Kevin Etzkorn Law

Health Care Fraud – Elder Abuse

We represent many elderly clients in a variety of legal matters. We find there are plenty of people and businesses out there that are, unfortunately, willing to take advantage of this population.

Pending before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals is an important and somewhat disturbing case involving elder abuse and Medicare fraud. This whistleblower claim was prosecuted by the United States government against a hospice provider, AseraCare, who had been sending workers to government-subsidized housing communities. There, the workers would solicit poor, elderly people to enroll in a government-funded hospice program. The fraud committed stemmed from the fact these poor, elderly people did not all need “end of life” care, which is what hospice is supposed to be. Although these people were not close to death, AseraCare was taking them out of their homes and using them to get paid. A jury found that AseraCare had committed fraud. But the trial judge reversed the verdict. It is now in the hands of the appellate court. You can learn more about the case here.

Click here to learn more about our Health Care Fraud services.


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Your Guide to Prescription Misfill Cases in St. Louis, Missouri

What Is It Called When You Give the Wrong Medication to a Patient? When a healthcare provider administers or prescribes the wrong medication to a patient, it is known as a medication error or prescription misfill. These errors can occur for various reasons, including incorrect dosage, miscommunication, or dispensing errors. Is Medication Error Negligence or Malpractice? Medication errors can constitute both negligence and medical malpractice, depending on the circumstances. Usually, these claims must be brought as medical malpractice suits, which means the injured person must prove a healthcare provider breached the standard of care expected in their profession, leading to harm or injury to the patient. In Missouri, proving medical malpractice requires demonstrating four key elements: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. A prescription misfill that results in harm to the patient may meet these criteria and be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Medical malpractice involving medication errors is a serious issue that requires understanding your rights and taking appropriate action. Below are some common questions regarding prescription misfills and medical malpractice. We hope that by answering these questions we are empowering you to protect your health and seek justice when needed. Can You Sue for Being Given the Wrong Medication? Absolutely. If you’ve been given the wrong medication and suffered harm as a result, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Healthcare providers have a duty to provide competent care, which includes prescribing and administering the correct medications. When this duty is breached, resulting in injury or adverse effects, patients have the right to pursue compensation for damages through legal action. What to Do If You Were Prescribed the Wrong Medication? If you suspect that you’ve been prescribed the wrong medication, it’s essential to take immediate steps to protect your health and legal rights: Seek Medical Attention: First and foremost, prioritize your health. Consult with a healthcare professional to assess any potential harm caused by the incorrect medication. Your well-being is paramount. Document Everything: Keep detailed records of the medication you were prescribed, the medication you received, any adverse reactions experienced, and conversations with healthcare providers regarding the error. Documentation will be crucial if you decide to pursue a medical malpractice claim. Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer: Reach out to a reputable personal injury lawyer in St. Louis who specializes in medical malpractice cases. They can evaluate the circumstances surrounding the prescription misfill, advise you on your legal options, and guide you through the process of seeking compensation. Know Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with your rights as a patient in Missouri. You have the right to receive competent medical care and to hold negligent healthcare providers accountable for their actions. How Often do Medication Errors Really Occur? More frequently than people might think. And enough that the New York Times has reported extensively on medication errors at places like CVS and Walgreens. Some pharmacies are severely understaffed. And some expect a level of productivity that very few workers can meet. When people working at pharmacies don’t have help and are filling too many prescriptions, big mistakes are made. Here is a link to one of many New York Times Articles about the problem and the damage caused by it.  How Chaos at Chain Pharmacies Is Putting Patients at Risk – The New York Times ( 


Introduction Medical malpractice is a serious concern for patients in St. Louis, Missouri, where seeking medical care is a fundamental aspect of maintaining health and well-being. While healthcare providers are expected to adhere to high standards of care, instances of medical malpractice can and do occur, leading to significant harm for patients. Recognizing the signs of medical malpractice and understanding how to protect your rights as a patient is crucial for ensuring accountability and seeking justice. In this blog post, we’ll delve into what constitutes medical malpractice, how to recognize it, and the steps you can take to safeguard yourself as a patient in St. Louis. Understanding Medical Malpractice Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider fails to provide treatment that meets the accepted standard of care, resulting in harm to the patient. This can encompass a wide range of errors, including surgical mistakes, misdiagnoses, medication errors, birth injuries, and much more. It’s important to note that not all negative outcomes in healthcare constitute malpractice, but when there’s a deviation from the standard of care leading to harm, legal action may be warranted. Recognizing Medical Malpractice Identifying medical malpractice can be challenging, especially for patients without a medical background. However, there are common signs that may indicate malpractice: Unusual Complications: If you experience unexpected complications following a medical procedure or treatment, it’s essential to question whether proper protocols were followed. Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis: Errors in diagnosis can have serious consequences, delaying necessary treatment or leading to unnecessary procedures. If you feel your condition was misdiagnosed or diagnosed late, it’s worth investigating further. Lack of Informed Consent: Patients have the right to make informed decisions about their healthcare. If you were not adequately informed about the risks and alternatives of a treatment or procedure, it could be a sign of malpractice. Medication Errors: Administering the wrong medication or dosage can have severe consequences. If you experience unexpected reactions to medication, it’s important to explore whether an error occurred.   What to Do in the Event of Possible Malpractice  If you suspect you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice, it’s crucial to take immediate action to protect your rights. Here are steps you can take: Document Everything: Keep detailed records of your medical history, including diagnoses, treatments, prescriptions, and any communication with healthcare providers. Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney: Seek legal advice from an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in medical malpractice cases. They can evaluate your situation, explain your rights, and guide you through the legal process. File a Complaint: Consider filing a complaint with the appropriate regulatory bodies, such as the Missouri Board of Registration for the Healing Arts or other relevant agencies. This can help bring attention to the issue and prevent similar incidents in the future. Act Promptly: Statutes of limitations apply to medical malpractice cases, so it’s important not to delay seeking legal assistance. The sooner you take action, the better chance you have of protecting your rights and obtaining compensation for your injuries.   What is the Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice Cases? Patients have a limited amount of time in which to file a complaint in Court against a healthcare provider. The length of time will vary from one jurisdication to another. In MIssouri and Illinois, the general rules is that a patient has two years after the alleged malpractice in which to file a medical malpractice claims. However, there are nuances to those rules, including a continuing care exception, a foreign body exception, and with regard to cases involving malpractice in the care of a child under the age of 18. Additionally, Missouri wrongful death cases that result from medical malpractice have a 3-year statute of limitations, one year longer than a medical malpractice case that does not involve death.  What are Damage Caps? The Missouri legislature aggressively campaigned for tort reform over the course of several decades. At one point, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that a cap on non-economic damages was unconstitutional. As an end-run around this Court ruling, the legislature re-wrote the law on medical malpractice cases. There is now a cap on non-economic damages in Missouri medical malpractice cases. That amount increases every year by statute, 538.210.8. Specifics are available on the department of insurance website,  For 2023, the cap on non-economic damages for “catastrophic injuries” is $801,061. R.S.Mo. Section 538.205 defines “catastrophic injuries” to include an injury resulting in quadrplegia, paraplegia, the loss of two or more limbs, significant and permanent cognitive impairment, irreversible failure of a major organ, or significant loss of vision. All other injuries are considered “non-catastrophic.” And for 2023, the cap on non-economic damages for “non-catastrophic” injuries is $457,749. Medical malpractice is a serious issue that can have profound effects on patients and their families. By knowing how to recognize and respond to medical malpractice, you can protect your rights and seek justice. If you’ve been harmed by medical malpractice in St. Louis, Missouri, don’t hesitate to seek legal assistance. Our experienced personal injury team is here to help you navigate the complexities of medical malpractice law and fight for the compensation you deserve. Together, we can work towards holding negligent healthcare providers accountable and ensuring that you receive the justice and closure you need to move forward.                      

Understanding the Basics of Personal Injury Claims: A Guide for Victims

When an individual experiences harm or injury as a result of the negligence or intentional actions of someone else, he or she has the right to pursue a personal injury claim. This type of claim is one that falls within the civil justice side of our legal system, as opposed to the criminal side.  Personal injury claims often arise from car accident, truck crashes, premise liability incidents, and medical malpractice. Many times, the claims are made without a lawyer. Sometimes, lawyers are needed. Whether there is a lawyer involved or not, some injury claims can be settled and ended without a lawsuit being filed at all.  If you have a personal injury claim, regardless of whether you have a lawyer and whether your case is in the court system, here are the basics of personal injury claims that you should understand: Duty of Care: The first element in a personal injury claim is establishing that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. This means the defendant had a legal obligation to act reasonably and avoid causing harm to others. Breach of Duty: The next step is to show that the defendant breached their duty of care. This involves demonstrating that the defendant’s actions (or failure to act) fell below the standard of care expected in the given situation. Negligence and Liability: These concepts are often used to describe a breach in the duty of care. Most personal injury claims are based on the concept of negligence, which involves proving that actions were careless or negligent. In some cases, intentional misconduct or strict liability (liability without a need to prove negligence) may apply. Causation: It must be proven that the defendant’s breach of duty was a direct cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. There should be a clear link between the defendant’s actions and the harm suffered by the plaintiff. Damages: To pursue a personal injury claim, the plaintiff must have suffered actual damages. These can include physical injuries, emotional distress, medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and other measurable losses. In some cases, if there are actual damages proven, a plaintiff may also be able to claim punitive damages. Statute of Limitations: There is a time limit within which a personal injury lawsuit must be filed, known as the statute of limitations. It varies by jurisdiction and the type of case, so it’s crucial to file a claim within the specified timeframe. Insurance Coverage: In many cases, the defendant’s liability insurance will cover the damages in a personal injury claim. Dealing with insurance companies is a common part of the process, and it may involve negotiations to reach a settlement. Consulting an Attorney: It is highly recommended for individuals involved in personal injury cases to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can provide legal advice, evaluate the strength of the case, negotiate with insurance companies, and, if necessary, represent the client in court. Contact Kevin Etzkorn Law at (314) 987-0009 to discuss your case. Understanding these basics can help individuals navigate the process of filing a personal injury claim and seek compensation for the damages they have suffered due to someone else’s negligence or intentional actions.