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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

Birth injury verdict exceeds $100 million

A teenage girl suffering from cerebral palsy just received a jury verdict in excess of $100 million. It is alleged that her medical condition came about due to birth injuries suffered when her and her twin sister were born three months prematurely. It is further claimed that the two sisters were born early due to the hospital's failure to provide adequate care.

Though her twin sister appears not to have been injured at birth, the teenage girl at the center of the lawsuit reportedly suffered brain injury and cerebral palsy because of the hospital's lack of treatment. So severe are her disabilities that she apparently cannot even roll over bed on her own.

Surgical error results in brain damage

A major university hospital has settled a medical malpractice case for $1.25 million. The patient in question underwent surgery for testicular cancer, but the surgery become complicated due to a hemorrhage and cardiac failure that occurred while the surgery was ongoing. This has resulted in a brain injury so severe that the patient is now in a vegetative state.

Part of the settlement involved a lump sum to the family in the amount of $865,000. A trust has also been set up for another $385,000 that will provide periodic payments to the family.

Radiologist sued for failure to follow-up on cancer concerns

In 2011, a Pennsylvania radiologist while examining an X-ray noted a small area of increased density in a patient's chest. Though a follow-up X-ray was recommended, the results of the follow-up were never communicated to the patient until it was too late. By the next year, this patient was suffering from irreversible lung cancer.

This demonstrates why radiologists are as likely to be sued for medical malpractice as other physicians. The ultimate consequences of a misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose can result in ailments being left untreated - thus increasing in severity over time.

More treatment leads to more medical mistakes

The Institute of Medicine claims that the number of patients dying from medical mistakes in Pennsylvania and across the United States has almost doubled in recent years. Whether or not this is entirely true depends upon the accuracy of statistics generated by each individual state. There is no universal way of making the determination because each state records medical errors differently.

Assuming that what the Institute of Medicine states is correct, it has been theorized that increasing number of fatalities that have occurred in hospitals due to medical mistakes and medication errors is due to the over treating of patients. Patients are being prescribed more prescriptions than in the past, and more MRI screens are being ordered than ever before.

Patient given mistaken HIV diagnosis

Anyone entering a Pittsburgh health clinic would cringe if they were given a fatal diagnosis. It's probably next to impossible to consider what goes on in a patient's mind during such an occurrence.

This did occur for a patient living just south of Pennsylvania where he was presented with a diagnosis of being positive for the HIV virus. As it turns out, the emotional trauma he experienced from being presented with this news was unnecessary because the patient was the victim of a misdiagnosis.

Hospital chain accused of performing unnecessary surgery

HCA is considered to be the largest for-profit hospital chain in the United States, and it has 163 facilities - some here in Pennsylvania. HCA is also now at the center of a medical ethics scandal due to some of the surgical operation procedures at these facilities.

The hospital chain has been accused of performing a number of unnecessary cardiac procedures upon its patients. The allegations were first brought up by a cardiac nurse while writing a letter to the chief ethics officer of the hospital chain. An internal investigation of the matter concluded that the nurse's allegations were accurate.

Fundraiser begun for Pennsylvania child with cerebral palsy

It's so extremely sad to learn of a child born with cerebral palsy that there's usually little to report to concerning such an incident that can be considered positive. Yet friends of families that have given birth to such a child will do everything in their power to be supportive.

A couple in Wilkins (located just outside of Pittsburgh) gave birth to a child that suffers from cerebral palsy and visual impairment. When a co-worker learned of the plight of the family, other fellow employees decided to have a fundraiser for the child and the family. A website was started, and donations for the child's medical costs have been coming in at around $800 to $1,000 per day.

Despite requirements, medical mistakes remain unreported

Pennsylvania has spent a significant amount of time revamping its reporting requirements for hospital errors. However, according to a Department of Health and Human Services report (HHS), hospitals across the country are ignoring state requirements for reporting of errors where patients may have been harmed.

Part of the problem concerning reporting of errors is that such reporting is loosely regulated. Instead of information technology and sharing becoming a means for the medical industry to self-police its own industry, it now it now seems apparent that hospitals and doctors cannot always be trusted to actually report medical and surgical errors.

Misdiagnosed cancer in younger patients is on the rise

Pennsylvanians suffering from unrelenting symptoms may want to seek additional medical advice to ensure their symptoms are not misdiagnosed. In particular, younger patients should be aware of the dangers of misdiagnosed cancer. Doctors often only expect to find certain cancers, like colorectal cancer, in patients over 50.

However, rates of colorectal cancer in patients under 50 have been on the rise. For some younger patients, because doctors do not expect them to have certain cancers, their age has resulted in it taking longer periods of time for doctors to correctly diagnose their symptoms.

Medical malpractice, brain injury and punitive damages

In a state outside of Pennsylvania, that state's highest court has overthrown the state's cap on non-economic damage awards by juries. In a case that concerned a severely brain injured child that came about due to medical malpractice, the high court stated that the state cap limiting non-economic damages to $500,000 or five times what was determined to be compensatory damages violated a party's rights to a trial by jury.

It is yet to be seen what the consequences of such a ruling would be nationwide, but it does show that many courts are rethinking their stance concerning specifically punitive damages and generally medical malpractice cases. Courts may be reluctant to take verdicts away from juries, and juries appear to be sympathetic to the plights of individuals injured due to medical malpractice. Especially when it comes to brain damaged children, it is difficult for juries not to be sympathetic and understand how difficult a medical mistake will likely make a child's life.

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