Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Law Blog

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.

We can help hold doctors accountable for birth injuries

Last week we discussed a brachial plexus birth injury called Erb's Palsy. This birth injury affects thousands of newborns each year. Although mothers in the United States receive some of the best obstetrical care these injuries still occur.

If your baby's delivery didn't go as planned and your baby suffered a birth injury it could be the result of the medical staff. Birth injuries can result from using forceps, vacuum, caesarian section and other complications. They can come from a failure to monitor how the baby is doing and not performing a caesarian section soon enough resulting in fetal distress. Or a birth injury could happen when an obstetrician uses a forceps or vacuum incorrectly during delivery. Erb's palsy can be the result of the baby's shoulders being damaged during delivery. Preeclampsia, or high blood pressure, is also one of the leading causes of death for the mother and baby.

Complications can cause brachial plexus injuries during birth

Parents who are anticipating the birth of a child are filled with joy. The birth process itself can always bring some apprehension, but most of the time there are no complications. Unfortunately, not all births go as planned and birth injuries can occur.

One such birth injury is known as Erb's palsy. This can happen during birth if the baby is presenting itself as breech or if his or her shoulders are stuck in the birth canal. The force used to remove the baby can damage the baby's shoulder nerves. A brachial plexus injury can occur when the shoulder is forced down causing an upper nerve injury.

Can tracking a PA surgeon's moves reduce surgical errors?

Pilots on airplanes have a "black box" that records their movements while flying. Researchers in Canada are now studying a "black box" for surgeons that may help cut down on surgical errors. Thousands of patients die from medical errors each year in Pennsylvania and throughout the country, so anything that can help cut down on the number of mistakes can be a welcome addition.

The recording device that is being studied in Canada is located inside the operating room. It has a camera that records every movement with a computer outside the operating room that analyzes the movements and lets the surgeon know if they made a mistake. These devices are currently being used to analyze bariatric surgeries.

First United States Ebola victim's family questions hospital care

With Ebola showing in the United States, it has many residents concerned about their own health and safety. This past Thursday, the first Ebola victim in the United States died, leaving behind his family wondering if the failure to diagnose him with Ebola when he first went to the emergency room resulted in his delayed treatment and worsened condition.

The victim, Thomas Duncan, died this past Thursday at a hospital in Dallas. Duncan went to the emergency room at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas on Sept. 25. He was sent home with antibiotics. When those didn't work he went back to the ER and was finally diagnosed with Ebola on Sept. 30. It remains unclear why Ebola was not suspected when he first presented himself at the ER. His family says because of the delayed diagnosis he didn't receive any treatment or any experimental drug treatment until 10 days after he fell ill. By the time he started to receive the experimental drug, he was on a ventilator and his kidneys no longer worked.

We can help if you are suffering from a surgical error

Thousands of surgeries are performed each year in Pittsburgh. Most of them go as planned and help the patient with their ailments. But, according to recent studies up to 20 percent of patients experience painful side effects and injuries as the result of surgery. Despite having great surgical facilities in Pittsburgh, surgical errors still occur.

We recently discussed a case where a sponge was left inside a man during surgery. Because of this surgical equipment left inside a patient the man suffered a severe infection and kidney failure. Besides careless surgeons leaving surgical equipment inside a patient, surgical errors can include operating on a wrong body part, improper post-operative care, failure to monitor a patient during surgery and other conditions. Serious injuries can occur from this negligence including pulmonary embolisms, serious infections, brain injuries, birth injuries and injuries to multiple organs.

Lawsuit: Sponge left behind after surgical procedure

Every person who goes to the doctor should be able to expect that a doctor will be careful and thorough during every operation. And while doctors are human and can make mistakes, there are some basic mistakes that should never be made by any person during surgery. 

These mistakes are referred to as "never events" and they have that name because they simply never should happen. One such mistake is leaving surgical objects or materials inside a patient before closing up a patient. This is what one woman claims happened during her late husband's operation. She is filing a lawsuit claiming that the surgical error caused catastrophic injuries.

Seeking legal support after a wrongful death

Losing a loved one in an accident may be one of the most devastating experiences any person can go through. In the blink of an eye, a family can be destroyed by a sudden death.

During such a difficult time, you and your family should be focused on trying to cope with the loss, planning a funeral and trying to adjust to life without the victim. Money and lawsuits may be the last thing on your mind. However, it may not be long until you want answers about who is to blame for the accident.

When can misdiagnosis lead to a medical malpractice claim?

No one wants to be sick or struggle from a serious health condition. Thankfully, there are vast medical resources available to identify and treat a multitude of conditions, and going to the doctor is supposed to help us figure out what’s wrong so that a course of treatment can begin.

Unfortunately, there are instances when a doctor fails to correctly diagnose a condition in a timely manner. This can mean that any prescribed medication or therapy could ultimately be ineffective or even cause more damage. In these situations, it can be crucial for patients and their families to investigate the decisions and actions of a doctor to determine if negligence contributed to a misdiagnosis. 

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