The Patient Advocate

National Survey Shows Some Pittsburgh Area Hospitals are Safer than Others

Residents of Western Pennsylvania are fortunate to have access to some of the best doctors and nurses in the nation. However, a recent national survey which measures preventable injuries and illnesses suggests several area hospitals, including two of the region’s largest, fall short of expectations when it comes to patient safety. The Spring 2020 survey results were released on April 30, 2020.  Nearly every hospital in the Western Pennsylvania region received an “A” or “B” grade.  Two hospitals in the region received a “C”.

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Radiology Mistakes & Medical Malpractice

Radiology malpractice is more common than many people realize.  Over 80 million radiology examinations are performed in the United States every year, including Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computed Tomography (CT or CAT scan), Positron Emission Tomography (PET scan), and x-ray studies also known as plain radiographs.  Given the immense volume of imaging studies and high expectations on radiologists to interpret those studies with speed and accuracy, it’s no surprise radiology is the eighth most common medical specialty to be implicated in a medical malpractice claim.  

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The 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule – A New Phase of Patient Centered Health IT

On March 9, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) issued a final rule that will amend the Code of Federal Regulations in ways that greatly enhance an individual’s ability to access their electronic health records through modern tools, like apps and the internet. Titled the 21st Century Cures Act: Interoperability, Information Blocking, and the ONC Health IT Certification Program, the final rule will become effective sixty-days after the date it is published in the Federal Register.

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Aortic Dissection In Patients With Chest Pain And Ischemic Electrocardiograms

In the hectic environment of the emergency department, rapid diagnosis and emergent management of life-threatening conditions must occur. In the patient with acute chest pain and an EKG concerning for an ST segment elevation myocardial infarction STEMI, the diagnosis and treatment is generally straightforward. National guidelines recommend emergent reperfusion with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) or fibrinolytic therapy. Unfortunately, the potential for patient harm is high when acute aortic dissection causes an acute coronary syndrome and produces ischemic EKG changes.

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The Importance Of Recognizing Atypical Presentations Of Acute Coronary Syndrome

Many patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) lack overt chest pain or pressure and present to the emergency room with “atypical” signs and symptoms. As a result, the emergency provider may fail to consider the diagnosis of acute coronary syndrome, leading to a greater risk of serious injury or patient death. This article examines atypical symptoms of ACS in an effort to reduce instances of medical negligence or malpractice.

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Insurance Bad Faith – Punitive Damages

In certain circumstances, an insurance company may be liable for punitive damages because of its wrongful refusal to defend, failure to provide an adequate defense, breach of its duty to settle, breach of its duty to indemnify, or breach of

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Negotiating Bad Faith and Insurance Coverage Claims

The damages recoverable for insurance bad faith committed in Pennsylvania depend on whether the plaintiff asserts statutory and/or common law claims. In Pennsylvania, there is no common law tort action for the bad faith handling of first party claims – and thus no damages recoverable therefrom.

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Medical Malpractice: Who Can Request An Autopsy?

Attorneys Jerry Meyers and Brendan Lupetin were recently interviewed as part of a report for related to autopsies and medical negligence after a 53-year old woman died following a 30+ day stay in a Pennsylvania hospital. Her family has questions about the care that she received, and whether or not negligence in that care led to her death. They requested an autopsy, and expressed concern about the autopsy being performed by the same hospital that provided her care being a conflict of interest.

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