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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

Pennsylvania man takes motorcyclist's life in drunk driving crash

By the age of 50, one Pennsylvania man has been arrested more than a dozen times for driving under the influence of alcohol, he has pled guilty to six of the charges and has been convicted of drunk driving a total of eight times. With such a shocking track record, it would seem highly unlikely that the man could have had a valid driver's license. Shockingly, had the man taken the time to fill out the correct paperwork, he could have had a driver's license as early as 2012. Regardless, his most recent arrest and conviction will keep him off the road for the next eight to 17 years.

The man's most recent arrest came after causing a fatal motor vehicle accident last year. The 50-year-old pled guilty to homicide by vehicle, among other charges, for driving his Dodge Ram right into a motorcyclist who was driving straight through an intersection. While the driver initially told police that the biker had come from "out of nowhere," that may have been more of an indication of his 0.28 blood alcohol level.

Senator advocates for improved patient safety

Medical errors are of serious concern to residents not just in Pennsylvania but throughout the nation. As more reports tell about the new status of medical errors as the third leading cause of death in the United States, the grave nature of this issue becomes more apparent. From medication errors to surgical errors and beyond, the risks abound for patients on a daily basis.

One recently published media article illustrates the attention that this topic is getting nationally. The United States senator from California, Barbara Boxer, has issued her own report on the topic, urging medical facilities and professionals to take greater care to prevent errors. Her work detailed out nine primary causes of death that included blood clots, urinary tract infections contracted from catheters, pneumonia associated with ventilators and negative side effects from medications. She is an avid supporter of the Patient Safety Movement Foundation which is working to eliminate all deaths resulting from medical errors by the year 2020.

Family receives $4.5 million for woman's death

The world of medical malpractice can be a scary one for patients and their family members. Pennsylvania residents go to doctors or other providers on a regular basis and should be able to know that they are in safe hands. Whether a surgical mistake, a failure to diagnose, improper treatment or some other problem, the repercussions of a medical error can be extremely serious and lifelong.

One Massachusetts family knows the pain of such situations all too well after having lost a loved one due to the delayed treatment of two doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital. The 62-year old woman had been sent to Massachusetts General Hospital by physicians at another hospital who identified via scans that the sharp end of a broken rib was pointing right at her aorta. Staff at the first hospital believed that Massachusetts General Hospital could offer her the best help.

It's hard to predict the effects of traumatic brain injuries

When someone in Pittsburgh is involved in a car accident, the injuries are often readily apparent. Maybe the individual has broken bones that are set in a cast. Maybe he or she has been burned. Maybe there is even some internal bleeding that appears as deep bruising. One injury that may not be apparent, however, is an injury to the brain.

Just because it may not be visibile doesn't mean that it is not serious. Traumatic brain injuries are just that, traumatic. They can drastically change a person's personality, turning a mild-mannered person into someone with little impulse control, social skills or patience. It is also possible that a brain injury can leave someone unable to work and dependent on others for care.

Patient proactivity recommended to reduce medical error risk

Medical malpractice is a scary thing to Pennsylvania patients who desire to trust in their healthcare providers’ abilities and goodwill. Good intentions aside, problems do happen and being aware and proactive can be two of the best ways that people can protect themselves against a serious injury. Whether surgical errors, medication errors, missed diagnoses or more, the ramifications of medical mistakes can be severe and lifelong.

An article published in the media recently reviews some of the ways that patients can participate actively in their healthcare in an effort to reduce the risk of problems. The author offers specific actions to be taken. One recommendation is to avoid closed lines of questioning that would require only “yes” or “no” responses. Making sure to provide full details about symptoms, including timing of onset or abatement, can help to avoid receiving incorrect treatment suggested.

Electronic prescriptions growing in use

In the world of medical malpractice, many different types of errors are noted. Pennsylvania residents can find themselves or their loved ones victims of errors during surgeries, missed or wrong diagnoses, improper actions during labor and delivery and more. Medication errors are another common realm of malpractice incidents. Problems can stem from multiple points along the chain including from the drug manufacturer, prescribing physician, pharmacist or medical personnel responsible for dispensing a medication.

The healthcare world is aware of the many risks associated with prescription medication errors such as a dosage mistake, a negligent pharmacist, the failure to read doctor’s handwriting properly and more. This has been one component of the push for an increase in the electronic processing o prescriptions. Despite this need, the adoption of electronic prescribing took some time to get off the ground according to a recent news story that reported on the state of what is the most dominant company in the industry.

Understanding the risks of medical errors

Most Pennsylvania residents have likely been able to go their whole lives without being affected by a medical error or even knowing anyone who was. However, that does not negate the reality of how many other people are impacted by such actions. Medication errors, birth injuries, failures to diagnose, surgical errors and more can be life threatening to victims and tragic for family members.

The latest information released by the Journal of Patient Safety and the Center for Disease Control indicates that medical errors actually represent the third-leading cause of deaths in the United States. As many as 440,000 people annually are reported to die at the hands of those supposed to preserve their lives. A current media story that referenced this rate also shared additional information that should make patients take note.

Federal aviation investigators don't comment on mechanical issues

It is absolutely tragic when someone dies in an aviation accident. Even though many people have fears of flying, airplanes are largely safe methods of transportation, but that doesn't mean that there are not the occasional crashes. Of course, everyone in Pittsburgh is more than familiar with the headline-grabbing crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, but there has also been a tragic accident a bit closer to home.

Last month, a 52-year-old was killed when his small plane crashed near the runway. The National Transportation Safety Board has sent out investigators, and while they have issued a report, they have not said whether there were any mechanical issues present that could have contributed to the crash.

One hospital target of three birth injury lawsuits

A medical error of any kind can bring great trauma to victims and their families. When a birth injury case occurs, the devastation that Pennsylvania parents experience can be unparalleled. Birth injuries can result in a premature birth, stillbirth or a lifelong disability such as Erb’s palsy or more. Both mothers and babies can be injured or at risk of death depending upon the specific circumstances.

In Oregon, three separate families have experienced such problems at the same hospital in a small area south of Portland. Each of the families is suing Silverton Hospital for $40 million in damages overall for a total of $120 million. A news article detailed the story of one of the families. The plaintiffs allege that hospital staff did not take prompt action during the birth and delivery process of their child.

Parents awarded $2.88 in wrongful death of their son

Medical errors can be one of the scariest things that patients in Pennsylvania must face every time they seek medical care. People naturally need to be able to trust their healthcare providers. Many times, this trust is earned and warranted but there are too many times when it is not. Medication errors, surgical error, a failure to diagnose properly and more can all lead to serious consequences.

Such was the case for a Kansas man according to a recent news article. In the process of receiving treatment for lower back pain, he contracted meningitis from a MRSA infection which went undiagnosed until it was too late. The nerve condition that also developed left him crippled and eventually he took his own life. His parents filed a malpractice lawsuit and were recently awarded $2.88 million.

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