Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Law Blog

A birth injury can be life-altering

Most births in the Pittsburgh area go as planned and families are rewarded with a healthy new member of their family. But occasionally the unthinkable happens and a serious birth injury occurs. Many times these injuries are temporary and the infant is able to recover, but occasionally the injury is life-altering and the infant requires years of special care.

There are many types of birth injuries that can occur. If a doctor fails to perform a necessary C-Section the baby can suffer from brain damage and other injuries. The use of forceps or a vacuum can increase the risk of the baby suffering from an extractor injury such as Erb's palsy. If a doctor fails to monitor a mom in labor they can miss the signs of fetal distress. This can result in babies with brain damage and other serious conditions. Doctors can also miss the signs of preeclampsia which can cause premature birth and the death of babies and moms.

Are nondisclosure clauses harming patients?

Pittsburgh residents have the right to the very best healthcare possible. Medical providers have the duty to provide accurate and timely care to their patients. When a medical malpractice event occurs occasionally the malpractice settlement has a nondisclosure clause. These nondisclosure clauses may result in more patient harm.

A study of the University of Texas System analyzed over 100 medical malpractice settlements. In those settlements over 88 percent had a nondisclosure provision of some type. Over 45 percent prohibited releasing facts and medical details about the claim and over 25 percent of cases prohibited the patients from filing complaints to the medical boards. These statistics can be alarming to patients who may not know that they have a medical provider who has settled a medical malpractice claim due to negligence.

Woman awarded millions after suffering stroke

The birth of a child is something that many families look forward to with joy. Families anticipate the arrival by decorating nurseries, attending showers and preparing for how their family will be with the new arrival. Most births go as expected but sometimes issues can arise that cause serious medical errors for mothers.

A woman and her family in Boston recently won a $35 million dollar case against her doctor claiming that he failed to enter her in a special database for people with brain abnormalities. In 2004 the woman ran the Boston Marathon. After the marathon the woman went to her doctor complaining of dizziness. She was found to have brain abnormalities that required her name to be placed in a special medical database. Four years after her diagnosis the woman became pregnant. After giving birth the woman suffered from a severe stroke which has left her paralyzed and in need of around the clock care. The woman's obstetrician was unaware of her condition because her name was not in the database. If her name would have been in the brain abnormality database her obstetrician said a C-Section would have been performed to minimize the risk of any injuries.

Electronic health records can cause serious problems for patients

Many Pittsburgh residents know how popular electronic health records have become recently. It seems like almost every medical provider now uses EHRs to hold important patient information. But, how safe is this technology for patients? It turns out that there frequently are errors in a patient's electronic health record.

A recent report has shown that medical malpractice lawsuits related to EHRs have seen a big increase in recent years. The report also stated that with more and more health professionals using EHRs the number of lawsuits is expected to increase in the coming years. The reasons for the medical errors include nurses misinterpreting drop down menu information, voice recognition software missing key words, medical errors caused by typos, and medical professionals relying on old patient information. Any of these errors can cause serious injuries for patients.

Failure to diagnose is most common form of medical malpractice

Anyone who has suffered from medical malpractice in Pittsburgh can share how traumatizing it can be. Patients have to put full trust in their doctors that they are making the right diagnosis and have ordered the right tests and interpreted the results correctly. But, in thousands of cases each year across Pittsburgh and the U.S. medical malpractice occurs including the failure to diagnose cancer.

Failure to diagnose a condition is the most common form of medical malpractice. Missed diagnosis occurs in between 26 to 63 percent of all medical malpractice claims. Among the failure to diagnose claims there are several conditions that are not diagnosed. The most common are cancer and heart attacks. These are followed by appendicitis, ectopic pregnancy and broken bones.

An umbilical cord problem can cause serious injuries

The birth of a child is an excited event for families in Pittsburgh. The anticipation and planning that precedes the birth goes on for months. Most births go as planned but occasionally a birth injury occurs that is very serious. One issue that does happen involves umbilical cord accidents.

Stillbirth is one of the most traumatizing events new parents can go through. When a baby doesn't survive it can cause extreme emotional stress on parents and the family. Umbilical cord accidents happen in about 10 percent of stillbirth cases. Umbilical cord accidents can also cause other serious injuries to the infant including lack of oxygen resulting in brain damage. Umbilical cord accidents include the cord being wrapped around the baby's neck, a ruptured blood vessel in the cord and the cord becoming knotted.

Failure to diagnose lung cancer can worsen patient outcomes

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death for Pittsburgh residents. If cancer is diagnosed early in a patient often a person's life can be extended with early treatment. But the failure to diagnose cancer early can lead to delayed treatment and a worsened patient outcome.

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer. There are two types of lung cancer, small cell and non-small cell. Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common type comprising of 80 percent of cases. Lung cancer is also the most common cause of cancer deaths and accounts for 27 percent of people who die from cancer.

LASIK eye surgery carries risks

For many Pittsburgh residents glasses are necessary to see clearly. Glasses can be annoying and expensive. The alternative, contact lenses, also require daily maintenance and care. LASIK eye surgery has become extremely popular as a surgery to correct eyes so that a person doesn't need glasses or contact lenses anymore. But, like all surgeries, surgical errors can occur.

LASIK eye surgery is the most popular type of refractive surgery. Refractive surgery is where the cornea is reshaped. LASIK surgery bends the light rays by removing corneal tissue so that it focuses more on the retina and therefore produces a clearer vision.

A hysterectomy can lead to unexpected side effects

Many Pittsburgh women have had a hysterectomy. The surgery is one of the most popular among women and helps to treat fibroids, uterine prolapse and endometriosis among other conditions. Even though a hysterectomy is a popular surgery a surgery error can still occur that causes unexpected side effects.

During a hysterectomy the women's uterus is removed. There are many medical reasons why this can be a beneficial surgery for women. Generally, it is performed after other less-invasive treatments have been tried and haven't worked, but for some women a hysterectomy is an unnecessary surgery. A large percentage of women haven't been offered alternative treatments prior to having a hysterectomy.

Medical malpractice overview

When patients suffer as the result of a mistake made by a medical provider they have the legal right to hold that provider responsible. When a patient holds a medical provider responsible that person often files a medical malpractice claim. Many times medical malpractice claims result from surgical errors. These errors can often result in a patient's worsened condition or even death.

Physicians have the responsibility to make sure they provide the best care to their patients. When a physician gives substandard care and the patient is injured the patient has legal rights. Surgical errors are one of the most common causes of a medical malpractice lawsuit and affect thousands of patients each year in the U.S.

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