Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Medical malpractice, sometimes called medical negligence, can occur in any healthcare setting, such as hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes, and urgent care centers. Patients trust doctors and other medical providers to care for them with compassion, expertise, and precision. However, when a provider makes an avoidable mistake, those actions can have life-changing consequences.
You have a right to expect a professional level of care from your medical practitioners. When you or a loved one have been hurt due to negligence from a healthcare provider, Lopez McHugh LLP stands ready to provide skilled Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys to help you with your claim.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when the decisions or actions of doctors, nurses, or other healthcare providers cause the illness, injury, or death of a patient. It can happen from deliberate actions, negligent actions, or failure to treat the patient correctly or quickly enough.
A variety of errors that directly inflict injury or further worsen a patient’s condition can rise to the level of negligence. Medical malpractice could include any of the following:
- Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis
- Premature discharge
- Failure to order proper testing
- Failure to recognize symptoms
- Misreading or ignoring diagnostic testing results
- Unnecessary surgery
- Surgical error
- Wrong site surgery
- Improper follow-up or aftercare
- Medication errors
These examples represent just some of the potentially negligent provider and/or facility actions that can inflict serious harm, worsen someone’s existing medical condition, or kill a patient. To learn more about your legal rights, you should speak with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer at Lopez McHugh LLP.
Types of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice can manifest in many ways. The key factor to pursuing a case as malpractice is whether the patient suffered harm as a result of a practitioner’s negligence. Below we discuss common instances that usually qualify as medical malpractice and for which you deserve to seek financial compensation from the responsible party or parties.
Hospitals are meant to be facilities of healing, and patients trust that they will receive quality care in a timely manner. When hospitals and their staff fail to meet the applicable standard of care for treatment, patients pay the price. Hospitals are responsible for providing employees with proper training as well as ensuring employee credentials remain in effect.
Prescription Medication Errors
Errors in prescribing medication are among the leading causes of injury and death among patients. Prescription medication errors include:
- Over- and under-prescribing medication
- Prescribing the wrong medication
- Prescribing a medication that negatively interacts with other patient medications
- Prescribing the incorrect dosage
- Preemptively stopping medication
- Failing to collect a patient’s health history, including any drug allergies
The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) receives reports of over 100,000 medication errors every year. If a patient receives the wrong drug and suffers a minor side effect, it would be considered a medical error. However, healthcare professionals can commit medical malpractice if they fail to factor in potential drug interactions or contraindications, give a drug too late, or make a lethal miscalculation in the dose.
All surgeries involve some level of risk, no matter how minor. Surgical errors occur when preventable mistakes are made during an operation. These errors include performing the wrong surgery on a patient, operating on the wrong body part, puncturing or causing damage during surgery, leaving surgical equipment such as tools and gauze inside a patient, and more.
These mistakes can happen throughout the surgical process, such as while the patient is being prepped, during the procedure, or as part of their post-operative treatment. These errors are extremely serious and cause additional pain and suffering for patients. Some patients die as a result of surgical errors.
Your anesthesiologist has one of the most critical jobs during your surgery. They are responsible for administering the correct dosage of medication to a patient prior to a procedure or surgery and for monitoring the patient’s reaction throughout the surgery. Anesthesia must be administered within a specific time period so that the patient is properly medicated during a procedure.
In addition to giving the correct medicine and dosage, anesthesiologists are also responsible for monitoring the patient and responding to any changes in health while under anesthesia. When a patient is not given the proper anesthesia medication or dosage at the correct time and monitored carefully, they can experience catastrophic injuries, such as strokes, traumatic brain injuries, and even death.
Other anesthesia errors can result in traumatizing experiences for the victim. The patient could wake up during the procedure and be able to feel everything but remain paralyzed. They can suffer extreme pain and mental anguish while they cannot tell anyone they are awake. Additionally, if the anesthesiologist does not maintain the correct oxygen feed, the patient could suffocate or experience permanent brain damage.
Failure to Obtain Informed Consent
Healthcare professionals must advise their patients of the known risks and benefits of medical treatment. Failing to fully advise a patient and thus obtain informed consent regarding medical treatment can be considered malpractice. If an injury results, it can serve as the basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
When medical malpractice causes a preventable death, the family of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim. The families of wrongful death victims are entitled to compensation for their massive loss. Pennsylvania allows for wrongful death claims that benefit the person’s remaining family members. It also provides for survival actions on behalf of the deceased by their estate’s personal representative.
Receiving a wrong diagnosis can cause patients to suffer when treatment for their actual condition is delayed. The patient can experience unnecessary injury or death when a healthcare provider does not determine the correct diagnosis in time.
Labor and delivery are much more dangerous than many people realize. Both parent and child are at risk for a number of conditions that can arise quickly and require quick decisions. If the doctor or nurse does not adhere to the accepted standard of care during birth, it could lead to death or permanent disability for the parent, child, or both.
Brain injuries can happen as a result of mistakes made during surgery, such as intubation errors, poor airway management, and anesthesia issues. Like cerebral palsy in birth injuries, restricting oxygen to an adult during a procedure can result in brain damage.
Failure to Prevent Infections
Bacteria in healthcare facilities are constantly exposed to antibiotics, allowing them to evolve into more robust strains that defy regular medications. As a result, many people suffer infections while they are hospitalized, in addition to their initial complaints. Adding an infection when a patient is already immunocompromised puts them at greater risk for illnesses or death.
Elements of a Medical Malpractice Case
The first action your lawyer should take is to examine the situation to determine what happened. The Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers at Lopez McHugh LLP will speak to you in a free initial case evaluation to understand your side of the story. Our team will then gather evidence to establish negligence and advise you on whether the case qualifies for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Negligent medical errors occur daily. In order for a medical malpractice case to be valid under the law, the claim must meet the following criteria:
Duty of Care
This refers to the legal responsibility a medical provider owes to a patient to provide adequate care. Your attorney must prove that your doctor or other healthcare professional had a patient-provider relationship with you and owed you that duty of care.
Breach of the Standard of Care
Across the healthcare industry, professionals must adhere to medical standards. The standard of care addresses patients’ rights to receive quality care for their illness or injury. Failure to act according to the applicable standard of care could not only result in a patient injury or worsened condition but also establishes provider negligence.
It is critical that your lawyer establishes a direct link between the negligent actions of the defendant or defendants and the injuries you suffered. In order to do so, your lawyer must be able to prove your illness or injury would not have occurred without the defendant’s or defendants’ negligence. They must show that it was a foreseeable consequence of the negligent or wrongful act.
In addition to showing a direct link between the negligence and your injury or illness, your lawyer must show that the wrongful acts resulted in significant physical harm and financial expense to you.
Proving Liability with Evidence
Your medical malpractice attorney in Philadelphia can use a variety of sources to prove the negligence and liability of your medical provider. They will use information such as:
- Medical receipts
- Treatment records
- Hospital records
- Information on the standard of care for your condition
- Testimony from medical experts
- Witness statements, if relevant
Medical malpractice can be difficult to prove because many states have laws protecting doctors but not patients. Since the 2000s, Pennsylvania law has made the process of recovering damages for victims of medical malpractice claims complex.
The Commonwealth has gone to great lengths to stack the odds against victims. To recover the financial damages you are due, you need a qualified Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney to build and litigate your case.
Pennsylvania’s Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in Pennsylvania is two years from the date of the malpractice or two years from the date when the malpractice should have been discovered. You must file your claim against the provider before the end of the two years, or you could lose your right to seek out and obtain financial compensation for what happened to you.
Potential Compensation in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
When you have been the victim of medical malpractice, you may suffer an illness, injury, and financial costs you would not have otherwise experienced. You deserve to seek a fair and appropriate reimbursement for these damages. You can ask for compensatory losses that fall into two categories: economic and non-economic. Economic losses are those with a specific price, and non-economic losses are harder to quantify, such as the pain and suffering you experience.
Common items requested as damages include:
- Medical bills
- Hospital costs, such as for treatment in the ER or ICU
- Surgery costs
- Medical devices
- Prescription medications
- Loss of income
- Loss of future potential income
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Physical pain and suffering
Speak With Our Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Attorneys Today
No patient should ever have to endure additional pain and suffering caused by those they trusted to heal them. The stress, pain, and suffering associated with medical malpractice injuries take a tremendous toll on victims and their loved ones, preventing much-needed emotional and physical healing.
Healthcare professionals have an obligation to their patients to act in accordance with the oath they swore to “Do No Harm.” Philadelphia doctors, nurses, hospitals, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities have failed patients without being held accountable for their actions for far too long. Serving as advocates for their clients, the legal team at Lopez McHugh LLP takes pride in effectively and efficiently arguing their clients’ cases to get them justice.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, contact the Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys of Lopez McHugh LLP for a free case consultation.