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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

Birth injury lawsuits to be heard by U.S. Supreme Court

A young girl's delivery by cesarean section ended disastrously. The birth injuries she suffered have resulted in the girl being blind and deaf, and unable to walk or crawl. Because the girl now suffers from mental retardation and seizure disorders, she requires 12 to 18 hours of nursing care on a daily basis.

The family sued the obstetrician involved in the child's delivery. Since the child's birth, the state that she lives in has paid approximately $1.9 million in health care expenses. Because of this, that particular state has placed a lien on one-third of the settlement proceeds that came about due to this lawsuit. The family is now challenging the right for the state to be reimbursed for money that has been expended, and the case is expected to be heard by the United States Supreme Court.

Boy's death leads to medical malpractice claim

A lawsuit has been filed alleging medical malpractice that resulted in the death of a 1-year old boy. The boy was taken to the hospital by his mother where he was diagnosed as having a viral infection. Sensing that something else was wrong, the mother took the boy back to the emergency room later that evening.

Though she was told that she was overreacting, the mother insisted that lab tests be ordered - such tests showing that the boy was suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis. It was at this point that the IV fluids were administered, but an apparently incorrect administration of IV fluids and insulin infusion led to seizures and irreversible brain injury that ultimately caused the boy's death.

Study addresses easily avoidable medication errors

Two new studies have found a prevalence of errors occurring where medicines or anesthesia is given before or during surgical procedures. Many of such medication errors have led to fatalities.

The study came about due to a physician trying to discover what drugs were given instead of the local anesthetics that were prescribed. Patients in the study had suffered cardiomyopathy while undergoing a Caesarian delivery, many underwent convulsions, and others suffered neurological disorders because the wrong medication was administered. In some child delivery cases, harm came both to the mothers and infants, and such errors were often fatal.

Pennsylvania woman unable to convince jury of malpractice

Medical malpractice lawsuits are often a difficult area for attorneys to prove up since most such lawsuits concern a highly technical area. The attorney must not only make his case to a judge, he or she must also make it understandable for a jury.

Partially because of this, not all medical malpractice verdicts go in favor of the plaintiff. For example, a Pennsylvania woman's claim that a cast placed upon her wrist by a doctor was responsible for reflex sympathetic dystrophy for her left hand was ultimately dismissed by the jury.

Trucking Company's Safety Violations

In truck accident cases, we continue to be amazed how frequently large trucking companies fail to adequately monitor their fleet of drivers. The classic situation that comes up too often is a driver who has multiple moving violations, often speeding tickets yet they continue to be put out on the road by the trucking company. In many of these cases, the trucking company has an employee handbook or safety manual that says drivers are supposed to be re-trained or "pulled" if they have a certain number of violations, but often that never occurs.

Trucking Company's Safety Violations

In truck accident cases, we continue to be amazed how frequently large trucking companies fail to adequately monitor their fleet of drivers. The classic situation that comes up too often is a driver who has multiple moving violations, often speeding tickets yet they continue to be put out on the road by the trucking company. In many of these cases, the trucking company has an employee handbook or safety manual that says drivers are supposed to be re-trained or "pulled" if they have a certain number of violations, but often that never occurs.

What is a Surgical Error?

One of the most common medical malpractice cases we handle is a surgical error case. This is a case in which some injury occurs while a physician is doing a proper surgery. For example, a surgeon goes in to remove the gallbladder and while he is doing so, he injures some nearby artery or other organ that causes significant harm to the patient. In these cases, we are often involved in a battle over a principle called "accepted risk of the procedure." In other words, when a patient signs a consent form for a surgery, the law says that they understand that certain injuries might occur during that procedure because any surgery carries certain risks. However, the consent form is not a license for the doctor to be careless, and it is not a shield that protects him from responsibility if he does something wrong. In other words, when the surgeon causes an injury that is outside of the normal accepted risks of the procedure, then he/she must pay money damages to the patient.

Government Wants Patients to Report Medical Mistakes

The federal government is planning to provide patients with the opportunity to report medical mistakes directly to them. Under the plan patients would be given a questionnaire that they can fill out and send back to the government whenever they are a victim of a medical mistake. The mistakes to be reported can be anything from a drug mistake, surgical error, infection or failure to properly diagnose or treat a condition. See http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/health/feds-want-patients-to-report-medical-provider-mistakes-654522.

Colon Cancer

Colon cancer is one of the most common causes of death in the United States. Fortunately, it is also one of the most preventable of all cancers. Why is that so? Because colon cancer is usually very slow growing and the sort of abnormal tissue or growths that might turn into cancer - usually called polyps - can often be detected on a colonoscopy well before cancer has developed.

The Fallacy of "30-Minutes from Decisions to Incision"

In fetal distress or birth asphyxia cases resulting in cerebral palsy, the argument in the case is always over whether the doctor moved quickly enough to perform a emergency C-section once there were signs that the baby was experiencing problems during the labor process.

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