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Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Law Blog

High court makes ruling concerning medical patient consent

When prepping for a surgical operation, there are several steps to take and decisions to make prior to going under the knife. A doctor or other medical professional may have recommended the surgery as a treatment for a condition or injury, but there could be other medical professionals involved in the process along the way. While this is not only unavoidable and necessary, each medical professional has a specific role to play. The highest Pennsylvania court has issued a ruling concerning the role of medical professionals and obtaining consent.

Patient consent is something that must be given prior to surgery. However, in many situations, a nurse or physicians assistant has been ordered to take over all or a portion of the informed consent process. However, the highest court ruled that this is not appropriate and only the physician performing the procedure should be involved in the discussions with patients about whether to have surgery, the risks, and the alternatives. This means that any surgery in Pennsylvania should require the doctor performing the surgery to obtain consent from their patients to help avoid surgical accidents.

Injured Allegheny County residents have the right to seek damages

Even a routine visit to the hospital for yourself or a loved one can turn into an unexpected situation. It may go smoothly on most visits, but it's that one time that can cause unnecessary injury to you or a loved one. The potential for injury at a medical facility isn't even on most peoples' radar. However, the reality is that a person can be unnecessarily injured due to a negligent decision on behalf of a medical professional, a medical facility or a related third-party.

In a person's annual physical, for example, a misstep can be made in diagnosing warning signs of an illness. If a person is diagnosed later, rather than sooner, it could cause further injury and a prolonged recovery, and could cost a family more suffering and money than it should have. Doctors are people too, and they can overlook something or make a mistake that other similar industry professionals would have made. This is a perfect example of a situation in which a failure to diagnose caused further patient injury.

What defines a wrongful life, wrongful birth suit?

When it comes to pregnancy and the joy that expecting parents feel, few ever dream that their child could suffer an injury at the hands of a medically irresponsible doctor. With technology and medical knowledge expanding every day, doctors are now able to predict or diagnose a variety of conditions or issues while the baby is still in the womb. Missteps can be made at this time by doctors if they fail to notify or diagnose a child's condition early in their fetal development.

This is a big reason why ultrasounds and other exams are ordered throughout a mother's pregnancy. It's to avoid or to plan for any issues that the child may encounter during or after birth. A wrongful birth suit would allege that a doctor failed to diagnose a condition of either mother or baby that then impacted the baby in a way that was unnecessarily harmful. Parents who successfully sue for wrongful birth may be awarded financial compensation to offset the costs of caring for a child with birth defects. These expenses can include tuition for special schools to help a child with a severe learning disability or the costs of regular medical monitoring and treatment.

Understaffing at hospitals can lead to tragedy

You know from your own work experience that when the office is understaffed, tasks get overlooked and mistakes get made. In many industries this might result in a call to a client to patch things up or perhaps an employee misses out on a bonus. But when these kinds of mistakes happen in a hospital, a patient can die.

A few years ago, JAMA Internal Medicine published a study that suggested that almost 36 percent of hospitals across the country have an unsafe patient load more than one time per week. When a hospital does not have the staff present to handle higher loads of patients, there are often instances of poor communication, errors in treatment and medications, unnecessary testing, and unorganized patient transitions between staff. These kinds of problems can easily lead to further medical complications and even death.

Efforts to curb instances of misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose

Did you know that misdiagnosis cases are a leading cause of medical malpractice lawsuits in the US? The truth is that most people will experience a situation in which an error with their diagnosis impacts them in their lifetime. For some, these instances of misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose will have devastating consequences. This is according to a report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

Because of this, those who have been patients at local Pennsylvania medical facilities should pay extra attention to the care that they receive. There are many ways a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose could cause unnecessary injury to a patient. However, if one has been injured, or their medical condition worsens, they need to consider the possibility that they have been injured due to a misdiagnosis on behalf of a doctor or hospital error. Getting quality medical care is the number one priority.

Can robotic surgeries result in surgical error and injury?

With advances in technology, no industry goes unaffected. Many people and industries benefit from the technological advances that have, generally, brought people forward and onward. But, technology is not made or used without error. The medical industry has seen many surgeries and other types of medical treatments utilize technological machines, or robots, to perform surgeries and other medical procedures.

One specific robotic surgical tool, the da Vinci Surgical System, has been used in hundreds of thousands of surgeries since its implementation in the 1980's. The mechanical surgical tool has multiple hands that are controlled by the operator at a seated console. There are lots of benefits to using the da Vinci tool to perform surgeries. However, after several surgeries, the FDA has determined that the da Vinci tool can cause surgical accidents and injury.

Preventable birth injury could be overlooked in hospital error

With the advances in the medical field in the 21st century, illnesses and injuries are becoming more treatable and thus earlier diagnosed, with many diseases leaving less impact on those they adversely affect. However, technology and the medical field has become so advanced that patients are reliant on doctors and other medical professionals to make the correct suggestions for care. For mothers and their unborn children, this is an important time with health and the ability to be cared for correctly. Sadly, some mothers and unborn children experience a preventable birth injury due to hospital error.

For the mother and baby, this can be catastrophic. There are many ways to diagnose a mother's condition and anything that may affect the baby as well. Certain conditions are entirely treatable and it can lead to a favorable outcome for mother and child alike. Early diagnosis and proper treatment and medication can ease the situation for everyone involved. If left undiagnosed, certain illnesses, conditions or injuries could manifest into an injury for mother and/or child.

Dosage mistake by medical professional could be due to negligence

Have you ever read the instructions on a medical prescription? Prescriptions can be prescribed by a doctor for a variety of medical conditions and symptoms. The labels on a prescription bottle can contain information, including dosage and how to take the medication. But, what if a doctor or other medical professional prescribed a drug that caused injury?

Prescription labels have a variety of information on the side, but, beyond the bottle, an additional pamphlet is also included with the prescription. These can contain lots of information, but the dosage prescribed by the doctor will be right on the label. It is the job of the patient to take the drug as prescribed. But, what if the dosage is wrong on the prescribed medication or the patient is injured by a medication error?

What are the upsides of a structured settlement?

When you or a loved one has been injured, the immediate thought is getting the injured person back to good health. This is entirely normal, but after the person's health has stabilized enough to worry about other facets of life, financial responsibilities often start to set in and people wonder about how to pay the bills. When another party is believed to be responsible, it may be worthwhile to seek damages for their involvement in causing or contributing to a person's injury.

When it comes to medical injury, there are literally endless ways in which a person can be injured by a negligent physician, hospital or related-third party. Sometimes it can be a medical device or tool that malfunctions, causing injuries. These instances aren't always immediately clear as to who is responsible, as sometimes multiple parties are responsible. Seeking damages against the negligent parties can be the best way to recover financial compensation.

Pelvic mesh verdict brings in over $50M for injured PA woman

Certain medical incidences have really gained momentum in terms of their ability to pay the injured for their suffering, health conditions and financial hardships. One such medical suit that has been making headlines in recent years involves injuries caused by pelvic mesh. Pelvic mesh is implanted when reproductive or other pelvic injury or surgery requires the device. However, in recent years, many types of pelvic mesh have come under scrutiny and have brought unnecessary injury to those who have used it.

Many injured women have brought suit against the manufacturer of the medical device or the doctor who implanted them. In the last several years, women across the country injured by pelvic mesh have filed and won multi-million dollar suits against the negligent parties. One woman, a Pennsylvania resident, filed and won a suit that earned her over $50M, much of which was awarded due to punitive damages on behalf of the negligent manufacturer of the medical device. The woman was injured when the implant eroded into her urethra, causing injury.

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