Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Law Blog

What is informed consent?

In Pittsburgh, patients have the right to know what is going on with their health and what their treatment options are. This is known as informed consent. It is important for patients to have informed consent so that they are aware of what their medical condition is and can make a decision regarding treatment.

Patients have received informed consent if they have received information regarding their health condition and treatment options, the patients understand their health condition and treatment options and the patients are able to decide what treatment option they would like to pursue and is able to communicate their consent to receive treatment. Some medical treatments require a written informed consent in which a medical provider explains the patient's condition and the agreed upon treatment and the patient signs the form. Not all treatments require a signed consent form.

Cruise lines can now be held liable for medical malpractice

Many Pittsburgh residents enjoy taking a cruise vacation. Cruises are a great way to relax and see multiple ports without having to arrange transportation, meals and hotel stays. But what happens when something goes wrong while on a cruise? Many people have suffered medical emergencies while on a cruise and a recent ruling by the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals allows cruise lines to be accountable for medical malpractice.

For years cruise lines have been immune from medical malpractice suits but a recent court may eliminate that immunity. A 1988 circuit court case effectively gave immunity to cruise ship employees when they gave medical care but the latest ruling says that ruling was outdated due to modern technology. The lawsuit involved a man who hit his head while onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise. The man was seen by a nurse but received minimal treatment. The onboard doctor did not evaluate the man until four hours later. The next day the man was airlifted to a New York hospital where he died a week later.

When can a family sue for wrongful death?

The unexpected loss of a loved one can be a traumatic experience for any family. Families can face emotional turmoil surrounding the death and wonder if there was anything that could have been done to prevent the loss of their loved one.

A wrongful death lawsuit is where a family can hold someone else responsible for the death of a loved one. If a person dies as the result of someone else's negligence the responsible party can be sued for wrongful death.

Electronic medical records help with medical malpractice lawsuit

Most Pittsburgh residents will have medical procedures performed on them in their lifetime. They trust that their doctors are knowledgeable and careful and that the procedure will help their outcome. Unfortunately, a doctor mistake can occur. When this is the case patients wonder if the mistake is cause for medical malpractice and how they can research what went wrong.

For those patients who have been injured as the result of a medical error, their medical records are the most important piece of evidence as to what went wrong. These medical records are the blueprint for everything that went on with the patient's medical procedures. They should explain what was done, what medications the patient was given, the dates and times procedures and medications were administered and other important information.

Link between autism and birth injury being studied

Pittsburgh parents-to-be can be extremely excited to meet their new addition. The nine months preceding birth can be filled with trepidation but also gratitude and enthusiasm. With the rise of autism across the country, many parents wonder if their child will be the next to be diagnosed.

A recent study in the journal Neuron suggests that autism may be caused by a brain injury. The brain injury occurring to the cerebellum, especially during the second and third trimester of pregnancy, can lead to it not developing properly. The cerebellum is in charge of a person's movements, and according to the study's authors, may also be responsible for helping minds process sensory information. This information is used to form normal relationships.

Medical Malpractice Reform Benefits Insurance Companies

In 2003, a Republican led Pennsylvania legislature made "sweeping changes" to the state tort system designed to curtail the "medical malpractice crisis" plaguing the Commonwealth. Statistics were altered and medical lobbyists sold their snake oil by scaring citizens into believing that physicians were fleeing the state and that health care would soon be unavailable to the general public if immediate changes were not made. The culprit, according to them, - out of control medical malpractice lawsuits. Of course, the medical society advocates never mentioned how the stock market crisis had cost medical insurers millions of dollars thereby requiring huge premium increases. Instead, panic was created and citizens were stripped of rights long guaranteed to them by the State Constitution to have a jury of peers decide the true value of a case. Most disturbingly, many citizens happily supported the "reform." So what has changed in ten years?

Medication errors can have many adverse effects

Almost everyone in the Pittsburgh area will need to be on a medication at least once in their lives. Most of us will have several that we take to manage medical conditions. Medication errors do occur, such as dosage mistakes and being given the wrong drug. It is important for pharmacies, hospitals, and all facilities administering drugs to make sure they are being careful and accurate.

The FDA has received about 30,000 complaints of medication errors since 1992. Because these reports are voluntary, the actual number of medication errors is believed to be much higher. Examples of medication errors include accidental overdose, turning up medication in an IV instead of down. Or a physician orders one kind of drug for a patient and the pharmacy fills the prescription with another drug. Or a patient is prescribed a certain amount of a drug but the prescription was misread and he was given the wrong dose. All of these errors can cause a patient to have a worsened condition or even death.

A premature birth can cause many issues for babies

Pittsburgh residents who are awaiting the birth of a child can be filled with joy and anticipation. The birth of a child is one of the best days for many parents' lives. But, when something goes wrong and their baby's birth is premature there can be quite a few unexpected complications.

Premature birth is any birth that occurs before 37 weeks. Babies that are born early are at risk for many conditions including cerebral palsy. Premature babies have not fully developed and may face many challenges that include breathing problems and an increased risk of infection along with many other complications. Neurological defects are also closely linked to premature birth. Furthermore, 50 percent of babies who have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy had a premature birth.

Can women in Pittsburgh rely on thermography?

As many Pittsburgh residents know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Most women over the age of 40 know that it's important to get a mammogram. But, recently a new type of screening has emerged that has doctors worried, thermography. Is thermography a substitute for a mammogram or does it lead to a failure to diagnose cancer?

Almost every woman over 40 will have a mammogram. Women find these screenings for breast cancer uncomfortable and the test is often dreaded. Recently another test has been popping up in cities across the U.S. claiming to be able to detect breast cancer before a mammogram can detect it. Thermography uses an infrared camera to investigate heat and blood flow. By looking for active blood vessel activity, thermographers believe they can spot aggressive forms of breast cancer.

What are some injuries that occur during birth?

Pittsburgh residents who are awaiting the birth of a child are filled with excitement. The birth of a child is one of the most joyous occasions for a family. Usually the birth goes as planned but birth injuries do occur during the delivery process. There are several birth injuries that can occur.

The use of forceps can create a birth injury. Forceps are used to guide the baby out when the baby isn't progressing. A forceps delivery can cause injuries to both the mom and baby. Mom's injuries can include genital tears, uterine rupture, difficulty urinating and injuries to the bladder. Baby's injuries can be bleeding within the skull, skull fracture, seizures and facial palsy.

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