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Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Hospitals need to catch-up on tech to prevent medication errors

Advancements in medicine often mean new and better opportunities for patients in Pennsylvania. Nonetheless, furthering the technology and procedures used in medical care does present some problems. While future medical professionals may be prepared and ready to use these advancements, current medical professionals may have to play major catch-up if such advancements are going to be utilized. If medical facilities are not properly adapted for changes in medical treatments and procedures, this could mean medical errors and injured patients.

The beginning of this year was marked by a major medical announcement by the White House. Making a bold bid to do away with cancer, a nationwide "Moonshot" initiative was made. Mark Zuckerberg promised to bankroll research efforts for cancer, increasing the funding for brainstorming cures by billions of dollars. While these efforts have good intentions, such initiatives could be problematic for the current medical industry.

Helping victims take action after suffering a brain injury

Much like no one ever expects to be involved in a serious accident, individuals in Pennsylvania and elsewhere never expect to suffer a serious brain trauma due to an accident. However, due to the negligence and recklessness of others, accident victims and their families could suffer tremendously. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) could impact a victim and his or her loved ones for an extended period of time or even for the rest of their lives.

Because brain injuries have the tendency to cause long-lasting damage, the recovery process can be lengthy and even last a lifetime. Victims might require long-term care, resulting in various treatments, surgeries, rehabilitation and medications over the course of their life. Such a situation is likely to cause serious financial burdens while an accident victim recovers from a brain trauma or learns to live with the permanent disabilities caused by the brain injury.

The occurrence of spinal cord birth injuries

While many expecting parents in Pennsylvania plan and prepare for the birthing process of their baby, many unexpected events and complications could occur during the labor and delivery process. Although many of the unexpected events are related to the natural complications with the birth of a newborn, an infant could suffer serious birth injuries due to the negligence of a physician or other medical professionals aiding in the birthing process.

One birth trauma that could occur due to medical negligence is a spinal cord injury. In most cases, when a spinal cord injury occurs during delivery, this is a result from excessive traction or rotation. Traction is more likely to occur in a breech delivery, which is when a baby's feet are delivered first. The likely site for a spinal cord injury during a breech delivery is in the lower cervical and upper thoracic region.

Distracted driving takes a deadly toll during summer months

Driving on Pennsylvania’s roads during winter months is often no easy feat. Given the region’s average snowfall and icy precipitation, driving adjustments are often required to adjust to accommodate unfavorable road conditions. Not surprisingly, many drivers in the region greet the summer months with a sigh of relief.

Why, then, does data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and analysis from AAA indicate that a certain 100-day time period during those warm driving months is the deadliest? In a word: teenagers. Beginning with Memorial Day and continuing until school resumes, a national average of 1,000 fatal motor vehicle accidents involving drivers age 16 to 19 have occurred in the past five years. That amounts to over 10 deaths during each day of that 100-day summer stretch.

Speeding is a culprit in fatal pedestrian injuries

The temptation to speed when driving can be justified with many excuses. A driver may have been running late, or perhaps simply wanted to make the driving experience more interesting or exciting. Many drivers might disagree that speeding is per se negligent, especially when road or traffic conditions are good.

In the specific example of pedestrians, however, the data directly contradicts that erroneous viewpoint. According to a study, the risk of wrongful death increases with impact speed, as well as a pedestrian’s age. For example, a 70-year-old pedestrian struck by a car traveling 40 mph has twice the odds of dying as a 30-year-old.

No informed consent might give rise to medical malpractice

A patient has a right to know if there is an element of risk inherent to a medical procedure or treatment. Without that knowledge, a patient can hardly be deemed to have made an informed consent. Yet a recent article questions whether medical device innovations truly put a patient’s best interests in the forefront.

The author goes so far as to characterize medical device product development as a separate process from risk management, aka protection from lawsuits alleging injuries or wrongful deaths from the device. Although a medical device manufacturer generally must submit a medical device to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for premarket approval, much of the FDA’s analysis relies on the manufacturer’s own testing data. If that data was incomplete, a patient's safety may be at risk.

Could sending a text to a driver result in a wrongful death suit?

In Pennsylvania, state law makes texting while driving a primary offense. However, a local lawsuit brought by the estate of a deceased motorcyclist has prompted discussion of whether additional measures need to be taken to discourage this type of negligent driving behavior.

Specifically, a new texting penalty may be on the horizon, similar to the dram shop laws in some states that may hold a business owner or host responsible for serving alcohol to a visibly intoxicated guest. By analogy, the sender of a text who knows the recipient is driving might also face some liability if the distraction causes a crash.

Some physician behaviors can lead to medical malpractice claims

Pittsburgh residents, who believe they have been affected by a medical mistake, know how serious and emotional this time can be. These mistakes, like a surgical error, can affect anyone and can lead to a worsened condition, even death. A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine highlights 5 behaviors that doctors may have that can lead to them becoming named in a medical malpractice claim.

Medical errors are the third most common cause of death

When Pittsburgh residents go to the doctor, they assume that their doctor will provide them with the best medical care. No one ever anticipates that they will be the victim of a medical mistake. But, according to the recently released annual list of leading causes of death in the United States, the chances of becoming a victim because of a failure to diagnose a medical condition or other medical mistake is actually quite high.

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.

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