Is Your Doctor Being Up Front With You?

 

Imagine if you have stomach cramps and you go to see your doctor to find out what is going on. Your doctor examines you and tells you that it is just gas and to lay off the spicy foods for a while. You do exactly what the doctor orders you to do, but your stomach pain steadily becomes more excruciating. This increasing pain prompts you to get a second opinion from another doctor; the other doctor performs their examination and immediately admits you for a tumor removal. You’re probably saying to yourself, “How often does something like this actually happen?” Sadly, more often than you might think. A survey conducted by a respected journal in the medical field states that over half of the physicians surveyed said they often or sometimes describe a patient’s diagnosis in a way that does not give them the full picture of their circumstances. In a situation like this, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. There are some things at the beginning of your doctor-patient relationship that can mitigate the chances of not getting a straight medical diagnosis. It is also important to know what your legal options are if it does happen, and serious harm comes about because of it.

It goes without saying that trust is a two-way street; while the focus here is about patients lying to doctors, the suggestions they provide for establishing that trust are, without a doubt, very helpful. Finding a way to establish a personal connection between yourself and your doctor will go a long ways towards building that trust. A good way to establish that personal connection with your physician is ask about the hobbies he or she might be engaged in, where they are from, or disclose something about yourself that you would not ordinarily share with an acquaintance. This is a general rule of anybody in any profession; people like talking about themselves. Do not be afraid to ask the doctor about his or her job and what it is like.

If you have successfully broken the ice with your physician, you should feel comfortable addressing more serious issues; one of those issues being how you want serious diagnoses to be addressed to you. A New York Times article touched on some approaches towards establishing that dialogue. The article strongly suggests that you talk to your physician about how you want serious diagnoses delivered to you before these difficult issues rear their heads. Ask yourself if you want your doctor to give your prognosis straight to you or if you would prefer the family handle the straight talk about your condition.

Unfortunately, if you or a loved one made a decision about their treatment based on less than accurate information from the physician, you are not without options. You and your loved one have the right to informed consent when deciding on any medical treatment. If you feel that the physician has not been forthcoming with information pertaining to a diagnosis, there are four elements of informed consent that your attorney can analyze to determine whether or not you have a case:

  1. Your attorney will need to determine if the doctor provided a complete diagnosis of your condition;
  2. Did the physician discuss the purpose and process of any proposed treatments, including alternative measures;
  3. Did the physician review the benefits and risks of each treatment; and
  4. Did the physician review the benefits and risks of not getting treatment?

If these four elements are met, based on the circumstances, you and your family may have a case for a proof-of-fault claim in a medical malpractice suit.

Taking some time to establishing those lines of communication and understanding your options is a prescription that everyone could benefit from. If you or a loved one suspect that you made a medical decision based on faulty information from your doctor, feel free to reach out to the Law Offices of Michael Cordova so we can determine if there is anything that can be done to help you and your family.

Should You Drive While Sick?

 

It’s just another morning, but you wake up to a headache that feels like sides of your head are being pressed by a vice. As if that isn’t bad enough you have congestion so bad that it causes you to go through half a box of tissues in the span of an hour. You’ve only been awake for an hour and you already feel like you’ve gone through a full 8 hour day. Your instinct is to crawl back into bed and try again tomorrow, but there’s one problem…you have a deadline looming at work. You grab a generous dose of a maximum strength cough medicine, get in your car, and proceed to embark on the daily sojourn to the office. Unfortunately, the cough medicine is starting to kick in and you get a bit drowsy. In your cough medicine-induced fog, you almost crash head-on with another vehicle heading down your street. In your attempt to miss the other vehicle, you crash into a newly purchased luxury car that your neighbor got for Christmas. This may sound like a rare occurrence, but according to news stories like this one, it happens more often than you think. There are things to keep in mind when it comes to driving while under the weather and some things you can do to avoid becoming another instance of someone too sick to drive.

According to a study conducted by professionals for international insurance companies and universities, driving a vehicle while sick reduces your ability to respond on the road to a level that is equivalent to having “four double whiskeys.” A team of medical researchers for a reputable news agency estimated that about one million people could be driving while sick and dealing with a cold on any given day of the week. To better illustrate the impaired nature of people fighting an illness, a professor for Cardiff University discovered that colds slowed reaction times by 36 milliseconds versus the 15 millisecond reduction experienced from consuming alcohol.

The temptation to drive while sick can be a great one. Because of the effort needed to drive an automobile, the guidelines of whether you are too sick to work can be a good litmus test for your capability on the road. One of the first questions to ask yourself before helming your vehicle is whether the medication you are taking to either mitigate the symptoms or fight the illness can impair your ability to think or operate heavy machinery. A clinical professor from the University of California-Irvine School of Medicine concurs with the guidelines pertaining to medicine; if the sickness is so bad that you need potent medicine to fight it or mitigate the symptoms, put the keys down. If you feel as though you cannot perform the duties associated with your job, chances are your body is not up for the rigors of driving. However, if there are things that still need to get done, an online question and answer forum provided some common sense alternatives to turn to. See if there is a bus route in your area that can accommodate you in reaching your destination. If the buses cannot help you and you have things to buy, let your fingers do the walking on your keyboard or let your thumbs get a workout on your smartphone to see if you can buy what you need online and have it delivered that day. If you have kids and they have somewhere to be, see if your neighbors or fellow parents would be willing to set up a carpool arrangement that would allow your kids to meet their obligations.

In our hustle and bustle world, it’s very easy to get the impression that there is no time to get sick. Unfortunately, getting sick is unavoidable if you work with a lot of people, as most of us do. Hopefully, with a little awareness and some flexibility, getting under the weather does not have to become a costly experience on many levels. If you suspect that you have been injured by someone on the road that is impaired by an illness, feel free to reach out to the Law Offices of Michael Cordova to see what can possibly be done.

How Portable are Mobile Home Property Rights?

The sun peeks over the horizon, officially starting your first full day as a homeowner in a mobile home park. You step into the bathroom of your mobile home to start your daily ritual of the morning shower to help get yourself going. Unfortunately, as you attempt to start the water, you hear a disturbing moaning sound emanating from the pipes, and no water comes out. While you own the mobile home itself, you do not own the land it’s placed on. The land that your mobile home is on is owned by a management company in another city. When you owned a traditional home, it was pretty clear that as the property owner you were on the hook for maintenance and repairs. If you lived in an apartment or rental house, the person you pay rent to picks up the tab on repairs and maintenance on the property. But what happens when you own the house, but the land is owned by someone else? An example of unsafe conditions at a mobile home park in Florida should help demonstrate what rights a mobile home owner has available to them. While being a mobile home owner presents unique ownership scenarios, there is some familiarity to these situations.

Unless the mobile home is sold with the land, the mobile home will likely be seen as personal property. Laws regarding property vary from state to state, but generally mobile homes will be viewed similarly to automobiles. Should the home become permanently affixed to the land, the owner can convert the home from personal to real property, like a traditional house. How your mobile home is classified determines whether it can be repossessed or foreclosed upon. Should the home not be affixed to the land it is on, it can be repossessed, much like what can be done with a vehicle. In some states, missing one payment can put your account in default and give the creditor the authority to repossess your mobile home, much like they can with a vehicle. If the mobile home is affixed to the land, then foreclosure becomes the peril. Much like what happens with a traditional home when it is foreclosed upon, you could not only lose the property, but you could owe an additional amount to the lender. However, lenders can work out alternative arrangements should finances become a challenge and there are government counseling agencies that homeowners can reach out to for a helping hand.

In circumstances like the one that happened in Florida, landlord-tenant laws come into play. Paying rent to a company or to a person for the right to park your mobile home on their land makes them a landlord and makes you a tenant. As a tenant, you are entitled to rights under the applicable state in which your mobile home is parked; although landlord-tenant laws vary slightly from state to state, there some similarities across the board. Landlords, generally have a duty to ensure that the tenants are in a safe environment and that basic living conditions are met (i.e. water, electricity, sanitation). Then there is the federal requirement of fair housing with which landlords must demonstrate compliance. Fair housing ensures that the landlord is not denying you access to housing due to a disability or your race, color, religion, gender, familial status or national origin.

Often times, to be forewarned is to be forearmed when dealing with unusual circumstances. If you are a mobile home owner and you feel that the landowner has done something to harm you or your family, please contact the Law Offices of Michael Cordova to see what we might be able to do for you.

Is It Time to Give Up the Car Keys?

 

It’s a run of the mill weekday afternoon and your retired mother is on the road, running her usual errands. Unfortunately, the car trips are becoming more of an adventure lately; your mother is finding it increasingly difficult to see things as clearly as she once did. After a brief run in the doughnut shop for her usual cup of coffee, she gets back in the car, parked right in front of the store. As she turns the car back on and attempts to put it in gear, the letters representing the different gears appear to be fuzzier than they usually are, and she mistakes the “R” for the “D”. When she hits the accelerator, her car screeches into reverse and crashes through the storefront of the doughnut shop, horrifying the employees and the many patrons of the shop. Sadly, a story not too dissimilar to this one happened to an elderly driver parked in front of a storefront. Many adult children that have witnessed the warning signs that their parents are too old to drive now have to figure out how to approach them about their situation and what alternatives to driving that senior drivers can turn to.

Before you approach your parents with this uncomfortable conversation, you need to determine if the conversation is even needed. There are some warning signs to look for that will let you know whether or not your parents need to consider handing over the car keys to someone else. Does it appear that the simplest of driving activities, like turning the wheel or shifting gears causes your parent significant pain or discomfort? If this is a situation that does not appear to improve in the foreseeable future, it could become very dangerous for your parent and those that share the road with him or her. Much like the scenario above, diminished eyesight is a very real problem for elderly parents that insist they can continue to drive themselves. However, a diminished ability to hear can be just as dangerous. If you have noticed that your parent is having increasing difficulty in deciphering things that are in front of them or picking up on obviously noisy things, it may be time to consider having that conversation. Sometimes a condition or a medication that a parent is taking to mitigate the effects of that condition are impacting their ability to make sound judgments on the road; if this is a problem that is not likely to go away in time, being behind the wheel may no longer be an option for them.

If you have become aware of any of the above indications that your parents may not be able to drive themselves anymore, the time for the uncomfortable conversation about their inability to do so has come. Fortunately, there are some guidelines that you can follow that will make it easier to have that conversation. Rather than dictating that your parent cannot drive anymore due to things that you have noticed while driving with them, pose it to them as a question. See if they have noticed the problems that you have observed. For a conversation like this, you want to ensure that is a block of time where you do not have any pending commitments and you do not feel rushed. Work to understand the impact that giving up driving will mean to your parent; the effect it will have on things like their social life and hobbies they engage in. When having the discussion about your parent giving up driving, it would be best to have some reasonable alternatives to driving in mind when you do. Look into car-pooling services for seniors to see if that would be feasible for their schedule. If your budget or your parent’s budget can allow for it, hire a private driver for him or her; it can help maintain some of the independence that your parent has become accustomed to when they could drive themselves.

Being aware of the signs of a diminished capacity of your parent to drive him or herself is a great first step towards greater road safety for everyone. While telling your parent that it is time to hand over the keys is awkward for them and for you, it’s a conversation that will ultimately put your mind and keep them safe.

Plastic Surgery – To Cut Or Not To Cut

screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-1-47-36-pmYou have gone from elementary school through your life in the professional world looking at the handy work of a schoolyard bully; that crooked nose you got in a fight with that bully schoolyard so many years ago. No more. Today is the day your plastic surgeon gets to work on straightening out that nasal eye sore on your face. After a few short hours of surgery, you finally wake up and frantically start to unravel the gauze and bandages covering your face. You reach for the mirror to see an aquiline nose and what you see is something that looks so swollen and big that it looks like you got stung by the world’s largest bee. Worse yet, you can only breathe out of one nostril now. Sadly, stories like this are not too uncommon; a woman from Palm Beach, Florida was awarded damages for a plastic surgery procedure that went horribly wrong. While it is true that there are some risks that patients assume when electing to undergo plastic surgery, the surgeon is not off the hook for liability when things go awry.

The risks you assume when electing to pursue plastic surgery range from general problems to procedure-specific risks. Some of the general risks that can occur are allergic reactions to the anesthesia being used and a condition referred to as necrosis. Necrosis occurs when there is an insufficient supply of oxygen to an area of the body, causing the death of that tissue. Infection, scarring, nerve damage and even death has been known to happen as some of the general risks associated with plastic surgery. Those undergoing liposuction have been known to suffer from fluid loss, swelling, bruises, scars and even a numbing of the skin. Injuries to the nerves that control facial muscles have been common risks associated with face-lifts.

While you, the patient, assume some risks with plastic surgery, the risk sharing is not a one-sided affair. Plastic surgeons are medical professionals and are typically held to a higher standard of care than the average person. Typically, if there has been some kind of procedural error or there was some kind of inexperience or lack of skill on the part of the surgeon, there could possibly be a case for malpractice. Such procedural errors can be a mistake that leads to an infection after the surgery, an incorrect dosage or usage of drugs, or problems that arise from the use of anesthesia. If a plastic surgeon goes through with a procedure without obtaining the informed consent of the patient, they do so at their own risk. Physicians and surgeons, including plastic surgeons, are obliged to go over the risks and benefits of any kind of treatment or surgical procedure so that you may give informed consent, when asked to perform the treatment or surgery.

While the risks of plastic surgery are not a one way street, it never hurts to go over a cost-benefit analysis to see if the reward is worth the trouble you may encounter with cosmetic surgery. If you feel that there has been a serious problem that has occurred as a result of a botched plastic surgery procedure, feel free to reach out to the Law Offices of Michael Cordova to see if we can be of help to you.