Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Law Blog

New technique could buy more time for reviving the recently dead

There may be no better place than Pittsburgh to have a brush with death -- at least according to David Casarett, an author and associate professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. In a recent interview with Wired, the scholar discussed his new book on the topic of resuscitating the recently deceased and the ethical issues that this can involve.

Fatal medical errors are in decline, but still shockingly common

Nearly half a million people per year die as a result of preventable medical errors such as improper monitoring, adverse drug interactions, infections and surgical error. As dire as this may sound, however, experts say that the situation is improving.

A report published last year in the Journal of Patient Safety estimated that 440,000 preventable deaths occur each year due to medical mistakes and negligence. The good news is that, according to a survey released this spring, nearly one out of every three U.S. hospitals has improved its performance by 10 percent or more since 2012. 

How can you tell when itís time for a new doctor?

When it comes to choosing a doctor, many people stay with a lackluster provider simply because he or she is familiar or because it seems like too much trouble to find a new one. But not all doctors are created equal, and if you have doubts about the quality of the medical care you are receiving, it may be in your best interests to look elsewhere.

If you’re wondering whether your doctor is competent to give you the care you need, that fact alone may be a sign that it’s time to part ways. In order to get the most out of the doctor-patient relationship, it is important that you trust your physician and feel confident in his or her expertise.

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.

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