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Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Law Blog

More than technology needed to eliminate 'never events'

Some medical mistakes are so egregious in nature that the medical community refers to them as “never events.” Included among these medical mistakes are wrong-site operations and instances of sponges and other instruments being left inside of the body after the patient is sewn up.

Not only are never events often 100 percent preventable, some, like leaving a sponge inside of a patient, can lead to serious health complications and even death.

In effort to prevent forgotten sponges from being left inside of patients when they are stitched up at the end of a procedure, many medical teams count the sponges as they go in and come out. 

Medical misdiagnosis is more common than you may think

Upon checking in to a hospital or clinic, what if the receptionist told you that there was a one in 20 chance that you would be misdiagnosed? You would probably chuckle, assuming that the receptionist was kidding.

However, according to a new study, that grim statistic is real. The study reports that about 12 million adults seeking outpatient medical care are misdiagnosed each year in Pennsylvania and the rest of the United States, which adds up to about one out of every 20 patients.

Medical groups call for better investigating after birth injuries

Undoubtedly, birth injuries are some of the most tragic instances of medical practice that occur in Pennsylvania and the rest of the country. There are few things as heart-wrenching as an otherwise healthy baby suffering permanent disabilities because of negligence on behalf of a doctor or nurse.

However, it isn’t always easy to determine the cause of neonatal encephalopathy, or newborn brain disorder or injury. That’s why birth injury lawsuits often involve a lengthy investigation to determine exactly what went wrong and if it could have been prevented.

Man sues after doctor misses appendix during appendectomy

An east coast man has sued a doctor and hospital for medical negligence after he says the doctor removed a “yellowish mass” instead of his appendix during an appendectomy.

An appendectomy is the surgery that is needed to remove the appendix from someone who is suffering from appendicitis, a very common but dangerous condition in which the appendix fills with puss. Because the appendix is not considered a vital organ, people who suffer from appendicitis often have the organ removed without further complications.

Philadelphia judge throws out medical arbitration agreement

In order to avoid getting sued in medical malpractice lawsuits after committing medical negligence, some physicians and clinics ask their patients to sign arbitration agreements.

Essentially, these agreements state that the patients cannot sue in court if they are negligently injured. Instead, an arbitrator -- a third party “judge” who is often selected by the party that drafted the agreement -- decides whether the injured patient is entitled to damages.

Study: Many strokes undiagnosed at initial ER visit

Most people in Pittsburgh and the rest of the country don’t take a decision to go to the emergency room lightly.

Not only is an emergency room visit extremely expensive, it also often requires long waits and stressful testing. As a result, most people only visit emergency rooms when they think something could be seriously wrong.

However, emergency room doctors often overlook symptoms that could suggest a major health problem is going on and decide to send patients home, only to put them in serious peril.

Med mal lawsuit exposes distracted doctor

Imagine losing a loved one in a routine surgery. Now imagine finding out that the anesthesiologist who was in charge of monitoring your loved one’s condition routinely posted to Facebook, surfed the Internet and checked email during surgeries.

This is the shocking frustration many families across the country are dealing with after finding out that “distracted doctoring” may have contributed to their loved one’s death. 

CDC: Hospital infections are less common, but not less fatal

Pennsylvania residents visit hospitals in order to get healthier, not to get sicker. Unfortunately, though, hospital-acquired infections are a real and serious problem in the United States that are responsible for killing thousands of people each year.

In fact, a new report that was recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine by health officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that infections claimed the lives of about 75,000 people in the year 2011.

Autopsy: Sedative drugs caused toddler's tragic death

Sedative drugs are powerful and they need to be used with extreme caution, especially when tiny bodies are involved. When this standard of care is ignored, tragedy can result.

The parents of a 3-year-old girl have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a dental office after their daughter died as a result of the sedatives she received prior to a dental procedure. 

Failed sterilization leads to wrongful pregnancy lawsuit (2 of 2)

We are currently discussing the controversial and rare legal topic of wrongful birth lawsuits. As we began discussing in the last post, an Illinois woman had a tubal ligation in order to not have any more children after her son was born with sickle cell anemia and she and her husband are carriers of the genetic condition.

The couple sued the reproductive clinic and the doctor who performed the procedure after the woman became pregnant less than a year later, and then gave birth to a daughter who also suffers from sickle cell anemia.

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