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July 25, 2018

Surgical Errors Can Lead to Long Recovery Times

Medical Malpractice Lawyer PA

Surgery is an important medical procedure that helps save lives and also can help people live healthier lives. Surgeries also obviously come with inherent risks. When medical professionals and/or facilities make blatant errors related to surgeries, the risk to patients soars. Surgical errors can take many, many forms, and their effects often involve extended recovery times that exacerbate the victims precarious health that necessitated surgery in the first place.

Never Events

Some surgical errors are so stark that theyre referred to as never events because they should never have happened in the first place. Such errors can include operating on the wrong patient, operating on the wrong body part of the right patient, performing the wrong surgery on the right patient, and leaving behind surgical tools. While errors as dramatic as these arent common, they do happen, and their effects on the victims health are immense. When a never event does occur, it highlights a serious breakdown in the facilitys safety protocol.

Never events are referred to as sentinel events by the Joint Commission, which finds that the incidence of reported sentinel events is on the rise. Further, reporting isnt mandatory, so the rate of incidence is likely higher than reported. To help eliminate these tragic surgical errors that cause victims to suffer greatly, including protracted recovery periods, the Commission recommends that a three-pronged checking system is applied before the patient enters the operating theater:

  • Ensure that the right patient is prepped for surgery
  • Ensure that the correct patients correct body part has been identified and clearly marked for surgery
  • Ensure that the correct procedure was recommended to begin with

Finally, the Commissions game plan includes a pre-surgery timeout that incorporates a final verification process related to the imminent procedure. During this timeout, every medical professional involved must unanimously conclude that the person whos meant to be operated on is prepared for the correct surgery on the correct body part.

If a surgical error has left you injured, youre no doubt overwhelmed. Such errors often lead to lengthy recovery periods that translate into significant financial, physical, and emotional damages. You arent, however, alone. The legal team at The Levin Firm in Philadelphia is dedicated to fighting for your rights and for your rightful compensation. Our skilled medical malpractice attorneys are on your side.

The Recovery Process

If youve experienced a never event, you know exactly how difficult that is. If the wrong surgery was performed or the right surgery was performed on the wrong body part, you didnt receive the surgery you needed in the first place then you are further burdened with having to recover from an unnecessary process. If youre having surgery in the first place, your health may already be compromised, which makes your recovery process that much more precarious. Whatever kind of surgical error transpired, these errors significantly compound the recovery process and exacerbate the physical, financial, and emotional damages exponentially.

Instrument Left Behind

If a medical instrument was left behind during surgery, the results could be especially dangerous. Because these errors often go unrecognized until the victim presents with symptoms, they have time to blossom into even more dangerous conditions. Such an error frequently leads to a serious infection that requires additional surgery. Often this scenario requires emergency surgery, and there are many inherent health risks and a longer recovery period with yet another surgery.

Other Kinds of Surgical Errors

While never events are dramatic, there are more prosaic types of surgical errors that can also lead to serious problems and extended recovery periods. Such errors can include operating in a nonsterile operating room, using unsanitary surgical equipment, injuring a nearby organ during the surgery process, and making errors in anesthesia.

When unsanitary conditions are present, dangerous infections can ensue. When a nearby organ is punctured or injured during the surgical process, the patient emerges from surgery with an entirely new health condition. Errors related to anesthesia can be especially dangerous because they can result in a loss of oxygen to the brain that leads to permanent brain damage or even to death. Every surgical error is unique to its own set of circumstances, but every surgical error also seriously impedes the patients recovery period.

Your Claim

If youve been victimized by a surgical error, you know how devastating that is. Claims of medical malpractice are complicated, but your health, your rights, and your rightful compensation are far too important to ignore or to leave to the discretion of the insurance company, which is in the business of minimizing settlements however possible. Your experienced medical malpractice lawyer will carefully investigate your unique circumstances and will gather the evidence necessary to support your surgical error claim.

Your Damages

The damages associated with surgical errors are difficult to adequately calculate. You needed surgery in the first place, which means that you may not have been in tiptop shape at the outset. Further, if a never event occurred, youll have to undergo an additional surgery. Whatever the error, youre sure to experience an extended recovery process that will likely preclude you from returning to work at the expected time and will cost you in wages lost.

Theres also a significant emotional component to surgical errors. After all, you trusted the medical facility and the medical team to help you recover from whatever brought you to surgery in the first place. When, instead, you wind up with more health issues than you started with, it can be emotionally devastating.

Consult an Experienced Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

Surgical errors happen, and their results can be catastrophic. If you or someone you care about has been victimized by a surgical error, you need experienced legal counsel. These claims are complicated, but the dedicated legal team at The Levin Firm in Philadelphia has the experience, commitment, and tenacity to aggressively advocate for your claims just compensation. Our skilled medical malpractice lawyers care about your claim and are committed to helping you. Your claim matters so please contact or call us at (215) 825-5183 today.

January 5, 2017

Basics of Medical Malpractice Claims in Philadelphia

Medical Malpractice Lawyers in PA

When you go to a doctor or other healthcare professional seeking care, you rightfully expect that the care you receive will make your condition better, not worse. Unfortunately, not all doctors are created equal and some fail to provide the standard of care expected in the medical profession.

Medical malpractice is a widespread problem that can happen to any patient when they least expect it. While medical malpractice laws recognize that injured patients should have the right to seek financial recovery, such laws are strict and can be confusing. For this reason, if you have been injured by poor medical care, it is time to consult a medical malpractice attorney. With the help of a skilled medical malpractice lawyer, you can be compensated for the injuries you received at the hands of a doctor, nurse, or hospital.

Common Types of Medical Malpractice

There are many different ways that medical malpractice can occur, as there are many different mistakes that doctors can make in many different situations. Some common causes of medical injuries can include the following:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Delayed diagnosis
  • Cosmetic/Plastic surgery errors
  • Infections contracted in a hospital or due to a doctor’s care
  • Mistakes during C-sections
  • Cerebral palsy1 due to errors during labor and delivery
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Birth defects that went undiscovered or result from poor medical care
  • Surgery on the wrong patient or the wrong site in the body
  • Foreign objects left in the body after surgery
  • Laparoscopic surgery mistakes
  • Bile duct injuries
  • Gallbladder surgery errors
  • Performing surgery while fatigued or intoxicated
  • Sepsis
  • Severed nerves
  • Severed arteries
  • Punctured arteries
  • Medication errors in the hospital
  • Prescription errors

Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Law

It is important for injured patients to understand that medical malpractice claims are significantly different and often much more complicated than ordinary personal injury claims. This is why it is important to find an attorney who is familiar with the process and the laws, which can vary significantly from state to state.

For example, in Pennsylvania, the following laws may have a substantial impact on your case:

Statute of Limitations – This is the time limit that you have to file a claim with the civil courts. In many situations, this time limit is fairly straightforward. However, in medical malpractice claims, many variables can affect what the statute of limitations may be in your case. For example, the following may apply:

  • Two years from the date you reasonably discovered that you suffered an injury due to a medical professional;
  • Seven years from the date of the injury even if you did not discover it until late (this time limit does not apply if you had a foreign object left in your body);
  • For minors, seven years from their 20th birthday, regardless of when the injury happened or was discovered;
  • For cases resulting in death, two years from the wrongful death.

Damage Caps – Unlike many states, Pennsylvania does not have laws that limit the economic damages or non-economic damages2 in medical malpractice cases, which can be for medical bills, pain and suffering, and more. Instead, the law only limits the amount of punitive damages you can seek, which are damages awarded to punish the doctor. While punitive damages are rare, they can be awarded in cases involving particularly egregious or intentional actions on the part of your doctor. Punitive damages are capped at twice the amount of the economic damages you suffered.

There are also laws that address when damages must be paid periodically, the requirements for the testimony of experts, contributory negligence, and many other legal issues that may be present in a medical malpractice case. If you have been injured as a result of a doctor’s negligence, you have a limited time to act. The sooner you meet with an attorney, the sooner the process can start.

Contact Us to Speak with a Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyer

The skilled medical malpractice attorneys at The Levin Firm will review your case and be able to discuss damages you may be entitled to and how the damage caps and other Pennsylvania laws will affect your case. Our medical malpractice law firm has worked on claims representing the rights of patients injured by medical professionals in many different ways. We understand your rights after a medical injury and will fight for the highest possible amount of financial recovery in your case. To schedule a free consultation, call our firm at 314-647-8910.

1http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/cerebral_palsy/cerebral_palsy.htm

2https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/damages

December 16, 2014

When can I File a Personal Injury Claim?

Personal Injury ClaimMost people are familiar with the term “personal injury lawsuit,” even if it is just from television shows and commercials. However, many individuals may not know what type of events may lead to such a lawsuit.  The truth is that many different scenarios may lead to a personal injury claim, and an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney can advise you of your rights based on the type of injury you suffered. The following is a brief overview of the most common PI claims.

Traffic-related accidents—This is perhaps the most common type of personal injury claim, as over 1.6 million Americans reported sustaining injuries in motor vehicle accidents in 2012 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).{1} Traffic-related personal injury claims may include injuries suffered in car accidents, truck accidents, bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and more.

Medical Malpractice—This type of case arising when a doctor or other medical professional fails to meet the legally required standard of care and a patient suffers injury as a result.{2} Common medical malpractice claims include failure to diagnose a condition, surgical errors, medication errors, anesthesia errors, delayed treatment, and more.

Product Liability—These cases stem from a defective product that was sold or distributed by a manufacturer. Companies have the duty to make products reasonably safe for their intended use or to give proper warning of potential hazards. If the company fails to do so, it may be held liable for resulting injuries. Common products liability cases include dangerous pharmaceuticals, auto defects, and defective child and infant products.

Premises Liability{3}Landowners are legally required to keep their premises reasonably safe for visitors and customers. If a visitor suffered injury due to a defect that the landowner should have realized and repaired, a premises liability suit may follow. These cases often involve slip and fall accidents, falls down stairs, and more.

Workplace accidents—While some jobs are more dangerous than others, almost anyone has the ability to get hurt in the workplace and over 3 million workers reported illness or injury in 2013 alone in the U.S.{4} The three most dangerous professions are noted to be mining, construction, and transportation industries. However, even an office worker can get hurt due to a slip and fall accident or similar event. Personal injury claims for workplace injuries may be complicated, but do allow some injured workers to recover from the liable employer.

{1}http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812032.pdf

{2}http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_of_care

{3}http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Premises_liability

{4}http://www.bls.gov/news.release/osh.nr0.htm

September 17, 2014

Can I Recover Compensation if a Doctor Fails to Properly Diagnose a Heart Attack?

Heart AttackAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart attacks and related heart diseases are the primary cause of death for Americans. Timely diagnosis is especially vital in heart attack cases to limit harm to the victim, since the longer a person goes untreated, the more permanent damage may occur due to oxygen deprivation in the heart. Unfortunately, like any other human, doctors may make a mistake and misdiagnose a heart attack. Such a misdiagnosis can cause brain damage, other permanent disabilities, and death for victims. If you or a family member has unnecessarily suffered due to a heart attack misdiagnosis, an experienced medical malpractice attorney at The Levin Firm can help you hold the doctor liable for his or her negligent actions.

Common reasons for heart attack misdiagnosis

Research shows that approximately 1 in 50 victims of heart attacks are misdiagnosed and often sent home without the necessary treatment. There are several different reasons why doctors may misdiagnose a heart attack, including the following:

• A patient only has very mild symptoms, such as nausea or a general feeling that something is not right.
• Symptoms may be similar to other medical conditions, such as heartburn, other gastrointestinal disorders, anxiety attacks, or others.
• No previous diagnosis of heart disease, high cholesterol or blood pressure, diabetes, or other high-risk conditions.
• The victim is younger, female, or in seemingly good health, and thus does not fit the usual heart attack victim profile.
• An EKG came back normal and so the emergency room doctors ruled out a heart attack as a possible diagnosis without completing further tests.

When someone has a medical emergency, they should be able to expect that a hospital will provide the proper care and treatment that they need. If you or a loved one has suffered permanent damage or death due to a misdiagnosed heart attack, you deserve to be properly compensated.

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