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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

Never say never

The federal government has a so-called "never" list of medical mishaps that are just not supposed to happen under any circumstances, hence the name for the list. Included on there are things such as leaving a foreign object in the belly of someone who has undergone surgery or operating on the wrong arm or leg of a patient. Even though these events are never supposed to occur, they do happen with regularity year after year and, therefore, when it comes to medical misadventures you should "never say never."

Study pins one quarter of surgical errors on technology

Technology is often used in the health care field to improve the processes and procedures that treat illness and injury. If health care professionals use the technology correctly, there may still be times when the equipment malfunctions in such a way that the patient in Pennsylvania is harmed. Responsibility for an error by a piece of equipment may lie with the doctor or the hospital, and a recent study attempted to find the reason behind most surgical errors and determine ways to stop them from happening.

According to a study recently published in the BMJ Quality & Safety, including equipment checks on the World Health Organization Surgical Safety Checklist along with implementing other safety procedures can lower surgical errors by half. The study also found that 25% of surgical errors are due to malfunctioning equipment and technology problems.

Pennsylvania lawsuits gain speed as new mother joins claim

Pregnancy is often a time of excitement mixed with trepidation about the future. As a mother grows a baby within her womb, it becomes necessary for her to begin thinking of the things she allows into her body and how they will affect her newborn. Because babies receive many of the same substances the mother intakes, harmful medications, drugs and alcohol may lead to birth injuries that are devastating for mom and baby. Many mothers rely on their doctors and pharmaceutical companies to ensure that the things they are taking are safe for both them and their babies.

Makers of the popular anti-depressant Zoloft face a new plaintiff in the lawsuit that alleges the medication caused birth injuries in newborns after pregnant women took the medication. Studies done by the maker of the medication in the early 90s showed a risk for birth defects, and the lawsuit claims the information should have been disclosed to women and their doctors.

Misdiagnosed cancer sends woman into depression after treatment

Cancer is a devastating disease that affects many people in Pennsylvania and throughout the world. Even with a good prognosis from doctors, treatments may be hard on the body and cause serious stress and anxiety to the person and their family members. Although chemotherapy has been proven to be effective at treating some types of cancer, it is also known for causing side effects that create discomfort and pain in the patient. A misdiagnosed cancer may cause the patient to undergo treatments that are unnecessary, and may have far-reaching effects throughout the life of the person.

A Texas woman was awarded a large sum of money for the physical pain and mental anguish she suffered when a doctor misread her lab results and diagnosed her with Stage IV breast cancer. Although the woman claims the money does not make the pain go away, she hopes to make a difference by sharing her story with the public.

Doctor provides information about patients to avoid drug charges

In order for a doctor to provide medical care to patients in Pennsylvania or any other state in the country, they must be licensed by the state board. If the board determines the doctor is unfit for treating patients or has violated any rules, they may choose to revoke the doctor’s medical license and stop him or her from practicing medicine in that particular state. This is often done as a way to protect unknowing patients from seeing doctors who have had serious violations in the past. Medication errors, fatal mistakes and confidentiality violations may be more common with doctors who violate the rules of the state board.

Although the doctor has confessed to his part in a cocaine ring and testified that he would rat out his patients to avoid jail time, the state of Wisconsin has not revoked his license to practice medicine. One patient only became aware of these problems after making appointments with the doctor for her daughter.

Family of brain damaged girl awarded money from hospital

Most people understand how easy it is to miscommunicate a small piece of information, but aren’t always likely to deal with devastating results from missing a simple word or phrase from another person. This may not be the case with health care professionals in Pennsylvania, who may need to have the ability to strongly communicate orders and direction in order to prevent tragedy. Even the smallest miscommunication can lead to a serious brain injury or even death, a fact that a family of a toddler recovering from a heart transplant found out the hard way.

The young girl in Washington went into cardiac arrest after a miscommunication between her regular doctor and the doctor who took the phone call led her mother to give her Afrin for a respiratory infection. The girl now suffers from brain damage and is only expected to live until she is 22, even after surviving a heart transplant as a newborn.

Woman narrowly misses having organs harvested by doctors

Many people in Pennsylvania and throughout the rest of the country have chosen to have their organs donated if they are injured or become ill and the organs can help to save another life. Once a person is pronounced dead in a hospital, health care professionals work quickly to prepare the person for the harvesting of organs, the process during which organs are removed and preserved to be used by a person in need. Potential organ donors may be surprised to find out that many hospitals do not have a checklist in place for determining if the person is actually dead.

Although the woman declined to sue the hospital for medical malpractice and her mother does not feel the incident contributed to her ultimate suicide, a New York resident narrowly missed having her organs harvested as she recovered from a drug overdose.  

New laws in Florida hurt medical malpractice victims

The state of Florida recently passed a pair of laws that hurt patients who have medical malpractice claims. Under one of the new laws, when a patient is hurt by a physician that doctor's lawyer can go out and talk to the patient's other doctors without first obtaining the permission of the patient. Many people view this as an invasion of privacy since, under most circumstances, nobody is permitted to talk to a patient's physician without the patient's permission. The new law in Florida changes that and the only limitation is that the conversations cannot take place after the patient has filed a formal lawsuit.

According to news reports, some patients have filed a lawsuit to have the law declared invalid. It remains to be seen whether that will be successful.

New laws in Florida hurt medical malpractice victims

The state of Florida recently passed a pair of laws that hurt patients who have medical malpractice claims. Under one of the new laws, when a patient is hurt by a physician that doctor's lawyer can go out and talk to the patient's other doctors without first obtaining the permission of the patient. Many people view this as an invasion of privacy since, under most circumstances, nobody is permitted to talk to a patient's physician without the patient's permission. The new law in Florida changes that and the only limitation is that the conversations cannot take place after the patient has filed a formal lawsuit.

According to news reports, some patients have filed a lawsuit to have the law declared invalid. It remains to be seen whether that will be successful.

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