The Issue of Child Custody

One usual cause of disagreement between divorcing couples is child custody, as there are times when both parents do not want to be separated from their child. Gone are the days when child custody was awarded solely to the mother, due to the observance of a practice called maternal preference. This preference was based on the presumption that mother were better equipped with the love and concern necessary in raising children.

Many courts today consider awarding custody of the child to both parents, especially if this will be in the child’s best interest. And this is most probably the decision that a court would arrive at, unless one parent is deemed and proven unfit by the court. Being judged as an unfit parent can be due to many different reasons. A parent may be abusive to the child, a bad influence to the child (can be due to use and dependence to illegal drugs and/or alcohol), exposes the child or allows the child to be exposed to pornographic elements, uses excessive forms of disciplinary acts, is charged or convicted of a crime, and so forth – are reasons why a parent may be called unfit.

Two other important factors considered by the court when deciding who gets child custody are parent’s involvement in the child’s activities and the environment where the parent resides. Spending time with the child and being there when he/she needs the parent most, like in school plays, school meetings and other activities are greatly considered and appreciated by the court.

If the environment can put the child’s health at risk, though, or compromise his/her safety, maybe due to the regularity of crimes in the neighborhood or open use of illegal drugs, then these may affect the court’s decision.

The ill behavior of your (or your ex wife’s) new partner, which may have an unfavorable effect on the child can also keep the court from deciding in favor of the parent under such circumstance. Many other things are considered by the court, including the possible custodian’s health, age and financial opportunities. Some parents look for really good lawyers who can strongly defend their interests and fight for their right in court in order to have the advantage of winning custody of their child.

Medical Malpractice – Wrong Diagnosis

Wrong medical treatment, prescription error and surgical mistakes are just a few of the many types of medical malpractice. What is common about these three is that these are but just results of another error – wrong diagnosis.

A doctor’s failure to make an accurate diagnosis of a person’s illness can result to the worsening of his/her condition since no treatment has actually been made; besides this, there is also the risk of causing a new illness to develop, usually due to prescribed drugs which may cause side-effects. Diagnostic errors, though, are not just confined to misdiagnosis; these also include delayed diagnosis. Thus, due to these mistakes, a doctor may end up making an incorrect treatment, making a delayed treatment, or not making any treatment at all.

Probably one very important detail a patient needs to know about incorrect diagnosis is that not all misdiagnoses can warrant a medical malpractice lawsuit. This is especially true if the error is committed due to a patient’s concealment of critical health information from his/her doctor, defective or faulty medical equipment, a language barrier between the patient and the doctor, when the symptoms manifested by the ailment fail to match the general diagnosis, or human error, such as contamination or mix up of radiology films or laboratory test results, use of improper procedure by the technician or the technician missed something in a pathology slide or x-ray.

On the other hand, if the misdiagnosis is due a doctor’s lack of ability in delivering customary medical action, an obvious misconduct due to the doctor’s laziness, non-adherence to the doctor’s code of conduct or an obvious act of negligence that results to patient harm, then such misdiagnosis will certainly necessitate a medical malpractice lawsuit.

It is, sometimes, quite hard to pronounce a doctor liable due to misdiagnosis. However, in many instances, another medical personnel may actually be the cause of the mistake, thus, making the doctor commit an error as well.

Pilot Error – The Most Common Cause of Aviation Accidents

With over a hundred years of continuous improvement in the aviation industry, air travel is considered today the safest, besides being the fastest, means of overseas and long-distance transportation. It was the first aviation accident, which occurred on September 17, 1908, that triggered the indispensable need to find all the necessary means to make airplane passengers safe and comfortable as soon as they board the plane until they get off it.

The installation of advanced avionics, turbine engines, landing gears, evacuation slides and many other safety equipment are now standards, especially in heavy passenger aircrafts, such as Europe’s Airbus and US’ Boeing planes. Though the addition of these safety standards means extra huge costs to manufacturers and airline companies, it will be a good means to attract passengers, resulting to assured profit in the long run.

Despite the use of the most modern technological tools and safety equipment, however, if negligence and carelessness set in, resulting to failure to conduct regular checking and maintenance of the aircraft, then one can only expect danger to happen.

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), a self-governing investigative agency of the U.S. government that is responsible in determining the various causes of aviation accidents through rigid investigations and the piecing together of evidences, pinpoints airline owner and personnel negligence, mechanical malfunction, air traffic controller error, pilot intoxication and pilot error as some of the causes of accidents that occur either in the airspace or on the runway. And among these common causes, pilot error occupies the top list.

Pilot errors may be simple mistakes, lapses in judgment, oversights and mistake in operation – all of which can lead to a plane crash that results either in serious injury or death. There can be so many specific examples of these errors, but to state a few, these errors can be:

  • Heading into a storm’s path or flying in poor weather conditions
  • Navigational errors which could result to flying directly toward a path blocked by a mountain, a  building or other obstacles
  • Failure to read cockpit instrumentation correctly
  • Failure to regularly check the cockpit instruments
  • Failure to comply with the directions given from the air traffic control tower, either upon takeoff or when landing
  • Failure to use the plane’s de-icing system properly
  • Maneuvering mistakes that may cause engine failure or collision with another plane
  • Failure to extend flaps during takeoff
  • Failure to fly at the wrong altitude
  • Disconnecting the autopilot, whether accidentally or intentionally

Unlike in a car or a truck accident, determining liability in an aviation accident can take months or years. Thus, as mentioned in the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, the assistance of an exceptional aviation accident lawyer, who knows how hard the whole process can be, with all the preparations, documents and forms necessary, yet understands how important the case is and is ready to put forth the best defense for the sake of the victim and his/her family, is an absolute necessity.

Professional License Defense

Medical licensure in the US is a process that involves painstaking requirements, beginning with rigorous discipline required by the years of study, the postgraduate training that follows and then the necessity of passing the medical licensing examination at the national level. And once a license has been obtained, what comes next is even more demanding: the need to maintain a medical practice that is free of faults and errors, otherwise suffer the possibility of losing your license or having it suspended or revoked.

Granting of medical license is the task of each state’s medical licensing board. This board also has other duties, including acceptance, review and investigation of reports of unprofessional conduct and/or malpractice filed against physicians and other medical professionals. Those found guilty will need to be subjected by the board under disciplinary acts, even suspending or revoking the license issued to them, if necessary.

A medical license is assurance that a person has the competency, that is, the knowledge and skills, required (by the state) to medically diagnose and care for patients. But so many doctors seem to have lost touch with this competency as cases of medical errors committed by them continue to increase every year. Failure to provide quality care, wrong medical prescription, wrong diagnosis and many other serious mistakes committed in emergency departments and operating rooms are just a few of the cases filed against these supposed-to-be medical professionals.

Though many medical doctors may have been guilty of the accusations filed against them, it cannot be denied that many of the mistakes were due to circumstances that, even today still put doctors in a dilemma, such as needing to work extra hours despite a tiring day, the many different emergency cases (in emergency departments) that demand simultaneous treatment, the desire to treat as many patients as possible in  his/her clinic, thus limiting consultation time with each patient, and many others. Of course it also cannot be denied that there simply are bad doctors.

For honest to goodness doctors, however, being pronounced guilty of medical malpractice can mean revocation of his/her license – probably a fair judgment, yes, but a mistake due to an unfair circumstance. Thus, as a doctor, if you are arrested due to a serious medical mistake and need to defend your professional license, as well as yourself from getting a conviction, having a really good lawyer is an absolute requirement.

Prescription Errors: Creating New Illnesses Rather than Providing Cure

Based on the definition of the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention (NCCMERP), a medication error is “any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer. Such events may be related to professional practice, health care products, procedures, and systems, including prescribing; order communication; product labeling, packaging, and nomenclature; compounding; dispensing; distribution; administration; education; monitoring; and use.”(http://www.fda.gov/drugs/drugsafety/medicationerrors/default.htm).

This definition is used by the Division of Medication Error Prevention and Analysis (DMEPA), an arm of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). It is the DMEPA that reviews and evaluates reports on medication error involving over-the-counter, generic, prescription and other marketed human medicines.

The DMEPA has a team of healthcare professionals working for the prevention of errors in medication. Its activities include review of reports on medication errors, evaluation of causality, and analysis of data to help the US Food and Drug Administration find solutions on how to minimize risks of medication errors.

DMEPA also conducts reviews on the drug’s product design, packaging, labeling and proprietary names, as well as works hand-in-hand with federal agencies, foreign regulators, quality control organizations, like the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), and patient safety groups, like the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), to extensively address issues on product safety.

One would suppose that, with all the mentioned federal protocols, all drugs that have been approved by the FDA, whether over-the-counter or prescription drugs are totally safe and effective as manufacturers claim these to be. Well, guess again.

Many drugs, prescription drugs especially, have been proven to increase the risk of the development of more serious illnesses in patients; some have even been linked to the sudden death of patients. Many times too the FDA has asked drug manufacturers to include in their drug’s prescription label the side-effects and the risks associated with taking such drug. And for really severe effects, a black box warning, the most serious the FDA can issue, has been made on a number of medicines.

Prescribing a certain medication to patients, even without fully inquiring about a patient’s medical history, other drugs currently used, allergies, or worse, without making sure than an accurate diagnosis of the patient’s illness has been made, is a common mistake in the medical world.

There are many types of medical mistakes with prescription error just being one of these. Whether due to negligence, carelessness or with the intent of receiving commissions from pharmaceutical companies for prescribing their drug, many doctors are still committing this particular medical mistake, harming many patients (and their families) in the process.

Abel Law Firm, which is based in Oklahoma, knows the incalculable importance of the responsibility of doctors over their patients. Failure to provide quality patient care that leads to prescription errors not only delays the treatment the patient really needs, but also increases the risk of greater patient harm.