Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Law Blog

I'm not happy with my surgery, can I file a lawsuit?

When Pennsylvania residents undergo surgery, they are taking a risk. There are no guarantees and as such, things may not go as you expected. The surgeon may think everything went fine, but you might not be so thrilled with the results, whether you got a nose job or a broken bone surgically fixed. Do you have any recourse? Can you file a lawsuit and receive compensation for your lack of satisfaction?

If medical malpractice occurred, then you might have a viable claim for compensation. The judge would be looking for surgical errors and resulting damages, however, not your overall review of the surgical procedure. Just because you didn't like the final results for some reason doesn't mean that you can sue. You would have to prove that the surgeon deviated from a reasonable standard of care and that this deviation caused you injuries or damages.

My baby suffers birth injuries due to hypoxia, what can I do?

The birth of a baby is an exciting event for almost all Pennsylvanian parents. However, this joy can turn to anger when the baby is deprived of oxygen during labor and delivery. This is called hypoxia, and while some cases are mild and resolve themselves quickly, others are more serious in nature and can lead to birth injuries and permanent disability. If this happens, you most certainly want to understand your legal rights and learn more about the types of available recourse.

Besides a lack of oxygen, hypoxia can be caused by numerous factors, including umbilical cord injuries, infection, heart disease, shoulder dystocia, and abnormalities in the placenta and blood vessels in the brain. Doctors and nurses should be monitoring the baby's oxygen flow during labor and delivery. However, if they were negligent in their medical care, and the negligence led to your baby's birth injuries, then you may have a possible medical malpractice case.

How to help prevent medication errors

Despite the number of safeguards put in place, medication errors are still common for Pittsburgh residents. Most Pittsburgh residents will need to take medication in their lives and many will need several to maintain their health. Medication errors can happen and it is important to be aware of ways to avoid these errors.

Patients should know what medications they are taking and the quantity and dosage of these medications, including herbal supplements and vitamins. When they visit their various doctors, this information should be shared with the doctor. A dangerous combination of prescriptions can have adverse effects so it is important for doctors to know everything you are taking. It can also be helpful to take all the medications with you to the doctor so you can discuss them and determine if they are the best option for your health.

Consequences of delayed treatment for breast cancer

When a person learns they have cancer their world can be turned upside down. Thousands of Pittsburgh residents receive a cancer diagnosis each year. Thanks to modern medicine many of these cancers can be effectively treated. But for many circumstances, the earlier the treatment starts the better. When a doctor fails to diagnose breast cancer, the delayed treatment can lead to devastating consequences.

Take, for example, women who do not receive treatment for advanced breast cancer within 60 days of diagnosis. These women have a much higher rate of death than those who do. For instance, a study from Ohio State University showed that women who waited more than 60 days had an 85 percent higher risk of dying from cancer. Early treatment for breast cancer often times has a 5-year survival rate of 98 percent.

Psychiatric patients also at risk for medical malpractice

Mental health is an important piece of a person's overall health. Thousands of Pittsburgh residents take some sort of psychiatric medicine-for depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder and a host of other conditions. These medications and the care that medical providers provide are critical in maintaining a person's mental health. But when medical providers fail to diagnose a patient with mental illness, prescribes the wrong medication or engages in other negligent behavior, a medical provider can be held liable.

There are many reasons why a psychiatrist can be held liable for a patient with mental illness. One way is with a suicidal patient. If the psychiatrist does not perform a suicide risk assessment on a patient, if they don't follow up with a suicidal patient, don't change the level of supervision for patients that are deemed suicidal, fails to evaluate the suicidal patient's environment, or doesn't respond to a suicidal patient's family when they contact the psychiatrist with concerns.

What is a perforated esophagus?

Many Pittsburgh residents will undergo a surgical procedure this year. These procedures can be done in an emergency situation or they may be routine. Most surgical procedures occur without any issues, but occasionally a surgical accident can occur that causes a worsened condition.

One such condition that may arise during surgery is a perforated esophagus. This condition is when the esophagus gets a hole in it. Many times the esophagus is perforated during a medical procedure. When the esophagus is perforated, the contents of the esophagus collect in the chest area. This can result in a serious infection of the mediastinum. Usually surgery is needed to repair the hole and the surgery may need to be done within the first 24 hours. If a patient does not receive surgery or other treatment immediately, they could die.

Are cellphones adding to the number of surgical errors?

When Pennsylvania residents go under the knife for simple procedures or emergency surgeries, they are ultimately trusting the doctors in the operating room with their lives. Patients often expect a procedure to go smoothly, followed by a reasonable recovery period. From time to time, surgical accidents do occur, and they can range from surgical tools being left inside a patient, to infections that are acquired during a surgical procedure.

A recent article suggests that technology - such as a smartphone - may actually be contributing to surgical errors. While smartphones allow for greater communication between health care providers, there are risks that go hand-in-hand with smartphone use in the medical industry. For example, bacteria and viruses on cellphones pose a risk to patients by increasing the risk of infection. In addition, receiving and sending data via a smartphone may also hamper with medical equipment.

Pennsylvania heart conditions and failures to diagnose

Heart disease is one of the top killers of Pittsburg residents. It claims thousands of lives each year and leaves many others with permanent disabilities. Although most people think of heart disease as something that affects older people, it can affect anyone. The failure to diagnose a heart condition can lead to a worsened condition, brain injury and even death.

One such heart disease that affects any age is called acute viral myocarditis. This disease can strike anyone, even those who appear to be completely healthy. Five to 20 percent of those who have the disease die suddenly from it.

Misdiagnosed cancer happens more frequently than expected

Many Pittsburgh residents will be affected by cancer in their lifetime. A cancer diagnosis can be scary for anyone regardless of the type of cancer. And when a person receives a cancer diagnosis, the treatment and surgery can be painful and debilitating.

For some patients the cancer diagnosis is not accurate. The failure to diagnose cancer or the misdiagnosis of cancer is a common occurrence throughout the United States. Over 1.3 million people receive a cancer diagnosis each year. But studies through Johns Hopkins show that 1 out of 71 cancer diagnosis was misdiagnosed and 1 out of 5 cancer cases were not classified correctly.

Woman gets permanent brain injury as result of negligent doctor

Many Pittsburgh residents will be under the care of a physician this year. Doctors are among the most trusted members of our society and provide a necessary service. They help thousands of people each year with minor illnesses, serious injuries and everything in between. But occasionally a physician can be found to be negligent as is the case with a physician who failed to monitor his patient.

A woman in Ohio received a multi-million dollar settlement recently when a jury found the physician who treated her in the hospital was negligent in his care towards her. The woman suffered permanent brain damage when the physician failed to monitor her blood sugar levels while she was in the hospital. Her blood sugar levels dropped to dangerous lows, causing permanent brain injury. Now she requires around-the-clock care and can no longer live independently or work. The jury found the physician negligent in his care and awarded the guardian of the victim over $8 million.

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