Types of Medical Malpractice Pittsburgh

Most doctors and healthcare providers enter the profession because they want to help people. However, accidents do happen because doctors are human, and they make mistakes like everyone else. Because medical malpractice cases tend to be technical, there is a great deal of legal expertise required to litigate them or to negotiate settlements. 

Doctors have extensive training, and for the most part, are intent on healing their patients, but they can also inadvertently cause harm. Doctors undergo rigorous training that far surpasses the average person’s understanding of biology and biochemistry. Armed with that knowledge, a doctor is a very powerful person in a patient’s life. When healthcare workers are irresponsible or fail in their performance, it can lead to serious injuries in their patients—even death. In severe cases, sick individuals can continue spreading contagious diseases because the doctor refused to test them for an infection. For these reasons, medical malpractice law is very important to keep patients safe and to hold doctors accountable for their actions.

What is medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice is not when the doctor does not heal the patient. Medical science is very complicated and sometimes one doctor is better than another. This does not necessarily mean that the first doctor was criminally or medically negligent, nor can a doctor be considered negligent if a patient has an adverse reaction to a treatment. In order to be considered medically negligent, your doctor must fail to provide the standard level of care their practice area requires, which led to the injury. More specifically, medical malpractice can include incidents:

  • A healthcare provider fails to diagnose an illness or other condition that any other healthcare provider in their same field would have identified, treated, and have been able to explain to the patient.
  • An unnecessary or incorrect surgical procedure is performed. 
  • A surgeon or team of surgeons fails to ensure that materials used in surgery, such as gauze, are removed from the patient.
  • A surgeon performs surgery without patient consent.

These are just a few common examples of the type of cases that we have handled as a Pittsburgh medical malpractice litigation firm 

Misdiagnosis

When a physician has failed to properly diagnose a patient, it can delay them in getting life-saving treatments. Or in other cases of medical malpractice, patients are diagnosed with the wrong illness and thus receive treatments that they do not need, all all the while still suffering from the other illness.

Misdiagnosis is not when a doctor simply comes to the wrong conclusion based on the symptoms they see. For some very rare illnesses, it can take a few opinions before getting the right answer. But if another healthcare provider in the same field could reasonably diagnose the illness in a reasonable amount of time, then that may be a solid basis to file a medical malpractice suit.  

Delayed Diagnosis

Delayed diagnosis is similar to misdiagnosis in that a doctor in a practice area would be able to diagnose the condition within a reasonable amount of time. This is extremely important in cases such as cancer, where time is so important to stop the growth of the tumor. If the symptoms you had have not improved and you feel like your conversations with your doctor leave you feeling unsatisfied, then you may want to seek a different opinion. There may be more diagnostic tools that can be used to get down to the bottom of what you are suffering. Delayed diagnosis does not mean that the patient took too long to seek medical advice for the condition. Your doctor has an obligation to be competent every step of the way and think of all the possibilities to ensure they get down to the bottom of what is ailing you.

Medical Product Liability

Unfortunately, people are injured all the time by medical devices when they fail or harm them. In some cases, the failure of a medical device has led to a patient’s death. Unbeknownst to the victim or the victim’s family, the manufacturer is responsible for paying damages for not providing a safe and effective product to the consumer. Examples of defective products include: 

  • Medications that contain poisonous substances
  • Medical devices and medications that fail to provide sufficient warnings or instructions for consumers 
  • A medication not containing a warning about the dangerous effects of taking it along with another common, over-the-counter drug, such as ibuprofen or Tylenol

Companies have an ethical obligation to provide only safe and effective products to healthcare providers and consumers.

It’s important to discuss any potential medical malpractice cases related to a product with your attorney. To help your case, you should write down all of the symptoms that you have experienced, when they started and when you used the product in question. If you have received medical treatment to ease the symptoms of the injury the product caused, then you will want to give a copy of your medical record and medical bills to your attorney. Give our office a call and we will be happy to listen to your situation.

Birth Injuries

When a woman is giving birth both she and her baby can suffer an injury or death due to negligence. Common birth injuries include:

  • Brain damage due to oxygen deprivation during delivery
  • Cephalohematoma (damaged blood vessels in the baby’s head that lead to bleeding)
  • Fractured collar bones
  • Perinatal Asphyxia
  • Injuries to the spinal cord

Surgical Errors

Even though patients sign a consent form acknowledging that they understand the risks associated with their surgery, this doesn’t mean that they should accept incompetence. If a surgeon performed an unnecessary procedure, the wrong procedure, used non-sterile equipment, failed to provide adequate follow-up care, or administered the wrong amount of anesthesia, then you may be entitled to compensation. Call our offices to schedule your free consultation. We are ready to listen to you with compassion.