Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Fatal accident involving bucket truck under investigation

Two men were killed at a utility construction site in another state recently when the aerial basket they were suspended in crashed, plummeting 140 feet to the ground.  Both men were under contract with the company to work on high tension power lines. The cause of the fatal accident is currently under investigation. 

The safety of the work conditions have come under scrutiny.  The company has been fined three times by OSHA since 2005. Two of the violations were for substandard aerial lifts.  

Pennsylvania veterans among wrongful deaths in VA care

According to a recent report, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has paid out over 1,000 wrongful death claims in the last decade, 36 of which involved Pennsylvania veterans.  

The average amount paid per wrongful death claim was $150,000. Examples of wrongful death incidents that occurred at VA facilities in Pennsylvania include a physician failing to report a case of lung cancer to a patient for 10 months, an outbreak of Legionnaires disease, failure to respond to a drug overdose, and failure to administer anticoagulation therapy after a gallbladder surgery.

Report: Many Americans fail to fill medical prescriptions

If you go to a doctor, you are likely seeking medical treatment for a condition that is causing you a problem that you would like to have alleviated. In Pennsylvania and around the country, why do so many people who go to a doctor not fill their prescriptions once the doctor writes them?

A recent study shows that this scenario happens with a surprising number of patients. The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, reports that of new prescriptions, approximately one-third are never filled. While one assumption would be that the person for whom the medicine was prescribed does not have insurance to cover the prescription or otherwise cannot afford it, this is not always the case.

Man's suicide ruled wrongful death in medical malpractice case

Medical malpractice continues to be an issue in Pennsylvania and the rest of country. The mistakes physicians and hospitals make can lead to the wrongful death of patients.

In one recent case, a man took his own life after painful complications from a medical procedure. He received a lumbar epidural steroid injection for his back pains. A lump developed on his lower back after the procedure. His doctors were not concerned by it. He later received a secondary injection. However, this worsened his medical condition. He contracted an infection which led to MRSA meningitis. 

Fatal result of misdiagnosis leads to $4.8 million award

The failure to diagnose the condition of a patient is the basis for many medical malpractice cases in Pennsylvania and in other states. One of the basic elements of a doctor’s responsibility to a patient is to follow medical standards in order to correctly diagnose a condition so that the patient can be properly treated. The accuracy of a doctor’s diagnosis can be critical.

In a recent case, a jury has awarded the family of a man $4.8 million for a doctor’s failure to diagnose his condition when he visited an emergency room.  The patient, who was 23 years old at the time, was complaining of symptoms including chest pain, fever and a cough. The physician reportedly spent five minutes with the man and sent him home with a diagnosis of bronchitis and prescriptions for antibiotics and painkillers. The next morning, the man was dead.

Prescription pill abuse in Pennsylvania is a growing crisis

With recent reports of drug overdoses in the news, such as the heroin-related death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, most Americans are aware of the dangers of so-called “street” drugs.  But many heroin addicts actually started down the road to illegal drugs through legal prescription painkillers such as OxyContin and Percocet.  Pennsylvania medical leaders and the legislature are hoping to bring awareness to this problem in order to avoid the over-prescribing of such drugs and related medication errors.

According to a recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug poisoning is the number one cause of death in Pennsylvania. That even exceeds the number of fatalities in car accidents. Nationwide, the CDC estimates 100 deaths each day are caused by drug overdoses.

Prescription medication error nearly kills 5-year-old boy

A leading pharmacy chain is under fire after allegedly filling the wrong prescription for a 5-year-old boy. The parents thought the prescription drug, labeled Haloperidol, was meant to treat the child’s allergies. The boy’s name was clearly printed on the label. The parents did not know that the powerful drug is an anti-psychotic medication used in the treatment of adults. 

After administering the prescribed dosage, the boy slept for two days. Upon awaking, he attempted to eat a cookie, which immediately caused his neck to swell. A few hours after the swelling subsided, the boy began to act strangely. He then fainted. He was rushed to the hospital where the parents learned the medication had been prescribed to an adult by the same name.  

Surgical errors in tummy tuck result in $1.3 million award

Regardless of whether an operation is necessary for health reasons or elective for personal reasons, there are risks involved and medical malpractice may occur. The malpractice may not be limited to just the surgery itself; it can also include the failure to monitor the patient after the surgery.

One woman recently underwent an abdominoplasty, more commonly known as a tummy tuck. She was close to 40 and in great shape, but she wanted to look better. But, the surgery resulted in her losing almost everything, including her business and her health.

Wrongful death claim filed regarding Jenni Rivera

Pittsburgh fans of well-known musician Jenni Rivera may have heard that her husband recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit regarding her sudden death in December 2012. Rivera died along with six others in a plane crash. Her husband, former pro baseball player Esteban Loaiza, has now sued the owners of the plane, and that company’s parent company.

Few details of the allegations have been released, but it has been reported that the plane has been tied to an executive who was once convicted of lying about the safety records of aircrafts he purchased from Mexico. Those plans were sold to pilots here in the U.S., and the executive served prison time for his role in the dangerous scandal, according to a news report.

Woman's lawsuit says doctor ordered 2 needless foot surgeries

In late 2011, a woman was at work when her foot was run over by a bread rack. About a month later, she went to an appointment with a podiatry doctor to see what could be done about the continuing pain in her left foot.

According to a lawsuit filed by the patient and her husband, the doctor advised surgery, which was carried out. However, the doctor later said the surgery was a failure, given that the woman's pain continued. Consequently, the doctor ordered a second surgery.

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