Medical Malpractice: Did Your Doctor Injure Your Child During Birth?

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Charlotte NC Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Injuries to a newborn baby that occur during delivery can affect both the child and the parent for their entire lives. Injuries to the child vary in severity and can consist of minor injuries, injuries that can lead to disabilities in cognitive development in the child, or can even lead to the death of the child. According to a study performed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the most common and preventable injuries that occur during childbirth are broken collarbones, infections, and head injuries. The AHRQ study states that every 2.29 births out of 1,000 results in a physical injury to the newborn that would have been prevented had the delivering doctor followed correct procedure.

Proving Your Doctor’s Negligent Delivery-Room Actions

If your child has sustained an injury due to the doctor’s negligence in the delivery room, his or her actions would be considered “medical malpractice.” Medical malpractice cases are civil actions called “torts.” Every tort has the following four elements:

Duty

In most medical malpractice cases, the existence of a duty is the simplest element to prove because the doctor is treating the patient. In a medical malpractice case, the doctor owes a duty of care to the mother, the unborn child, and the father because the doctor’s actions will affect each of the three parties.

Breach of Duty

Once a duty of care is owed, the doctor’s actions must conform to the skill reasonably expected under similar circumstances. This means that the delivering doctor must act with the same level of care as other doctors would in his or her position. It is usually a jury’s job to determine whether the delivering doctor breached his or her duty by straying from appropriate procedure.

Causation

Usually, if the doctor’s negligence was the cause of the harm to the patient, the causation element will be satisfied. However, there are many considerations which each case must inspect in order to determine whether the doctor’s acts were the cause of the injury. An example of such is whether the doctor was acting in response to a medical emergency.

Damages

The final element that must be shown is that as a result of the doctor’s negligent actions, the plaintiff or plaintiffs suffered damages. Damages can differ depending on many different circumstances such as the party and whether the numbers are easily calculable. For example, an easily identifiable damage would be past medical bills. On the contrary, it may be difficult to determine pain, suffering, and loss of earning potential of an injured newborn.

Contact an Attorney at Bice Law LLC

If you or a loved one is injured in North Carolina or South Carolina as a result of a doctor’s seemingly negligent actions, contact an experienced personal injury attorney by calling (855) 5-BICE-LAW or online to schedule a free consultation. An experienced personal injury attorney at Bice Law, LLC knows the laws pertaining to medical malpractice and will help you to understand the legal process during a difficult time. Our attorneys are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer any questions you may have regarding your possible lawsuit. Having a seasoned attorney on your side can provide comfort and a sense of understanding throughout the difficult legal process.

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Who Can Be Sued for Medical Malpractice in North Carolina?

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Charlotte NC Medical Malpractice Lawyer

When a negligent medical practitioner in North Carolina has caused you an injury you have the right to file a personal injury suit. It is necessary to establish that substandard care was provided to you, which resulted in your injury. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer in North Carolina can help you gather the right kind of evidence and data to strengthen your personal injury claim so that you get your rightful compensation.

Is only my doctor liable to pay for medical negligence?

Fortunately, North Carolina medical malpractice law covers more than just your doctor in cases where negligence or use of substandard practices have caused an injury to the patient. After all, there is a possibility that such injury may occur at any stage of the treatment process. Under prevailing law, any health care provider can be sued for medical malpractice. That includes an individual or an entity, such as a hospital, clinic, hospice and other medical care facilities. In addition, other health care providers apart from doctors, that is, nurses and midwives, can also be sued for damages if the care they have provided is inappropriate, or insufficient, and has resulted in injuries to the patient.

How much compensation can you claim?

Injuries caused by the negligent behavior of medical professionals can lead to some very serious consequences that may have a life-long impact. Given this possibility, the law places no limits on the amount that can be claimed as compensation in a medical malpractice suit. It depends on the kind of injury inflicted and the degree to which the practitioner’s negligence played a role in the patient’s injury. In addition, the impact of the injury on the patient is also taken into consideration. For example, a permanent disability arising out of medical malpractice may result in a far higher sum being awarded as damages as compared to a minor injury.

In North Carolina, the punitive damage that can be claimed in such cases is restricted by law. These damages are awarded when it can be proved that the health care provider caused the injury deliberately, with malicious intent. Punitive damages cannot amount to more than three times the actual damages awarded. A further provision ensures that a minimum of $250,000 is awarded to the plaintiff (i.e.: if the three times rule results in punitive damages lower than this sum).

Contact the Medical Malpractice Law Firm of Bice Law

If you believe you have suffered injury or harm due to medical malpractice, take the first step to protect your legal rights contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law.   We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, however, so you must act quickly.  Contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law today by calling (855) 5-BICE-LAW or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a medical malpractice attorney.

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These Medical Malpractice Cases Will Shock You

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Charlotte NC Medical Malpractice Lawyer

The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) states that medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the country. Medical malpractice payouts amount to billions of dollars each year. A malpractice claim is said to exist when a healthcare provider deviates from the normal standard of care in treating a patient. Unfortunately, the extent of malpractice is quite shocking, and reflects poorly on the medical community that we respect and depend on. Here are three shocking real-life medical malpractice lawsuits that made headlines.

1. Sherman Sizemore Anesthesia Awareness Case

This lawsuit may sound like it’s right out of a Robin Cook medical thriller. Sherman Sizemore, a 73-year old baptist minister from West Virginia had the horrifying experience of being conscious during a surgery investigating his persistent abdominal pain. The anesthesiologists did not administer the general anesthetic that would have rendered him unconscious after the surgery. Such was the trauma experienced by Sizemore that he committed suicide two weeks after the surgery. Family members revealed that he was troubled by nightmares and developed a fear that people were trying to bury him alive.

Anesthesia awareness affects anywhere between 20,000 and 40,000 Americans each year. The phenomenon is characterized by wakefulness during surgery (feeling pain, discomfort and stress of surgery) but without the ability to speak or move.

2. Gross patient negligence at Brooklyn Hospital

On June 19, 2008 49-year old Esmin Green died an undignified death in the waiting room of Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn, New York. Green had been sitting for almost 24 hours in the waiting room before she collapsed on the floor and passed away. Disturbingly, none of the hospital staff attended to her as she lay on the floor, and it’s only 30 minutes after she fell silent that a nurse examined her. Green’s death had been caused by pulmonary thromboemboli, a sudden blockage of the lung artery due to a blood clot elsewhere in the body. Patients suffering from this condition are advised not to sit for long hours to prevent clots from forming. Had the doctors at Kings County noticed her swollen legs and administered careful care, she would have been alive.

3. Sperm mix-up

In 2007, a New York couple was granted a claim for ‘wrongful conception’ after filing a negligent lawsuit against in-vitro fertilization clinic New York Medical Services for Reproductive Medicine. Nancy Andrews was impregnated with sperm from a total stranger by the clinic’s embryologist. The daughter born to the white couple had a distinct African American skin tone, which aroused suspicion that their genetic material had been inappropriately used for others.

Contact the Medical Malpractice Law Firm of Bice Law

If you believe you have suffered injury or harm due to medical malpractice, take the first step to protect your legal rights contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law.   We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, however, so you must act quickly.  Contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law today by calling (855) 5-BICE-LAW or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a medical malpractice attorney.

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What You Should Know About North Carolina Medical Malpractice Claims

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Charlotte NC Medical Malpractice Lawyer

As per North Carolina law, you have a legitimate medical malpractice claim if you can establish that your medical care provider violated or breached the standard of care during your treatment. If he/ she used practices that are not generally accepted or employed by healthcare professionals practicing in the same area, it may become grounds for a successful malpractice claim, However, you should be able to show that these practices caused you the injuries that are the basis of the personal injury claim that you are filing.

Is your personal injury claim limited to treatment?

Typically, personal injury claims are filed when a specific practice/ treatment by the doctor has caused injury to the patient. However, a claim can be filed even if he/ she has given you a misleading/ mistaken diagnosis, used atypical practices during surgery or while administering anesthesia. In effect, if the doctor has employed a practice that is not deemed as ‘standard’, in any aspect of medical care provided to you and you have been injured as a result, you may have good grounds to file a medical malpractice suit against him/ her.

Statute of Limitations

In North Carolina, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice suits is set as follows:

Within three years after the date when the injury was sustained or death occurred

  • One year after the injury was determined/ discovered if it was such an injury that it is reasonable to believe it escaped notice immediately after the malpractice. In such cases, the statute of limitations allows a period of four years within which you can file the claim.
  • If the malpractice claim is about an object left inside the patient’s body (for example, surgical instruments left inside the body after surgery), the case must be filed within a period of 10 years from the date when the malpractice occurred.

Why should you be aware of the Statue of Limitations?

The Statute of Limitations lays the deadlines within which you need to take remedial legal action to claim damages. If you have failed to file the suit within these time limits, you lose the right to claim compensation. When you suspect that your doctor is guilty of malpractice, talk to a medical malpractice lawyer in North Carolina immediately. This will help you take the right action within the right time frame so that your right to compensation is fully protected.

Contact the Medical Malpractice Law Firm of Bice Law

If you believe you have suffered injury or harm due to medical malpractice, take the first step to protect your legal rights contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law.   We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, however, so you must act quickly.  Contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law today by calling (855) 5-BICE-LAW or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a medical malpractice attorney.

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Medical Malpractice During Surgery

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Charlotte NC Medical Malpractice Lawyer

General surgeons are typically thought of as surgeons that operate essentially from the breastbone down to the urological area.

When you undergo any type of surgery you are immediately more susceptible to complications and the risk of infection due to your body being operated on.

There are several factors to be looked at in terms of evaluating the potential for negligence in general surgery cases:

  • The complete blood count can frequently tell a surgeon a number of things.  A white blood count that is over 12,000 may be indicative of infection and certainly a white count over 15,000 is even more indicative of infection.  Likewise, elevated lymphocytes may be an indicator of infection.  Likewise, an increased BUN may indicate a host of problems.  Low hemoglobin or hematocrit may be an indicator of internal bleeding.
  • Surgical procedures that take an extremely long time or that involve some extensive gap in time between the stages of the procedure may be a basis for suspicion.  This is where comparing the notes of the anesthesiologist with that of the surgeon may give some clue as to what is really going on.  It may also be that the gap in performance is a result of shift changes on the nursing staff.
  • The peritoneum is the area in the gut that contains the stomach, liver, bowel, colon and bladder and in women also the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries.  The presence of any air in this area may be ominous.  Although the presence of some air after an open procedure or after a laparoscopic procedure may be normal, that air should dissipate.  Likewise, the presence of fluid may be suggestive of a perforation of the bowel or bladder or other organ.
  • Gall bladder surgery can be complicated by the patient’s anatomical variation in that the gall bladder may be on the right or left hepatic duct.  If the operative report notes such a anatomical variation that may be an explanation for why the wrong structure was cut.
  • Infection is always a significant problem in any surgical procedure.  When the infection, however, is diagnosed is critical.  The longer the delay is in that diagnosis then the more likely it is that there was some negligence in terms of making the diagnosis.  Likewise, a delay in treatment after the diagnosis is made may be indicative of negligence.
  • The absence of bowel function after surgery may be an indication of a perforation of the bowel.
  • The patient’s return to the operating room after the procedure or return to the hospital after release may likewise be indicative of some negligence that requires further investigation.
  • Abdominal pain following surgery coupled with a hard abdominal area with pain after touching of the area is suggestive that there may be an infection present.
  • Pathological reports may be critical in that they should correctly identify the tissue, where it was removed and if there was any anatomical variation in the patient that may well be noted.

Contact the Medical Malpractice Law Firm of Bice Law

If you believe you have suffered injury or harm due to medical malpractice, take the first step to protect your legal rights contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law.   We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, however, so you must act quickly.  Contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law today by calling (855) 5-BICE-LAW or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a medical malpractice attorney.

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Medical Malpractice: Part 2

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  1. Girl Dies from Incompatible Blood Type: While these cases are appalling in and of themselves, an individual would think that most doctors would ensure that these types of mistakes did not occur when children were involved. Unfortunately, the exact opposite is true. Take the case of Jesica Santillan for example. CBS News unveiled the story of a seventeen year old girl, who was originally from Mexico, who had been in the United States for three years, seeking medical treatment for a life threatening heart condition. A heart and lung transplant was scheduled to be performed at Duke University Medical Center, in Durham, North Carolina. The surgeons who performed the procedure failed to check the compatibility of the donor’s blood type with Jesica’s. A second transplant, meant to rectify the mistake made during the original operation, caused complications to occur, which sent Jesica into a coma. Brain damage and other complications caused her death to occur two weeks later. The hospital stated that human error was to blame for Jesica’s death.
  2. Woman Seeks Abortion Only to Birth Premature Baby: Another case, involving a teenager named Sycloria Williams, occurred in Florida, according to sources presented by CNN. Ms. Williams sought to have an abortion, which was to be performed at the A Gyn Diagnostic Center. Rather than having the prescribed abortion, an unlicensed doctor was permitted to give Ms. Williams a medication that caused her to deliver a baby girl, who was extremely pre-term. According to the patient, her child was born alive. Although the child died shortly thereafter, it took detectives quite awhile to find her remains. The man who performed the medical procedure was charged with tampering with evidence, practicing medicine without a license, and several other various charges.
  3. Fertility Clinic Confuses DNA: In a similar story, with a different twist, a fertility clinic in New York impregnated Nancy Andrews, not with the sperm of her husband, but with the sperm of a complete stranger. Rather than giving birth to a child that resembled both of her parents, Baby Jessica, who was born in October of 2004, had significantly darker skin. Subsequent DNA tests revealed that Baby Jessica’s biological parent was of African descent. Although the Andrews have kept Jessica and are raising her as their own, the couple has filed a medical malpractice suit against the fertility clinic and against the embryologist who reportedly accidentally switched the samples.

Contact the Medical Malpractice Law Firm of Bice Law

If you believe you have suffered injury or harm due to medical malpractice, take the first step to protect your legal rights contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law.   We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, however, so you must act quickly.  Contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law today by calling (855) 5-BICE-LAW or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a medical malpractice attorney.

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Medical Malpractice: Part 1

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Charlotte NC Medical Malpractice Lawyer

When a person visits the doctor’s office or the emergency room of a hospital, they are entitled to receive a certain standard of medical care. Unfortunately, the standard of this “medical care” varies widely from hospital to hospital. In the most extreme incidences, the very hands that are suppose to be helping a patient can ultimately become the cause of their death.

  1. Dana Carvey Bypasses Wrong Artery: In 2001, USA Today reported one of the more well known cases of medical malpractice happened to Saturday Night Live alumni, Dana Carvey. Roughly two months after the double bypass operation that was suppose to preserve his life, Mr. Carvey received the news that the surgeon had bypassed one of the wrong arteries. The surgeon, who performed the surgery, stated that it was an honest mistake that occurred due to the unusual positioning of Mr. Carvey’s artery in his heart. Dana Carvey felt quite differently, and subsequently, he filed a $7.5 million lawsuit against the surgeon and the hospital.
  2. Doctors Perform Heart Surgery on Wrong Patient:It would be quite easy for most readers to dismiss the aforementioned case as an anomaly. Before disregarding its merits, consider the following two cases. A 67 year old woman, who was given the pseudonym of Joan Morris, was admitted to a teaching hospital to have a cerebral angiography performed. After the procedure was completed, Ms. Morris was returned to a hospital room on a different floor than her original one. Instead of being discharged as planned the next morning, she was whisked away to have an open heart procedure performed. After having been upon the operating table for over an hour, a doctor from a different department called and asked what they were doing with his patient. Once the mistake was realized, the procedure was canceled, and Ms. Morris was returned to her room in stable condition; however, the potential consequences of the extra surgery performed included significantly increased risks of heart attack, stroke, internal bleeding and infections.
  3. Surgeon Drills Hole on Wrong Side of Head: In a similar manner, surgeons at the Rhode Island Hospital performed surgery on the wrong side of a patient’s head, for the third time in one calendar year. This particular incident occurred in November of 2007. An 82 year old patient required the operation to stem the flow of bleeding from her brain to her skull. The surgeon immediately started the procedure off incorrectly by drilling a hole on the wrong side of the patient’s skull. This action occurred despite the fact that a CAT scan, performed only moments before, indicated that the bleeding was happening on the left side of the brain. The mistake was caught early on, and the resident surgeon closed the initial hole and proceeded to the correct side of the patient’s head. Although the patient survived the surgery in fair condition, two other similar incidents had occurred within the last year, one of which had resulted in the death of an 86 year old man.

Contact the Medical Malpractice Law Firm of Bice Law

If you believe you have suffered injury or harm due to medical malpractice, take the first step to protect your legal rights contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law.   We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, however, so you must act quickly.  Contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law today by calling (855) 5-BICE-LAW or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a medical malpractice attorney.

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Steps to Knowing if Your Misdiagnosis is Malpractice

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Charlotte NC Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you have been misdiagnosed for a disease that you do not have, or if you have an illness that was not detected, you may be able to sue your doctor or hospital for negligence and medical malpractice. Physicians are expected to carefully review a patient’s symptoms and arrive at the best possible conclusion as to what that individual may have. If a doctor writes off possibilities, then this may be interpreted as negligence.

To prove that a doctor committed medical malpractice, a plaintiff is required to show that a doctor-patient relationship existed between the two parties and that the doctor was negligent in his diagnosis. This means that the doctor did not provide treatment in a reasonable skilled and competent manner or actually caused injury to the patient.

A misdiagnosis alone is not enough to create a viable medical malpractice case. Doctors make diagnostic errors all the time, and cannot be held liable if they make an honest error. It all depends on how the doctor arrived at the incorrect diagnosis. If the doctor did not act competently or failed to diagnose a condition that was obvious then this may be reason for a lawsuit.

Lawyers and plaintiffs need to look at the “differential diagnosis” method used to identify a disease or condition in a patient. Normally, a doctor identifies a variety of different illnesses with similar symptoms and then runs tests on a patient to determine which diagnosis is the most logical.

In order to prove that a doctor was negligent, the plaintiff and lawyer need to show that another doctor in the same specialty under the same circumstances would not have made the same mistake. Also, if a doctor failed to perform appropriate tests or seek opinions from specialists, and that resulted in a misdiagnosis, this would be another reason to seek compensation.

Contact the Medical Malpractice Law Firm of Bice Law

If you believe you have suffered injury or harm due to medical malpractice, take the first step to protect your legal rights contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law.   We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, however, so you must act quickly.  Contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law today by calling (855) 5-BICE-LAW or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a medical malpractice attorney.

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Hospital Error’s Going Unreported

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Rock Hill SC Medical Malpractice Lawyer

For every 7 errors that occur in hospitals affecting Medicare patients, employees recognize and report only one, according to federal investigators. The report says, even when preventable events such as infections and injuries are investigated, steps are not taken that would prevent them from recurring in the future.
In order to be paid by Medicare, hospitals are obligated to track mistakes, analyze them and ensure that they won’t happen again. But the federal investigators who conducted the study say that isn’t necessarily being done. This leaves the door open for potential medical malpractice lawsuits.

Part of the problem seems to be that hospital employees don’t always recognize an event that warrants being reported. Sometimes they don’t realize patients are actually harmed, and sometimes they assumed someone else would report the incident. Occasionally, employees would assume that the event was an isolated incident and would be unlikely to recur.

In order to clear up confusion and standardize what would be considered a reportable event, Medicare says it will create a list of such events for employees to refer to. Officials also said that they will encourage hospitals to give their employees more detailed instructions about how to report these errors.
Medical malpractice occurs more frequently than many people in South Carolina may realize, as demonstrated by this study. People who suspect that errors have been made with their care, or the care of a loved one, may wish to consult with an attorney to review their options.

Contact the Medical Malpractice Law Firm of Bice Law

If you believe you have suffered injury or harm due to medical malpractice, take the first step to protect your legal rights contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law.   We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, however, so you must act quickly.  Contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law today by calling (855) 5-BICE-LAW or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a medical malpractice attorney.  Results are how we measure success – we’ve built a strong reputation both in and out of the courtroom, and we’ll put our experience and expertise to work on your behalf.

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A Charlotte Medical Malpractice Lawyer Explains the Case Evaluation Checklist

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Charlotte NC Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Sometimes, a Charlotte medical malpractice lawyer will use a case evaluation checklist in order to determine whether or not to take on a particular client. The checklist also helps your attorney decide on the best approach in handling a case.

Information Your Charlotte Medical Malpractice Lawyer Will Need

In deciding whether or not to take on your case, your Charlotte medical malpractice lawyer will need to know the following:

  • Whether the applicable statute of limitations for your injury expired. If the statute of limitations did not expire, what are the exact dates they are scheduled to do so?
  • What parties, if any, can be held liable for causing your injury.
  • Whether or not those parties have the assets necessary to satisfy any judgments rendered against them.
  • Whether or not insurance companies are involved in the case. Your Charlotte medical malpractice attorney will likely have to examine both the plaintiff’s and defendant’s policies in order to determine this.
  • If insurance companies are involved, limits of each policy— as well as potential exclusions and defenses to coverage—will have to be examined.
  • The extent of the client’s injuries, and what the prognosis is for each one. If the injuries are permanent, there is a greater “case potential” in legal terms.

Contact the Medical Malpractice Law Firm of Bice Law

If you believe you have suffered injury or harm due to medical malpractice, take the first step to protect your legal rights contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law.   We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, however, so you must act quickly.  Contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law today by calling (855) 5-BICE-LAW or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a medical malpractice attorney.  Results are how we measure success – we’ve built a strong reputation both in and out of the courtroom, and we’ll put our experience and expertise to work on your behalf.

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