Medical Malpractice

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIMS

Doctors and other healthcare providers enjoy a special position of trust and respect in our society. That position of trust carries immense responsibility. Doctors, nurses, and other medical providers must take every precaution and exercise great care when dealing with a patient’s health and life.

Unfortunately, mistakes among healthcare providers are inevitable. Some of those mistakes are fatal. Anywhere from 44,000 to 98,000 patients die in hospitals each year from medical errors that could have been prevented, according to estimates from two major studies. Medical mistakes claim more lives each year than car accidents (42,450) or breast cancer (42,300).

Under PA’s medical malpractice laws, doctors or other healthcare providers may be found liable for malpractice if they fall below or act outside of the applicable standard of reasonable medical practice. Medical malpractice takes many forms, including negligence in the operating room or misdiagnosis during an initial visit. Wrong site operations are one common mistake. A wrong site operation means the correct surgical procedure is performed, but on the wrong organ or body part. Other times, a procedure is performed on the wrong patient. There have been numerous examples of doctors removing perfectly healthy organs from patients or amputating the wrong arm or leg. In other cases of negligence, foreign objects such as medical tools or sponges have been left inside patients, resulting in damage to internal organs.

Common physical injuries that result from malpractice include:

  • Disfigurement;
  • Loss of limb(s);
  • Loss of one or more of the five senses;
  • Damage to internal organs;
  • Cerebral palsy; and
  • Erb’s palsy.

Mental harm may include:

  • Emotional trauma;
  • Mental anguish;
  • Loss of love and affection; and
  • Loss of enjoyment of life.

In cases of medical malpractice, the negligent health care provider may not be the doctor or a nurse. It is possible that the responsible party is a lab or x-ray technician with qualifications for operating advanced medical equipment or interpreting test results.

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