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State supreme court issues important medical malpractice ruling


Medical malpractice claims are an important resource for victims and their families harmed by medical negligence. A recent state supreme court decision in Pennsylvania could result in a greater number of medical malpractice claims. The court returned a case to the lower court, finding that a doctor could not delegate the task of obtaining informed consent for a risky procedure to a physician's assistant. The court found that the neurosurgeon could not rely on the physician's assistant to obtain informed consent for surgery to be performed on a brain tumor.

A couple brought a medical malpractice claim in Pennsylvania after the brain surgery operation resulted in hemorrhage, stroke, brain injury and partial blindness to the wife who was the patient. A surgical error by the neurosurgeon, perforating an artery, was blamed for the injuries and harm the woman suffered. The supreme court found, while reviewing an appeal of the lower court's decision, that obtaining informed consent requires a face-to-face exchange between the patient and the doctor and that the doctor must provide sufficient information to obtain informed consent.

Medical malpractice and surgical errors can result in significant harm to victims and their families at a time when victims and families are already vulnerable and facing many challenges they trust their medical professionals to help them with. Victims and their families may face physical, financial and emotional damages after suffering from a surgical or other medical error.

Depending on the circumstances, personal injury and wrongful death legal options are available to help victims of medical malpractice. Victims and their families may be able to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and wrongful death damages which may be of use during the aftermath of a surgical procedure that has not gone as expected.

Source: Pennsylvania Record, "State Supreme Court decision could lead to more lawsuits against doctors," Carrie Salls, Aug. 30, 2017

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