Law Office of Frederick J. Sette
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Medical Malpractice Attorneys face High Standards of Proof in Court

Sacramento medical malpractice attorneys must have command of numerous and complex legal details regarding health care, hospitals and their employees, and the actions of specific physicians. At Sette Law in Sacramento, our malpractice lawyers must draw information from numerous disciplines and venues to establish an injury was caused due to a physician’s, a hospital’s or a hospital employee’s malpractice. Attorneys explain that each of these areas is governed by slightly different nuances and application of existing law regarding medical malpractice.

Injury lawyers, however, point out that in each case, a defendant will be required to prove four fundamental conditions in any malpractice action in Sacramento. Our personal injury attorneys will look first to establish the injured party has a mutually agreed upon, patient-doctor relationship. This is often simple to prove when individuals hire doctors and physicians agree to treat a patient in Sacramento. Malpractice lawyers may find that direct relationship is problematic if a defendant brings charges against, say, a consulting physician who did not have direct treatment responsibilities. Our Sacramento medical malpractice lawyers add that no person can claim such a relationship with a doctor whom they overheard dispensing medical information to another person. Although, personal injury lawyers usually have little trouble affirming the doctor-patient link, this relationship is fundamental (and not always clear) in any claim of malpractice.

Secondly, lawyers will seek to establish that a physician’s diagnosis or treatment regimen was, in fact, negligent. Again, our Sacramento personal injury lawyers say this factor can be more complicated than it appears. A defendant must show that another qualified doctor in the same circumstances would not have harmed the defendant in the same manner. However, our malpractice lawyers are quick to point out that this doesn’t mean the doctor has to be the best in his or her discipline. It’s not a test of physician quality but, rather, of a doctor demonstrating ‘reasonable skill and care.’ Our Sacramento malpractice attorneys say this can often be a ‘moving target’ of proof, with competing opinions about what constitutes a lack reasonable skill and care that leads to an injury.

Malpractice lawyers ordinarily will call in an expert witness to testify about this aspect of a Sacramento malpractice case. An attorney will ask the witness – who is ordinarily a physician in the same specialty as the plaintiff – about what the standard for care is and to comment on how the plaintiff’s care was below standard and how that care caused the alleged injury. Lawyers on both sides may debate these findings. Our Sacramento malpractice lawyers further report that this bar is particularly high for physicians in a medical specialty. Their extensive education and training raises the expectations for the standard of care in disciplines such as radiology, anesthesiology, internal medicine and other medical specialties.

Sacramento malpractice attorneys at Sette Law must also demonstrate a very clear link between the  defendant’s alleged negligence and the  plaintiff’s  injuries – a challenge for plaintiffs who were suffering from an illness or injury prior to the defendant’s care. For example, if a patient has terminal cancer and dies in the midst of an operation, was it the procedure poorly done or the cancer causing the death? Malpractice lawyers must clearly establish that it was the actions of the physician that led to the fatality and not the presence of the disease. One again, the onus is on the Sacramento malpractice lawyer to ferret through medical testimony, literature and case files to establish the necessary link.

Finally, our Sacramento malpractice attorneys must show that the physician’s actions led to tangible harm and caused personal injury. Lawyers look to show physical pain and mental harm, and also consider the harm done because of medical costs and lost earnings. So, even if the plaintiff can demonstrate a doctor showed an unacceptably low standard of care, without real harm done, there is no malpractice.

Injury attorneys deal with a wide variety of malpractice cases. From news reports, the public may be aware of instances in which a sponge was left inside a patient’s body during a surgery, leading to additional harm and personal injury. Our lawyers may represent a client whose physician neglected to inform him or her that a prescription medication could cause cardiac arrest. Our Sacramento malpractice lawyers say that most of their cases involve improper treatment, a failure of a physician to properly diagnose and failing to inform patients of risks involved in procedures or treatments (including medications).

Sacramento personal injury attorneys say that, unlike some court actions, malpractice cases have a rather short statute of limitations. Since rules vary from state to state, the limits can be from six months to two years. Our Sacramento malpractice lawyers report that California requires that injured parties file actions within one year from when the date the injury was (or should have been) discovered to three years from the date it occurred. According to our personal injury attorneys, if an injured party in California files outside these limits the court will dismiss the claim – no matter how strong the evidence of medical malpractice.
Injury lawyers are also bound by California’s limits on damages awarded in cases of medical malpractice. Attorneys say the state has capped non-economic awards at $250,000 and a personal injury attorney cannot request an award beyond that amount. The Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, (MICRA), passed in 1975, compensates victims for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, psychological damage and other damages that are hard to quantify in dollars and cents. Sacramento malpractice attorneys say many efforts to raise this cap have hit the ballot box over the decades. They point out that MICRA never addressed inflation and for 40 years the diminishing value of $250,000 has unfairly impacted victims of medical malpractice. But attorneys point out there is no cap on compensation for past and future medical care, on loss of income or a plaintiff’s earning ability because these matters are quantifiable as economic damages in medical malpractice.

Sacramento personal injury lawyers say this arena of law requires particular expertise and urge injured parties to seek experienced, legal representation.

Sacramento Wrongful Death Lawyers advocate for Justice

From working on behalf of families who have lost a loved one due to the fault of others, our Sacramento wrongful death attorneys know how difficult and devastating this kind of death can be. For many people the emotional healing process has barely begun before they must move to file a claim with a wrongful death lawyer – in California the statute of limitations is a mere two years. Consequently, our Sacramento wrongful death attorneys must be prepared to handle emotional issues as they build a case based on evidence.

At Sette Law, our wrongful death attorneys specialize in this complicated arena of law to best support our clients in Sacramento. In wrongful death claims our lawyers work to clearly show that intentional or careless acts, negligence or recklessness caused the death of a person.

Traffic accidents, medical malpractice, airplane crashes and automobile accidents are among the most common causes our Sacramento wrongful death attorneys handle. However, there is no limit on the circumstances and sources involved in a wrongful death. Our wrongful death lawyers have levied suits against manufacturers, engineering firms and builders (among others) in Sacramento. Our wrongful death attorneys explain that individuals, organizations, agencies and corporations can be subject to lawsuits in Sacramento.

Wrongful death attorneys must be able to prove that negligence caused the death of a loved one and, further, that the plaintiff stands to suffer emotional hardship and financial adversity as a result of the wrongful death.

Lawyers work to gain compensation for many losses for plaintiffs in Sacramento. Our wrongful death attorneys know that no amount of money will ever compensate for the death of a loved one. This is particularly true when the loss is the result of an egregious wrongful death. Our lawyers have experienced the complicated emotions connected in wrongful death actions – attorneys know that not only grief but also anger is often present, and justified. Given tragic circumstances, the best we can do is lighten the emotional burden by taking away financial concerns, freeing our client to grieve and work toward healing.

Sacramento wrongful death attorneys may win payment for several factors related to a wrongful death such as medical and funeral expenses. But other costs can also be considered in a wrongful death including loss of financial support within a household in Sacramento. Our wrongful death lawyers additionally look for important, and immeasurable, factors – loss of love, moral support and companionship. Among the most important damages our Sacramento wrongful death attorneys fight in court to gain is punitive damages due to negligence of the defendant. This factor is often paramount for our Sacramento wrongful death clients.

Lawyers look for Clear Liability
Our Sacramento wrongful death attorneys have represented clients against a wide variety of defendants. Tragic deaths that happen due to the negligence of others can occur almost anywhere. Among the most common scenarios handled by our Sacramento wrongful death lawyers is the loss of a loved one due to the negligence of a driver in a car crash, or the liability of the driver’s employer. Other incidents involving vehicles include the builders or designers of roads or even public agencies responsible for signage in Sacramento. Wrongful death lawyers handle all-too-frequent cases in which alcohol played a role in Sacramento. Here, wrongful death attorneys may look to individuals who provided alcohol to the victim or to the business owner or home owner where alcohol was served.

Currently, our Sacramento wrongful death attorneys are monitoring developments in cases involving car manufacturers – one of 2012’s biggest, ongoing new stories. By the end of the year up to 17 million cars were recalled due to faulty airbags made by Takata Corporation including many popular makes driven here in Sacramento. Our wrongful death and injury lawyers say a handful of deaths and scores of injuries are already documented. Takata, distributors and potentially car dealers may be held responsible in any related wrongful deaths. Our attorneys, along with the nation, watch with interest as Congress steps in to order a potential nationwide recall of impacted vehicles in Sacramento. Wrongful death attorneys are already handling cases on the East Coast and more relevant cases are likely to emerge over time.

Medical malpractice is yet another source of wrongful death actions. Sacramento wrongful death attorneys consider some basic principle in medical malpractice, wrongful death claims. Attorneys must establish a doctor-patient relationship existed and that the physician’s negligence led to the Sacramento wrongful death. Lawyers must sift through many details of complex laws.
Whatever the source, a Sacramento wrongful death, our lawyers know all too well, is a difficult action for families in mourning. However, in our experience, loved ones frequently engage a Sacramento wrongful death attorney because they seek to prevent others from having the same experience. Particularly when it comes to large entities, such as corporations and mega-business interests who have contributed to a wrongful death, surviving family may feel a responsibility to alert the public about negligence that led to a Sacramento wrongful death.

Lawyers generally represent certain classes of people in a wrongful death lawsuit. Of course, immediate family members, committed partners and dependents can usually file in a wrongful death. Our attorneys also work with people who suffer financial losses such as support or care. These plaintiffs may or may not be related to the individual who suffered a wrongful death.
Within each category of wrongful death, attorneys have numerous factors and conditions to establish. In any Sacramento wrongful death lawsuit, a lawyer has demanding and specific criteria that underlie each case. As with many legal issues, our Sacramento wrongful death attorneys must understand the nuances of each case and the legal precedents to the claim. But in any Sacramento wrongful death lawsuit there is an emotional element that goes beyond the scope of many other court actions. At Sette Law, our Sacramento wrongful death attorneys must move beyond the requirements of law and employ a different set of skills. Wrongful death lawyers must embark upon their work with compassion, understanding and a commitment to our clients in Sacramento. Certainly, we realize there is little else in life worse than a wrongful death – our attorneys are dedicated to supporting surviving loved ones so that they can move forward in their lives.   

Delay In Diagnosis May Have Contributed To Whooping Cough Deaths

According to the Los Angeles Times, the doctors who examined each of the eight infants who died from whooping cough failed to make swift and accurate diagnoses. As stated by an immunization official with the California Department of Public Health, “[B]y the time the infants developed severe respiratory distress, it was usually too late for any intervention to prevent their tragic deaths.” A UCLA pediatrics professor added, “All of those should’ve been diagnosed earlier. And a couple of them, even after they were diagnosed, the [healthcare providers] didn’t take it serious enough, quick enough.”

Coincidentally, an article posted in Tuesday’s New York Times quotes a professor of medicine from the University of California, San Francisco as identifying diagnostic errors as “an important but neglected issue.”

When the failure to diagnose an illness leads to the wrongful death of a loved one, the surviving members may have a claim for medical malpractice. Whether a proper and timely diagnosis could have saved these infants lives will undoubtedly be evaluated by those involved.

In order to prevent more whooping cough deaths, more must be done to raise awareness of the symptoms, and those who’ve been exposed must receive immediate and proper treatment. Counties such as Santa Clara and San Mateo are sending out information packets to students and hosting free vaccination clinics. Click here for more information on whooping cough.

As a California personal injury attorney I am hopeful with greater public awareness and better-informed health care professionals, the incidence of whooping cough will rapidly diminish. If you or you believe a delayed diagnosis contributed to the wrongful death or serious injury of a loved one, please contact the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette, dedicated to helping the injured.

Stockton Nursing Home Fined $100,000 After Patient Death

According to the Los Angeles Times, a Stockton nursing home was fined $100,000 after a resident died. An investigation into Creekside Care Center found that inadequate care led to the death of a woman.

The investigation conducted by the California Department of Public Health found that staff at the nursing home failed to adequately treat an elderly wheel chair bound patient who mysteriously suffered a left thighbone break. The woman subsequently suffered cardio-distress and died in the emergency room.

If you have a loved one in a nursing home, and believe that they are not being treated properly, a Stockton personal injury lawyer may be able to help.

When we place our elders in nursing homes, it is often because they cannot care for themselves. We expect that they will be cared for by the nursing home staff. When staff fails to adequately care for patients – such as treating illness and injuries – or neglects or abuses patients, it is considered a form of medical negligence.

Here, the state investigation concluded that the center did not provide an adequate level of care and fined the home.

For more information, or if you believe a family member has been mistreated at a nursing home, contact the Stockton nursing home negligence lawyers at the Law Offices of Frederick J. Sette.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against California Doctor For Illegally Prescribing Drugs

The Los Angeles Times reports that the families of two 20-year-old patients who died last year from prescription drug overdoses have filed separate wrongful death lawsuitsagainst a doctor accused of illegally prescribing painkillers. The medical malpractice lawsuits allege that Dr. Lisa Tseng prescribed powerful and addictive drugs to patients who later died from the medication. Tseng has been linked to ten drug deaths.

Ryan Winter of Aliso Viejo died five days after his last prescription in July 2010 and Riley Russo of Laguna Niguel died in December.

According to the lawsuits, Dr. Tseng prescribed Opana, a powerful narcotic, and Xanax to the patients with little examination or reason. She also failed to obtain a proper medical history or refer the patients to specialists. The lawsuits further allege that Tseng has earned a reputation for her willingness to prescribe narcotics knowing they will be used for recreational purposes.

Under California law – the Drug Dealer Liability Act – families may file a lawsuit against anyone in the chain of improperly obtained drugs. The lawsuit also alleges medical negligence and intentional and negligent misrepresentation.

In addition to the families’ lawsuits, Tseng is also being accused of gross negligence by the Osteopathic Medical Board of California. Undercover investigators have determined that Tseng routinely prescribed large amounts of powerful drugs such as Percocet, Opana and codeine without proper examination.

If you have any questions concerning medical care and believe that a loved one has received a prescription in error – either for recreational use or as the result of medical malpractice – consult with a California medical malpractice attorney immediately. For more information, please contact the dedicated Stockton wrongful death lawyers at the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette for a confidential consultation.

California Doctor Penalized $2.2 Million For Medical Negligence

The team doctor for the San Diego Chargers has been foundnegligent as the result of errors he committed in performing a hip replacement surgery on Kathleen Adams, a 54-year-old woman. As a result of the surgery performed by David Chao, Adams “has constant radiating pain in her foot and ankle, walks with a limp and has to take four types of medication daily just to make the pain tolerable…[t]he pain will be there the rest of her life.”

Medical malpractice or medical negligence occurs when a physician, hospital or other caregivers fails to meet the standard of care in a particular area of medicine. Where that failure causes harm, you may be able to sue for damages.

Chao has been sued 20 times since 1998 by patients on a wide variety of tort counts, including malpractice, personal injury, negligence and fraud.

If you have sustained an injury as the result of another’s negligent conduct, you may be able to recover compensation including lost wages, medical expenses and pain and suffering.

For more information, contact the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette, dedicated to helping those injured by other’s negligence for more than 15 years.

California Doctor To Pay Damages In Wrongful Death Lawsuit

    A California Court of Appeals has determined that a Newport Beach doctor must pay damages in a medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit filed against him. The action involved his erroneous reading of a computerized tomography (CT) scan of an 85-year-old woman, Lois Shafer. A jury determined that Dr. Luke Cheung’s actions in misinterpreting the scan and failing to diagnose the woman’s intracranial bleeding, led to her unnecessary death.

    If you believe a loved one has died as the result of the negligent conduct of another, it is important to consult with aStockton wrongful death attorney. Where you believe a nurse, doctor or other hospital staff made a mistake that harmed – or led to the death – of a loved one, you may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

    Not all medical mistakes constitute a medical malpractice action that entitles a family to obtain compensation. Generally, you must be able to show that the doctor’s or other health care provider’s actions fell below the accepted standard of care and that these actions led to the harm.

    Here, Shafer was taken to the Hoag Hospital emergency room. After Dr. Cheung’s failure to diagnose the bleeding, an emergency room doctor then discharged Shafer. At trial, a medical expert testified that if Cheung had diagnosed the bleeding, Shafer wouldn’t have been discharged, treatment would have begun quickly and the patient would have had a very successful outcome…complete recovery or close to a complete recovery.”

    A California jury determined that based on the evidence, Cheung’s actions caused Shafer’s death. This past week, a Santa-Ana based appellate court determined that the evidence supported the jury’s decision and upheld the award

    For more information or if you believe a loved one may have been harmed by a medical mistake, contact an experienced Stockton wrongful death lawyer at the Law Offices of Frederick J. Sette for a free confidential consultation.

Jury Awards Menlo Park Woman $22 Million In Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Palo Alto news reports that a Menlo Park woman has been awarded a $22 million medical malpractice verdict. According to the negligence lawsuit, Robyn Frankel underwent an unnecessary medical procedure that caused her to have a stroke, and she subsequently lost use of her arms and legs.

If you have suffered injuries as the result of another’s reckless or negligent conduct it may be possible to bring a personal injury lawsuit. Where a doctor, nurse or other hospital staff fails to act with the requisite “standard of care, an injured party may be able to bring a medical malpractice claim. If you have been harmed as the result of another’s negligent or wrongful conduct, it is important to speak to an experienced Stockton personal injury attorney to determine your rights and obtain compensation.

Here, doctors with the Palo Alto Foundation Medical Group ordered an angiogram to investigate an abnormal vein in Frankel’s brain in order to determine the cause of her migraine. During the procedure, Frankel suffered a vasospasm and went into a coma. Evidence presented at trial revealed that the angiogram was unnecessary and that the Medical Group’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing the harm to Frankel.

Frankel is now a quadriplegic, confined to a wheelchair and requiring around the clock care. The award will go to cover medical costs, past and future economic losses and pain and suffering. However, due to the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act [MICRA] caps, the $6 million awarded for non-economic damages will be reduced to $250,000.

For more information about medical malpractice or if you or a loved one has suffered any serious personal injury, contact the dedicated Stockton personal injury lawyers at the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette for a free, confidential consultation.

California Nursing Home Fined For Failing To Adequately Supervise Residents

A California nursing home has been fined $80,000 based on its failure to prevent the nursing home wrongful death of a patient at one of its facilities. The Los Angeles Times reports that the state regulators have concluded that the Motion Picture & Television Fund “failed to ensure an environment free of accident hazards with adequate supervision, leading to the death of a patient.”

Unfortunately, dangerous conditions and a lack of adequate supervision are prevalent concerns facing nursing homes throughout California and the United States. Although many nursing homes provide quality care, too often our elders are victims of nursing home neglect. If you believe a loved one has suffered an injury at a nursing home due to neglect or abuse, it is important to speak to a Stockton personal injury lawyer immediately to answer your nursing home neglect questions and determine your next steps.

Here, a 90-year-old California woman who was a resident at the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s nursing home suffer a fatal fall at the Fund’s Woodland Hills facility. A wrongful death lawsuit alleged that the nursing home staff “failed to properly monitor Delay, a wheelchair-bound patient suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.”

After an investigation into the accident, regulators assessed the fine against the home based on its findings.

If you believe a loved one has been the victim of nursing home neglect or elder abuse, contact an experienced nursing home negligence attorney at once. A skilled Stockton elder abuse lawyer can help ensure your loved one is protected. Where an injury or wrongful death occurs, a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can help you obtain the compensation you and your loved one deserves. For more information, contact a dedicated Stockton personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Frederick J. Sette for a free, confidential consultation.

California Hospitals Perform Poorly In Medical Error Study

A recent study by the “Leapfrog Group,” a group that evaluates how well hospitals perform, has determined that 41% of California hospitals receive a grade of C or lower. The Leapfrog Group looks at hospitals with the hopes of encouraging hospitals to take action to reduce preventable medical injuries and deaths.

The reality is that although the United States spends more per person than any other nation, the quality of our health care at many hospitals falls short. Statistics place the number of preventable injuries and deaths at a staggering 98,000 per year in the United States. A “preventable injury or death” is considered an adverse event that is caused as the result of deficient medical care and management, rather than as the result of an underlying health condition.

If you believe you or a loved one has suffered a serious preventable injury while in the hospital, it is important to consult with a Stockton personal injury attorney right away to review your matter and determine your next steps. Where a hospital, physician or other medical staff is found responsible for causing you harm, it may be possible to recover compensation for your damages. This may include such items as your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost past and future wages and emotional distress.

The Leapfrog preventable medical error study provided these first-ever scores in an effort that consumers and employers become aware of hospital that provide poor patient quality of care. A listing of the ratings of all of the California hospital can be found at

Nationwide, 47% of the 2,652 hospitals that were graded received a C or below, including some big-name institutions such as Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

Despite recent efforts by many hospitals to improve the number of medical mistakes, including patient-safety initiatives such as implementing electronic medical record keeping, hand-washing protocols, checklists and other strategies, little real progress has been made in protecting patients from harm.

A representative of Leapfrog analogizes the number of patient deaths per day from medical errors to that of daily airplane crashes noting, “If an airline was crashing and killing 400 people every day, we would have made a lot of progress in the last decade … Without public pressure this won’t become a top priority for hospital leaders.”

In an effort to mimic the success of restaurant rating systems, Leapfrog embarked on its hospital rankings, working with leading patient safety experts to analyze 26 different hospital measures evaluating infection rates, medication errors and other relevant data.

In California, Leapfrog graded 264 hospitals and gave a C or lower to 41% of them. It handed out A’s to 97 facilities, Bs to 58 and Cs to 83. An additional 26 hospitals ranked even lower. Leapfrog didn’t issue a letter grade for them and said it will give those lowest performers until November to show improvement before issuing them a D or F.

Observers note, this is a huge breakthrough for consumers, explaining that while hospital advertising may tout the latest medical wing or other marketing feat, the reality is that they may have good hospital safety scores.

For more information about California hospital safety, or if you believe a loved one may have been injured as the result of a medical error, contact the dedicated Stockton personal injury lawyers at the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette for an immediate consultation.