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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

High numbers of hospital and surgical infections

One great area of concerns for all patients concern surgical site infections due to surgical errors. Though there has been a decline of infections in Pennsylvania hospitals that have cropped up during a patient's hospital stay, such infections remain a major concern as nearly 99,000 patients across the country die every year due to this condition.

Surgical site infections are the most common type of infections associated with a hospital stay. A number of procedures have resulted in surgical site infections including peripheral vascular bypass surgery, colon and rectal surgeries, hernia surgery, liver surgery and pancreas and bile duct surgeries.

Pennsylvania medication errors and role of pharmacy

In a five year period in Pennsylvania, more than 500 medication errors occurred while an in-house pharmacy was closed. Many pharmacies have gone to on-site 24-hour services, but safeguards still need to be in place to prevent mix-ups in medications from occurring.

It is important that patients do not use medications incorrectly that can result in harm. Risk reduction strategies can be implemented if such pharmacies are proactive in making sure that such mistakes are not made.

Doctors prescribing and dispensing of medicine at the same time

In Pennsylvania a doctor does not require a license to dispense of medication. Yet it is a great concern that doctors are provided with too much authority to directly provide medicine to patients without any safeguards to prevent a medication error.

Studies have shown that such medication errors often occur due to a miscommunication between a doctor and a pharmacy. However, pharmacists often have safety procedures in place that allows them to detect such errors before a patient ends up taking the incorrect medication or dosage. Having a doctor both prescribe and dispense of the medicine cuts out this particular safety check.

Misdiagnosing Down syndrome

All Pennsylvania expectant parents are concerned that their child be born healthy. This is in part why doctors are more frequently being taken to task for failing to diagnose Down syndrome during prenatal screenings before the child is born.

A couple was recently assured following such a screening that their child appeared healthy. The child instead was born with Down syndrome and the parents and their attorney are now suing for $7 million. The parents feel such an amount would be necessary in order to provide the child with a lifetime of care.

Pharmacy mistakenly provides cancer medication to children

A pharmacy provided children with breast cancer medication rather than fluoride pills. Though the type of medication probably will not lead to adverse effects from taking of the incorrect medication, nevertheless this was a medication error that should never have occurred. Unfortunately, this type of error has occurred in Pennsylvania as well.

It is believed that only a few children actually ingested the wrong medication, but the cancer medication may have been distributed to as many as 50 families between December 1st and February 20th. The New Jersey Attorney General's office is investigating the matter and has ordered the pharmacy to provide an explanation as to how such an error could have occurred.

Pregnant women and epidurals during labor

Pregnant women from Pittsburgh need to be aware of risks that occur when medical providers give epidurals during labor. There can be adverse effects to the epidural analgesia provided while a mother is in labor that lead to spiked fevers in the mother and oxygen deprivation for the newborn child.

Resultant birth injures from such fevers are all too common and can lead to poor muscle tone, breathing difficulties, poor APGAR scores (appearance, pulse, grimace, activity and respiration observations at birth) and seizures. This is especially true when the mother has a fever of above 100.4 degrees.

Man dies of anesthetic reaction as no doctor could be found

The administration of anesthesia can result in all sorts of errors including brain trauma, and Pittsburgh hospitals must always take care during any surgery to insure brain injury or death does not occur. Many such errors were preventable if instructions and procedures were in place for emergency staff that could easily have been understood and followed.

Some anesthesiologists have now found themselves being sued because such protocol was not in place and this likely led to the death of a 20-year old patient. No physician was on hand when the anesthesia was given and when the patient went into anaphylactic shock no physician could be located until after considerable delay. The patient was deprived of oxygen during the delay, suffered significant brain damage and died a few days after the anesthesia was administered.

Errors during physical therapy procedures alleged

Many medical malpractice claims occur during routine care or surgical procedures rather than during more complicated aspects of care. Medical care providers often do not implement procedures concerning such care and mistakes are made or vital aspects of care are ignored.

A patient diagnosed in a burn center in Pittsburgh with severe burns and gangrene in his hands was then transferred to another facility for follow-up rehabilitative therapy. However, it is now alleged that the facility to which the patient was transferred implemented a physical therapy regimen that did not meet accepted standards. It's further alleged that the treatment resulted in disfigurement and loss of the use of the hands.

Jury reaches decision in failure to diagnose case

It is very important for medical professionals to not commit diagnosis-related negligence when providing care to patients. When a medical professional negligently fails to properly diagnose a patient, it can result in a patient suffering great harm. Sadly, diagnosis-related negligence can sometimes even result in a patient's death.

Recently, a verdict was reached in a failure to diagnose case from New York. The case involved a man who reportedly received care from a doctor at an emergency room of a hospital in New York in November of 2007. Reportedly, two days after the doctor saw the man, the man died.

Family wins jury award in surgical negligence case

It can be very harmful when a medical professional commits negligence while performing a surgical procedure on a patient. Thus, it is very important for medical professionals to act properly when providing surgical care. No patient should have to have his or her health and/or life put at risk because a medical professional acted negligently in connection to a surgery.

Recently, a jury reached its decision in a case from Illinois involving allegations of surgical negligence. The case involved a man who reportedly underwent a surgical procedure in January of 2007. The surgery reportedly involved the removal of the man's spleen. The doctors who performed this spleen surgery reportedly used a robotic surgical system during the procedure.

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