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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

Hospital and doctor ordered to pay $14.5 million for birth injuries

For Pennsylvania parents, the thought of any serious injury to their children is among the worst things that can happen. This thought can be especially painful when any injury is preventable, such as in a birth injury case. When the livelihood of an innocent baby is stolen by the acts of a negligent nurse or negligent doctor, the trauma to families can run deep and it can also lead to the need for long-term care depending on the severity of the birth injuries.

A jury in Ohio has recently awarded a total of $14.5 million to an 11-year old boy and his mother for their birth injury case. The damages include $500,000 for financial losses to date, $1 million for the mother’s care, $8 million for the child’s future care and $5 million for pain and suffering. The hospital and the attending physician are equally liable for the damages. The boy suffers from visual impairments, cognitive delays and cerebral palsy as the result of a brain hemorrhage during his premature birth.

NTSB determines truck driver in Tracy Morgan crash was speeding

The dangers of semi-trucks on the highway were brought to light by a recent accident on the East Coast involving comedian Tracy Morgan. The wreck occurred earlier this month when a Wal-Mart truck rear-ended Morgan's limo-van on the New Jersey turnpike. Morgan's friend and fellow comedian, James McNair, was killed while Morgan and three others were critically injured. Morgan suffered a broken leg and other injuries, but his condition seems to be improving.

The truck driver has since been charged with vehicular homicide. The National Transportation Safety Board found that the driver was traveling 65 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone just before the accident occurred. The preliminary report indicates that there were two road signs in the area. One sign warned of a lane closure while the other warned of a drop in the speed limit from 55 mph to 45 mph.

Woman awarded $12 million for surgical error

Around the nation and in Pennsylvania, medical errors have received a lot of focus recently. Recent reports have brought to light the serious nature of malpractice incidents noting that as many as 440,000 people in the United States potentially die each year from various forms of medical negligence. Surgical errors are among the leading cause of serious injury or even death. The acts of a careless surgeon can leave patients struggling for the rest of their lives.

Such is the case for one Danbury, CT woman who was the victim of a surgeon mistake during her 2008 hernia surgery. During the operation, her colon was punctured unbeknownst to surgeons who closed up her abdominal cavity without tending to the puncture. An ensuing infection led to septic shock, a heart attack, the onset of organ failure and a comatose state that lasted for a month. Several surgeries later, including some that left her with little large intestine, she survived but continues to have limited mobility and difficulties digesting food.

Hospital looks to reduce prescription drug errors

A single medical error can be fatal all too easily. Pennsylvania residents have heard of more than enough stories of such tragic situations. Surgical errors, missed or incorrect diagnoses and medication errors frequently top the list of the most common forms of medical malpractice. When medications are involved, an error could be in the form of the wrong drug being given, a dosage mistake, the dispensing of a dangerous combination of prescriptions and more. Sometimes these things happen from simple acts like the failure to read a doctor’s handwriting properly.

In Florida, Sarasota Memorial Hospital has instituted a program that puts a pharmacist on staff directly in the emergency room in an effort to curb medication errors in the ER. Because of the speed at which decisions must be made in emergent situations, the risk of errors involving medications can be high. Having a person available to focus solely on prescriptions and review them all prior to providing them to patients is one way that the hospital is trying to address that risk.

Just how dangerous is texting while driving?

The law in Pennsylvania says that no driver can text behind the wheel. Texting while driving, which is just one of the many different things that can distract a driver, is horrifically dangerous. Of course, there are many people in Pennsylvania who have managed to text and drive without ever getting into an accident, there are also numerous stories of people seriously injured in crashes, too. In fact, one state's traffic commission has estimated that texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than driving drunk.

Though this statistic is not from Pennsylvania, it is likely accurate. Any form of distracted driving is dangerous, in part because it forces the driver to pay attention to something other than the road. Regardless of how good some drivers think they are at multitasking, driving requires every bit of concentration.

Mismanagement heads list of reasons leading to VA Secretary resignation

Personal injuries can result from many different errors in medical treatment. Pennsylvania residents can be the victims of a surgical mishap or an incorrect medication being dispensed. They can also be subject to the failure to diagnose cancer or another serious condition. Sometimes, medical errors can even occur in part due to poor administrative practices that prevent the timely delivery of proper and full medical care.

A report that came out this spring focused on such issues within the hospital system for veterans in the United States. The document alleged that a great deal of inappropriate management was taking place, including as many as 1,500 patients being kept off of the proper waiting lists for necessary procedures or care. Such actions were asserted to be related to missed diagnoses, delayed diagnoses, worsened condition or even death.

When teens suffer brain injuries, it is a long road to recovery

There a variety of ways in which someone could injure his or her head. From a car accident to a workplace injury, from medical malpractice to a fall, catastrophic brain injuries are all around us in Pittsburgh. What many of us may not realize, however, is that these traumatic injuries are not restricted to adults. In fact, there are a number of teenagers and adolescents who develop brain injuries, and many are on a long road to recovery. Sadly, some will never completely recover.

When someone's brain injury is caused by another's negligence or recklessness, he or she can file a personal injury lawsuit. These lawsuits are incredibly helpful, as they will provide compensation to injured individuals. Since some will have long-standing cognitive issues and many others need months or years to recover, this compensation can be of vital importance. That money may be some of the only money coming in to the household.

Malpractice cap once again subject of high court case

Pennsylvania, like all other states, has its own set of laws surrounding medical malpractice lawsuits. Some states place limits on the amount of money that victims can be awarded while others have no limits whatsoever. Statutes of limitations also vary and govern the time periods in which people may bring suits forth after injuries have been allegedly sustained. These laws can include everything from birth injuries to surgical errors.

Sometimes watching the wave of actions regarding medical malpractice laws and claims in other states can give a window into the national tide. Florida is making headlines for the second time this year so far. In March, the state Supreme Court made a ruling that essentially declared part of the state’s damage cap award law from 2003 unconstitutional in relation to a wrongful death that happened in 2006.

Wrongful death cases mount against veterans hospital

Pennsylvania residents should be able to seek medical care and know that they can trust those who deliver the care. Sadly, however, the risk of a medical error always exists. Cases of malpractice can sometimes be easily remedied but other times can lead to very serious consequences and even the death of a patient. In the case of a misdiagnosed cancer or some other failure to diagnose a problem, a worsened condition can cause undue pain and challenges for patients and family members.

Such situations can affect both civilians and veterans. Across the nation, more than 100,000 medical malpractice cases in which wrongful death was alleged accounted for roughly $200 million in payouts from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Four of those cases involved staff at the veteran’s hospital in Coatesville, VA. Together, the four claims resulted in $1.4 million being paid to family members of deceased victims.

Car-bicycle accidents can be especially dangerous to children

We have talked about many different kinds of motor vehicle accidents on our blog. From car accidents to truck accidents to aviation accidents, there are a number of different ways for people in Pittsburgh to be injured. One that we haven't given much attention to is bicycle accidents. Of course, a cyclist can crash without any other vehicles involved, but they are often quite dangerous when a car crashes into a bicycle.

Injuries to a bicyclist can be quite severe. Even with a helmet, a cyclist has very little protection against even the smallest of cars. Bicyclists can easily be seriously injured or killed if drivers aren't paying sufficient attention to who is on the road. Not only can a cyclist suffer brain damage and other brain injuries, but he or she may also need to be treated for broken bones, cuts, road burn and a variety of other physical injuries.

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