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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

Widow blames hospital for man's death, claims medical malpractice

Victims of car accidents in Pennsylvania often require medical attention following a wreck. For those seriously or catastrophically injured, a trip to the hospital is typically necessary. When health care is not provided in a timely matter, the result can be fatal. A medical malpractice suit filed by a widow claims that an out-of-state hospital failed to provide that care, resulting in her husband's death.

The victim was riding a motorcycle at the time of the accident, leaving him particularly vulnerable to injury. By the time that the emergency responders showed up, his widow says that he was already experiencing a significant amount of pain in both his chest and his abdomen. They ultimately transported him to the hospital, although at that point his health was already going downhill. 

Victim says failure to diagnose pulmonary embolism almost fatal

Although it may be cold now, summer will arrive in Pennsylvania in only a few short months, and many individuals will be heading out to enjoy warm afternoons at the pool. Getting ready for bathing suit season can vary from person to person and might include lacing up jogging shoes or going under the knife. Unfortunately, an out-of-state patient claims that the liposuction procedure she underwent caused more harm than anything else after her doctor's failure to diagnose a dangerous condition.

The patient was under the care of the doctor in question for several years. After undergoing the first stage of a laser liposuction procedure over a year earlier, she returned to the doctor in July 2014 to have the procedure finished. The victim claims that she reported experiencing pain both before and after the procedure. Instead of investigating the pain further, she was instead given the narcotic pain reliever Demerol.

Medical malpractice claims may soon follow serious infections

So-called superbugs that are resistant to all current antibiotics have been in the news following multiple deaths and illnesses. Although the seemingly unstoppable spread of the superbug occurred at a hospital in another state, the news may have left some Pennsylvania patients feeling wary about going to the hospital or undergoing certain procedures. Although patients might not be particularly likely to pick up a superbug at the hospital, any type of hospital-acquired infection could result in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

There have been two reported fatalities linked to carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) at the out-of-state hospital. CRE has also critically injured at least five other patients, and families and friends of those affected are now waiting for definitive answers about how the superbug was able to spread so easily. Initial investigations have revealed that an endoscopic tool may be to blame.

Pickup driver lost control on bridge, caused fatal auto accident

Pennsylvania police believe that ice on a bridge may have had a role to play in a recent fatal accident. Authorities believe that a pickup truck driver traveling on a Beaver County bridge likely lost control, causing the auto accident. Unfortunately, this is not the only accident on that bridge in recent months, and it appears that the county has long been aware of the hazard posed to motorists.

A nearby power station has two stacks that emit steam, putting a significant amount of moisture into the air. When that moisture eventually settles onto the bridge, cool undercurrents of air cause it to quickly freeze. Although this can pose potentially hazardous driving conditions, as we discussed on Feb. 8, ("Weather may not be entirely to blame for auto accident"), drivers still need to drive appropriately for prevailing weather and road conditions.

A brain injury from a slip and fall often requires recourse

With the recent cold weather and snow sweeping through much of Pennsylvania and the northeast part of the country, walking conditions -- both outside and in -- may be becoming even more dangerous. For property or business owners, the responsibility for maintaining safe walking paths is perhaps one of their most important responsibilities at this time. Failing to do so can result in a serious slip and fall accident, which can even lead to brain injury.

It does not necessarily matter where or what the property is where the accident occurs. For instance, a neighbor could have failed to properly clear his or her driveway of slick ice before inviting a victim over. Another example is a puddle of melted ice that was tracked in on customers' shoes in a grocery store and left unattended. In both of these instances, the property owner and/or attending manager was responsible for providing the safest environment possible. 

Researchers hope to show definitive brain injury link for players

Football players in Pennsylvania and across the country appear to take necessary precautions to protect themselves as much as possible while on the field. Although they wear padded helmets and shoulder gear, there has been continuing speculation about whether this is enough to protect them. Now, a recent study is hoping to definitively determine whether football players are at serious risk for brain injury once and for all.

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University already understand how blows to the head during sports' games can affect players. The study involves both former and current football players in the NFL, and researchers hope to observe how repeated blows to football players -- particularly their heads -- may impact their overall health, particularly in their brain. Many football players later suffer from mood changes, learning problems and even memory loss.

Without informed consent, medical malpractice is a possibility

While the vast majority of medications, procedures and treatments carry some level of risk, patients in Pennsylvania tend to proceed anyway when the potential benefits outweigh the possible side effects. Most people already know that a healthcare professional -- such as a surgeon or anesthesiologist -- must obtain your consent to perform any type of procedure. However, before you can give the green light, all of the risks and potential consequences must be explained in full. Anything less could constitute medical malpractice.

Providing consent based on knowledge of both the benefits and risks is known as informed consent. There may be some instances when you might feel as though the possibility for serious injury does not justify a certain course of action. In other situations -- particularly when your life may be on the line -- a risk may be necessary to take. 

Weather may not be entirely to blame for auto accident

Regardless of the weather or road conditions, each and every driver on Pennsylvania roads must still exercise an appropriate amount of caution while behind the wheel. When a driver fails to do so, he or she can put not only him or herself but also other motorists on the road at risk for a serious auto accident. Although a recent snowstorm has been cited as at least a partial cause of an accident that sent two people to the hospital, it is still possible to hold the driver that caused the wreck liable. 

According to reports, while navigating a snowy roadway, a woman's vehicle crossed the grassy center of the highway and entered the lane of oncoming traffic. After entering the path of oncoming traffic, she then allegedly collided with an SUV, spun out of control and hit yet another vehicle. Her car eventually came to a stop after sliding off of the road and, thankfully, out of the way of any additional oncoming traffic.

Melissa Rivers decides to pursue medical malpractice claim

Most people in Pennsylvania would probably agree that the world lost a little bit of joy with the death of comedian Joan Rivers. While any death of a loved one is a tragedy, when negligence is suspected, the impact can be even worse. Melissa Rivers -- Joan Rivers' daughter -- apparently suspects that her mother's death may not have been entirely benign as she recently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the clinic where Joan Rivers underwent an outpatient procedure.

In 2014, Joan Rivers was put under anesthesia at an outpatient clinic. While performing an endoscopy on the unconscious woman, at least one of the attending physicians allegedly used his or her cellphone to take a selfie with the celebrity. Some experts associated with the case believe that the doctors may have been more concerned with photographing themselves with the celebrity than monitoring her important vital signs.

Failure to diagnose lupus patient's injury may have led to death

For individuals in Pennsylvania who suffer from certain diseases or illnesses, even seemingly minor injuries can be disastrous. Medical professionals treating patients who suffer from serious autoimmune diseases like lupus should be aware of how the patient's condition could affect treatment options and act accordingly. One woman's estate was recently compensated after her family argued that a failure to diagnose a serious injury resulted in her death.

The victim suffered from systemic lupus erythematosus -- commonly referred to as lupus -- a disease that can cause healthy parts of the body to be attacked by the immune system. After injuring her finger in a car accident, the woman sought treatment at a Naval medical center. Although her finger was initially X-rayed, she was told that there was no fracture and that she was otherwise fine.

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