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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

High school girl dies during wisdom tooth extraction

Pennsylvania residents may take for granted that no mistakes will be made when one undergoes a routine surgical procedure. Unfortunately, such procedures are where most medical errors actually take place.

A 17-year old high school student's death occurred after a wisdom tooth surgical extraction. While the surgery took place the girl's heart rate decreased likely depriving the brain of oxygen. Though the autopsy reported her as a "healthy teenager with no significant medical history," she died soon after the surgery due to acute brain damage.

Pennsylvania medical malpractice verdict for $78.5 million

A jury verdict of $78.5 million was rendered in Pennsylvania concerning the birth injuries leading to cerebral palsy. The injuries that led to this malady came about possibly because of an 81-minute delay before a cesarean section was performed.

It appears that the child was deprived of oxygen during labor and such a complication could have been alleviated if prompt action by the medical staff had been taken. This physician apparently at one point incorrectly told the mother than the baby had died which resulted in this delay. However a later ultrasound detected a fetal heartbeat that finally prompted the staff to perform the cesarean section procedure.

Doctors too often over treat certain medical conditions

The fear of diagnosis failure a particular medical condition may lead doctors to overly prescribe certain treatment or medications. Though ultimately doctors should have sufficient training and expertise to need not worry about such concerns, the large number of medical malpractice cases filed in Pennsylvania and elsewhere indicates this is not always the situation.

Seeing that any sort of medical procedure will lead to a certain number of mistakes, the more procedures performed the greater the number of errors that will occur. Doctors will also order a large number of tests and imaging such as EKGs for patients with no symptoms of heart trouble, subject the patient to a large number of x-rays, and prescribe antibiotics as soon as cold or flu symptoms happen to arise.

Should military hospitals be sued for medical malpractice?

The United States Supreme Court declined to hear a case involving a former soldier who suffered severe brain damage due to a surgical error that occurred during a routine procedure performed at a military hospital. The soldier was admitted for appendicitis. However, when he stopped breathing while an appendectomy was being performed the staff inserted a breathing tube into the esophagus rather than the trachea.

Medical malpractice essentially left this soldier brain-dead. The reason why his brain injury case was turned down by the court is because of the so-called Feres Doctrine ruling that the federal government cannot be held liable for injuries that occurred during the course of military duty. Unfortunately, such a doctrine has also been expanded into the area of medical malpractice as well.

Pennsylvania hospital home to several medication errors

A recurrent problem has occurred in a Pennsylvania hospital resulting in patients being administered too much medication. Such a medication error led to two patients receiving approximately ten times more medication than was prescribed.

Only a few months ago the same facility was suspected of providing three patients an overdose of pain medication while using self-controlled pumps to administer the drug. The infusion pumps in question are set by nurses or other medical staff and for some reason in each case the machines were set too high.

Eight-inch surgical tool left in man's abdomen

Most patients trust that careless mistakes will not be made by their medical providers while they are on the surgical table. Happily, patients in Pittsburgh are more fortunate in this regards than certain other areas in the nation. Just recently, a surgical error that took place in a southern state may have resulted in ongoing health problems for the patient.

The patient in question underwent surgery for stomach cancer back in 2010. Almost immediately after the surgery was performed he experienced severe abdominal pain and he began running a fever. X-rays and scans of the stomach then revealed that a retractor measuring 8 inches long and 2 inches wide was left in the man's abdomen after the surgery had been performed.

The need for interpreters in hospital emergency rooms

We've written before about how so many medical and medication errors occur due to miscommunications between staff members. Another important part of communication often overlooked is communication between medical staff and the patient.

Especially in large cities like Pittsburgh, emergency room staff will often be placed in the position of treating patients that do not speak English. A recent study has found that wrong medication doses were given nearly twice as much when the emergency room was not staffed with professional interpreters that could clearly communicate with the patient being seen.

Nationally renown rehab facility sued for wrongful death

A nationally renown treatment center is being sued for the death of a 20-year-old patient while he was under treatment for bulimia and alcoholism. When complications arose in his treatment, the facility transferred him to another center, where he suffered from cardiac arrest and died.

The boy was transferred from an Arizona sober living home to the Morningside Recovery center in California. Initially the young man had made progress with alcohol use, but continued to binge and purge. According to a prior medical history, his biggest problem was with bulimia, not alcohol addiction.

Hospitals and Doctors Need to Admit Mistakes

Seven hospitals in Massachusetts have finally come to believe something that lawyers may say is pretty obvious: It is better if doctors and hospitals admit their medical mistakes up front to patients and try to pay them fair compensation for injuries they have caused.

Reporting requirements regarding surgical site infections

Surgeries performed that result in infection for patients kills approximately 8,000 patients every year. And because hospitals in Pennsylvania and the whole United States are reluctant to report such surgical errors recommendations for public reporting standards of such hospital infections have been made.

Just about every state has its own requirements as to what should and should not be reported. There are only 21 states in the nation have legislation that requires reporting for incidents of surgical site infections, and in 13 of those states the data does not need to be made public. Also, only ten types of surgical procedures of the 250 total performed are used in measurements of such infections.

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