Medical errors are one of the biggest understated fears for Pennsylvania residents. Since going to see a medical professional is done to receive effective treatment for an illness, condition or injury, there is a clear expectation that the medical professionals will adhere to standard protocol and provide the proper treatment. Unfortunately, medical errors are all-too common across the nation. These can lead to worsened conditions, massive medical expenses, long-term damage and even death. For those who think they might have been impacted by a medical error, it is important to understand the statistics for these occurrences and know how to take the necessary steps to file a lawsuit for compensation.
Pennsylvania residents who seek medical care for any reason have the right to expect that they will be given the proper treatment, the correct medications and not be subject to mistakes on the part of medical professionals. Unfortunately, medical errors are common and they can cause serious injury and even death to victims. While there are many reasons why there might be a medical error, a new study from Stanford University indicates that a major issue is physician "burnout." Those who have been injured or lost a loved one in what they believe to have been a medical mistake should pay attention to this issue, as it could be relevant in a legal filing for compensation.
Barring unusual issues, most Pennsylvanians will not view childbirth as overtly dangerous to the health of the mother and child. In truth, there is recent information stating that mothers are experiencing an increasing number of complications, injuries and death during childbirth in the United States. This was presented in an investigation by USA Today and should be of concern to all who are expecting a child.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is poised to decide a case that could have wide-ranging implications for health care practitioners. In Pennsylvania, the law in medical malpractice cases has been that a doctor - or other health care professional - cannot claim that a patient "assumed the risk" of a procedure going wrong. For example, if a surgeon negligently injures a patient during a surgery, the surgeon can't say that because the patient agreed to the surgery and was informed of the potential risks, that the patient agreed to the surgeon's negligent performance.
Horror stories about the wrong patient being anesthetized and wheeled into surgery, only to be operated on before the mistake has been realized, abound in pop culture. With the precautions that hospitals, physicians and other healthcare facilities take these days to confirm identities, mistaken identity is far less common than it once was. But, it does still occur. And, when it does, healthcare professionals could find themselves on the wrong end of a medical malpractice or negligence claim.
When a patient seeks the advice or care of a health professional in Pennsylvania, they are trusting the professional to use the utmost care and skill - particularly where children and infants are concerned. If a medical provider fails to meet the standards expected of them by their profession, the consequences can be devastating for a patient and their family members. And in cases where a health care provider's act or omission has life-long effects, the provider may be on the wrong end of a hefty medical malpractice verdict.
When a medical professional is presented with the evidence they need to make a diagnosis and yet fails to do so, such a failure may rise to the level of medical malpractice. In some cases, the failure to diagnose results in the worsening of a patient's condition, requiring in turn even more medical intervention. Such negligence can also result in the health care provider and its insurer taking a significant financial hit when forced to compensate a victim for their injuries.
An oft-heard maxim of health care is "first, do no harm." Medical malpractice may arise when this maxim is violated. Most typically, when the topic of medical malpractice comes up, it involves tales of bungled surgeries, misdiagnoses or even the failure to diagnose an illness. What these types of cases have in common is that they involve negligent acts: the health care professional did not use the level of care that is expected of them by legal, professional or societal standards. A less common, but more insidious type, of medical malpractice occurs when a health care professional's deliberate acts result in personal injury to a patient.
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.