When a patient sees a medical professional and explains a set of symptoms, the patient can reasonably expect that tests will be conducted, the symptoms will be taken into account and a diagnosis will be given. Once there is a diagnosis, treatment can begin. But, what if the medical professional diagnoses the wrong malady, or worse, fails altogether to diagnose an illness or disease? In Pennsylvania, this can rise to the level of medical malpractice.
When one thinks of a medical malpractice case, incidents such as surgical errors, failures to diagnose an illness, or secondary infections may come to mind. In Pennsylvania, as elsewhere, medical professionals are not only supposed to do their jobs correctly, they are also held to a higher standard of conduct. As it turns out, falling below such standards may constitute also medical malpractice.
In Pennsylvania, when you visit a hospital or doctor's office, or move a loved one into a care facility, you expect to be treated with the utmost care and professionalism. And in the vast majority of cases, you receive the care you expect. Unfortunately, however, mistakes happen, as do negligent or deliberate acts that result in harm or in some instances, death. At such times, you need the help of a seasoned medical negligence attorney.
A recent opinion from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court clarified the statute of limitations - the time limit for filing a lawsuit - in cases where a person dies because of medical negligence. Justice Sallie Mundy wrote the opinion in the case of Dubose v. Quinlan. Although the two-year statute of limitations remains the same, when it begins to run was the crux of the opinion. It now begins to run from the time of death.
When medical professionals are negligent or make mistakes, patients and insurers are usually the ones who have to foot the bill. This is different from most other industries where a provider is expected to make good on a faulty service or product. If a person paid a plumber to fix a leaky pipe that continued to leak, that person wouldn't expect to pay the plumber again to fix what was already supposed to have been repaired. Not so in the health care sector.
Surgical errors can be devastating to victims which is why victims have important legal protections when they have been injured or otherwise harmed by surgical errors or other medical malpractice. When a medical care provider has been careless and negligently harmed a patient, victims and their families can seek compensation for their physical, financial and emotional damages through a personal injury claim for damages.
When an illness or disease is not properly diagnosed, it cannot be properly treated. An erroneous diagnosis can result in a worsened medical condition and even death. Fortunately, legal protections are available to help victims through the challenges they face because of a medical misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose. Victims may suffer physical, financial and emotional damages because of a failure to properly diagnose a medical condition the victim is already suffering from.
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.
Nursing homes employ trusted caretakers to care for residents entrusted to the nursing home by their family members. Nursing homes employ nurses, licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants and nurses' aides to provide care for patients. When a loved one has been harmed in a nursing home, it can be devastating. Nursing home negligence and nursing home errors can result in serious and fatal injuries that may be considered wrongful death.
Medical malpractice can have a lifelong impact on victims and their families. A recent settlement will result in a young girl who suffered brain and heart damage as a result of medical malpractice, and her parents, receiving a settlement of a minimum of $12.5 million. The settlement between the victims and a medical center and several doctors in a nearby Pennsylvania community north of the Pottsville area was recently approved by the court. The parents of the 9-year old girl asserted that a bad surgery days following the child's birth left her with lasting brain and heart injuries.