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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

Neurosurgeon arrested after being accused of medical malpractice

When graduating from medical school, the vast majority of Pennsylvania doctors take what is known as the Hippocratic Oath, which states that they will adhere to certain ethical standards as they heal patients, rather than harm them. An out-of-state neurosurgeon apparently did not take the oath too seriously and is currently facing criminal charges for what authorities say were acts of assault on the operating table. For these alleged acts of medical malpractice, he lost his license to practice medicine back in June 2013.

The neurosurgeon in question performed many spinal operations on patients at a hospital, although he reportedly displayed a pattern of neglect and reckless behavior in the operating room. Two deaths have been directly linked to operations that he performed prior to the suspension of his license. At least six other patients were maimed or seriously injured, although it is possible that other patients may also have suffered from his negligent actions.

Over treatment puts patients at risk for medical malpractice

In recent years, the old adage of "less is more" no longer seems to apply in the world of health care. No matter the illness or injury, patients in Pennsylvania are likely at risk for being subjected to unnecessary and even dangerous procedures or treatments. Sadly, the rise in unnecessary treatments has also led to devastating instances of medical malpractice.

Part of the reason behind the phenomenon of over-treatment could be the various new treatments and technology that have been made available to health care providers. Often, new technology is considered to be better and improved, even if there is little evidence that it is anything more than an alternative to pre-existing treatments. When many different invasive and aggressive procedures are layered one on top of the other, the outcome is rarely any better than more conservative options. 

Auto accident: car hits building, 2 sent to hospital

The vast majority of shoppers in Pennsylvania likely feel relatively safe from large disasters or accidents while within the confines of a store or building. Unfortunately, at least two shoppers became the victims of what was most likely a terrifying auto accident when a vehicle left the roadway and crashed into a nearby building. The driver of the vehicle escaped unscathed.

The driver accused of crashing into the building was driving on Route 51 just moments before the wreck. For reasons that are still unclear, the 60-year-old driver veered off of the roadway and drove his vehicle through some bushes that were next to the store's parking lot. Then he struck two other vehicles that were parked in the lot before he ultimately crashed into the side of the store. 

Grandmother claims doctors' actions led to wrongful death

When a Pennsylvania patient becomes a fatal victim of medical malpractice, it is usually the responsibility of his or her closest surviving relative to decide whether filing a medical malpractice suit is an appropriate course of action. An out-of-state grandmother chose to move forward with a claim for what she says was the wrongful death of her grandson. The defendants named in the claim include the doctors treating the patient as well as the clinic that he attended. 

The victim initially sought treatment at the clinic in March 2012. Complaining of issues with his digestive system and pain in his abdominals, doctors diagnosed the man with an obstructed bowel. Initial treatment included IV fluids, and doctors later performed various diagnostic tests to determine the specific source of the obstruction. Those tests revealed that a tumor had grown in the man's bowels.

Military family receives $1.3 million for infant's wrongful death

During the course of their service, members of the United States military and their families typically sacrifice more than most people could imagine. When the time comes for Pennsylvania service men and women and their dependents to seek health care or medical treatment, military hospitals are intended to provide the best care possible. Unfortunately, military hospitals do not always follow the accepted standards of care, resulting in serious injuries and, in some cases, even the wrongful death of service members or their family members.

An out-of-state military hospital was named as a defendant in a medical malpractice lawsuit concerning the death of a young baby girl. Filed by the parents, they allege that the hospital was negligent when treating their 4-month-old daughter during an emergency room trip in 2012. When they arrived at the ER, the girl had already been suffering from an upper respiratory infection for several days, and at the time was also having trouble breathing.

Brain injury is possible while under the care of doctors

Unlike more physical injuries that victims of medical malpractice may suffer, brain injuries tend to be invisible other than the series of symptoms that patients begin to suffer either immediately or shortly afterward. It is important to understand that this does not make a brain injury any less serious than other injuries suffered due the negligence or wrongful acts of a health care provider. Indeed, many brain injury victims in Pennsylvania must suffer from the effects and symptoms of their injury for the remainder of their lives.

Brain injuries are commonly believed to be an issue isolated to car accidents or sports injuries. In reality, they can occur almost anywhere, even in the one place that is supposed to heal rather than harm -- the hospital. When health care providers fail to adhere to the standard of care for various treatments, procedures or surgeries, patients are most commonly at risk for acquired brain injuries. Unlike traumatic brain injuries, those that are acquired typically do not result from any sort of outside blow or hit.

Is a brain injury really that serious?

Pennsylvania football fans are likely familiar with the controversy surrounding head injuries among NFL players, but there are many people who are still wondering if it's a big deal. It is. While not always fatal, a brain injury can severely impact a person's ability to function and perform the simplest of daily tasks. Car accidents and medical negligence are both common causes of brain injuries, although they are certainly not the only ones.

Every single day in America, approximately 140 people die from brain injury complications. With those numbers, understanding and recognizing the signs and symptoms of a brain injury is especially important for individuals who have recently suffered any type of blow to the head. The symptoms typically surface rapidly, although they can also present in a delayed manner. They typically include drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, excruciating headaches and other indications. 

Hurt by a medication error? A medical malpractice suit can help

Years of dedicated and intense research have yielded a wide variety of medications to treat nearly any disease, illness or injury from which patients might suffer. This easy access to necessary and helpful prescription drugs has no doubt helped improve the lives and overall health of patients in Pennsylvania, but human error can make the process of taking a medication much less safe. In many instances, a serious medication error warrants a medical malpractice claim. 

The often-illegible handwriting of doctors has been the butt of jokes for decades, but in reality it is no joking matter. Nurses and pharmacists might be tasked with trying to figure out exactly what medication the doctor prescribed. Misinterpreting a doctor's sloppy handwriting can yield horrific and painful results for patients.

Fatal Pennsylvania accident could prompt wrongful death suits

Pennsylvania police are investigating potential factors that might have contributed to a tragic, fiery accident. Out of the four individuals inside the vehicle at the time of the accident, only one survived. Although the wreck only involved one vehicle, it is still possible for surviving family members of the victims to file wrongful death suits.

The accident occurred on the expressway when a 27-year-old driver lost control of his vehicle. Unable to regain control of the vehicle, it slammed into a concrete median dividing opposite lanes of traffic. After the collision, the car flipped and then caught fire, killing the driver and his two backseat passengers. The passenger who had been riding in the front seat was found injured outside of the vehicle, and police are still trying to figure out if he was tossed out during the wreck or if a passerby might have pulled him to safety.

Victim's family awarded $3 million for failure to diagnose error

A timely an accurate diagnosis is critical for getting a patient on the correct treatment regimen. Any delay or overall failure to diagnose a patient accurately can result in more than just serious injuries -- it can also result in death. A jury recently awarded a family outside of Pennsylvania compensation for the wrongful death of a loved one who failed to receive an accurate diagnosis. 

In 2009, a 67-year-old man sought medical attention after he began to experience some shortness of breath. The attending doctor ordered an echocardiogram of the man's heart and noted a troubling sign -- one of the patient's heart valves was narrowing. His physician then sent him to a cardiologist for a follow up. 

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