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Many people who suffer from a medical injury often wonder, “Was my medical treatment negligent?” Read on to understand the basics of medical negligence and what you should be on the lookout for if you think you received negligent medical treatment.

Medical negligence (also known as medical malpractice) means that the person who is supposed to provide medical treatment to you makes mistakes in doing so. Sometimes it’s more than one person who is at fault. Sometimes it could be multiple people who commit medical negligence. It could be, for example, multiple doctors as well as the nursing staff, the hospital administrators, pharmacists, etc.

As to how to find out if your medical treatment was negligent, a simple internet search won’t answer the question. In fact, there’s really only one way to know for sure. You have to first contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney who will undertake the following critical steps:

  1. Interview you. Your medical malpractice attorney needs to understand the whole picture: your condition before you sought treatment, the conversations you had with the medical professionals, the diagnosis, the treatment plan, the medicine, etc. If the medical malpractice attorney believes that you may have a valid medical negligence claim, they will ask you to sign a contingent fee agreement which is where the attorney represents you initially free of charge.  In the event that the case settles or receives a winning verdict, the attorney takes their percentage fee out of the funds that the defendants paid as a result of the settlement or verdict. Your attorney will also ask you to sign a form that authorizes the law firm to review your medical records.
  2. Obtain records. You may think obtaining medical records is something you’d be able to do easily on your own. In fact, it can often be hard for a client to know what to specifically ask for when requesting their records from a doctor’s office or a hospital. And often, the medical provider doesn’t give all the records in their possession. This is why you need an experienced attorney. Your attorney knows what to ask for and knows when the production of medical records is incomplete. In the case of incomplete records, sometimes the attorney has to involve the court in enforcing the medical provider to supply all of the requested records.
  3. Review records. Once your attorney is able to collect your records, they will review your records which may include health summaries, hospital notes, prescription slips, 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 it takes an experienced attorney to know which pieces of evidence are key to the success of the case. 
  4. Find an expert. Your medical malpractice lawyer needs to find an expert to certify to the court that the treatment you received was indeed negligent. But it’s not just enough for your attorney to hire any old medical expert. In fact, you’ll need a medical expert who practices the same field of medicine as the medical provider 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.

In sum, an experienced medical malpractice attorney will help you understand if your medical treatment was negligent. Find one at VSCP Law

When your loved one’s death is caused by the actions (or inactions) of another person, you may have a wrongful death claim. We get calls from a lot of grieving families seeking to sue others for the wrongful death of their loved one. There is a wide variety of different contexts in which their loved ones have died, but there are some categories for this type of claim that are more common than others. Below are the top five most common claims in wrongful death lawsuits.

Motor vehicle accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are about 5-6 million motor vehicle accidents per year across the United States. Of those, around 34,000 involve fatalities where at least one person (either the driver or passenger) has died. Sometimes, there is no one at fault – for example, the accident happened because a deer jumped into the road unexpectedly. But, more often with the calls we get, the accident has occurred because someone wasn’t driving carefully. In those cases, when we can link the careless or negligent actions of someone else, we file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the grieving family. 

Surgical errors

Surgeons are responsible for doing exactly what they stipulate to and nothing more and nothing less. Perhaps they damage a nerve, operate on the wrong body part, leave a piece of surgical equipment (eg, gauze or scalpel) inside the body cavity, or they damage an organ. All of these mistakes support a medical malpractice action, as does any negligence by the anesthesiologist in the administration of the anesthesia. Your wrongful death lawyer can evaluate the actions and inactions of the surgical team who rendered you care and determine whether they committed medical malpractice.

Misdiagnosis

Healthcare providers often misdiagnose patients, which could lead to death. The more common conditions that doctors misdiagnose are heart attacks and strokes. For heart attacks, for instance, a woman might come to the doctor with complaints of nausea, shortness of breath, and fatigue and the doctor will incorrectly diagnose her as suffering from premenstrual syndrome or indigestion. For strokes, for instance, a patient can come to their doctor with severe head pain and disorientation. The doctor misdiagnoses them with a migraine. In both of these cases, failure to properly diagnose the condition could lead to the patient’s death.

Delayed Diagnosis

There are many medical conditions that require prompt intervention by healthcare professionals. For example, when cancer is detected, a team of doctors start to plan treatment. Treatment could include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. All of these treatments must be done as expediently as possible because untreated cancer can grow and become deadly. But these treatments won’t become part of a patient’s care plan if no one diagnoses them with cancer. We often get calls from people whose loved one’s doctor failed to notice cancer on their diagnostic test and thus treatment for that loved one was delayed. If a doctor fails to timely diagnose cancer in a patient, they are reducing the likelihood of the patient’s recovery from it and increasing the likelihood that the patient will die from it.

Workplace accidents

Another area that clients call us about is workplace accidents. This can include, for example, someone falling to their death on a construction site or someone in a manufacturing warehouse being exposed to a toxic chemical. Related to the above category, this also often includes workers who are killed in a motor vehicle accident while transporting products for work.

Our goal, as wrongful death attorneys in Philadelphia and its surrounding areas, is to help people who have lost a loved one and seek justice on their behalf. If you believe your loved one died due to the misconduct of someone else, contact us today at VSCP Law.

When your loved one’s death is caused by the actions (or inactions) of another person, you may have a wrongful death claim. We get calls from a lot of grieving families seeking to sue others for the wrongful death of their loved one. There is a wide variety of different contexts in which their loved ones have died, but there are some categories for this type of claim that are more common than others. Below are the top five most common claims in wrongful death lawsuits.

Motor vehicle accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are about 5-6 million motor vehicle accidents per year across the United States. Of those, around 34,000 involve fatalities where at least one person (either the driver or passenger) has died. Sometimes, there is no one at fault – for example, the accident happened because a deer jumped into the road unexpectedly. But, more often with the calls we get, the accident has occurred because someone wasn’t driving carefully. In those cases, when we can link the careless or negligent actions of someone else, we file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the grieving family.

Surgical errors

Surgeons are responsible for doing exactly what they stipulate to and nothing more and nothing less. Perhaps they damage a nerve, operate on the wrong body part, leave a piece of surgical equipment (eg, gauze or scalpel) inside the body cavity, or they damage an organ. All of these mistakes support a medical malpractice action, as does any negligence by the anesthesiologist in the administration of the anesthesia. Your wrongful death lawyer can evaluate the actions and inactions of the surgical team who rendered you care and determine whether they committed medical malpractice.

Misdiagnosis

Healthcare providers often misdiagnose patients, which could lead to death. The more common conditions that doctors misdiagnose are heart attacks and strokes. For heart attacks, for instance, a woman might come to the doctor with complaints of nausea, shortness of breath, and fatigue and the doctor will incorrectly diagnose her as suffering from premenstrual syndrome or indigestion. For strokes, for instance, a patient can come to their doctor with severe head pain and disorientation. The doctor misdiagnoses them with a migraine. In both of these cases, failure to properly diagnose the condition could lead to the patient’s death.

Delayed Diagnosis

There are many medical conditions that require prompt intervention by healthcare professionals. For example, when cancer is detected, a team of doctors start to plan treatment. Treatment could include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. All of these treatments must be done as expediently as possible because untreated cancer can grow and become deadly. But these treatments won’t become part of a patient’s care plan if no one diagnoses them with cancer. We often get calls from people whose loved one’s doctor failed to notice cancer on their diagnostic test and thus treatment for that loved one was delayed. If a doctor fails to timely diagnose cancer in a patient, they are reducing the likelihood of the patient’s recovery from it and increasing the likelihood that the patient will die from it.

Workplace accidents

Another area that clients call us about is workplace accidents. This can include, for example, someone falling to their death on a construction site or someone in a manufacturing warehouse being exposed to a toxic chemical. Related to the above category, this also often includes workers who are killed in a motor vehicle accident while transporting products for work.

Our goal, as wrongful death attorneys in Philadelphia and its surrounding areas, is to help people who have lost a loved one and seek justice on their behalf. If you believe your loved one died due to the misconduct of someone else, contact us today at VSCP Law.

 

When someone dies and their family successfully sues the party responsible for the death, the family may recover compensation for the loss of their family member. There are two possible avenues for the family to collect money: Wrongful Death and Survival Action. They are not the same. Read on to learn the difference.

Wrongful Death

Under the Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Act, the family of the deceased may collect:

         Past Lost Contributions. This is the amount that the family has lost between the time of the death to the present. It includes the money the deceased family member would have spent on or given to his family for things like food, clothing, medical care, education, and even gifts and recreation.

         Future Loss of Contributions. This is the amount of money that fairly compensates the family for the loss of future gifts the deceased family member would have given. In other words, the contributions the deceased family member would make from today until the deceased family member would have died had there been no negligence. For instance, if the deceased family member had a life expectancy of 85 years, you would calculate how many years until she would have reached the age of 85 and you would be compensated for the loss of her contributions for that period of time.

         Past and Future Noneconomic Damages. When someone dies, they can no longer give their family their companionship, emotional comfort, sense of humor, etc. The family can be compensated for the profound emotional and psychological loss of their treasured family member.

Survival Action

Under the Pennsylvania Survival Action, the family member of the deceased person can collect:

         Past Lost Earnings. If there is a period of time that took place between the time of the negligent act and the time of the death, the family is entitled to be paid for the amount the deceased person would have earned in damages between those two events: negligence and death.

         Future Loss of Earnings. This amount covers how much the deceased family member would have earned from today to his life expectancy, as explained above.

         Past Noneconomic Damages. When someone is injured as the result of someone’s negligence, they don’t always die immediately. Sometimes, they could suffer briefly and sometimes they could suffer for a prolonged amount of time before they die. Whatever length that period is, it can be a category of damages. The family of the deceased person can recover money for the mental and physical pain, suffering, and loss of life’s pleasures from the moment she’s injured to the moment of her death.

It is often the case that the family is entitled to both Wrongful Death and Survival Action damages. It is up to your experienced wrongful death lawyer to plead these claims and ensure that you get the most compensation for your loss. To speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney, contact VSCP Law.

In personal injury cases, you can seek emotional distress damages. The emotional distress damages you can claim, however, depend on whether you, yourself, are the injured party or whether you are claiming emotional damages due to the physical injury to your family member.

Emotional Damages for You, the Injured Party

When you are injured, you have multiple possible avenues for claiming emotional damages, including:

Pain and Suffering.  This damage category includes the physical discomfort, mental anxiety, emotional distress, and inconvenience that you’ve suffered  – and will continue to suffer – as a result of your injury.

Embarrassment and humiliation. This refers to any feelings of shame, inferiority, humiliation, or inadequacy that you feel and will continue to feel as a result of your injury. 

Disfigurement. This damage category includes scarring, deformity, limp, or another observable defect that you suffer – and might continue to suffer – as a result of your injury. 

Loss of ability to enjoy life’s pleasures. This refers to the past and future loss of your ability to participate in hobbies, games, sports, or other activity, that you previously enjoyed. The activities don’t have to be physical, like biking or rock-climbing. Activities could include chess or reading. If you can no longer do those activities due to your injury, you can claim emotional distress as the result of having to discontinue them.

Emotional Damages for You as a Family Member of the Injured Party

When it is not you who was personally physically injured, but your family member, you can still make a claim for emotional damages. The courts call these damages Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress Damages and in order to prove this, you need to establish that the defendant’s negligence caused your loved one to suffer a physical injury and you have suffered emotional distress as a result. There are different types of liability that would lead to this level of compensation, including:

Zone of Danger Liability. You could recover damages if you were near the point of impact. For example, if you were in the car with your wife during the accident in which your wife was injured, you were within the zone of danger and would likely have a successful claim for emotional distress.

Bystander Liability. If you witnessed the physical harm caused to your loved one, you are considered a bystander. For example, if you were in the room when a nurse administered the wrong medicine to your child, causing your child to suffer serious immediate injuries, you were a bystander and could collect compensation for your emotional distress.

If you or your loved one suffered a personal injury, it’s important to work with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who can help you collect the appropriate damages. Contact the experienced and knowledgeable personal injury lawyers at VSCP Law.

It can be devastating when you realize that your loved one’s death could have been prevented with proper medical care, or proper care in other settings, such as the workplace. If you believe your loved one has died as a result of the actions or omissions of their healthcare providers or other individuals, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Read on to understand the various categories of wrongful death damages that you can recover.

Under Pennsylvania’s wrongful death statute, there are two main categories of compensation: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are quantifiable, meaning 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 an injury. Read on for the list of categories of compensation that your wrongful death lawyers in Philadelphia can win for you:

ECONOMIC

Lost wages. If your deceased loved one was working and earning wages at the time of their death, you may be able to recover lost wages – that is, the wages that your loved one can no longer earn, in addition to the value of work-related benefits.  

Medical expenses. This category of compensation is related to the bills from the hospital, doctors, physical therapist, pharmacy, and any other healthcare service or provider that are related to your loved one’s death.

Burial/funeral costs. Burial, funeral, and all costs related to interment may be compensated.

Estate administration costs. When someone dies, their property becomes an estate. The estate has to be administered which could include paying utilities, storage, monthly housing fees, and taxes related to the decedent’s property, as well as paying the person who is in charge of making all these payments from the estate.

Costs of living. These are the costs that the decedent would have spent to support their family members had they not died. These costs may include food, clothing, shelter, transportation, education, and recreation.

NON-ECONOMIC

Loss of companionship, comfort, and society. Sometimes referred to as “loss of consortium,” this describes the loss of the benefits of having someone in your life. For a spouse of the decedent, this may include the loss of companionship, cooperation, affection, comfort, services, assistance, sexual relations, and emotional support. For a parent of a child who died, this may include the loss of the opportunity to witness certain milestones like walking, talking, riding a bike, and playing sports. For the child of a parent who died, this may include the loss of the deceased parent’s guidance, training, advice, education, care, comfort, moral upbringing, and emotional support.  

Pain and suffering. This category refers to the physical and emotional pain and suffering that the decedent underwent after the negligent action and before their actual death. Some pain is obvious because it’s accompanied by moans, groans, and/or winces; other pain is invisible because it’s experienced internally, but it is no less significant.

It goes without saying that no amount of money will take away the sadness you feel when your loved one dies. But, with the right wrongful death attorney in Philadelphia, you can at least rest assured that you will get the most compensation possible for your case.

If you believe your loved one has died as the result of someone else’s actions or inactions, contact the wrongful death lawyers at VSCP Law.

The brain is arguably the most important organ in a person’s body because it controls bodily functions as well as cognitive processing. The brain, as with all organs, needs oxygen to thrive. When a baby’s brain is denied adequate levels of oxygen, the baby suffers brain damage. That brain damage can result in cerebral palsy, which impedes a person’s ability to perform cognitively, control bodily functions, control voluntary movements, maintain balance, and to move. The nomenclature derives from cerebral (having to do with the brain) and palsy (weakness or problems with muscles).   

Could cerebral palsy be caused by medical malpractice?

Yes, cerebral palsy can be caused by medical malpractice. In fact, there are various different forms of

medical malpractice that can lead to cerebral palsy.

Failure to detect dangerous hypoxia before, during, or after the birth. As mentioned

above, a baby’s brain needs oxygen to thrive. “Hypoxia” is when the brain does not receive adequate levels of oxygen. If a doctor fails to realize that the baby is experiencing hypoxia – or, if the doctor does realize it and fails to do anything to prevent the hypoxia through urgent delivery and/or other

resuscitative measures – that doctor has likely committed medical malpractice.

  Failure to detect (and timely treat) infections. Infections can range from mild to severe, but in

all cases of a baby suffering an infection, the doctor must detect it early in order to be able to properly administer antibiotics or other therapeutic medicine. If the doctor fails to timely diagnose and treat an infection, the baby could suffer brain damage and cerebral palsy and/or other brain injuries.

 Failure to perform timely Caesarean section where indicated. Sometimes a vaginal birth is not possible or safe and the baby is better off being delivered by Caesarean section (or c-section). A c-section is where the doctor strategically cuts the mother’s abdomen and uterus so as to remove the baby from the uterus. A c-section may be indicated where the mother has a medical condition that prevents her from safely delivering her baby vaginally. A c-section may also be indicated when the traditional labor methods aren’t working – the labor isn’t progressing fast enough, the baby is too large to leave the mother’s body vaginally, the umbilical cord is pinched, the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck, the baby is in distress, etc. Medical malpractice can occur when c-section is indicated to keep the mother and baby healthy and safe, and the doctor fails to perform the c-section in a timely manner, or at all. 

 Negligently performing the delivery. There are many ways a doctor can commit medical malpractice during the childbirth process. They could use excessive force in extracting the baby from the uterus or from the vaginal canal, they could twist the baby’s body in a way that causes injury, they could misuse the various delivery tools (forceps, vacuum extractor, scissors, clamps, specula, etc.),

they could fail to properly monitor the baby’s heartbeat, etc. These are all examples of negligent delivery.

Whatever actions or inactions led to your baby’s cerebral palsy or brain injury, contact the medical malpractice lawyers at VSCP Law to discuss whether you have a valid claim for medical malpractice.

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.