our kids and others safe on the roads, then it is doing the trick!

Apps and Technology for Monitoring the Drivers’ Seat

  • Technology for speed notifications
  • Technology for location and geo tracking
  • Ability to set boundaries and parameters on distance
  • Near collision alerts
  • Harsh driving alerts
  • Radio mute and volume control
  • Cell phone blocks

From new cars loaded with incredible safety features, to aftermarket solutions, there are safety tools for every budget and every teen driver!

Safety and driving laws – Take the driving course together, and practice what you preach!

Only 55% of teen of drivers are wearing seat belts when other teen passengers are in the car. Many drivers on the road are unaware of commands, cyclist laws and more. Discuss this with your children, and learn together.  Explain the seriousness and finality of an accident and that they are not bullet proof or immune.

We are all guilty of a near-miss and that ‘eye opening’ moment, realizing that the outcome could have been incredibly different.  Trust me when I tell you, I have seen lives changed in an instant.  Take the time and ensure your child and other drivers on the roadways are safe!

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, call my offices immediately.  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.

Disturbing Facts About Ohio Nursing Homes

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Recent Headlines Report Disturbing Information About Ohio Facilities

With our elder population expected to grow by 45% over the next 20 years, the latest negative information about Ohio nursing homes is highly disturbing! Factoring in the increased costs and competition for facilities, our seniors are at risk for injury and death if the numbers don’t improve dramatically.

One case in Rocky River, Ohio cites a 12 hour poisoning that ultimately led to the patient’s death.  Other documented cases from nursing homes across Ohio cite deaths due to negligence or injury. Inspection reports coupled with federal statistics have led to Ohio nursing homes earning one of the lowest quality ratings across the country.

A series of articles by Cleveland.com and the Plain Dealer have provided a wealth of information – For better or worse!

From the “51 best 5-star rated facilities in Northeast Ohio” to the federal ratings data and more – Their series ‘ A Critical Choice’ sheds light on a topic we simply cannot ignore.

Nursing Home 101

‘Nursing homes’ is a blanket term, covering facilities that are categorized for a variety of services

  • Rehabilitation Care (Post operative and physical therapy)
  • Skilled Nursing
  • Assisted Living
  • Memory Care

From short term care following a hospital visit from an illness or surgery, to physical therapy or long term care for assisted living or dementia or Alzheimer’s care… we call upon our nursing homes in times of crisis and necessity, often jumping through hoops, with an expensive price tag. The unexpected ratings for many Ohio facilities combined with the growing elder population are exceedingly cause for concern.

Quality of Care and Ratings

The national rating system known as Nursing Home Compare uses a 5-star rating system to report findings on over 15,000 nursing homes that participate in Medicare and Medicaid, and are licensed by the state.

The 5-star system covers general staff, nursing staff, overall satisfaction and quality of safety and health initiatives across the facility.

Facility representatives argue that the rating system essentially punishes difficult cases, not taking into account the level of care, how many severe cases, fall risks and other high risk factors. Small facilities that provide an ‘above and beyond’ level of care are also not weighted in their score measurements.

  • 41% of Ohio Facilities had a below-average rating as of 12/1/16
  • In the last 3 years, at least 31 deaths were a result of care issues
  • Minimum staffing remains concerning in Ohio
  • Ohio requires 50% less training minimums vs. the minimums in California
  • 30% of Ohio’s near 1,000 nursing homes and assisted living facilities were fined a combined $6.3 million dollars over the last 3 years
  • 4 out of 5 facilities in Ohio are For-Profit (for-profit facilities have a history of being 3 times more likely to be ranked low)

As of December, 2016 Ohio had over 180 ONE STAR facilities, followed by 198 TWO STAR facilities..  that means nearly 41% of all facilities in Ohio had 1 or 2 star ratings. This is deplorable!

Choosing a Nursing Home

Families can choose a nursing home for their loved one carefully, by combining several factors and observations..

  • Unscheduled visits
  • Meetings with staff and administrators
  • Ratings and scores
  • General online searches and reviews
  • Personal observations – sights, sounds, smells
  • Access to information – Notifications of falls, incidents, etc.

ZERO of the 31 cited deaths occurred in 5-star rated homes in Ohio.  The majority of the deaths occurred in one or two star rated facilities. Unfortunately, with a growing number of seniors turning to nursing homes over the coming years, we will only see these death counts grow. It is important that the facilities and responsible parties be held accountable.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, call my offices immediately.  As your Ohio 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.

Fatigue and Negligence in Medical Transport

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Is Medical Transport Creating More Risk Than Benefit?

In the medical profession, the topic of fatigue is not a new one…   From seemingly impossible physician shifts to emergency response and everything in between.  Our brave medical professionals are often dealt difficult hands.  It is up to the healthcare facility, medical organization or company to provide ample staffing and sufficient time between shifts.  Regulating and limiting the amount of hours that can be worked is essential, especially in health care for emergency responders, physicians, nurses, transport and more.

Take just a moment to remember the last time you were completely and utterly exhausted.  The feeling of exhaustion is unlike any other.  We don’t think clearly, our coordination is poor and above all else – fighting sleep can be nearly impossible.

Ambulance Driver Fatigue

In recent Ohio news,  some of our most established third party ambulance services have been called into the headlines, and for all of the wrong reasons.

Private ambulance services can be used for a variety of reasons.  They are available for hire by the public, contract with hospitals, nursing facilities and more – We entrust our care, or our loved ones care to them to transport us safely.

Recent stories have surfaced claiming lengthy work shifts of 50+ hour “days” resulting in deadly consequences. Getting behind the wheel of an ambulance after days without sleep seems to be nonsensical, but for many ambulance drivers, they claim their employers demand it.

The Deadly Consequences of Driving While Drowsy

In the last 4 years, 8 people have died in ambulance accidents across Ohio. One such case was a Cleveland resident and paraplegic, Mr. Michael Wills.  Mr. Wills was in transport to a Columbus hospital, a routine outing after spending over 30 years in his wheelchair.  The ambulance he was riding in crashed as a result of the driver being distracted, killing Mr. Wills on scene.

While many companies mandate schedules and have proper measures in place on paper, the consensus is that profits reign supreme and the demands are still dangerous. Some private ambulance services have demanding schedules,  young, inexperienced drivers on staff, or simply lack safety training and reinforcement.  While fatigue management strategies and safe driving initiatives may be deployed at conferences and in training – It clearly is just not enough.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an ambulance related accident, you must call my offices immediately.  As an experienced Ohio accident and 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.

 

 

Partying and Personal Injury

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Celebrate Safely Through the 2017 Holidays

Coming off of the St. Patrick’s Day festivities, we are about to hit a stretch of warm weather which means spring/summer parties. Unfortunately many injuries occur as more and more people are on the road and partying too hard. As a personal injury attorney I know all too well the dangers that accompany this type of behavior.

Safety in Public Places

We recently heard about tragic news of a 20 year old that fell from an upper story of a restaurant in Cleveland during the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.   While full details have not been release, it has been reported on social media and news outlets that building violations we reported that likely played a role in this tragic accident.

When we are excited to go somewhere or are in a rush, we tend to be more careless!  Try not to get caught up in the excitement and take time to be careful and thoughtful.  Alert management or authorities to any dangers you may observe!

Outdoor Safety at Parks and More

Injuries and accidents are also on the rise this time of year, with many of us eager to get outside for some nice weather and fresh air.  Increased outdoor activities can lead to water dangers, fall hazards and more.  Plan to play it safe outside!

Safety on the roads

Holidays and nice weather can lead to an influx of traffic accidents, including distracted driving and driving under the influence.  Take it easy on the roads and alert local authorities to any driving dangers you may witness.

If you or someone you love was involved in an accident, 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.

 

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.