Of the trillions of dollars spent each year on health care, studies show that hundreds of billions go to defensive medicine. This includes tests and procedures doctors in Pennsylvania and elsewhere order to protect themselves from being sued for medical malpractice. While some say this is leading to a crisis in the health care industry, others contend that the current state of malpractice tort has created a better environment for patients.
These blogs are posted on behalf of Seidel, Cohen, Hof & Reid, LLC, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the firm or its attorneys. The information presented in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice.
People in Pennsylvania may switch doctors until they find one they like. When a family doctor is trusted for decades, it may be shocking to learn of accusations of medical malpractice. One doctor who worked as a general practitioner in another state is linked to the deaths of at least six of his patients.
Over the past few years, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Food and Drug Administration have issued separate reports warning doctors about the dangers of prescribing codeine to children. Nevertheless, doctors in Pennsylvania and elsewhere continue to risk medical malpractice by prescribing the drug. Codeine is an opiate added to some cough syrups and commonly given to children following tonsillectomies. It supposedly works to relieve pain after the procedure which removes tonsils that are swollen enough to cause sleep apnea in children.
Transparency at every level of health care is paramount to keeping Pennsylvania patients safe when seeking treatment. Attempting to cover up acts of medical negligence can prevent patients from being able to receive the correct and necessary follow-up treatments. Despite the serious risk associated with concealing a mistake or accident, an out-of-state patient recently filed a medical malpractice suit after she says she was lied to about a serious mistake.
Occasionally, a medical professional may become the victim of medical malpractice. Generally, the patient or her family may choose to make a valid claim for medical malpractice and to pursue it in the courts. In Pennsylvania, that scenario recently occurred when a young medical school graduate was admitted to a hospital with severe headaches and never came out alive.
The American healthcare system is widely held as one of the most advanced and proficient in the world. We are fortunate to have access to highly trained medical professionals, state-of-the-art facilities, and cutting-edge technology. Despite these advantages, however, our nation still experiences a high number of medical malpractice claims, in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. One recently released study examined the basis for those suits, and found that diagnostic errors account for as many as 28.6 percent of malpractice payments made to patients.
For many Pennsylvania residents, going to the dentist ranks among the least pleasant items on one's to-do list. People hold a wide range of phobias about dental procedures, but many stem from the simple discomfort of the setting. One recently settled medical malpractice case suggests that they may be more to be scared of than the drill.
A 67-year-old woman has filed suit against a surgeon who operated on the wrong side of her skull. The case has made headlines across the nation, and serves as a warning to Pennsylvania residents of the dangers of placing full trust in the competency of a medical professional. The medical malpractice suit was filed after the patient discovered that this was not the first time that the surgeon had operated on the wrong part of a patient's body.
Pennsylvania residents typically expect the best, most professional care available, even when having routines tests or examinations. One woman has found out that there may have been medical malpractice in play over a span of as much as five years of routine tests. She was recently diagnosed with cervical cancer following five years of negative results from yearly Pap smears.
There is good news and bad news about hospital errors in Pennsylvania. First, due to efforts by a state agency called the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority (PPSA), the latest statistics for wrong site and wrong patient surgeries are about 25 percent lower than when the agency began collecting data in 2004. The bad news, however, is that during the 2011-2012 academic year, there were 47 reports of this form of hospital negligence.