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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

Hospitals seek for ways to reduce medical errors

Thousands of Pennsylvania residents take prescription medication every day. Sometimes the medications are given on a routine basis while other times they are for a short duration to address a specific one-time problem. No matter the situation, the need to ensure safety for patients and avoid medication errors is great as these problems can lead to serious injury or even death.

Around the nation, the focus on reducing the instances of medication errors, whether due to a dosage mistake, a dangerous combination of prescriptions or other problem is high. The Affordable Care Act has allowed hospitals to be penalized if patients are readmitted too soon, which can happen in the wake of a medication error. Hospital administrations everywhere are seeking ways to avoid these situations.

Icy road likely culprit in fatal chain reaction crash

Three vehicles and a public works truck were involved in a chain reaction fatal car accident in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania recently, and though the authorities are not entirely sure what caused the crash, it seems that the weather may have had a role to play in the wreck. An investigation into the crash is ongoing.

The first crash involved two vehicles, and as far as we can tell, the people involved in that crash will be okay. The driver of the public works truck witnessed this crash, and pulled over to try to help. After his vehicle was stopped and the driver was outside of his truck, another vehicle suddenly plowed into the back of the truck. The woman in that vehicle, a 38-year-old, died at the scene.

Family of recent med school grad file malpractice claim

The rate of medical errors throughout the United States is something of grave concern to all. The right to obtain and trust in the accuracy of medical care is something that all Pennsylvania citizens should enjoy. The causes of medical malpractice claims include many things including the failure to diagnose, a surgical error, a birth complication and related error or something else. Such actions or lack thereof can leave lifelong consequences for patients and their family members.

A news story recently published highlights that even medical personnel are able to be victims of medical negligence. A young doctor died shortly before she was scheduled to begin her pediatric residency and at the same hospital where the residency was planned. Her family recently filed a lawsuit on her behalf naming both Geisinger Health System and the Geisinger Health System Foundation as defendants.

Pennsylvania woman dies from treatable condition, lawsuit alleges

It’s not often that you hear of a medical malpractice lawsuit being filed against medical professionals on behalf of another doctor. That is exactly what the family of young Pennsylvania woman who died last year is doing, however. They claim failure to diagnose a simple medical condition caused the woman’s death.

The 26-year-old medical school graduate started getting terrible headaches and bruising for no reason in May 2013. She sought medical treatment at a hospital where she was admitted and given pain medication and underwent testing. Despite the fact that the headaches had already persisted for 10 days, though, doctors did not order a CT scan until nearly two days later. When it was finally determined that the young woman had a blood clot and given anti-clotting medicine, her condition had worsened too much; she had already experienced neurological problems at that point. She had a stroke, cerebral hemorrhaging and sustained brain damage because of doctors’ negligence, the lawsuit claims. In a cruel twist of fate, the young woman died at the same medical center where she was going to start her medical residency. The family’s lawsuit claims that the woman’s condition could have been easily diagnosed and treated. They are suing for damages including loss of the young doctor’s future earnings.

Birth injury lawsuit yields record breaking $55 million judgment

Many expectant mothers in Pittsburgh formally write or informally discuss a birthing plan with their OB/GYN. Things such as pain management, delivery method and the birth setting are often covered. As important as it is for both the patient and the healthcare provider to have an established plan, it is just as important for both parties to be flexible. There are a number of complications that can change a birthing plan during delivery. If a doctor fails to adapt to these unique circumstances, serious birth injuries can occur.

A Pennsylvania mother claims that negligence on the part of the hospital and her doctor during delivery directly resulted in the permanent disabilities that her son, now 4, suffers from. The boy has cerebral palsy and has difficulty walking and talking. His problems are believed to be caused by a lack of oxygen during delivery. Fetal monitors showed that the boy was not getting enough oxygen and should have been delivered via cesarean section because the baby size was too great for the petite mother to deliver vaginally. The baby became lodged during delivery and a vacuum was used to facilitate the birth, depriving him of even more oxygen. The family filed a medical malpractice lawsuit, naming both the hospital and the doctor as defendants. A two week long civil trial recently ended with a record breaking $55 million dollar judgment in favor of the plaintiffs. It is unknown exactly how much the family will collect, however, because of a cap that attorneys previously agreed to.

Plane crash leaves 2 dead outside Gettysburg

For most people in Pennsylvania, the thought of flying in a plane is not frightening. Many people fly numerous times a year without incident, but there is always a risk of a plane crash, however small. Although most of the crashes we hear about are from small planes operated by recreational pilots, any kind of plane could go down, and the relatives of anyone killed can file wrongful death lawsuits.

In the case of a recent Pennsylvania airplane crash, it is unknown if a mother will file a wrongful death lawsuit against the pilot of plane that went down with her 17-year-old daughter aboard. The mother, who was the pilot's live-in girlfriend, may not wish to file a lawsuit against her deceased boyfriend's estate, but that doesn't mean that she couldn't if she didn't want to.

Surgical errors more common than patients might think

Stories involving surgical errors are often sensationalized in the media to the point that residents of Pittsburgh don’t believe it could actually happen to them. Surely, their physician wouldn’t perform a wrong-site surgery and amputate a leg. Many surgical errors never hit the headlines, however. Patients suffer from a wide variety of post-op problems that can be prevented such as sponges or equipment left inside of the surgery site, dangerous drug combinations and uncontrollable bleeding.

Each year, over 200,000 Americans die from medical errors. Even during routine surgeries such as a gall bladder removal, appendectomy or tonsillectomy, there is a risk of death. In order to remove the tonsils, surgeons either cut the tonsils out or burn them; during the procedure, however, a small artery can be hit and cause uncontrolled bleeding. Some patients clot more easily than others and doctors must quickly assess the situation to stop the bleeding. Other factors can contribute to surgical errors, complications and post-op problems as well. The patient’s weight, for example, can increase the risk associated with tonsillectomies. Before undergoing any type of surgery, patients should weigh the benefits against the possible risks. Patients are also encouraged give surgeons a complete medical history including drug allergies, past reactions to anesthesia and their propensity to bruising or bleeding.

Pennsylvania lawsuit won over brain injury in baby boy

Most people do not have the means to treat their own medical needs. Pennsylvania families need to be able to trust medical professionals when they or someone they love needs care. Unfortunately, physicians and other caregivers can make mistakes and the results can be catastrophic. Sometimes these mistakes may even cause a traumatic brain injury from which there is little or no hope of recovery.

A medical malpractice lawsuit recently ruled in a family's favor after it was determined that their son's cerebral palsy, which may be the result of a brain injury, was caused by the negligence of the professionals caring for him. According to the jury, at the time of the boy's birth, he should have been delivered by Caesarean section because his brain wasn't getting the proper amount of oxygen. The jury felt that both the doctor in charge of his care and the hospital failed to pay attention to signs that would have prevented this from happening.

New helmets can lessen chances of brain injury for athletes

There has been a lot of media coverage on sports injuries in recent months—specifically concussions and other brain injuries. A number of professional and collegiate athletes have filed lawsuits claiming that more should have been done both on and off the field to protect them from traumatic brain injury during the course of their play. A Swedish company recognized the need to better protect athletes and developed a ski helmet to do just that.

The technology used to design and manufacture the ski helmet that made its debut during the World Championship will soon be seen in a variety of other sports as well. A handful of reputable athletic gear companies have adopted the technology that lessens the chances of players suffering a serious brain injury by as much as 40 percent. Select football players, hockey players, cyclists and motocross racers will all be wearing helmets in 2014 that are modeled after that revolutionary ski helmet. Based on findings from 15 years of research, each helmet features three layers: an inner liner, a low-friction filling and an outer shell. The material between the inner liner and the outer shell can move around, which, in turn, reduces the amount of force that passes through the helmet to the wearer’s head.

28-year-old man killed in car accident, 2 more injured

A tragic accident has claimed the life of a 28-year-old man and left a 30-year-old woman and an 8-month-old girl injured. While the woman and girl were flown to two different Pittsburgh hospitals, it is still unknown just how serious their injuries are. Moreover, there is little information on whether doctors believe they will ever recover.

The man was killed in a car accident just south of Pittsburgh in Morris Township. The Washington man had been rushed to Washington Hospital, but he soon succumbed to his fatal injuries. It seems the accident was caused when a 46-year-old woman crossed into oncoming traffic and slammed into the man's SUV. Although the woman was also killed in the accident, it does not necessarily preclude the man's family members from filing a wrongful death lawsuit or the injured woman and girl from filing personal injury lawsuits.

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