MEDICAL MALPRACTICE-TWO SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT

March 20th, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Medical Malpractice

Sensenich v Morcos, 2019 Pa. Super. Court LEXIS 192 (February 27, 2019)Judgement in favor of cardiology associates and hospital. The case is one of more than 100 cases arising from allegedly unnecessary cardiac stenting procedures performed by two doctors during their affiliation with the hospital. The hospital sent letters to patients of the doctors advising them that after performance of quality reviews, the stenting “may not have been medically necessary.” The plaintiff claimed that the arteries were not sufficiently occluded to require stenting. The claim against the hospital said it should have known earlier that the doctors were performing unnecessary stenting procedures. The jury found that the doctor did not fail to obtain informed consent, did not commit battery and was not negligent in his treatment. As a result of those findings, the jury did not reach the claims of corporate negligence and civil conspiracy against the defendants. The two schools of thought defense had nothing to do with whether the hospital had requisite notice of the unnecessary stenting procedures. The trial court erred in instructing the jury to find for defendants if it found two schools of thought. This…

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE-CERTIFICATE OF MERIT-PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY ACTION

March 20th, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Medical Malpractice

Patrice Joyner v St. Luke’s University Health Network, Inc., d/b/a St. Luke’s University Health Network and John T. Spanogle, 2018 Ct. of Common Pleas Lehigh County, (October 2018) Johnson, J.-Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint does not allege a professional liability action against the hospital, but rather is based on general negligence principles. The allegation is that Plaintiff was sexually assaulted by an employee of the hospital while Plaintiff was a patient. The claim concerns negligent hiring, supervision and training. No Certificate of Merit is necessary under these circumstances. 

Potentially Dangerous Medical Devices are Still Widely Used

February 21st, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Medical Malpractice, Products Liability

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When patients have medical devices implanted in their bodies, they expect the device to better their lives, not kill them.  However, all too often, patients have been injured or have died due to problems with medical devices that proved to be defective. These device-related injuries can occur during an implant procedure or after the device has been in the body for years. When devices have been in the body for a while, it may be difficult to point to them as the source of the problem; and there are times when the device cannot be removed without causing additional injury or even death. According to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), defective devices have been associated with 1.7 million injuries and more than 80,000 deaths in the past ten years. Examples include: a neck implant to relieve pain that caused airway obstruction, trouble swallowing and respiratory failure artificial hips that cause cobalt poisoning and can damage the heart and brain surgical mesh that cuts through flesh and organs, causing infections and hemorrhage defibrillators that repeatedly shock patients If you or a loved one has suffered harm due to a faulty…

Should Pennsylvania Level the Playing Field for Those Hurt by Medical and Hospital Malpractice?

February 21st, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Medical Malpractice

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Is the deck stacked against patients trying to win a medical malpractice verdict or settlement in Pennsylvania? Many attorneys who represent those harmed by hospital and medical malpractice have been finding that this is the case. In the early 2000s, there were accusations by medical providers that too many lawsuits were being filed.  Barriers in the law made in 2002 drastically reduced possibilities of filing and winning a lawsuit, to the point where many patients who were victims of malpractice are unable to obtain compensation. Among the limiting restrictions placed by the reforms are: Creation of rules restricting where medical malpractice cases could be filed, although no other type of litigation was involved. For example, those who are injured by medical and hospital malpractice can no longer file at the headquarters where the big hospital may do business, but rather must file where the malpractice occurred, even if it is in a remote area. A requirement that lawyers handling medical and hospital malpractice suits sign a “Certificate of Merit” based upon a statement of an expert in the same or similar field as the doctor being sued. This is sometimes…

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE-PRELIMINARY OBJECTIONS-SPECIFICITY

February 6th, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Medical Malpractice

Shaheen v. The Williamsport Hospital, No. 18-0188 (C.P. Lycoming January 22, 2019) Linhardt, J.  This matter concerns Eli Shaheen’s (“Plaintiff”) suit against The Williamsport Hospital and UPMC Susquehanna (“Defendants”) on behalf of Val Cooper (“Ms. Cooper”) who allegedly died from third degree burns resulting from Ms. Cooper’s use of a cigarette lighter while connected to supplemental oxygen.1 Plaintiff claims that Defendants, and their agents, were negligent, careless and/or reckless for failing to appropriately supervise and attend to Ms. Cooper when they knew she was addicted to tobacco and suffering from dementia. In the present case, the focus is on an inanimate object and its travels through the hospital. Allowing Plaintiff to broadly proclaim culpability of the entire hospital enters a plain beyond Sokolsky and its progeny. The Court will not entertain a fishing expedition. Plaintiff is required to amend his complaint to include general identifiers for those actors or agents Plaintiff believes are culpable. The facts do not allege that consultations were necessary, that Ms. Cooper was improperly diagnosed, or that medical staff were improperly granted privileges. Therefore, Plaintiff is required to amend the Complaint to include factual support or…

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE-MENTAL HEALTH PROCEDURES ACT-IMMUNITY-GROSS NEGLIGENCE

January 25th, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Medical Malpractice

Leight v. Univ. of Pittsburgh Physicians, 2018 Pa. Super. LEXIS 1410 (December 31, 2018) Colville, J.-Order affirmed by the Superior Court dismissing the case. The Leighst do not allege that UPP or Pitt was negligent in its examination or treatment of the patient while he was an involuntary patient or out-patient, or voluntarily in-patient at any facility. The Leights attempt to expand the scope of the MHPA by asserting a treatment decision on a voluntary out-patient basis establish a duty on UPP that Pitt to protect an individual from the patient. Shick, the patient, killed one person and injured several others including plaintiff Kathryn Leight at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. 

True Dialogue Between Patients and Doctors Would Reduce Harmful, Dangerous Medical Errors

January 23rd, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Medical Malpractice

Patients seeking medical care can wind up being harmed instead from medical errors made by medical professionals and institutions. A May 2016 Johns Hopkins study indicated that 10 percent of all U.S. deaths are due to medical error, which has become the third leading cause of death, behind only heart disease and cancer.   Studies have shown, for example, that the number of preventable deaths in American hospitals are the equivalent of two 747s crashing every month with a loss of all lives aboard.  Would the public ever accept that?  Ten percent (10%) of hospital admissions wind up with patients getting infections.  Preventable deaths in hospitals and caused by doctors are a leading cause of death in the United States. This is an unacceptable situation, and one that doctors and hospitals are trying to remedy.  Pennsylvania’s Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Act of 2002 tasked the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority (PSA) with reducing medical errors by identifying problems and implementing solutions that promote patient safety. PSA data claims that efforts to reduce harm are paying off with a 45 percent decline in “high harm” events from 2005 through 2014.…

Find out How Pennsylvania Hospitals Fare in New Survey

November 26th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Medical Malpractice

Find out How Pennsylvania Hospitals Fare in New Survey
Too many patients are injured in hospitals, where safety standards are often below those in other industries. In fact, more than 1,000 Americans die each day from preventable hospital errors, according to The Leapfrog Group, an organization that collects and reports hospital data and gives hospitals a grade of A to F for patient safety. These ratings make a difference. Hospitals given a B rating by Leapfrog had a 9 percent higher risk of avoidable death than A hospitals; C hospitals had a 35 percent higher risk; and the risk in D and F hospitals was 50 percent higher. Recently, Leapfrog has come out with new safety grades for hospitals across the country, including Pennsylvania, grading hospitals on how well they prevent accidents and errors. Examining them can help you find the hospital where you are least likely to suffer mishaps such as getting an infection or the wrong medication or dose, being allowed to fall while groggy, having a surgical tool left inside, or receiving substandard discharge instructions – all of which can be a cause of hospital malpractice. Leapfrog has its drawbacks.  It needs to be understood that Leapfrog gets…

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE-STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS-DISCOVERY RULE-TOLLING

October 29th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Medical Malpractice

Nicolaou v. Martin, No. 44 MAP 2017 (Pa. S. Ct. October 17, 2018) Baer, J.  This appeal presents the issue of whether Appellants Nancy and Nicholas Nicolaou (collectively referred to as “Plaintiffs”) satisfied the discovery rule so as to toll the running of the statute of limitations on their medical malpractice action filed against Appellee health care providers (collectively referred to as “Defendants”) for failing to diagnose and treat Mrs. Nicolaou’s Lyme disease. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants, deeming Plaintiffs’ action time-barred. The Superior [J-13-2018] - 2 Court affirmed, holding that the discovery rule did not toll the statute of limitations because, as a matter of law, Plaintiffs failed to establish that they pursued their action with reasonable diligence. For the reasons set forth herein, we hold that summary judgment was granted improperly because the determination of whether Plaintiffs acted with due diligence under the circumstances presented is one of fact for a jury to decide. Accordingly, we vacate the judgment of the Superior Court, reverse the order granting summary judgment, and remand to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. Central…

Mental Health Procedures Act, Immunity, and Gross Negligence

August 9th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Medical Malpractice

Dean v. Bowling Green Brandywine, 2018 Pa. Super. LEXIS 762 (July 2, 2018) Panella, J.  The Act applies to voluntary inpatient treatment of mentally ill persons.  The Act does not define the term “mentally ill person.”  Andrew Johnson was 23 when he voluntarily applied for admission to Bowling Green Brandywine Treatment Center.  He was suffering from an addiction to opiates and benzodiazepines.  He died at the hospital.  The question was whether the various people sued received the immunity provided by the gross negligence standard?  Dr. Rana provided psychiatric evaluation.  Because Dr. Rana was engaged in the diagnosis, evaluation, therapy or rehabilitation of mental illness in Johnson, the trial court did not err in concluding that Dr. Rana was covered by the limited immunity provided by the MHPA.  As to Dr. Duncklee and Dr. Plumb, emergency room physicians who treated Johnson after he had been transferred by ambulance, the record is far from clear as to whether they had diagnosed and treated Johnson for mental illness.  The trial court erred in applying limited immunity under the MHPA to Johnson’s claims against Dr. Duncklee.  Dr. Plumb also indicated Johnson’s medical history included…