Medical Malpractice Articles
Modern medicine has given doctors the gift and the curse of having to decide on a method of delivery in childbirth. Today, cesarean section births are carefully orchestrated procedures where a physician delivers a baby surgically via incisions in a mother’s abdomen and uterus. But for most of human history, the decision to opt for a c-section over a vaginal birth was a necessary last-ditch effort to prevent the death of a mother in labor. Before antiseptics, antibiotics, anesthesia, and midwifery became common in American hospitals, the risks of complications from c-section surgery far outweighed the benefits in all but the most urgent cases.
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.
There are numerous VA Healthcare Systems and Hospitals available to veterans in Pennsylvania including the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System – made up of the Pittsburgh VA Medical Center-University Drive in Oakland and the H. John Heinz III Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Aspinwall. While the VA Health System provides a great service to our veterans, we have seen many instances where the medical care was substandard and led to avoidable injuries and death.
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.
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.
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.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Declares Pennsylvania’s Seven Year Limit On Medical Malpractice Cases Unconstitutional
On October 31, 2019, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court handed down its opinion in Yanakos v. UPMC and declared Pennsylvania’s statute of repose unconstitutional. Before the Court, UPMC argued the statute of response complied with Article I, Section 11 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The Court found UPMC proved the statute of repose was related to the important government’s interest of controlling the rising costs associated with medical insurance and medical care. However, UPMC failed to produce evidence of how the statute of repose actually achieved this government interest.
There are various types of medical malpractice cases ranging from surgery on the wrong body part, to misdiagnosis of a disease. If a case of medical malpractice is proven to have caused harm to the patient, the patient is entitled to be compensated the amount of money damages that fairly and adequately compensates the them for all the physical injuries and financial damages he or she has sustained.
The bare minimum required to prove a medical malpractice claim requires a patient to establish: 1. The healthcare provider undertook and had a duty to care for the patient; 2. The healthcare provider violated that duty i.e. deviated from the standard of care and was negligence; 3. The healthcare provider’s negligence was an actual cause of harm to the patient; and 4. Harm in the form of injury or death.