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Author: Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at lellerman@frithlawfirm.com.

Frith, Ellerman and Davis all named Superlawyers in 2020

May 19, 2020

Dan Frith has been named a Virginia Superlawyer for Plaintiff’s Medical Malpractice, for the 15th year in a row. 

Lauren Davis has been named Rising Star Superlawyer for Virginia Medical Malpractice in 2020 for the 5th year in a row. 

Lauren Ellerman was named Virginia Superlawyer for Medical Malpractice, top 100 Lawyers in Virginia, and top 50 Women Attorneys in Virginia. 

And – our youngest attorney Bo Frith was just invited to join Top 40 under 40 – National Trial Lawyers. 

We are proud to work as a team, and proud to serve our neighbors in Western Virginia. 

Bo Frith
Lauren Ellerman
Dan Frith
Lauren Davis

 

 

If I could ask Physicians to do just one thing ….

May 17, 2020

If I, as a daughter, mother, patient, plaintiff’s medical malpractice attorney could ask Physicians to do just one thing, it would be – TELL ME WHAT YOU TELL THE OTHER DOCTORS IN MY MEDICAL RECORDS. 

That may seem like an odd request, but please, if you have a minute, or two, keep reading. 

So often we get calls from families who have suffered a health tragedy, or a loss, and they have so many unanswered questions. So many holes in the story of care and in a vacuum of information they assume the silence is covering up a mistake, or worse.

So often we get calls from people who don’t necessarily think malpractice occurred, but they don’t know what occurred to their loved one leaving them consumed by fears and concern.

So often, only 1/10th of the story is provided to the patient or her family, leaving an incomplete picture of one’s care or health.

So often our investigation provides the answers they needed – revealing not that malpractice or negligent care occurred, but rather negligent and insufficient information was provided about the care. 

This week, I received some truthfully heartbreaking news – my Mother was unable to breathe on her own, and on a ventilator. I assumed the worst. Brain damage. I assumed she could not survive extubation and that she would die. I called and demanded to speak to every nurse and doctor who saw her. I took notes. I asked questions, requested results, and asked for follow up answers. Amazingly – she survived and is at home – praise God. But given what I do for a living, I knew the story I had been told in small pieces over the phone, was not the whole story.

I was told – she had a respiratory event. I was told, they were investigating heart failure as a related cause. I was told very little else. The discharge records state she had been diagnosed with “shortness of breath” and nothing more. 

The records, all 1400 pages of them, reflect a unique story – unlike the one that was provided to my family in bits and pieces. They also reflect she should have been discharged with medications she was not provided. Serious and life changing medications. 

While I know a Physician’s job is to provide the care, it should be someone’s job to explain the care being provided. Really explain it – treating the patients and their family with an element of equality and respect. Assuming that even without a medical degree we are capable of understanding how our health may be in the present and in the future. That is my one wish. Treat me, my mother, my clients and all of us – as equals. Take the time to explain what you are telling eachother in the chart. Take the time to explain what this means for our today, and tomorrow. 

When Physicians are over booked, and paid for numbers of procedures not successful outcomes or phone calls, there is little time for explanation.  As a result, the total picture of care and treatment is left a silent story told only in written medical record, and not to bodies experiencing the care. 

Even patients like me who ask questions – aren’t given the full story. And frankly, if that is the norm in our system of healthcare – the system sucks. And so, I will ask one more time – a favor. Dear Physicians, Nurses, NP’s, PAs, providers of care – talk to us. Tell us what the records say. Tell us the whole story, the good the bad and the scary. When you do, we can be better advocates for ourselves, and help you in turn. 

 

S

 

Lauren Ellerman named top 100 lawyers in Virginia, 2020

May 17, 2020

I am delighted to share I was named to Superlawyers Magazine 2020 list of 100 best lawyers in Virginia, as well as top 50 female attorneys in the Commonwealth. 

I am grateful for the recognition, and can’t wait to get back to work helping clients when our State Courts re-open this summer. 

I was also named Best Medical Malpractice Attorney for 2020, the only female to receive the award in Western Virginia history. 

My ego appreciates this thoughtful gestures – now let’s get back to work!

Cracks in for profit nursing homes exposed during coronavirus

May 12, 2020

On this morning’s NPR broadcast Morning Edition, a young Chicago nursing home employee shares his experience working in a for profit facility before the coronavirus outbreak. He describes lack of gloves, staff, preventative equipment and more. His interviewers explore why nursing home residents are so exposed during this pandemic. To listen, start around the 8 minute mark. 

The journalists bring to light a few important points, points our office has been making to clients, colleagues, the press and advocates for weeks. Namely, nursing home patients aren’t just at risk because of age – nursing home patients are at high risk because the system of for profit care stinks. When we put profit over people, people get hurt. 

When this is all over, we will have data that reflects intra hospital infection rates, v. intra long term care infection rates. And with close to 50% of America’s deaths being linked to America’s nursing homes, the pattern will emerge. 

COUNTER POINT: Now, you may say – Lauren – we know nursing homes are not hospitals, they can’t be compared. True, but if the care isn’t comparable, why does Medicare / Medicaid pay $4,000 – $6,000 a month to a facility for patient care if a high level of care isn’t expected? 

  • Hospitals have infection protocols, which are followed.
  • Hospitals have enough staff to allow time for staff to wash hands between patient interactions, wear gloves, etc.
  • Doctors are in hospitals, and examine patients daily. 
  • Hospitals are designed with patient safety and not staff ease in mind.
  • Hospital staff is often paid for full time work, and provided benefits. This means when a nurse is sick in a hospital, she can likely take a day off – paid. 
  • Hospital staff are provided hours, shifts and earn pay that allows them to work only one job.  
  • Visitors are expected to wash hands, and follow certain infection protocol. 
  • Meals are not communal

Obviously, the list goes on. But here is why nursing homes are so at risk:

  • When a CNA at a nursing home is sick, she often comes to work because she has no benefits, no paid time off, no health insurance and must work hours to pay her bills.
  • When a CNA at a nursing home is given fewer hours, she will often pick up shifts at other facilities
  • When a CNA at a nursing home is assigned to a hall, she is assigned between 20-60 patients to care for AT ONE TIME during a shift
  • When a CNA at a nursing home is assigned these patients, she is expected to dress, feed, toliet, bathe and care for these patients – leaving no time to change clothes, wash hands, and clean up between patient care provision
  • When a patient is taken to meal time – he or she may be eating with other immune compromised individuals with little assistance
  • Visitors are not tracked, and infection protocols rarely apply to visitors

So, a solution might be to simply hire MORE STAFF, pay them better, and give them sufficient time between patient interactions. Yes, that is actually an excellent solution – but that will sure cut down on profits. 

So we as a society need to ask ourselves – do we want to allow for profits over care? Or do we want at least one industry, to put patient care first?

This virus has been devastating – but also illuminating. It has exposed the cracks in a broken system, that has long allowed for profits to prevail at the expense of patient care. 

I for one am hoping when this is over, we won’t tolerate it any longer. 

 

 

Filing a Medical Malpractice Case
is Not for the Weak or Timid

April 30, 2020

This week, I watched a family who had suffered the worst health care crisis imaginable, listen while a stranger told them that settling their lawsuit would give them peace.

I know for a fact, when you lose a loved one, winning or losing a lawsuit does not bring peace. The loss still exists and is in no way alleviated by accepting money from a negligent party.

Medicaid – Anything but Simple in a
Medical Malpractice or Personal Injury Case

April 30, 2020

Everyone who calls our office and has a Virginia injury case (nursing home, medical malpractice, car accident, trucking accident, etc.) is asked a series of questions by our staff.

One of these questions is: DO YOU HAVE MEDICAID?

It is not that we discriminate against potential clients who qualify for Medicaid because of disability or income; rather, Medicaid carries with it some very complicated and important legal issues in a lawsuit.

So Now You Are a Plaintiff In a Lawsuit –
How Long Will This Take?

April 30, 2020

Timing is everything. And yet, when you file a lawsuit and are subject to the Court’s availability and the calendars of lawyers and other parties, the wheels of justice can move very, very slowly.

So How Long Will Your Virginia Injury Case Take? The sad but true answer is, it depends – but likely between 1 and 2 years. Even if our firm only had your case to handle, cases take time. The arch of your case could look something like this:

Firm’s response to Coronavirus

April 24, 2020

Frith Ellerman & Davis is taking the threat and anticipated spread of Coronavirus very seriously. All staff is working remotely, we have moved all of our court appearances, depositions, and client meetings to video chat or phone.

While it is not business as usual, we are doing everything possible to protect our clients, their cases, our staff and their families.

We know your world has been rocked as well. We aren’t trying to make light of the situation, the risks, or serious health dangers related to the virus – but we did want to share a small amount of sunshine.

Please enjoy some new videos of our new hire. Laughing feels good – we hope you enjoy.

Our new intake manager is trying….

New hires can be tough to train, but here is an idea of what you will be asked during an initial call with our office.

Posted by Frith Ellerman & Davis Law Firm on Friday, April 24, 2020
Meet our new intake manager
Our new hire – Frith Ellerman & Davis Law Firm

In Feb. we needed to hire a new Intake Manager / Receptionist. Then Coronavirus hit – so we got creative.

Posted by Frith Ellerman & Davis Law Firm on Thursday, April 23, 2020

What is a Non-Compete
Agreement and Are they
Enforceable in Virginia?

April 17, 2020

Business litigation attorney Lauren Ellerman of Frith Ellerman & Davis Law Firm explains what a non-compete agreement is and whether they are enforceable in Virginia.

What do Judges in Virginia Look for
When Deciding if a Non-Compete
Agreement is Enforceable?

April 17, 2020

Business litigation attorney Lauren Ellerman of Frith Ellerman & Davis Law Firm explains what judges in Virginia look for when deciding if a non-compete agreement is enforceable. Courts must consider whether there is a legitimate business interest behind the non-compete provision or whether the non-compete is too broad.