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Pennsylvania jury gives $4M award in medical malpractice case

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional makes a mistake in the care of a patient which causes further injuries to the patient. A claim for medical malpractice is based on the theory of negligence, which requires that the person bringing the claim prove that the elements of negligence exist. The claim must show that there was a duty owed to the victim by the medical professional and that the duty was breached. It must also be shown that the victim suffered some injury as a result of this breach of duty and the breach was the proximate cause of the victim's injury.

A man from Hatboro, Pennsylvania, was awarded $4 million in a medical malpractice claim against his primary physician. The man had visited the doctor in July 2009 to have a cyst on his neck examined. The doctor told the man that he could remove the cyst in his office and the procedure was performed later that month.

After the procedure, the man could not move his left arm more than 90 degrees and lost strength in that arm. He had his arm examined by other doctors who discovered that his primary physician had severed a nerve during the removal of the cyst and the nerve could not be repaired. The man works as a steamfitter, electrician and plumber and after his injury, he was unable to performed many tasks related to his job.

Medical malpractice claims may be difficult to win. Those filing claims for medical malpractice because of surgical error, doctor error or a misdiagnosis must ensure that all of the elements of negligence are satisfied. When deciding a medical malpractice case, the jury must determine if the doctor or other medical professional acted as a reasonable professional would have in the same circumstance. The victim must prove the appropriate standard of care through expert testimony. If the jury finds that the defendant's actions fell below the standard of care, then it must find in favor of the victim.

Source:, "Montco jury awards Hatboro man $4M for nerve damage," Margaret Gibbons, August 27, 2013

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