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Settlement vs. Lawsuit: Which One is Right for Your Case?

Published on Feb 24, 2017 at 6:46 pm in Medical Malpractice.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident that could and should have been preventable if not for the negligence of another, you have the right to pursue a recovery of your damages by filing a personal injury claim. Personal injury cases enable you to hold the party who caused your accident and injuries liable for any damages that resulted from the incident, which commonly includes medical bills, lost work wages, and pain and suffering, among others.

While all personal injury claims are hinged on proving that the at-fault party in an accident was negligent, and that their negligence “more likely than not” caused a victim to suffer injuries, how it is resolved will vary from case to case. When resolved successfully, a personal injury case may conclude with a settlement or a verdict following the filing of a lawsuit.

Common Preventable Medical Errors

Published on Feb 3, 2017 at 7:26 pm in Medical Malpractice.

When people go to the hospital for medical treatment or surgery, they expect that the medical professionals responsible for their care will do the best job possible. The last thing on your mind is suffering further injury.

According to U.S. News, more than 200,000 people die from preventable medical errors each year, and up to 20 times more likely to suffer from errors that severely injure them. A new study suggests that medical errors in hospitals and other healthcare facilities are now the third-leading cause of death in the United States every year, which is more than accidents, respiratory disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s.

St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children Fails to Adequately Investigate Deaths of Infant Heart-Surgery Patients

Published on Sep 27, 2016 at 7:36 pm in Medical Malpractice.

According to an article published by The Inquirer, the St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in North Philadelphia failed to determine why nine patients sustained fatal injuries during heart surgery. In February, The Inquirer reported that the death rate among infant heart-surgery patients at St. Christopher’s was almost triple the national average. One month later, a three-day surprise inspection took place at the North Philadelphia Hospital.

The report stated that in January, the hospital was ordered to stop performing all non-emergency heart surgeries. The hospital continues to hold pending an internal review. As of now, a submitted plan of correction has been approved by the state, but the procedures have yet to resume.

Jeffrey Jacobs, a leader of a countrywide effort to publicize surgical records as well as a chief of cardiac surgery at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, explains that each fatality in surgery should be carefully examined in order to learn why the fatality occurred and to prevent similar fatalities in the future.

PA Collects Medical Error Information, Doesn’t Share With Public

Published on Sep 19, 2016 at 7:42 pm in Medical Malpractice.

Most consumers believe they should have the right to know of potential hazards when making important decisions about a service – including services as important as their medical care. Unfortunately for patients in Pennsylvania, not all information about the quality of care at state medical facilities is readily available or accessible. This is because the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, the agency which keeps stats on medical errors and related issues throughout the state, doesn’t allow patients to know the full details behind medical errors, including those resulting in injury or death.

The Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Act, which became law in 2002, requires certain information regarding medical errors be kept confidential. Why? Officials state that by maintaining confidentiality and the Patient Safety Authority’s non-punitive stance, more medical facilities are willing to self-report information about “near-misses” and errors. The focus, officials claim, is to promote safety improvement rather than fear.

Decrease in Medical Malpractice Verdicts May Not Be a Good Sign

Published on Jul 7, 2016 at 8:04 pm in Medical Malpractice.

According to an article published by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, as of last year, medical malpractice jury verdicts dropped significantly. While many individuals in the medical community believe this may come as a relief from increasing insurance premiums, many attorneys believe this is an indication that injured patients are not being provided with opportunities for redress.

Reports state that in the state of Pennsylvania, juries issued verdicts in 449 malpractice cases. Of those medical malpractice cases, 78.4% of those verdicts were decided in favor of the defendant. In 2015, 78.2% of 101 verdicts favored medical professionals and hospitals.

Lawrence Kelly, the president of the Western Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, explained that the insurers and the medical community has worked diligently to build a jury that is bias when handling these types of medical malpractice cases. Some believe that legislators and jurors are able to convince juries to do so by creating scenarios that allow doctors to abandon entire towns over liability concerns.

More NTM Infection Cases Confirmed at Hershey Medical Center

Published on Nov 15, 2015 at 8:21 pm in Medical Malpractice.

You may recall from our previous blog that an outbreak of nontuberculous mycobacterium (NTM) a few weeks ago at WellSpan York Hospital in Pennsylvania resulted in the deaths of four patients. Now, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has announced that more cases have been confirmed at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Approximately 2,300 patients who received open-heart surgery at this hospital have been alerted of the possibility that they may have been exposed to the bacteria.

In light of this information, the Health Department is urging healthcare facilities to follow new guidelines related to the use and care of the heater-cooler devices believed to be the culprit behind the recent onslaught of patient infections. So far, all of the heater-cooler devices at both hospitals have been replaced.

The heater-cooler devices, used to monitor the body temperature of patients undergoing open-heart surgery, has been linked to the spread of the harmful bacteria. Because the device blows air onto the patient, any contaminants on or inside of the device due to contaminated water or improper cleaning methods could make contact with an open wound. While NTM bacteria is usually not harmful, it can be very dangerous to an individual whose health is already compromised.

Four Patients at Pennsylvania Hospital Dead After Contracting Bacterial Infection

Published on Oct 25, 2015 at 8:23 pm in Medical Malpractice.

A suspected outbreak of nontuberculous mycobacterium, also known at NTM, may be linked to the deaths of four patients at WellSpan York Hospital in Pennsylvania. Hospital staff estimate that roughly 1,300 open-heart surgery patients may have been exposed the bacteria, eight of whom have so far contracted infection. Since all four of the patients had underlying medical conditions, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is still not officially attributing their deaths to the infection, although the hospital has admitted that it was a contributing factor. This is the second hospital in Pennsylvania in recent months to be associated with a deadly infection.

NTM naturally occurs in water and soil, and sometimes in tap water. It usually does not make people ill, but people with weakened immune systems, like those recovering from surgery, may be at risk. Inhaling the bacteria can result in a serious pulmonary illness that could take up to a year to cure with antibiotics.

Hospital-Acquired Pressure Ulcers Still A Significant Problem, PA Officials Report

Published on Mar 12, 2015 at 8:28 pm in Medical Malpractice.

Earlier today, the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority released an advisory that hospital-acquired pressure ulcers remain a top concern for hospitals across the state. According to the advisory:

  • PA hospitals reported over 19,000 pressure ulcer events (recognized safety concerns) in 2013.
  • PA healthcare facilities reported 33,545 events involving impaired skin integrity in 2013 – a majority of which were hospital reported pressure ulcers.
  • Nearly 30% of pressure ulcers reported from 2007-2013
  • Reports of pressure ulcers from 2007 – 2013 reveal alarming rates and show need for improved protocol.

Pressure ulcers – also known as bedsores – are a form of injuries to the skin and underlying tissue that occur when there is prolonged pressure applied to the skin. They often affect individuals who are unable to move or regularly change positions when lying down. In hospital settings, health care providers typically set programs to avoid the development of pressure ulcers in bedridden patients. Pressure sores can range in severity from Stage I (redness, slightly dark pigmented skin) to Stage IV and severe deep tissue injuries.

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