Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Patients tested for hepatitis, HIV due to potential contamination

A Pennsylvania doctor had his medical license temporarily suspended earlier this year after state inspectors reported finding problems that they said could result in the spread of serious diseases like hepatitis and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. 

Malpractice Related to Total Knee Replacements

Total knee replacements are a very common procedure performed in the United States and elsewhere. Of course, as with any operation there are complications which can occur as a result of the procedure. Vascular complications following total knee replacements are not uncommon. This is particularly true in individuals who have peripheral vascular disease which causes poor blood flow into the lower extremities. One of the most common causes of peripheral vascular disease is diabetes. For those individuals who have femoral-popliteal artery bypasses the risk of vascular complications following total knee replacements is extremely high. Despite peripheral vascular disease and femoral-popliteal bypass grafts, total knee replacements can be performed safely when proper surgical technique is followed and when proper post-operative procedures are followed. If the orthopedic surgeon who performs this procedure does not follow proper technique, there is a high risk of limb loss and destruction of the femoral-popliteal bypass grafts.

Undiagnosed kidney disease may be widespread, CDC says

An estimated 10 percent of U.S. adults have chronic kidney disease, or CKD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, many of them do not know it.

The CDC recommends screening of high-risk individuals to help prevent or delay the onset chronic kidney disease. Examples of those considered high risk for CKD include people over the age of 50, anyone with a family history of CKD, and those with a family history of high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease.

Man hospitalized for 20 years due to misdiagnosis sues

A man who was confined in a mental institution for two decades before being released last year has sued the facility and its staff for $22 million. The 52-year-old man says he was misdiagnosed with a delusional disorder, resulting in two decades of hospitalization.

The man's nightmarish ordeal began in 1992, when he was arrested after reportedly trying to reclaim a home that he said was owned by his ancestors. The incident escalated into a police standoff involving gunfire, and the man was then arrested and charged with several criminal offenses, including weapons charges and attempted murder.

Program could help expectant mothers in Pennsylvania

While the thought of infant mortality is something that may be considered a third-world problem by some, it has become an increasing problem in the United States. A lack of standardized protocols in delivery rooms combined with a lack of prenatal care has created a situation where both the mother and the child could be in danger before, during or just after a pregnancy.

The Moms for Merck program is a $500 million program that has been established in an attempt to get expectant mothers the care that they need before delivering a baby as well as to push for standard rules inside a delivery room. During delivery, the anesthesiologist, the doctor delivering the baby and others in the room may not be on the same page during the delivery. Therefore, there can be problems when an issue such as excessive bleeding occurs after a baby has been born.

Activist's widow sues hospital for misdiagnosis

Pennsylvania residents who are familiar with the American Indian Movement might be interested to know that the widow of Russell Means, a former leader of the group, is suing a hospital in New Mexico for medical malpractice and wrongful death. She claims that the hospital failed to diagnose the esophageal cancer that took her husband's life in 2012.

Means became an activist in the 1960s, but he advanced to more than a leader for AIM. In 1987, he tried his hand at politics but was unable to win the presidential nomination for the Libertarian Party. He was also an actor in 'Natural Born Killers," 'The Last of the Mohicans" and a popular animated children's movie.

Lawsuit pending against hospital after sponge left inside woman

Pennsylvania residents may have heard about a California woman's experience following a hysterectomy surgery in 2007. She recently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against Simi Valley Hospital in Ventura County after a sponge left behind in the 2007 surgery required the removal of nearly half of her intestines.

According to the suit, the woman began experiencing pain just three days following the hysterectomy. X-rays were taken, and hospital staff told her that her problem was due to constipation. She returned to the hospital sometime during the following year after she fainted only to be told by medical staff that she had gastrointestinal problems.

Hospital attempts to cut down on deadly ER medication errors

Pennsylvania residents may be interested in the steps that one hospital is taking to prevent injury to patients due to medication errors. These methods, however, may not be able to be replicated by many hospitals due to budget concerns.

Reports indicate that over 7,000 people are killed due to medication errors every year. This can include a dosage mistake, a dangerous combination of prescriptions or any number of other errors. These mistakes happen for many different reasons, such as a failure to read a doctor's handwriting properly, drugs that sound alike and confusing package designs on the drugs. Medication errors in children are three times as deadly as they are for adults, due to the physiological differences between the two.

Government study links worker fatigue and medical errors

The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority released an article on June 5 highlighting a connection between worker fatigue and health care mistakes. According to the article, health care worker fatigue was cited as a factor in 1,601 reported incidents between June 2004 and August 2013.

Medication errors were more common than any other type of error, with 62.1 percent of incidents involving medication. The most common medication errors were related to dosage, withpatients being dispensed either too much or too little of the prescribed drug. Relatively few of the cases studied resulted in harm to a patient, but 37 incidents were categorized as harmful and four cases resulted in death. Errors related to tests, procedures and treatments were second to medication errors, cited in 26 percent of incidents.

Undiagnosed diabetes linked to heart attacks

Data from a study released at a 2014 American Heart Association convention showed that heart attacks occur in about 10 percent of people in Pennsylvania and across the nation who actually have diabetes but who have not yet been diagnosed. The information was based on 2,854 patients who suffered heart attacks in 24 hospitals who were not aware they had the disease. The potentially dangerous increase in blood sugar levels increases the risk for a heart attack. Medical professionals later diagnosed the patients through tests of their A1C levels.

About 25.8 million Americans suffer from diabetes while 7 million remain undiagnosed. The American Heart Association reports that two out of three people with diabetes eventually succumb to heart-related disease. Failure to diagnose plays a serious and negative role in hospital admissions for heart attacks. Doctors can dramatically lower the risk by checking A1C levels when someone is admitted with coronary problems. Another concerning number showed that 7 percent of heart attack patients were diagnosed with diabetes six months later. Based on current data, the Heart Foundation indicated that heart disease could be the top cause of death globally by 2020.

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