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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

New rule on discovery of attorney-expert relationship

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently adopted a change to Rule 4003.5 which explicitly prohibits discovery of communications between attorneys and their experts. The new change, which was triggered by the Barrick case which we handled, goes into effect on August 9th of this year.

Couple claims organ amputation an error

Medical errors have made many headlines in the past year. In some cases, defendants are able to receive compensation for their injuries or losses. These can result from many situations including medication errors, missed or incorrect diagnoses, problems occurring during births and more. Surgical errors are another common form of medical malpractice that Pennsylvania patients can face. A single surgeon mistake can result in sometimes extreme situations.

A couple in Alabama have recently initiated a lawsuit against multiple parties for what they assert is a serious injury involving organ damage. Five different defendants have been identified in the case. These involve two different physicians, a urology practice, another medical practice and Princeton Baptist Medical Center in Birmingham.

Spouse’s damage award thrown out by judge

Pennsylvania residents are logically concerned about the safety of their healthcare. Reports about various medical errors seem to abound regularly in the media. From medication errors to a failure to diagnose, the range of negligent actions and associated injuries is great. Certainly for victims, the impact of any instances of medical malpractice can be severe and long-lasting. Family members are also frequently affected and may even be due compensation as a result.

When spouses or other relatives suffer directly due to injuries sustained by their loved ones, damage awards can sometimes be given directly to them as well as to the injured parties. One woman received a $1 million settlement by a jury for what was considered the loss of her husband’s services. The husband received a total of $3.8 million, including $1.5 million for future damages, due to a 2004 misdiagnosis. However, the woman’s award has been thrown out by a New York Supreme Court judge because she has subsequently left her husband.

Fatal dresser accident highlights danger of household products

The recent incident in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, where two young children were tragically killed when a large piece of furniture fell over on them highlights the dangers of many seemingly safe household products. Our office is quite aware of this type of danger from the well known defective product case we handled a few years ago against Target corporation where a young 18-month-old girl was strangled and suffered significant brain damage when the lid of a wicker trunk collapsed and trapped her neck.

Various causes of car accidents

Pennsylvania drivers face great risks everyday when headed out on the highway. One such risk is the possibility of being involved in an accident. However, many of these automobile accidents can be avoided if drivers learn more about what causes them. A vast majority of accidents are caused by one driver's behavior combined with road conditions, equipment failure or other drivers.

Under law, manufacturers are required to design cars that meet certain standards. However, many vehicles experience brake failure, tire blowouts and steering failure every year. While these equipment failures are unlikely to occur, regular inspections will help prevent them. Another cause of accidents is the design of roadways all across the country. Roadway hazards, roadway surfaces and traffic flow all contribute to accidents. Interstate highways have proven to be the safest roads, in part because of their one direction flow of traffic.

Post-discharge medication error risks

The world of medical malpractice encompasses many types of situations. Problems during surgeries, missed diagnoses and inappropriate care or response times can lead to serious injuries for Pennsylvania patients. Medical errors can be made by doctors, nurses, administrators and others. Pharmacists as well may be responsible for some medication errors, another common form of malpractice.

Patients that have been hospitalized commonly go home with instructions that involve taking prescription medications. It is at this point, after discharge, that some medication errors can be introduced. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that as many as 50 percent of patients stop taking medications at home and up to 30 percent of prescriptions are never even filled. Some experts believe that lack of proper education before discharge can contribute to an increased chance of problems once home.

Finally a conclusion from the NTSB on our Hawaii Helicopter crash

In November, it will be three years since the tragic helicopter crash in Hawaii took the life of our client, Nicole Bevilacqua and her husband, Michael Abel. They were in Hawaii on their honeymoon and were taking a tour of the islands when the crash occurred.

Surgical team approach improves patient safety

People in Pennsylvania are becoming more aware of the risk of medical errors and their need to remain vigilant and active in their healthcare. When undergoing surgery, however, patients are at a natural disadvantage for this as they are under anesthesia and therefore not always able to know when surgical errors take place. This puts more responsibility on the entire operating room staff to help prevent serious injury or even death to patients.

Hospitals around the nation are tasked with preventing things like the improper use of medical equipment, a wrong-site surgery, having surgical equipment left inside a patient and more. At Johns Hopkins University, a comprehensive new program has been developed in the colorectal surgical department with this in mind. The process includes a pre-surgery team briefing, a post-surgery team debriefing, use of checklists and weekly team reviews and communications. All surgical staff members participate in the program.

Motorcycle awareness needed following 3 recent crashes

Drivers in Pennsylvania frequently encounter various types of vehicles. In the warmer months, it is common to share the roads with motorcycles. These smaller vehicles are not equipped with the same types of safety features as other vehicles. Furthermore, they can easily go unnoticed by other motorist, which increases the risk of a motorcycle accident.

Following a recent pattern of automobile accidents involving motorcycles in Pennsylvania, some bikers seek to increase awareness of motorcycles on the roadways and how drivers can increase the safety of bikers on the road. According to reports, the three incidents, two of them fatal, occurred over a span of three days. These tragic incidents took place during the end of the event Roar on the Shore, which caused over 125,000 bikers to travel into Erie, Pennsylvania, for their annual bike rally.

New law changes requirements for malpractice cases

Medical malpractice is a highly complex area of law and ethics in America today. In Pennsylvania and throughout the other 49 states, laws vary dramatically with changes happening frequently. Many situations or actions can constitute a medical error such as instruments or other objects being left inside patients’ bodies after surgeries or providing unnecessary treatments to patients. When a failure to diagnose a problem correctly leads to a worsened condition, negligence can be considered the cause.

A recent change in Wisconsin law could have a big impact on future medical malpractice cases in that state. The new bill requires that physicians disclose to patients only information about alternative options that the physicians feel is necessary or reasonable. Prior to this legislation, doctors were required to tell patients about all options that would be considered reasonable from a patient perspective.

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