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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

Four dead, three seriously injured in Armstrong County car crash

About 45 miles northeast of Pittsburgh sits South Bend Township. The small Armstrong County town was earlier this week the scene of a horrific car accident that left four people dead and three others seriously injured.

The county sheriff said the two-car crash was one of the worst he had seen in his 30 years in law enforcement. Among the dead were three teenagers, news reports said.

Hands-free devices are still dangerous

Being able to use voice commands to dial a phone or send a text message is certainly helpful when your hands are full. Not only that, but not having to hold a phone while having a conversation can be nice. These kinds of advances in technology certainly have their place in society, but not behind the wheel. Even though drivers may assume that hands-free means distraction free with regard to cellphones behind the wheel, more than 30 studies have shown that hands-free devices are just as dangerous as handheld devices.

Sadly, there are many people in Pittsburgh who don't realize this and continue to drive while distracted. Even if it is not a phone or a built-in "infotainment" system, there are a number of things that can distract drivers.

Incomplete surgery forces woman to undergo subsequent procedure

With growing publicity about the rate of medical errors in the United States, more and more people have become aware of the scope of this problem. Pennsylvania residents must simultaneously trust their physicians and other care providers yet must always remain alert for potential problems. One surgeon mistake can lead to multiple subsequent problems.

Surgical errors can include many types of problems such as when a piece of surgical equipment left inside a patient is later found. Sometimes a worsened condition results from a problem or negligent act. A story in the news recently reported on the case of a woman in Ohio who has filed a lawsuit against a surgeon and the Board of Governors for the Marshall University. The reason for the lawsuit is an alleged error and incomplete surgery that she received in August 2011.

Payouts rise in medical malpractice cases in 2013

Residents in Pennsylvania, as with those around the nation, must rely upon medical professionals to provide accurate, ethical treatment and care every day. While warranted much if not most of the time, the reality of medical errors does in fact also exist. After a failure to diagnose, a surgical error or some other act, the spread of disease, a worsened condition or even death can ensue. This can often leave patients or their loved ones looking for help.

From state to state, the laws governing medical malpractice vary greatly as do damage awards in such cases. Diedrich Healthcare recently released data showing some statistics for payouts in 2013 which saw an increase for the first time in 10 years. Non-trial judgments accounted for 96 percent of the awards. An article reporting on the information indicated that some doctors may hesitate to proceed to trial unless they are completely confident about winning, resulting in a high number of non-judgment awards.

Hospital and suspended surgeon face fourth malpractice suit

Citizens all around the United States including in Pennsylvania are aware of the risks of medical errors. New studies show that such instances may be the third leading cause of death in the country. Whether due to birth injuries, medication errors, surgical errors or something else, the types of serious injury and trauma that can result is great.

A story in the media recently reported on a new lawsuit filed against a surgeon and hospital in Texas. The case represents the fourth such suit filed against the defendants. The neurosurgeon involved was suspended from practice in June of 2013 after allegations of surgical errors that led to the injury, paralysis or death of other patients. The allegations came from other physicians. The current suit also claims that Baylor Medical Center Plano was aware of the allegations against the surgeon yet continued to let him practice.

Reducing distracted driving by better fonts?

Texting while driving is incredibly dangerous and, unfortunately, it is a behavior that is on the rise. Even the most careful of drivers in Pittsburgh can cause a serious accident if they are distracted. Not only are they putting their lives and safety at risk, but also everyone else on the road. Though they may not intend to cause a crash, if their negligence causes one, they can be held responsible.

While many states have enacted a texting or even a handheld phone ban, it does not appear to deter many drivers. This is why some companies are looking to come up with ways to reduce the amount of time individuals are looking away from the road to use their electronic devices. By focusing on font and spacing, some designers think they can reduce distraction.

Physician handoff procedure changes may improve patient safety

Medical errors are a serious area of concern to patients and their family members in Pennsylvania. With the rate of such errors believed to be far greater than once thought, more people are aware of the risks. An instance of medical malpractice can leave a patient with a permanent disability that may require a lifestyle change, such as with a brain injury. For some people, a surgical mistake can even lead to death.

Around the country, some efforts to improve patient safety and reduce the risk of a medical mistake are being implemented. Two community hospitals that are affiliated with Northwestern University are instituting new routines to be conducted every time physicians go on or off duty. Twelve other hospitals have signed up to participate as well and as many as 200 more are considering the program.

Improved patient safety goal of new IV pumps

There can be many things that cause a medical error. Surgical mistakes, items left in a patient’s body, incorrect or even completely missed diagnoses, a medication dosage mistake and more can all turn a Pennsylvania patient into a victim. In the world of medication errors, problems can occur at many points. Injuries to patients can be traced back to the actions of a negligent pharmacist, a dangerous combination of prescriptions or a doctor prescribing the wrong drug.

Another problem with medications that can result in serious injury to patients is inappropriate flow or administration of intra-venous drugs in the hospital. A news report recently wrote about a new type of medication pump designed to leverage smart technology. These smart pumps may offer new hope against such errors. The pumps are linked electronically to a hospital’s drug library and automatically calculate the drug flow rate, eliminating the need for manual programming by a nurse.

Malpractice cap ruled unconstitutional in Florida

Medical errors in the state of Pennsylvania are of serious concern. Birth injuries, missed or incorrect diagnosis, surgical errors, medication errors and more together have become among the top causes of death in the United States. Only heart disease and cancer claim more lives each year than do medical errors. The laws that govern malpractice lawsuits and the ability of victims to receive compensation vary greatly from state to state. These same laws have been known to change within just a matter of years in a single state.

In Florida, for example, a 2003 bill signed by the Governor at the time enacted a $1 million cap on damage awards for medical malpractice claims. This cap is for any non-economic or punitive portions of an award. A case that was initiated by the parents of a woman who died after having her baby, however, is been the conduit by which this law has been successfully challenged.

Dispute in lawsuit over patient’s medical records

Pennsylvania citizens are as concerned as their counterparts in the rest of the country about the alarming rate of medical errors. With reports indicating that such situations are the third leading cause of death in the United States, such fears appear to be warranted indeed. From a failure to diagnose cancer to a medication error and more, the nature and range of negligent acts is great. In some situations, delayed treatment can lead to a worsened condition and even death.

The family of one woman in Pennsylvania asserts that she was the victim of such a case. The 26-year old recent medical school graduate went to the hospital complaining of persistent headaches and died three days later from severe brain hemorrhaging, brain damage and a stroke due to undiagnosed blood clots. Family members filed a lawsuit recently and now the struggle in the case is over access to the victim’s medical records.

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