Scranton Medical Malpractice
Each year in the U.S. the outcomes from medical treatment are tainted by unanticipated injury or harm. More deaths occur each year as the result of medical errors than occur as a result of breast cancer or traffic accidents in the US. Nearly 3,000 medical providers are disciplined by state medical boards each year for committing medical mistakes. According to the medical journal, Health Affairs, medical mistakes occur in one out of every threehospital admissions. Medical malpractice implies failure to meet the standards of medical practice established by the medical community. Nationwide, medical malpractice mistakes cause the wrongful deaths of over 45,000 patients every year. Medical errors which might be grounds for medical malpractice cases include the following:
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Surgical errors such as performing an operation on the wrong patient or performing surgery on the wrong organ Incompetence Failure to diagnose properly infections, strokes, heart disease, cancer, etc. Irresponsible delay in making an accurate diagnosis Misdiagnosing a condition or illness Negligence Incompetence—treatment of the wrong condition Over prescribing of narcotics—breaking criminal laws Errors in prescribing medications (Medical malpractice errors involving mistakes in prescribing medications cause injuries to more than one point three patients each year.) Anesthesia administration errors Birth injuries caused by the failure to do a necessary C section. Injuries may be caused to the mother, her baby, or to both. Fatalities may even result from injuries sustained during the process of natural delivery. Birth injuries may include shoulder dystocia, Erb’s palsy/brachial plexus injuries, cerebral palsy, brain injury created by the improper use of a vacuum extractor, jaundice left undiagnosed and untreated, etc. Patient infections caused by unsanitary devices or treatment methods Neck adjustments which result in delayed-onset strokes or in spinal cord injuries Neglect and abuse in nursing homes contributing to patient slips and falls causing broken hips and bones, lacerations, etc. Nursing home neglect may also result in patients’ acquiring bedsores or pressure ulcers. Incorrect lab test analysis Misdiagnosis in the emergency room—Strokes, heart attacks, and aneurysms are the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions in emergency-room settings. Problems need to be
addressed quickly upon patients’ arrival. Patients who are denied care for a prolonged period may suffer long-term injuries. Improperly operated medical equipment Interpretation errors while performing CT scans, MRI’s, digital imaging, X-rays etc.
Doctors are not the only health care providers who make medical mistakes causing patient injury or death. Nurses, lab technicians, or anyone trained in the operation of advanced medical equipment or in interpretation of it's results obtained may all be liable for medical malpractice. Facilities themselves (such as nursing homes, hospitals and other healthcare facilities) may also be liable for malpractice. Persons who are injured due to medical errors may suffer:
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Brain injury or trauma Birth injury occurring during delivery Disfigurement as a result of cosmetic surgery Disfiguring scars caused during surgery Paralysis as in the case of incorrectly performed neck adjustments by chiropractors Delayed onset strokes Amputation which might have been avoidable, leading to permanent disability and diminishment of the quality of life, etc. Mental anguish Emotional trauma Lowering of the quality of life experienced before the occurrence of the medical error
Injured persons or family members of patients who have suffered wrongful death are not required by Pennsylvania law to prove that the negligent acts or omissions by medical professionals were the sole cause of the injuries or death. A prima facie case of medical malpractice or negligence may be established provided there is proof that the medical professional failed to exercise reasonable care in performing services to the patient. Failure to provide a reasonable standard of care increased the risk of injury or harm to the patient, and such harm did indeed result. It is important to know both the risks and your rights.
Harmed in the Hospital
According to a CNN feature article, Malyia, daughter of Ryan Jeffers, was once a perfectly health two-year-old, who loved to dance and sing. Malyia has since become an amputee who now faces a lifetime of medical procedures. Jeffers noticed his daughter had a fever one Sunday in November, 2010. Since her fever continued to go up, he and the child’s mother rushed their daughter to the emergency room. All did not go as was expected; the parents could not get a doctor to examine Malyia. The five-hour emergency room wait nearly killed her. In February the Jeffers filed a lawsuit against Sacramento Methodist Hospital alleging medical malpractice as well as negligent infliction of shock and emotional distress. Jeffers has said that no one’s child should have to suffer the way his daughter did in that emergency room that day.
Hospital emergency rooms are never given permission to delay treatment for such a period of time that the delay injures the patient. This is a fundamental rule of patient safety. The Kaiser Family foundation has reported that nearly 11,000 medical malpractice cases were paid in 2009. U.S. Bureau of Justice statistics show that on average plaintiffs in those cases received $400,000 in damages. Last year in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, 37 medical malpractice cases were filed, the highest number since 2002. In 2002, 28 medical malpractice cases were served in Luzerne County. In 2010, 37 cases were filed. In 2008, a jury awarded a Jermyn couple $20.5 million in damages for medical mistakes made during the birth of their son in 2001.
Contact an Attorney!
If you believe a loved one may have been injured or died because of medical malpractice or if you have suffered as a result of a medical error, contact the experienced Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorneys at Munley, Munley & Cartwright, P.C. For a free consultation regarding your legal concerns, contact us today for a free consultation or call us toll free at (800) 318-LAW1 or fill out our online contact form. These articles are provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Professional legal counsel should be sought for specific advice relevant to your circumstances.