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Court Finds Plaintiff Is Not Bound by Arbitration Agreement in Arizona Personal Injury Lawsuit

Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in an Arizona wrongful death lawsuit brought on behalf of a nursing home resident who died after falling out of a wheelchair. According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff’s mother was admitted to the nursing home in 2013. At admission, the plaintiff, acting as the “responsible party,” signed the forms for his mother because she was suffering from various cognitive and physical impairments. Included in the admissions agreement was an arbitration clause for “any dispute as to medical malpractice.” The issue on appeal was whether the plaintiff’s cause of action falls under medical malpractice and if the arbitration clause bound him.

The incident giving rise to the action occurred when the woman was returning to her room after breakfast. A certified nursing assistant was pushing the woman’s wheelchair when the woman’s foot got caught in a loose cord. The entanglement caused the woman to go flying out of her wheelchair head-first onto the floor, breaking her neck upon impact. The woman died from her injuries several days later. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the nursing home, alleging that they were negligent and liable for his mother’s wrongful death. The nursing home moved to compel arbitration, arguing that although on its face the claim seemed like a negligence action, it was actually a medical malpractice claim.

Arizona law provides that the primary prerequisite to compelling arbitration is an actual agreement to do so. When there is a disagreement about whether the parties agreed to arbitrate, the courts will look to the parties’ intent by evaluating the language of the agreement. In this case, the arbitration clause defines “medical malpractice” as a dispute related to medical services. Further, the legislature defines “medical services” as actions that relate to medical care and are performed at the direction of healthcare professionals.

The defendant argued that the court should look to other language in the agreement. Additionally, the defendant claimed that the plaintiff’s investigation into previous falls, inadequate supervision, and training issues heightened the case from ordinary negligence into medical malpractice. However, the court reasoned that claims do not amount to medical malpractice simply because they occur at a nursing home. Moreover, the plaintiff did not allege misconduct related to the practice of medicine, but rather the negligence of a staff member while merely transporting the woman from breakfast to her room. Ultimately, the appellate court found in favor of the plaintiff and declined to compel arbitration.

Have You or a Loved One Suffered Injuries at an Arizona Nursing Home?

If you or someone you know has suffered serious injuries at an Arizona nursing home, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated Arizona personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C., have collected millions on behalf of injury victims in Arizona. Our attorneys fiercely advocate on behalf of our clients while simultaneously providing them with the compassion and sensitivity that they deserve. Arizona nursing home abuse and neglect cases are rarely straight forward, and we possess the skills and experience to handle even the most challenging lawsuits. Contact our office at 855-749-5299 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at our law firm.

Medication Errors are Threatening Lives in Phoenix

When you are sick or injured, you may seek the help of a doctor or physician and trust in their medical judgment as they evaluate and treat you. It is reasonable to do that as doctors, physicians, and others in the medical field are trained and licensed to practice in their specialty, indicating that they have the knowledge and skill necessary to help you when you are hurt. But unfortunately, not all encounters in the medical field end positively as medical malpractice happens in the Phoenix area every week, threatening the lives of those who only sought to get well.

While some forms of medical malpractice are widely publicized and understood, others are not openly discussed or not well understood, making them even more dangerous to patients. An example of a less understood form of medical malpractice is mistakes made with medications or drugs, whether they are made by doctors, nurses, or even pharmacists. Since 1992, the Food and Drug Administration has received more than 30,000 reports related to medical errors in the United States but experts agree that the number of mistakes is much larger than this. Often, patients are unaware or remain uninformed about mistakes which means that they do not have the ability to report them or to investigate any potential harm that may have been done.

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Infections Continue to be the Leading Cause of Hospital Readmissions

At some point in their lives, the majority of Americans will seek medical treatment in a hospital or an emergency room. Whether it is for unexpected treatment following an accident, a scheduled surgery, or the birth of a child, a hospital can change someone’s life forever. In an ideal situation, those who seek help would be met with superior care and will leave the hospital in a healthy state. But at other times, problems arise either during a hospital stay or after a patient leaves that can turn threatening or even tragic in a moment.

if you are a hospital patient, be aware that the most common reason for readmission after a hospital discharge continues to be infections at surgical sites. In fact, a 2012 study revealed that 26 percent of all readmission were related to infections, by far the largest complication that was measured in that study.
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1 in 25 Patients get Hospital-Acquired Infections

When you are in need of medical treatment, you can go to a hospital, seek professional care, and get the attention that you deserve to help you get well. You may expect that you will receive medical tests and screenings for certain diseases. You may even anticipate being given medications and drugs to help you improve. But do you plan on getting an infection while you are at the hospital? Probably not.

But if you happen to be one of the roughly four percent of Americans who suffer from hospital-acquired infections each year, you may not be able to think about anything else when it comes to hospital care afterwards.
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Legal Rights Related to IUD Injuries

Patients put their trust into their doctors and medical companies when they are in need of advice, treatment, or preventative care related to their health, and such trust is reasonable. After all, a typical patient is not aware of all the medical issues that may be surrounding any condition and therefore seeks out the advice of an expert – someone who has been trained in the matter and who can opine as to the safety and efficacy of any device or procedure.

Many women have sought such advice when they were in need of contraception and chose to use an intrauterine device, commonly called an IUD, in response. Unfortunately, after those IUDs were placed, some women experienced severe and even life-threatening complications stemming from the device itself and many have been left with permanent harm.
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Medication and Prescription Drug Errors in Phoenix

Mistakes in the medical fields happen every day in America with some of them going unnoticed and others causing catastrophic results. While extreme examples may be reported on via the news, social media, or other sources, the majority of these incidents seem to avoid mass disclosure and some are even covered up in their entirety.

One area of medicine where mistakes and errors happen with some regularity is through the use of drugs. Whether they are name-brand prescription medications, generic substitutes, or over-the-counter drugs, mistakes in using, administering, and prescribing these medications are having life-altering effects every day in this country, including among those that call Phoenix home. Victims of these errors may be unsure of how to proceed with their lives, confused about where to turn or whether they are even entitled to relief.
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