When a doctor makes a mistake, it’s not always medical malpractice.
A medical mistake occurs when a doctor or other healthcare professional makes a mistake in the delivery of care. Perhaps the doctor prescribes you the wrong medicine or the wrong dosage. Or maybe the nurse doesn’t insert your intravenous line correctly. Those mistakes may result in medical malpractice and they may not. Read on to learn when a medical mistake rises to the level of medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice is when the healthcare professional’s error increases your risk of harm or injuries. In order for a medical error to result in a valid medical malpractice claim, the medical malpractice lawyer has to prove four elements:
The healthcare professional had a responsibility to care for the patient (legally, a “duty”).
The healthcare professional breached that duty – or, failed to provide the standard of medical care expected of them.
The patient’s injury would not have occurred if it weren’t for the healthcare professional’s actions or inactions. In other words, the healthcare professionals’ medical mistake led to the patient’s injuries or their mistake increased the patient’s risk of harm of sustaining their injuries.
As a result of the medical professional’s mistake, the patient suffered injuries (known legally as “damages”).
If you believe you or a loved one has suffered an injury as the result of a healthcare professional’s mistake, contact the experienced medical malpractice lawyers at VSCP Law.
Medical mistakes happen and they don’t always result in lawsuits. If something bad happens during surgery, that doesn’t necessarily mean the surgeon committed medical malpractice. So what happens if there’s a surgical mistake? How do you know if the surgical error is really medical malpractice? Read on to learn the various steps you should take if a surgeon makes a mistake during surgery.
Sometimes physicians are negligent. They make medical mistakes in the practice of medicine. That doesn’t always mean you can have a successful medical malpractice case against them. To establish a medical malpractice case, it is typically necessary to prove that the surgeon’s actions or omissions fell below the accepted standard of care and that this breach led to your injuries. You need to contact a hospital malpractice lawyer to review the records and all other evidence to determine whether there was malpractice involved.
It’s important that you maintain a detailed record of all medical reports, diagnoses, treatments, and conversations with healthcare professionals regarding your surgery. Surgical notes, medical records, intake forms, lab slips, and lab results are all examples of crucial pieces of evidence, as are before-and-after photos, journals, and even voicemail messages! This is another reason the first step (“contact a lawyer”) is so essential: your medical malpractice lawyer can, as mentioned above, tell you what evidence is necessary and will review and digest all of the necessary information because it is essential to the evaluation of your claim.
Who better to evaluate whether your surgery was botched than another surgeon? Seeking a second opinion is a great way to determine if the surgeon’s errors rose to the level of medical malpractice. Let’s say you underwent gastrointestinal surgery in a Philadelphia hospital and you believe the surgeon made a mistake. Your hospital malpractice lawyer in Philadelphia can help you find a good gastrointestinal surgeon to evaluate you, your health history, and your medical records. That surgeon will also help advise you on how to heal and recover.
If you believe a surgical medical mistake has occurred, contact the experienced surgical malpractice attorneys at VSCP Law.
If you suspect that a medical misdiagnosis lawsuit (where a healthcare professional gave you an inaccurate diagnosis) resulted in your injuries, here are five things you should know to protect your rights.
The statute of limitations is a law that sets the maximum amount of time you can wait before filing a misdiagnosis lawsuit. If you don’t file your lawsuit within the time frame provided by the statute of limitations, you lose your right to file the lawsuit at all. Statutes of limitations vary state by state. The rules in Pennsylvania are that you have two years to file a medical malpractice or medical misdiagnosis lawsuit. This means that you have two years after you knew or should have known that your injury was caused by your doctor or healthcare provider when they misdiagnosed you. Again, so that you don’t lose your right to file a lawsuit, it’s imperative to file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations. In order to get the timing right, you must contact a lawyer, which brings us to the next important step:
It’s hard to know whether you were misdiagnosed and whether a misdiagnosis caused your injuries. This is where a medical misdiagnosis lawyer comes in. And, as mentioned, you need to make sure that you file your misdiagnosis lawsuit before your right to do so runs out. Thus, calling a lawyer is one of the first things you should do once you suspect your injury may have been caused by a misdiagnosis.
It’s important that you maintain a detailed record of all medical reports, diagnoses, treatments, and conversations with healthcare professionals that occurred before, during, and after your misdiagnosis. This is another reason the previous step (“call a lawyer”) is so essential: your misdiagnosis lawyer can, as mentioned above, tell you what evidence is necessary and will review and digest all of the necessary information because it is essential to your misdiagnosis lawsuit.
In order to file a successful medical misdiagnosis lawsuit, you need a medical expert who practices the same field of medicine as the healthcare professional who harmed you. Thus, if your cardiologist misdiagnosed you, your misdiagnosis lawyer will find an expert cardiologist to review your medical records and support your misdiagnosis lawsuit.
Assuming the expert described above agrees that you were misdiagnosed and that the misdiagnosis caused your injuries, the expert will prepare a Certificate of Merit. Your misdiagnosis attorney can then file a Complaint along with the Certificate of Merit in the court, which will be the beginning.
To discuss a potential medical misdiagnosis lawsuit, contact the experienced medical misdiagnosis lawyers at VSCP Law.
If you think you have been a victim of surgical errors, here are some ways you can maximize compensation in your medical malpractice case.
Often, victims of surgical errors inadvertently lose or destroy key pieces of evidence. It is imperative that you preserve all necessary records and items pertaining to your surgical errors 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 (e.g., 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 surgical errors medical malpractice case.
KEEP UP WITH FOLLOW-UP MEDICAL CARE
An error that victims of medical malpractice often make is failing to go to 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 should not skip your follow up care. Further, make sure to document and keep track of all out-of-pocket medical expenses. Extensive follow-up care helps establish your future care needs for your surgical errors medical malpractice case and, hopefully and most importantly, it also helps you recover.
DOCUMENT YOUR INJURY AND RECOVERY
In order to maximize compensation, it will be important to establish that the effects of the surgical errors are continually burdensome. Make sure to take photos and videos throughout your journey to give a visual picture of the scarring and disfigurement you’re suffering. Journaling is another way to keep track of your injury and the uncomfortable effects of it.
It’s also helpful to document your conversations with healthcare providers. With time, your memory may fade a little so try to write down conversations with healthcare and rehabilitation providers soon after they occur.
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 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. Your lawyer also knows all the important steps you need to take to maximize compensation and will help guide you through them.
If you believe you are a victim of surgical errors, contact the medical malpractice attorneys at VSCP Law.
When people learn that our firm is specialized in medical malpractice in Philadelphia and Scranton, they often want to know about the various types of medical malpractice claims (also referred to as medical negligence claims). Of course it would be impossible to examine all possible medical malpractice claims. Below is a sampling of fairly common medical malpractice claims that our medical malpractice lawyers in Philadelphia and Scranton often encounter.
Healthcare providers often misdiagnose patients, which could lead to death. For example, a woman may come to the emergency room with symptoms of nausea and fatigue. The poorly-informed doctor incorrectly concludes that she’s suffering from menstrual issues or indigestion. The doctor prescribes some antacid and/or a painkiller. In fact, the woman was suffering a heart attack. When women suffer heart attacks, they don’t have the same symptoms as men suffering heart attacks. Most doctors only know the typical male symptoms and often misdiagnose women, leading to serious cardiac injury or death.
There are many medical conditions that require prompt intervention by healthcare professionals. For example, when a patient is suffering a stroke, time is of the essence. A stroke is when blood supply to the brain is interrupted or reduced. This is an urgent medical issue and requires a timely diagnosis. Sometimes medical staff will mistake a stroke for a migraine and prescribe pain killers. Unfortunately, during a stroke, every minute that passes is a minute that the brain is losing precious oxygen. And if the proper diagnosis is delayed for too long, the person could suffer brain damage, disability, and even death.
Another type of medical negligence claim that our medical malpractice attorneys in Philadelphia and Scranton handle frequently is birth injury. These cases focus on the injuries a child could suffer during childbirth. There are often medical issues that arise for the mother of the child as well. Types of birth injury include:
There are several other examples of birth injury. For a complete list, see this article <hyperlink to What Are the Most Common Birth Injuries?>.
If you believe you have suffered a medical injury and would like to explore whether what you experienced constitutes medical malpractice, contact the experienced medical malpractice lawyers at VSCP Law.
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death across all ages and genders. Timely detection of lung cancer determines how successful a patient will be in surviving it.
How can a Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer help you if you’re diagnosed with lung cancer? The lawyer can help determine whether your lung cancer was apparent and ignored by your healthcare professionals. If so, you could be compensated for the physical and emotional injuries you sustain from your lung cancer.
There are two main types of lung cancer medical malpractices cases we see.
The patient is asymptomatic for most of the time she has lung cancer. The majority of lung cancer medical malpractice cases that are handled involve a patient who lived with lung cancer for months or years prior to feeling any related symptoms. Their doctors, however, should have seen the lung cancer on radiology studies of the patient’s chest and missed it. Due to this malpractice, the lung cancer was allowed to progress to an advanced stage.
For example, let’s say, a patient was diagnosed with a heart condition years ago and needed to have a cardiac surgical procedure. Prior to the procedure, her cardiologist (heart doctor) ordered for her to have a chest MRI taken. The MRI at this time showed tumors in the patient’s lungs and the cardiologist who reviewed the MRI never identified the tumors and/or told the patient about the tumors. Then, a year later, the patient fell while skiing and had to go to Urgent Care where she had a chest x-ray taken. The x-ray confirmed that she broke her sternum but did not diagnose her tumors. A year after that, after suffering from a flu that resulted in a chronic cough, the patient’s primary care physician ordered that she have an x-ray taken to rule out pneumonia. On that x-ray, the physician noticed that the patient had tumors all over her lungs and she was diagnosed with advanced-stage lung cancer. In this case, the patient’s Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney could and would sue various responsible parties, such as the patient’s cardiologist and the Urgent Care staff, for missing the clear signs of lung cancer on the earlier MRI and earlier x-ray.
In other words, even where someone doesn’t have symptoms of lung cancer, the lung cancer may be detected by various diagnostic tests such as MRI, x-ray, and CT scans when the healthcare providers are scanning the patient’s chest for other reasons. And if they fail to observe the tumors or they do see the tumors and just fail to communicate to the patient about the tumors, they have caused an unnecessary delay in treatment and can be held liable.
Another type of case Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyers see is where the patient is symptomatic. In these cases, the patient was coughing a lot or spitting up blood or wheezing or losing weight rapidly and they go to see their doctor who fails to order diagnostic scans which would have showed lung cancer.
As in the first example, the doctor is liable for medical malpractice because the doctor failed to diagnose lung cancer early and get the patient in a proper cancer treatment program (surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, etc.).
It’s imperative to detect and treat lung cancer as early as possible to maximize the patient’s chance for survival. Failure of a healthcare provider to do so is medical malpractice.
If you or your loved one need help with a lung cancer case, contact the Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorneys at VSCP Law.
Note: For purposes of this article, the terms “medical malpractice” (referring to negligence in the context of the practice of medicine) and “hospital malpractice” (referring to medical negligence specifically in a hospital setting) will be used interchangeably as “hospital malpractice” is a subset of “medical malpractice.”
If you believe you have been injured because of what happened to you while you were at a hospital in Philadelphia, then you might have a valid hospital 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 claim is by contacting a Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney for a consultation.
Below are some ways a lawyer can help you navigate a hospital malpractice lawsuit.
YOU WILL BE ABLE TO FILE THE LAWSUIT IN THE FIRST PLACE
In every hospital malpractice case, time is of the essence. If your hospital malpractice lawyer in Philadelphia 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 hospital 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 in Philadelphia 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 hospital malpractice claim such as prescription bottles and medical devices.
The presence or absence of these crucial forms of evidence could determine whether your lawsuit is successful or not.
YOUR COMPLAINT WILL INCLUDE ALL NECESSARY CLAIMS FOR COMPENSATION
An experienced medical malpractice lawyer will know whom to sue – which entity (sometimes hospitals are part of huge healthcare conglomerate corporations), which doctors, and which hospital employees, including nurses, specialists, hospital administrative staff, technicians, etc. The attorney will evaluate the case with knowledge of all possible causes of action and claims for damages. Also, there are special statutes in Philadelphia that apply to certain cases. An experienced Philadelphia 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.
If you believe you have been injured as the result of negligence in a Philadelphia hospital, contact the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at VSCP LAW.
Many people in the Philadelphia area suffer from a medical injury and they wonder, “What constitutes medical malpractice? Do I have a medical malpractice lawsuit?” To answer, it makes sense to first explore the following questions:
WHAT IS 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 or medical team has done (or has not done), then you might have a valid medical malpractice lawsuit. The medical malpractice might have occurred because your doctor gave you a wrong diagnosis or prescribed the wrong medicine. Or maybe the nurses injured you while administering medicine or wound-care. Maybe the hospital did not provide medical staff to address your medical issue in a timely manner. If a doctor, nurse, or any health care professional causes you to suffer an injury related to their treatment of you either by doing something or not doing something, you may have a medical malpractice lawsuit.
HOW DO I FILE A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWSUIT IN PENNSYLVANIA?
Your first step in filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is to contact a Pennsylvania-based medical malpractice attorney. The medical malpractice lawyer will walk you through the necessary steps which will include obtaining your medical records and hiring medical experts to determine whether you have a valid case. The medical malpractice attorney makes all of this as easy as possible for you – you simply have to sign the contingent fee agreement as well as a document that permits the attorney to collect your medical records from your doctors. Your medical malpractice lawyer will then review your records and consult with medical experts to determine if your case can be filed.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE AFTER THE INJURY TO FILE A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE SUIT IN PENNSYLVANIA?
The rules in Pennsylvania are that you have two years to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. The name for this time restriction is “statute of limitations.” This medical malpractice statute of limitations rule means that you have two years after you knew or should have known that your medical injury was caused by your doctor or healthcare provider. The exception to this two-year rule is for children who are the victims of medical malpractice. For them, the statute of limitations runs two years after they become an adult (ie, two years after their 18th birthday).
WHAT IS NEEDED IN ORDER TO FILE THE MEDICAL MALPRACTICE COMPLAINT IN PENNSYLVANIA?
In order to prove your medical malpractice claim, your attorney will need to hire an expert. The expert must be in the same field of medicine as the healthcare professional who committed the medical malpractice. 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 expert agrees that a medical error took place and caused your injuries, the expert will prepare a Certificate of Merit Letter. Your Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney will then need to file a Complaint along with the Certificate of Merit in the court. And thus begins your formal lawsuit against the defendants.
If you believe you have suffered a medical injury and would like to explore whether what you experienced constitutes medical malpractice, contact the experienced medical malpractice lawyers at VSCP Law.
If a hospital discharges a patient before it’s appropriate to do so, you could sue the hospital and medical team for early discharge. Read on to learn more about this medical malpractice claim.
WHAT DOES “EARLY DISCHARGE” MEAN?
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,” “untimely discharge,” and “wrongful discharge.”
IN WHAT CONTEXT IS SOMEONE DISCHARGED TOO EARLY?
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:
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 stable condition.
Whatever the exact circumstance, if you believe that you or a loved one was discharged from a healthcare setting too early, you may have a valid early discharge medical malpractice case. To learn important next steps, contact the experienced medical malpractice lawyers at VSCP Law.
If your loved one has died as the result of someone else’s error, you may have a wrongful death claim. You may be wondering, does your wrongful death case require an autopsy? The short answer to that question is not necessarily.
To start, and most importantly, no two cases are the same. One cannot blanketly say that an autopsy is required in a medical malpractice wrongful death suit or that it’s not required in a wrongful death suit. The facts of the case, the causation claim, the damages, whether evidence needs to be preserved, and various other factors will determine whether you should get an autopsy of your deceased loved one. Because the answer is, essentially, “it depends,” you should hire an experienced wrongful death attorney to determine whether an autopsy is required.
Read on to understand the factors your wrongful death attorney will consider in determining the necessity of an autopsy as well as some general ways an autopsy gets ordered.
STRAIGHTFORWARD CAUSE OF DEATH
If there is no real question as to the cause of death, an autopsy is generally not necessary. Let’s say, for example, that your loved one was a healthy person with no underlying health concerns. And he gets in a serious car accident in which the other person’s car drives head-on into his car; he dies at the scene. In that wrongful death action, it will be obvious to all parties that the car crash is what caused his death. An autopsy, thus, would not give much more information than what is already evident to all involved.
UNKNOWN CAUSE OF DEATH
On the other hand, if it is completely unknown what exactly caused your loved one’s death, then an autopsy could be informative. For example, if you think your loved one died due to being prescribed the wrong medicine and the doctor you’re suing suggested your loved one died from an unrelated pneumonia, an autopsy could help resolve the issue. An autopsy would clarify whether the wrongfully-prescribed medicine caused your loved one to die or whether the unrelated lung infection did.
HOW DO YOU GET AN AUTOPSY OF YOUR LOVED ONE’S BODY?
There are different ways an autopsy can be ordered. In some instances, a government agency and/or official could order one to be performed. For example, it could be ordered by the local county coroner or the local medical examiner’s office. Alternatively, the family of the decedent could request one from the county coroner or the medical examiner’s office and/or the hospital where a loved one died. Lastly, you can, through your lawyer, order a private autopsy, performed by a professional forensic pathologist hired by your lawyer.
As to whether to order and/or request an autopsy for your wrongful death suit, you should consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney who will weigh all the factors in determining whether an autopsy is necessary for the potential case. Find an experienced wrongful death attorney at VSCP Law.