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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

Infant receives overdose of meningitis medication in hospital

Most parents want nothing more than to have a happy, healthy child. If their child becomes ill or is born with a serious medical condition, they rely on healthcare professionals to diagnose and treat the problem. Unfortunately, mistakes can occur on a number of different levels—from delayed diagnosis to failure to read a doctor’s handwriting to a negligent pharmacist making a dosage mistake. The only thing more heart-wrenching than knowing that your child will be disabled for the rest of his or her life because of a dosage error is a fatal error.

Parents of a 6-week-old boy were recently told that there is nothing more they can do for their preemie son who was diagnosed with meningitis and are being urged to take him off the ventilator that is keeping him alive. Shortly after being given more than 10 times the prescribed amount of a medication used to treat infections, the baby’s heart stopped beating and his brain started swelling. The hospital has admitted that a negligent pharmacist did not follow the proper protocol and made the dosage mistake. Instead of receiving 168 mg of the medication in a 24 hour period, he received 280 mg. Yet, the hospital denies that the dosage error is the reason for the baby’s worsened condition. Instead, they say the heart and brain problems are a result of the meningitis. The parents knew that recovery from the rare disease would be long and hard, but expected he would eventually get better.

Doctors face $900,000 lawsuit for delayed diagnosis of cancer

Breast cancer has one of the highest survival rates of any type of cancer. Still, early detection is necessary to increase the chances of survival. Women in Pittsburgh and elsewhere in the United States are urged to get mammograms on an annual basis after the age of 40; experts recommend that others with a history of cancer in the family get them sooner. Even if women follow these guidelines and get mammograms regularly, it is still possible that a negligent doctor might fail to detect the disease.

A woman in Wisconsin recently filed a $900,000 lawsuit against a team of doctors for a delayed diagnosis of her breast cancer. Despite the fact that the four medical professionals had performed multiple mammograms and ultrasounds on the woman’s left breast, they failed to diagnosis the condition in a timely manner. The woman and her husband are seeking damages for her enduring pain and mental anguish as a result of the delayed diagnosis, as well as disability and disfigurement. They are also seeking compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. By the time the cancer was diagnosed, the disease had spread and her condition worsened. The cancer is now considered to be quite aggressive.

John Gismondi secures $1.8 million for victim of failed diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome

John Gismondi of the Law Offices of Gismondi & Associates has secured more than $1.8 million for a man who claimed his emergency room physician from Forbes Regional Hospital failed to diagnose him with cauda equina syndrome, otherwise known as "horse's tail" syndrome. The trial was overseen by Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County Judge Michael A. Della Vecchia; docket # GD 12-17566, Allegheny County.

Cauda equina syndrome is a neurologic condition wherein damage to the cauda equina, which is the bundle of spinal nerves and nerve roots at the bottom of the spine cord, can cause loss of bowel, bladder, and sexual function.

Attorney Gismondi cited liability as the major factor in the case. The defense claimed that the plaintiff's complaints in the emergency room were not consistent with cauda equina syndrome because he did not show any classic signs, such as loss of bowel and bladder function, while being treated. Instead, the defendant characterized the victim's complaints as typical lower back pain that were resolved by the time the man was discharged soon thereafter. The ER doctor told the court that the victim left the hospital content and feeling better.

Technology leveraged in hospital efforts to increase safety

Medical errors are noted to be one of the top three causes of death around the country. The nature of such errors can range dramatically from mistakes made during surgeries, missed or incorrect diagnoses, failure to provide proper treatment and more, putting residents in Pennsylvania at risk every day. Medication errors are also among the list of the most common problems that occur and result in serious injury or even death.

As medical providers and facilities around the country struggle with how to ensure safety in medications and practices for dispensing them, one news article recently reported on how a particular cancer center in Texas is addressing the issue. The Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston hired a medical safety consultant to lead a team of medical professionals in efforts to improve medication safety at the hospital.

Concern for patient safety highlighted

Medical errors have been the subject of many news headlines since recent data now shows such instances to be a leading cause of death nationwide. Patients in Pennsylvania are at risk of injury or death when seeking medical care on a daily basis. Problems can arise in any situation and for parents birth injuries can be extremely traumatic as their newborn babies can be left with permanent disability, brain injury and more as the result of actions by a negligent doctor or negligent nurse.

An article that was recently published in the media suggested that concerns about patient safety do not receive the level of attention and care that they deserve. The author indicates that there is sufficient information that should make it clear what is needed to protect patients against complications in a delivery process, surgery or other medical setting but that those actions are not taken. Rather, efforts focus on how to protect healthcare providers and facilities against liability and compensation for such injuries.

Pennsylvania man's recovery highlights cost, time of healing

This week, we are covering the story of a 21-year-old man from a small town in south-central Pennsylvania. The young man was in a serious car accident at the end of November and he is still recovering from his injuries. Though he was the driver in a single-vehicle accident, the injuries he suffered, the medical debt he has accrued and the time it has taken to recover are all similar to those of victims in car accidents caused by negligent drivers. While this young man likely cannot file a personal injury lawsuit, anyone who is hurt by another driver likely can.

It has been over two months since his accident and the 21-year-old still cannot return to work as a motorcycle technician. As it is, this young man has been extremely lucky, as it was not certain that he would initially survive his injuries.

Shortened life span may be result for brain injury victims

The impact of a traumatic brain injury is something that all Pennsylvania residents should be aware of. Brain trauma can result from many different situations including sports injuries, car accidents or falls that happen at work, when recreating and in other situations. The need to seek proper and prompt treatment for any form of brain injury is paramount to the long-term health of the victim.

A recent news release that was issued by an Oxford University medical research team indicates that patients who suffer traumatic brain injuries are much more likely to have a shortened lifespan. A study conducted of more than 218,000 subject and more than 150,000 of their siblings showed that the brain injury victims were three times more likely to die early than those people without such an injury. When compared to their siblings, to account for genetic factors, the same victims had more than a two-and-a-half percent chance of premature death.

Pennsylvania receives C+ grade for emergency care

Residents in Pennsylvania look to the state’s hospital system for scheduled and emergency care in times of need. Knowing that the right care is available and proper treatment will be dispensed is something that each person should be able to trust in. However, problems can occur, turning patients into victims. Whether it is understaffed hospitals and long waiting times or a doctor’s failure to diagnose a problem correctly or at all, the possible consequences can be serious and long-lasting.

An article that was recently published in the media reviewed a recent rating of each state by the American College of Emergency Physicians. The report showed many positive things for Pennsylvania emergency care but left the state with an overall grade of only a C+ due to what it noted as deficiencies in many areas that could leave the public in jeopardy of harm.

Effects of brain injury are long lasting, widespread

When someone is involved in a car accident and breaks his or her leg, the prognosis is fairly clear. Unless something drastic happens, the injured victim will likely recover and not face many long-term medical conditions because of the broken leg. With a brain injury, however, the immediate recovery is only part of what could be a long-lasting injury that pervades many aspects of a victim's life. And, according to a recently published study, individuals with brain injuries are three times more likely to die prematurely than those people without brain injuries.

There are many different causes of brain injuries, but if someone in Pittsburgh is injured because of someone else's negligence or recklessness, he or she can file a personal injury lawsuit and hold that individual responsible. Not only do these lawsuits force someone to account for his or her dangerous behavior, but it is also an important way to secure funds to cover the cost of long-term care.

Chain reaction accident causes wrongful death in Pennsylvania

Most drivers, whether from Pennsylvania or another state, know what it's like to get trapped in heavily congested traffic. Moving at irregular stop-and-go speeds in a long line of cars and tractor-trailers can be a dangerous way to travel. It is easy to see how a serious accident or even wrongful death could occur if any of the motorists lose focus or drive while distracted.

A husband and wife in their 60s recently died while in a long line of traffic that had formed following a tanker truck accident that happened earlier that day. The two were killed when their SUV was hit from behind by a tractor-trailer in the line of traffic behind them. The impact caused a domino-like reaction, pushing the SUV into the tractor-trailer in front of it and slamming that vehicle into the next tractor-trailer in line.

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