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Babies are delivered one of two ways: either vaginally or via Cesarean delivery. Cesarean delivery (“C-section”) is a method used to deliver a baby through surgical incisions made in the abdomen and uterus. A botched C-section is when the healthcare provider is negligent in performing the procedure.

Why have a C-section?

There are many reasons a healthcare provider might recommend a C-section, such as: labor isn’t progressing normally; the baby is in distress; the baby is in an unsafe position; there’s a problem with the placenta; certain health concerns or medical issues the mother is experiencing; or there’s a blockage of the birth canal by, eg, a fibroid or the umbilical cord.

What can go wrong in a C-section?

While C-sections are a common way to deliver a baby, there are risks associated with the procedure. Such risks can lead to a botched C-section. These include:

  Delayed delivery. Delivery delays can result in the baby being in a prolonged and unhealthy state of distress.

  Brachial plexus injury.  The brachial plexus is the network of nerves that send signals from the spinal cord to the shoulder, arm, and hands. That part of the body can be injured when the nerves are stretched, compressed, or – in the most serious cases – ripped apart or torn away from the spinal cord.

Laceration of internal organs. The doctor cuts the mother’s bowels or another organ, causing infection and injury.

Broken bones. The doctor positions the baby wrong and breaks his/her bones when removing the baby from the uterus.

Uterine rupture. The uterus is torn and the baby and placenta can fall into the mother’s abdomen. This can cause the next complication: oxygen deprivation.

Oxygen deprivation. This occurs when the baby is denied sufficient levels of oxygen which is necessary for brain and body development.

Laceration of the baby. When a doctor improperly uses delivery tools, the baby’s skin can become cut and disfigured.

Improper wound closure. After surgery, the mother can develop an infection if the wound was not properly closed and disinfected.

Should I contact a birth injury lawyer for a botched C-section?

If you or your baby suffered an injury during C-section delivery, you should contact a birth injury attorney to discuss whether you have a medical malpractice claim.

In Pennsylvania, you can file a birth injury claim for the child up to two years after the child turns 18 (i.e., up until their 20th birthday). But you should never wait that long to consult an attorney. This is because your claim, as the parent, is only available for two years after you knew or should have known that your child’s birth injury was the medical professional’s fault. Another reason you should not delay contacting an attorney is because the closer you are in time to the actual date of delivery, the easier it is to gather all essential medical records and testimony.

If you underwent a botched C-section, do not hesitate to contact the specialized birth injury lawyers at VSCP Law.

If you’ve ever been in the hospital, you may have undergone intravenous (IV) therapy. Intravenous means “within a vein.” Intravenous therapy is when the healthcare professional inserts a tube (also called a “catheter”) through your vein to deliver fluid or medicine directly into your bloodstream. Can you suffer injuries from your IV? And if so, could you sue for those injuries?

IV Damage

An injury that can occur with IV placement is referred to as “IV infiltration.” IV infiltration is when the tip of the catheter slips out of the vein, the blood vessel wall allows part of the fluid to enter the surrounding tissue, or the catheter passes through the wall of the vein.

Another injury is called “IV extravasation.” This term describes leakage of fluid or medicine in the tissue around the IV site.  It happens when the catheter comes out of the blood vessel but is still in nearby tissue. It may also happen if the blood vessel leaks because it is weak or damaged.

Both IV infiltration and IV extravasation involve fluid or medicine leaking out of the vein and into surrounding tissue.

Another example of IV damage involves the wrongful administration of medicine. In other words, the healthcare staff inserts the wrong medicine through the catheter into your bloodstream.

The above IV placement problems can cause nerve damage, muscle damage, scarring, tissue necrosis, and injuries to your limbs and the rest of your body.

Can you sue for injuries from improper IV placement?

The healthcare staff should ensure that they’re giving you the correct medicine through the IV. They should also monitor the IV throughout your treatment to make sure the catheter was correctly placed and hasn’t moved. Failure to do so can result in the injuries described above and, if you can prove medical malpractice, you will likely have a successful lawsuit.

Medical malpractice is established when you’ve proven that: (1) there was a duty; (2) the medical professional breached that duty; (3) you suffered injuries; (4) that were caused at least in part by the healthcare professional’s breach of duty.

Healthcare professionals absolutely have a duty (1) to ensure proper administration of medicine and insertion of a catheter. Failure to do so constitutes a breach of duty (2). If you can prove that you suffered serious injuries (3) caused at least in part by the healthcare staff’s improper IV placement (4), you have proven medical malpractice.

If you believe you or a loved one were injured as the result of improper IV placement, contact the medical malpractice attorneys at VSCP Law.

What does the term “early discharge” mean in the context of a medical malpractice case? Let’s start with the second term, “discharge,” which refers to the action of a hospital releasing the patient from their care and sending them home. “Early” obviously refers to the timing – being released prematurely or too soon from the hospital is what qualifies as early discharge. Other ways to describe this are “premature discharge” and “untimely discharge.”

Many early discharge cases arise in the context of the emergency room. Emergency rooms (or ERs) are places where the hospital wants patients in and out – either the patient leaves the ER to go home or they leave the ER to be transferred to another wing of the hospital or an outpatient medical office. Either way, the hospital wants the patient in and out of the ER in quick fashion if possible so they can prioritize newly presenting patients.

Here are some examples of early discharge from the ER:

A woman goes to the ER because she has a terrible headache that she cannot get under control. The ER gives her a high dose of pain medication and that provides some relief. They discharge her. When she gets home, she starts slurring her words and it’s obvious to her family that she is suffering a stroke. She has to be rushed back to the hospital before her stroke causes permanent damage.

A teenager goes to the ER with shortness of breath. The ER says the difficulty breathing is because he’s having a panic attack and they help him calm down. When it appears that his breathing is more steady, they discharge him. In fact, the teenager was suffering from heart failure and needed emergency cardiac care.

A man goes to the ER after he is bit by his neighbor’s dog; the bite is swollen and painful. The ER gives him a shot of steroid and a high dose of pain medication and then discharges him. In fact, the swelling was evidence of a bacterial infection and the man dies days later because he was never prescribed an antibiotic.

Not all early discharge cases happen in the ER. Sometimes a patient could be treated as an outpatient when they should be kept overnight for further observation. And other times, a patient stays for a few days in the hospital and is released before being in properly stable condition.

And as you can see from the examples above, early discharge cases tend to be present where there is wrongful diagnosis (or “failure to diagnose”). When the diagnosis is wrong, the hospital tends to release the patient, thinking no further medical intervention is necessary.

Sadly, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the following socio-economic factors may contribute to early discharge: 

The AHRQ refers to early discharge as “discharge failure” because not treating patients with the proper standard of care is indeed a failure.

If you believe that you or a loved one was discharged from a healthcare setting too early, contact the medical malpractice lawyers at VSCP Law.

 

What does “standard of care” mean in the context of medical malpractice?

You may have heard the term “standard of care” on television or from a law firm website. But what does it mean exactly? And what does it mean in the context of medical malpractice (also known as medical negligence)?

Before you can understand the term, it’s important to first comprehend the four necessary elements that comprise medical malpractice. In order to prove your medical malpractice claim, you have to establish the following: (1) there was a duty; (2) the medical professional breached that duty; (3) the medical professional’s breach of duty led to your injuries; and (4) you suffered injuries as a result of the medical professional’s actions (or inactions).

“Standard of care” arises in the context of that second element: breach of duty. It describes the skill, talent, knowledge, and expertise that is expected of the healthcare professional by fellow professionals in the medical community.

And standard of care applies in the area of specific medicine of the healthcare professional. In other words, the standards of care for a cardiologist (pertaining, for example, to reading EKGs and properly diagnosing heart abnormalities) are different from the standards of care of a pulmonologist (pertaining, for example, to reading chest x-rays and properly diagnosing a chronic cough).

Thus, when you are trying to prove that medical negligence occurred, you need a medical expert who practices the same field of medicine as the healthcare professional who harmed you. For instance, if your injuries occurred during gastrointestinal surgery, your medical malpractice attorney will likely discuss the case with an expert who is a gastrointestinal surgeon.

Assuming the gastrointestinal surgeon agrees that a medical error took place and caused your injuries, the expert surgeon will prepare a Certificate of Merit. A Certificate of Merit is a statement from an expert that says that the defendant healthcare professional you are suing deviated from the standard of care. In other words, her actions (or inactions) didn’t rise to the level of care expected of someone in her field of medicine. You must establish (with an expert) a deviation from the standard of care  – without it, you have not proved that necessary second element of your medical negligence claim: breach of duty.

Your medical malpractice attorney will file that Certificate of Merit along with the Complaint with the court, and thus begins your medical malpractice lawsuit.  

If you believe you or a loved one has suffered an injury as the result of a healthcare professional failing to meet the standard of care, contact the medical malpractice lawyers at VSCP Law.

If you are injured in a healthcare setting, you may be wondering whom you can sue for medical malpractice. Can you sue your doctor? Can you sue the hospital where you were treated? Can you sue both?

In Pennsylvania, you can sue both the doctor and the hospital under the same and/or different claims. In order to understand the possible claims, let’s first define medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is a negligence claim in the context of medicine. This means that if you have been injured because of what a doctor, nurse, or any healthcare professional has done (or has not done, but should have), then you might have a valid medical malpractice lawsuit. 

Suing the Doctor

A doctor is liable for medical malpractice when they had a duty to provide you a certain level of care, they failed to meet that duty, and their failure to fulfill their duty to you caused you to be injured. An example could be a radiologist who fails to notice a cancerous tumor when reading your x-ray slides, resulting in you suffering from a worse prognosis than if they had properly read your slides in the first place. Or maybe your general practitioner improperly diagnosed your abdominal pain as indigestion when in fact it was appendicitis, causing you to suffer a greater infection and injury than if the appendicitis was correctly diagnosed when you first treated with your doctor. In these instances, the doctor could be sued for medical malpractice for their failure to fulfill their duty to you and for causing your injuries.

Suing the Hospital

There are multiple different avenues for suing a hospital for medical malpractice.

         Vicarious liability. A hospital can be liable to a patient for their injury when its employee (e.g., a doctor, nurse, etc.) commits the error that caused that injury. This concept is called “vicarious liability” – it occurs when a business or organization is held liable for the actions or inactions of its employees.

         Hospital negligence. In addition to being subject to a lawsuit for the errors of its employees (vicarious liability), a hospital can be sued for its own errors. If the hospital, itself, as an institution, makes mistakes, it could be held liable for medical malpractice. A hospital could be negligent in many ways:

This area of the law is very case-specific and needs to be analyzed by an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Determining the exact claims against the doctor and the hospital is an important strategic consideration that only a medical malpractice specialist can perform. If you or your loved one was injured in a hospital setting, contact a medical malpractice specialist at VSCP Law.

 

 How to Find the Best Medical Malpractice Attorney: 4 Things to Consider for Your Birth Injury Case

If a medical professional’s negligence caused injuries to your baby and/or the mother in the course of childbirth, you may be able to file a birth injury lawsuit. But how can you find the best attorney to handle the case? Read on to learn four important considerations in finding the best attorney for your birth injury case.

 1)    There are different disciplines of medicine involved. 

Even though birth injury sounds like a narrow subcategory of medical malpractice, it is anything but narrow in its scope. An experienced birth injury attorney will have a working knowledge of various types of medicine, including obstetrics, nursing, neonatology, pediatric neurology, pediatric cardiology, orthopedics, and maternal fetal medicine. The birth injury attorney’s deep understanding of these types of medicine enables them to properly analyze your case.

2)    A winning strategy means finding the best theory of negligence.

In addition to understanding the various types of medicine involved in a potential birth injury case, your Philadelphia birth injury lawyer must understand all of the facts in evidence and the legal theories involved. There are certain fact patterns that will be familiar to an experienced birth injury attorney and it’s the ability to recognize the particulars of these cases and pinpointing the proper theory of negligence that distinguishes a good birth injury attorney from a bad one.

3)    Your attorney needs to know the right experts. 

A good birth injury attorney in Philadelphia will have the right contacts for every case that comes across their desk. They will have a database of top-quality experts in the varying fields of birth injury medicine discussed above so that when you reach out to them to represent you, they know the first person to call for an expert opinion. If the case, for example, involves a baby’s bone fracture during childbirth, the attorney may call an orthopedist to determine the extent of the baby’s injuries. This segues neatly into the next consideration: damages.

4)    Understanding the extent of damages is key to winning the case.

In Pennsylvania, there are two main categories of compensation: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are quantifiable, the exact figure can be established with documentation. Non-economic damages are not quantifiable – they are more of a subjective assessment of the sad consequences of a birth injury. For your birth injury case, a good birth injury attorney will understand the extent of the damages and ensure that you are compensated fully. For example, if you had to stop working to manage your child’s care as a result of the birth injury, you could collect economic damages called “lost wages.” Medical expenses related to the birth injury are also economic damages. Non-economic damages would include your child’s loss of enjoyment or quality of life due to, for instance, an injury that prevents them from enjoying typical childhood milestones such as bike-riding or going down a slide at the playground.

So that you can do what’s best for your child and for your family, contact the qualified birth injury attorneys at VSCP Law.

 

How Do I File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

If you believe you have been injured because of what a doctor has done (or has not done), then you might have a valid medical malpractice case. Now what? How do you file a lawsuit?

In order to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you should contact an attorney who has substantial experience in medical malpractice law. There are some legal cases that people try to handle pro se – on one’s own behalf. This is not one of them. You should not attempt to handle your own medical malpractice case. This is not the kind of case that can be done properly without an attorney.

Pennsylvania medical malpractice law is highly specialized. Below are some of the important steps a medical malpractice attorney will take to file your lawsuit.

Review records

Your attorney will review medical records, health summaries, hospital notes, lab results, and all other necessary paperwork to fully understand the actions (and sometimes inactions) of the health care staff who may have been responsible for the medical mistake. It takes an experienced attorney to know how to analyze piles and piles of medical records and which pieces of evidence are key to the success of the case.

Comply with statutory requirements

Pennsylvania medical malpractice law can be complex. There are several important statutes that must be followed in order to successfully file your lawsuit. For instance, under Pennsylvania’s Statute of Limitations law, you have two years to file a lawsuit, starting from when you knew or should have known that your injury was the result of the defendants’ medical mistake. In the case of a deceased party, Pennsylvania law allows you two years from the official death date to file a wrongful death medical malpractice lawsuit. If you miss this crucial deadline, you lose the right to file a lawsuit. So, your medical malpractice attorney will have to figure out the best timing for filing the Complaint. In addition to the question of when to file the lawsuit, your attorney needs to figure out where to do so. Your medical malpractice attorney should spend considerable effort figuring out the best venue for your case. Several factors go into this analysis, including location of medical treatment and whether the county is typically supportive of medical malpractice plaintiffs.

Find the right expert

Not only do you need a medical expert to help prove that medical negligence occurred in your case – you need a medical expert who practices the same field of medicine as the healthcare professional who harmed you. For instance, if your injuries occurred during gastrointestinal surgery, your medical malpractice attorney will likely discuss the case with an expert who is a gastrointestinal surgeon.

File the Complaint and Certificate of Merit

Assuming the expert described above agrees that a medical error took place and caused your loved one’s injuries, the expert will prepare a Certificate of Merit. Your Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney will file a Complaint along with the Certificate of Merit in court.

And thus begins your formal lawsuit against the defendants.

An experienced medical malpractice attorney in Pennsylvania will help you file (and win!) your medical malpractice lawsuit. Find one at VSCP Law.

People often ask: If I suffer a personal injury, should I call a personal injury attorney?

The answer is easy: YES.

And then they wonder: when should I call a personal injury attorney?

The answer is also easy: AS SOON AS YOU CAN.

Read on to learn why your best course of action after suffering a personal injury is to promptly call a personal injury lawyer.

You May Think Your Case is Simple, But It’s Not

No matter how straightforward your case seems, it’s actually not. Let’s say you were driving and the car behind you rear-ended your car, causing you to suffer neck and back injuries. You may think this is a straightforward auto accident because you learned that people who rear-end the drivers in front are always at fault. But there are many factors to consider in auto accidents including the usage of handheld devices (like your cell phone) while driving, whether there were other distractions, whether the cars involved were compliant with state inspection laws, whether there were any recalls of parts on either of the cars, etc.

And what about your injuries? What was your health like prior to the accident? What problems do you suffer now because of your neck and back pain? Did you have to take time off from work to deal with your injuries? Are you totally healed or are there permanent injuries? There is no shortage of important factors to consider and only an experienced personal injury attorney can identify all of them. And only an experienced personal injury can undertake a proper analysis of each and every one of them.

And what about the various laws and rules of procedure in the Pennsylvania courts? No layperson is expected to understand how the law and procedure work in any particular case. Sadly, even many practicing attorneys who spent three years in law school don’t understand all of Pennsylvania’s complicated rules and regulations. Often, a personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia who has never practiced in Scranton won’t be as knowledgeable about the particular whims of, e.g., the Lackawanna County court system as well as a personal injury lawyer who has practiced in Scranton would be. So, you may think your case is simple, but it’s not. You need an experienced personal injury attorney to help you.

The Attorney Will Help You Avoid Pitfalls, Such As Not Acting Early Enough to Retain Key Evidence

People who suffer an injury and don’t consult with a lawyer often learn after it’s too late that they made critical errors early on. Often, it’s that they failed to preserve key evidence that would have helped their case. An experienced personal injury attorney knows what actions must be taken early in the process such as ordering medical records; reviewing police reports; and collecting witness statements, photographs, and videos. The presence or absence of these crucial forms of evidence could determine whether your lawsuit is successful or not.

Much of the critical evidence is in the possession of the defendant and if those items aren’t requested early in the process, the defendant could destroy them.

Thus, you need a Pennsylvania personal injury attorney to help you avoid common missteps that could otherwise hinder the success of your lawsuit.

The Attorney Knows the True Value of Your Case

When you file a claim with your insurance company, the insurance company may try to convince you that they can handle everything. More often than not, an insurance company will undervalue your case. In other words, they will tell you that they can only collect a certain amount of money (because that is the maximum amount they’d be able to collect for you). Whatever amount the insurance company tells you is typically far less than what a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer can collect for you.

Your personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia knows how to build a case that is designed to help compensate you for your suffering and make sure that you get the most money possible for your injuries.

It’s Free!

Your personal injury attorney will investigate the facts leading up to your injuries – at no cost to you. If your personal injury lawyer determines that there is no negligence that caused your injury and there is no one to sue, you won’t have lost any money. Your attorney undergoes all that investigation at zero cost to you.

To find an experienced personal injury to represent you, call the attorneys at VSCP LAW.

If you believe you have been injured because of what a doctor has done (or has not done), then you might have a valid medical malpractice lawsuit and you may be able to be compensated for your injuries. The only way to know if you do, in fact, have a valid medical malpractice claim is by contacting a medical malpractice attorney for a consultation. Below are some more reasons why you should hire a medical malpractice lawyer.

YOU WILL BE ABLE TO FILE THE LAWSUIT IN THE FIRST PLACE

In every medical malpractice case, time is of the essence. If your Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyer does not act efficiently and swiftly, critical information could be permanently lost or worse: You could lose the opportunity to file a lawsuit at all! You need to hire an experienced attorney who appreciates the time-sensitive nature of your medical malpractice claim and who files the lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires. If the statute of limitations expires, you lose your right to file a lawsuit in the first place.

YOU’LL BE ABLE TO RETAIN CRUCIAL EVIDENCE

An experienced medical malpractice attorney knows what actions must be taken early in the process such as ordering medical records including hospital intake forms, nurses’ logs, doctors’ notes, lab results, diagnostic orders and test results, etc. Other examples of evidence that needs to be gathered in a timely fashion include witness statements, photographs and videos, and physical objects that are related to the medical malpractice claim such as prescription bottles and medical devices.

The presence or absence of these crucial forms of evidence could dictate whether your lawsuit is successful or not.

YOUR COMPLAINT WILL INCLUDE ALL NECESSARY CLAIMS FOR COMPENSATION

An experienced medical malpractice attorney evaluates the case with knowledge of all possible causes of action and claims for damages. For example, here <hyperlink to categories of compensation in birth injury case> are the various forms of compensation you can collect in a Pennsylvania medical malpractice case in the context of a birth injury. Also, there are special statutes in Pennsylvania that apply to certain cases. An experienced Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney knows which statutes apply to your case and how to craft your claim in the way that puts you in the best position to win.

IT’S FREE!

Your medical malpractice attorney will investigate the facts leading up to your injuries and, with the assistance of medical experts, make a professional determination as to whether the healthcare provider was negligent and thus liable to you for your injuries. Whether the medical malpractice attorney decides to file a lawsuit on your behalf or not, you still owe no money to the lawyer for doing all of the initial legwork before making that determination. And your medical malpractice attorney never gets paid unless they win your lawsuit either by a jury verdict or settlement.

If you believe you have been injured as the result of a medical error in Pennsylvania, contact the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at VSCP LAW.

If you think you have been a victim of medical malpractice, there are some crucial, time-sensitive steps you need to take.

1. PRESERVE EVIDENCE

Often, victims of medical malpractice inadvertently lose or destroy key pieces of evidence. It is imperative that you preserve all necessary records and items pertaining to your medical malpractice case. If you are unsure whether a document is essential to your case, err on the side of holding onto it. Keep everything you can because you don’t know yet what item will become crucial to the success of your case.

Examples of evidence include medical records, intake forms, toxicology reports, labwork, prescription slips, photographs and videos, work records, financial statements, and physical objects that are related to the medical malpractice (eg, prescription bottles, medical devices, etc.). Even media such as emails, text messages, and social media posts should be preserved in case they can help your case.

Again, the absence of these items could reduce the value and success of your medical malpractice case in Pennsylvania.

2.KEEP UP WITH FOLLOW-UP MEDICAL CARE

An error victims of medical malpractice often make is skimping on their follow-up care. Whether it’s out of a distrust of doctors, inconvenience, or physical discomfort, some people just discontinue seeking medical treatment after their medical injury. This is a huge mistake. You may seek a second opinion, you may change doctors, but you may not ignore medical advice to get better and heal. Further, make sure to document and keep track of all out-of-pocket medical expenses.

3. TALK TO A LAWYER

In addition to the above important steps, a step you should take early on in the process is to consult with a Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer. This lawyer will be able to make sure you abide by all the necessary regulations, including the time-sensitive statute of limitations. If you do not file your lawsuit within two years of your injury, you may be barred from doing so. Thus, you must consult with a medical malpractice attorney in Philadelphia as soon as you can.

When you meet with this lawyer, you must provide as much information as you can about the circumstances before, during, and after your medical injury. That will enable your lawyer to evaluate the viability of the claim – that is, whether the claim is likely to be successful in court.
You should find medical malpractice lawyers who will take your case on a contingency basis. That means that the attorney gets paid contingent on the case being successful (either winning a plaintiff’s verdict at trial or receiving a payment through a settlement agreement). In a contingent-based case, you don’t pay any money to the attorney to try your medical malpractice lawsuit. When the case resolves in a successful verdict or settlement, the attorney is paid a percentage of the verdict or settlement amount.
If you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice, contact the medical malpractice attorneys at VSCP Law – www.vscplaw.com