Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Types of Medical Malpractice Litigation
- Medication or Prescription Errors
- Failure to Correctly Evaluate an X-Ray
- Blood Transfusion Errors
- Failure to Diagnose a Life-Threatening Condition
- Failure to Diagnose a Birth Injury or Fetal Condition
- Infections Related to Hospital Procedure
- Trauma Resulting in Cerebral Palsy
- Preventable Suicide
- Nursing Home Abuse
- Birth Injury
- Wrongful Death
- Failure to Diagnose Cerebral Palsy
- Failure to Diagnose Cancer
- Failure to Diagnose Bone Cancer
- Failure to Diagnose Heart Attack
- Failure to Diagnose Pulmonary Embolism
- Stroke Misdiagnosis
- Hospital Negligence
- Post-Operative Complications
- Surgical Error
- Emergency Room Error
Have you undergone surgery and feel like your doctor is ignoring you when you tell them that something seems wrong? Have you been seeking treatment for an ailment but have not found any relief with what was prescribed by your doctor? Did you suffer a severe, adverse reaction from taking medication? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then it is possible that you have been victimized by your healthcare provider. If you or a loved one have suffered an injury or illness due to medical negligence or a medical error, then you may be entitled to compensation.
Who can be sued for medical malpractice?
Any healthcare provider that has met the following criteria can be sued for medical malpractice, regardless of what they practice:
- There existed an established provider-patient relationship;
- There was a breach of trust when the healthcare professional deviated from the standard level of care owed to the patient;
- There is a direct causal relationship between the healthcare professional’s conduct and the patient’s injury
- There was injury to the patient.
We have a reputation as Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Lawyers that care and get results. We know what is at stake for our clients, and we are relentless in our pursuit of justice.
Types of Medical Negligence
No two medical malpractice cases are the same. The following are some common types of medical malpractice or medical negligence.
Delayed Diagnosis or Misdiagnosis
Some rare illnesses and cancers can be hard to pinpoint, but if your healthcare provider failed to diagnose the condition, failed to treat the condition, or if the condition was misdiagnosed, that provider may have been negligent. The question for us as medical malpractice attorneys becomes whether another doctor would have been able, in a reasonable amount of time, to properly identify and respond to the condition. In situations involving misdiagnosis, or a delay in diagnosis, the underlying illness or disease is allowed to continue to progress, ultimately causing harm to the patient. In both cases, patients are left feeling frustrated, ignored by their doctors, and afraid.
Negligence By Surgeons
Surgeons have many responsibilities. To begin with, they must receive consent from patients before operating on them, or the consent of their parents if they are minors. Because no doctor can guarantee an outcome for a patient, patients usually sign a waiver acknowledging the risk. But a competent surgeon doesn’t leave surgical materials or tools in patients, does follow up with proper care, uses sterile materials, and operates on the correct body part. There are emergency situations when a doctor has to make decisions for a patient without their consent but with the goal of saving their life, even if it means amputating a body part. Those aren’t the same as failures of doctors to provide the standard level of care for their patients.
The Wrong Medication or Dosage
In busy hospital settings, sometimes nurses and other healthcare practitioners make massive errors in providing the correct medication. In some situations, it is the correct medication but the incorrect dosage. Even though these are small mistakes, this is still medical malpractice because these minor errors can cause great harm to patients. When the wrong medication is prescribed, it can cause unexpected complications. The drug may interact with a previous medication the patient is already on. There is also the possibility that the patient has heart problems, hypertension, liver failure, or other pre-existing conditions that the wrong medication can aggravate. The risk of taking the wrong medication can be life-threatening.
Incorrect Anesthesia Procedures
Anesthesia is important for more invasive medical procedures, and helps comfort patients while they are undergoing medical treatment. Sometimes the wrong amount of anesthesia is provided, resulting in the risk of death or great torment. For example, if the wrong dosage of anesthesia is given to a patient, they may experience the pain of a procedure because they are still awake. This form of medical malpractice may be difficult to prove, and even if the dosage amount was documented it is mostly your word against the medical establishment. You can work with medical malpractice attorneys to fight for your right to a settlement.
A pharmaceutical company can be held liable if they fail to warn doctors of the harmful side effects of a drug, and if they also fail to notify consumers. The manufacturer of medical devices can also be held liable for making defective products that either caused harm or did not perform with the efficacy they claimed to have. Sometimes a medical professional can be held liable for prescribing the wrong medical device.
What is a damages cap? Is there one for Pennsylvania?
In some states, there are limits on how much a person can receive in compensation from a medical malpractice case. In the state of Pennsylvania, there is no cap on how much a person can receive in economic and non-economic damages. However, there are limits on punitive damages, which are damages that are assessed as a punishment for outrageous and negligent behavior. In the state of Pennsylvania, punitive damages are capped at twice the amount of actual damages the patient suffered.
What is the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice claim in Pennsylvania?
There are time limits for filing a medical malpractice claim in every state. In the state of Pennsylvania, this time frame, known as the statute of limitations, is two years. The required elements for a medical malpractice lawsuit are:
- The patient was injured
- The injury was caused by a medical professional’s conduct
- There is a causal relationship between the healthcare provider’s conduct and the injury
Minors have two years after their 18th birthday to file a claim for an injury they suffered when they were younger.
Pennsylvania also subjects its medical malpractice lawsuits to a seven-year statute of repose. When a person has been injured, they may not know right away that their healthcare provider is responsible for that injury. The statute of repose allows a person to report a medical professional’s conduct within seven years of the date the injury occurred. A medical malpractice lawyer in Pittsburgh can give you more information if you’re unsure whether or not you can still file your claim.
What is the “periodic payments rule”?
You may still need medical treatment in the future related to your injuries. It may take years for someone to heal. Of course, it’s best to go ahead and file the claim, so you don’t run out of time to file before the statute of limitations runs out. The periodic payments rule in Pennsylvania requires damages to be paid out in installments every year for medical expenses related to the injury that do not total more than $100,000.
What happens in court?
A plaintiff has to prove in court that a negative and injurious outcome would not have resulted had it not been for the healthcare worker’s negligence. Medical malpractice cases often require expert witnesses to testify and provide their professional assessment or opinion. An expert witness is someone who is in authority in a specific field. In medical malpractice, they can be other doctors, pharmacists, dentists, surgeons, or even professors and researchers. The defendant is going to do everything they can to prove that they were not negligent. This is why you need an experienced medical malpractice attorney representing you in a Pittsburgh medical malpractice suit. Our aggressive Pittsburgh personal injury lawyers at Ogg, Murphy & Perkosky have experience in proving fault in medical malpractice cases. Call us today.