Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Examining the patient advocate role

For many Pittsburgh residents, the medical field seems larger and doctors are spending less and less time with patients. This can leave patients feeling like they are not getting the care they need, and more importantly, this lack of care may even lead to medical errors. A patient advocate can be a valuable member of a patient's medical team.

A patient advocate guides a patient through the confusing and complicated medical world. This role can act as a liaison between the medical staff and the patient. They can make sure the right tests are being ordered and insurance is billing correctly.

Philadelphia patient awarded millions for medical mistake

Pittsburgh residents trust their medical providers to provide expert and accurate care for their medical conditions. When a medical provider makes a mistake, like the failure to diagnose a serious condition, it can cause a worsened medical condition, even death. A Philadelphia woman recently was awarded a large settlement for suffering from a medical mistake.

A Philadelphia woman was awarded $44 million this past week because of medical malpractice. The woman suffered a brain hemorrhage because of a reaction to Heparin. She was prescribed the blood thinner after being treated for a benign brain tumor.

Woman claims inmate death due to negligence of medical staff

Every Pittsburgh resident deserves accurate and thorough medical care, regardless of circumstances. A woman has filed a lawsuit against Wexford Health Services and several of its staff members claiming that a prisoner at the State Correctional Institution in Camp Hill received inadequate medical care and failed to diagnose and treat the inmate's cancer.

The administrator of the prisoner's estate claims that the man, prior to his incarceration, was diagnosed with throat cancer. He was scheduled to have a biopsy before entering prison in 2013. The man never received treatment while incarcerated despite having symptoms of throat cancer. He was ultimately admitted to the University of Pittsburgh Medical System in March 2014 and died in July. The man's administrator believes that if he would have received treatment for throat cancer while in prison he would not have suffered from a worsened condition and an untimely death.

Woman wins large settlement for botched surgery

Thousands of Pittsburgh women have been affected by breast cancer. Many times part of breast cancer treatment is removal of the breast. This can be followed by reconstruction surgery. A woman in nearby Columbus recently received a large settlement for a botched breast reconstruction surgery and the failure to diagnose surgery complications.

The Columbus woman was diagnosed with breast cancer and had her right breast removed in 2006. She put off reconstruction surgery until 2012 when she had surgery that included removing a flap from her abdomen to reconstruct her breast. Two days after surgery the flap died after being congested with blood and was removed. The woman was left with a hole in her chest that required extensive wound therapy. She also had to spend four months in a nursing home while the wound healed. The woman claims her surgeon fell below the standards of professional care when she failed to address the complications after surgery and used leech therapy instead of surgery. A jury agreed and last week awarded the woman $358,000 for failure to diagnose the problem.

Reasons why a radiologist may face a medical malpractice lawsuit

Almost every Pittsburgh resident will need the expertise of a radiologist during their lifetime. These doctors provide valuable care in diagnosing medical conditions. But, like all doctors they can make serious mistakes, including the failure to diagnose a condition.

Radiologists have important roles in patient care including diagnosing serious conditions. One of the top reasons they may face a medical malpractice lawsuit is failing to diagnose a condition. This can happen if an abnormality is missed on a screen. Or a radiologist may have not interpreted the film correctly. It is also important for radiologists to stay up to date on the latest in radiology so that they know what to look for in their patients.

Ways for patients to stay safe in the hospital

For many Pittsburgh residents a hospital stay is unavoidable. Patients go into the hospital with the expectation that they will be cared for and their condition will improve. For many patients this is what happens, but there are also patients who wind up in a worsened condition from a doctor error.

Medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the United States. This can be an alarming statistic for many because of the trust that patients put in their doctors. Over 440,000 people die each year because of a hospital-related medical error. There are some things patients can do to lessen the risk that they will become a victim. First, patients who are informed about their medical condition and treatment plan have a better chance of staying safe. Patients should feel free to ask any questions. Writing down what happens during a hospital stay, including the doctors and nurses that have been providing care, can also be helpful, especially if something goes wrong.

A vacuum assisted delivery can be dangerous

The birth of a baby for most Pittsburgh parents-to-be is an exciting event. Many parents opt to take birth classes prior to the baby being born in order to feel like they are prepared for anything. But, even the most well-thought-out birth can run into complications. Most of the time complications are not serious but occasionally a serious birth injury can occur.

During the delivery of a newborn there are certain complications that can arise. One complication is when a mother is not able to push a baby out and needs some assistance. The use of forceps is a traditional way to help guide the baby out, but a vacuum extraction is also a popular method. A vacuum extraction is when the doctor places a cup on the baby's head that is attached to a vacuum pump.

Dentist removes all of man's teeth

Having wisdom teeth removed is a common dental procedure for many Pittsburgh residents. Most of the time this is a simple surgery with not too many complications. But, like all medical procedures, it does run the risk of medical malpractice.

A man claims that his dentist removed all of his teeth, not just the wisdom teeth that were supposed to be removed. The man was put under last March in order to have all four of his wisdom teeth removed. When he woke up he realized all of his teeth were missing. His wife realized something was wrong when after sitting in the waiting room for over five hours her husband was still not out of surgery. When she finally got to see him he was covered in blood and not responsive. An ambulance was called and the man coded twice on the way to the hospital. The man was put in a medically induced coma. The dentist claims that he removed all of the teeth because he was afraid the infection would spread to more teeth. The family plans to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Small percentage of doctors are responsible for medical mistakes

When Pittsburgh residents go to the doctor with an illness, they expect their doctor to have answers for them or at least send them to someone who will. Most of the time this is what happens and a patient feels confident in their doctor's decision. But, occasionally a medical error is made that results in the patient suffering from a serious injury, worsened condition, or even death.

A recent study that examines 15 years of medical malpractice payments to patients has revealed that over 30 percent of these medical claims are from just one percent of doctors. The study shows that if a doctor pays out a medical malpractice claim there is a good chance that there will be more. The study was able to track all doctors, regardless of whether they moved to another state or changed insurance companies. The study shows that doctors with more than one medical malpractice payout continue to practice medicine, potentially injuring more patients.

Patients want to know if their doctor is on probation

The doctor-patient relationship in Pittsburgh is one where the patient places an enormous amount of trust in their doctor. A patient believes that their doctor will be able to figure out what is wrong with them or be able to refer them to a specialist. Most of the time this is what happens but occasionally a doctor makes a mistake and is subject to medical malpractice or discipline by the state boards.

A recent report shows that patients, understandably so, want to know if their doctor is on disciplinary probation. The survey said that over 80 percent of Americans would want to know if their doctor is on probation and over 60 percent believe the doctor should not be practicing until they are no longer on probation. But the problem is that patients do not have access to discipline records for doctors. The National Practitioner Data Bank contains important information about doctors that patients may want to know but unfortunately that information is only available to law enforcement, hospitals, insurance companies and a few other organizations. More transparency in doctor disciplinary records is needed in order to make sure patients have all the information that is relevant in helping them make decisions.

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