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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

Child allowed to attend her own birth injury lawsuit

Many medical malpractice cases come about because of birth injuries suffered while the mother was in labor. Because there have been so many multi-million dollar verdicts for these kinds of lawsuits (including one in Pennsylvania totaling $78.5 million), hospitals understandably are jittery every time a birth injury case is being tried in front of a jury.

In a recent lawsuit where a child contracted cerebral palsy allegedly due to the mistakes of physicians that delivered her, attorneys for the hospital asked that the child not be allowed to attend the trial. The reason for this request was the concern that the child's severe physical and mental disabilities might influence the jury to decide against the hospital.

Medical malpractice, brain injuries and statute of limitations

Anytime a Pennsylvania patient is administered anesthesia during surgery, there is always the danger of surgical error that could lead to injury. In another jurisdiction, the mother of a 13-year old girl is now trying to show that her daughter suffered brain injury due to medical malpractice, and that the responsible hospital also tried to conceal medical records that may have shown wrongdoing.

The girl in question had undergone heart surgery in December of 2006. The father of the girl was then told that the child suffered a brain injury, and that such injury would lead to permanent impairment.

Pennsylvania man let go from hospital has massive heart attack

In what is thought to be one of the largest medical malpractice awards in Pennsylvania history, a jury recently awarded $6.4 million to the five children of a man whose heart condition was misdiagnosed as pneumonia. As a result of the failure to undiagnosed heart condition, the man was discharged and later died after suffering a massive heart attack.

The verdict includes $5.5 million for the children's loss of guidance, education and moral upbringing. The children left behind range in age from 3-years old to 11-years old.

Dangerous Docs: How do we spot them? II

In the first post of this two-part series, we shared the results of a study that was recently published about how to spot doctors that could be putting your health at risk. In the first post we covered the dangers of a doctor who is too ready to prescribe medications and ones that are running on a lack of sleep. Both of these behaviors can lead to misdiagnosis,medication errors and other types of malpractice.

In our first post we mentioned that the study named seven signs of a dangerous doc. So what are the other five? The next danger to watch out for is a doctor who is a little too judgmental. A study published in the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics discussed the example of some male doctors who failed to give women proper treatment because they felt that the women were exaggerating their symptoms. Medicine changes on a daily basis and doctors who are not open-minded or who do not take your complaints seriously could be failing to give you the care you need.

Dangerous Docs: How do we spot them?

Why do we go to the doctor when something does not feel right? We go because our health is one of the most important things in our lives and yet treatment of our ailments is one of the least understood things in our lives. Most individuals in Pennsylvania and across the nation put blind faith in their doctor's abilities. They received years of intense training so they should know what they are doing right?

In some instances, that assumption is inaccurate. Doctors are not these perfect beings; they are fallible and certainly capable of error. Some make medication errors, fail to diagnose a disease or commit other kinds of medical malpractice. We are placing our lives in their hands, so is there any way to spot the ones that could affect our future? A recently published study suggests that there are a few signs to watch out for when choosing a physician.

Pennsylvania statistics show medical malpractice on the decrease

Though we often hear otherwise, statistics from the administration office of Pennsylvania Courts have shown that medical malpractice lawsuits have been on the decrease. This is in part because doctors have become more assertive in addressing patient's health concerns.

Doctor errors such as anesthesia and surgical errors lead to approximately 1.5 million people being injured every year throughout the United States. Medical errors care now considered to be the 5th leading cause of death and unintentional injuries in the country.

A state legislature approves a $15 million birth injury claim

A few weeks ago, a jury brought back a verdict of $78.5 million in a Pennsylvania birth injury suit. More recently, a claims bill submitted to the Florida state legislature has approved a $15 million award for another child with similar type of injuries. (The submission of a claims bill for approval of certain medical malpractice awards is required in that state.)

The latest matter concerns the birth injuries that were inflicted upon a boy who is now 14-years old. The boy now suffers from severe cerebral palsy and has been confined to a wheelchair.

Lyme disease often misdiagnosed

A Pennsylvania doctor expressed concerns about how Lyme disease is not always being identified properly. This is of particular concern during the summer months, and during a year when the rate of Lyme disease is expected to be quite high. However, since Lyme disease is an extremely common disease with potentially serious consequences, it is extremely important that it is identified early on rather than misidentified due to a misdiagnosis.

It is common for those suffering from Lyme disease to exhibit a rash that looks like a bull's-eye. However, such a rash is not present in all cases, and doctors need to look towards other symptoms as well to properly diagnose the disease.

Hospitals shielding of doctors from liability

A 62-year old patient was treated at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) for bleeding of the brain, and it is alleged that the doctors treating him were guilty of a number of medical mistakes that led to the man dying. Though the family of the deceased filed a medical malpractice claim against UPMC and four treating doctors, the claims against the doctors were dropped in exchange for a $1.37 million settlement to the family.

Why were the claims against the doctors dropped? Possibly this was a means of avoiding placing the doctors names in a database that keeps track of medical malpractice claims filed against such physicians.

Medication mistakes made on the cell phone

We've mentioned several times how communication errors contribute greatly to medication mistakes made in prescribing and administering the drugs. Now it is believed that cell phone communications may contribute to such medication errors as well.

To begin with, a voice on the cell phone is not always clear and can result in miscommunications taking place. Ordinarily this would not be a problem, but a medication mistake can result in injury or even death to the individual that the medicine is prescribed.

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