Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Common types of medical malpractice

Pittsburgh residents go to the doctor expecting to be helped for their medical condition. Usually doctors are able to accurately diagnose their patients, refer them to the proper specialist and help their patients feel better. But, like everyone else, doctors are prone to mistakes. Unfortunately their mistakes can have serious consequences. There are several common types of medical malpractice that a patient may encounter.

One common type of medical malpractice is the failure to diagnose an illness. A doctor fails to spot what is wrong with the patient or fails to order the correct tests. Common types of misdiagnosis include heart conditions, appendicitis, stroke, diabetes and cancer. Many of these conditions, if not treated promptly, can result in a worsened medical condition or even death.

Back surgeon subject of numerous federal investigations

Back problems plague many Pittsburgh residents. Back pain can be debilitating and cause many people to wind up on disability. Back surgery is a common solution for many people. Back surgeons usually perform these surgeries without incident but occasionally surgical errors occur.

A back surgeon is under FBI investigation for surgeries performed in multiple states. The surgeon is currently faced with more than 2 dozen medical malpractice lawsuits. He is accused of billing for services he never provided. He would perform spinal surgeries known as lumbar spinal fusions and not actually place the medical device in the patient's spine. After surgery patients still had back pain and it was not until images of the patient's back were reviewed showing the fusion had not been done. The FBI is urging anyone who has concerns regarding medical work performed by the surgeon to contact them.

Some frightening facts about the medical field

Pittsburgh residents who visit their medical provider believe they are getting the best care possible. But, there are some medical facts out there that most people don't know about. These facts show that for many people, medical errors and medical malpractice can and do occur.

Everyone needs to know some disturbing facts about the medical community. First, over 400,000 people die each year because of a medical error. These hospital patients suffer from a preventable harm and medical errors are the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer. Second, over 90 percent of physicians admit to making a medical decision to try and avoid a lawsuit rather than what is in the best interest of their patient. Third, patients who are in the ICU suffer almost two medical errors each day. The reason for these errors is mainly a lack of communication among clinicians.

Surgical errors may be on the decline, but long way to go

Many Pittsburgh residents will undergo surgery at some point in their lifetime. Patients who need to undergo hospitalization expect that they will receive expert care with little to no adverse effects. Unfortunately, thousands of patients suffer from hospital errors each year, many of them dying because of the error.

Surgical errors have long been common across the medical community, causing unexpected injuries and worsened conditions. Recently the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reported that more than 1.3 million fewer patients were harmed in the hospital between 2010 and 2013. The decline of hospital errors may be attributed to the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which "introduced financial penalties for poor quality performance" and also established a learning collaborative to improve patient safety.

Have you been the victim of a surgical error?

Many Pittsburgh residents will undergo surgery this year. Last week we discussed a recent news article highlighting a woman who received a large settlement following a surgical error. These errors occur hundreds of thousands of times each year and according to a recent Consumer Reports article, 10 times more people die from medical errors each year than from car crashes.

Have you been the victim of a surgical error like many others this year? Surgical errors often cause a worsened condition and unexpected and painful side effects. Surgical errors can come from a surgeon mistake, operating room staff or anesthesiologist. Common surgical errors include surgery on the wrong part of the body, surgical equipment left inside a person, poor surgical technique and failure to monitor the patient's oxygen rate, breathing and heart rate. These errors can be catastrophic for patients.

How to protect yourself during surgery

Thousands of Pittsburgh residents will undergo surgery this year. Most surgeries will go as expected with no complications. But surgical errors do occur occasionally and it's important for patients to be aware of ways to help avoid an error.

Thousands of people experience medical errors in hospitals each year. According to Consumer Reports, over 440,000 patients will experience some type of medical error. This is more than 10 times the number of people who will die in a car crash and more than two jumbo jets crashing each day. There are advocates who are working to set up a federal agency to protect patients but until that is accomplished there are some things patients should keep in mind while they are in the hospital.

$1.75 million awarded to surgical error victim

Many Pittsburgh residents will undergo surgery at some point in their lives. Most of the time these surgeries go as planned. But sometimes surgical errors happen; whey they do occur, it can lead to a worsened condition or even death.

A jury recently awarded a woman a large settlement because of the injuries she sustained because of a surgery. The woman underwent surgery in 2009 to repair a muscle that was damaged during birth 8 months prior. After the surgery the woman was in a lot of pain and repeatedly called the surgeon's office complaining. She received antibiotics for the pain but they didn't help. She eventually went to another surgeon who performed a surgery to drain the abscess. She needed three more surgeries after that surgery to recover. The woman claims the initial surgeon did not properly care for her after the surgery, which resulted in a worsened condition and more surgeries.

A failure to diagnose stomach cancer can be deadly

Many Pittsburgh residents will be affected by cancer in their lifetime, whether because they are diagnosed with cancer or because a loved one is. Either way, a cancer diagnosis is scary for everyone affected. There are many unanswered questions regarding treatment and outcomes. When there is a failure to diagnose cancer by a medical provider it can have tragic circumstances.

Stomach cancer, which is also called gastric cancer, affects many patients across the United States. The diagnosis for stomach cancer can be complicated because many of the symptoms for the cancer are common ailments. Symptoms of stomach cancer include feeling full after eating small meals, bloating, stomach pain, severe heartburn, fatigue, indigestion and vomiting. Although many of these symptoms can be caused by less severe conditions, a patient who continues to show signs should be taken seriously by a medical providers.

What is informed consent?

In Pittsburgh, patients have the right to know what is going on with their health and what their treatment options are. This is known as informed consent. It is important for patients to have informed consent so that they are aware of what their medical condition is and can make a decision regarding treatment.

Patients have received informed consent if they have received information regarding their health condition and treatment options, the patients understand their health condition and treatment options and the patients are able to decide what treatment option they would like to pursue and is able to communicate their consent to receive treatment. Some medical treatments require a written informed consent in which a medical provider explains the patient's condition and the agreed upon treatment and the patient signs the form. Not all treatments require a signed consent form.

Cruise lines can now be held liable for medical malpractice

Many Pittsburgh residents enjoy taking a cruise vacation. Cruises are a great way to relax and see multiple ports without having to arrange transportation, meals and hotel stays. But what happens when something goes wrong while on a cruise? Many people have suffered medical emergencies while on a cruise and a recent ruling by the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals allows cruise lines to be accountable for medical malpractice.

For years cruise lines have been immune from medical malpractice suits but a recent court may eliminate that immunity. A 1988 circuit court case effectively gave immunity to cruise ship employees when they gave medical care but the latest ruling says that ruling was outdated due to modern technology. The lawsuit involved a man who hit his head while onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise. The man was seen by a nurse but received minimal treatment. The onboard doctor did not evaluate the man until four hours later. The next day the man was airlifted to a New York hospital where he died a week later.

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