Hospital Malpractice Cases
PREVENTABLE MEDICAL ERRORS – MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
You needed help from a doctor. Instead, you suffered harm because of bad medical care. This is the story that far too many hospital patients in Pennsylvania have experienced.
When bad medical care has upended your life, you deserve justice. Bad medicine is care which is negligent. At Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann, we make sure that our clients get the compensation they need to get their lives back when our clients are victims of negligence and there is a relationship between that negligence and harm they have suffered. We offer free consultations, so do not hesitate to give us a call or fill out our online form to schedule a meeting with our team.
What is Hospital Malpractice?
Hospital malpractice is when a healthcare provider in a hospital fails to meet the medical standard of care and a patient suffers costly, harmful complications because of their negligence.
Examples of hospital malpractice include:
- Surgical errors
- Failure to properly diagnose a patient
- Failure to recognize signs of a serious complication
- Giving the wrong medication or dose to a patient
- Infections. Negligence as a result of infections is very difficult to prove, since many times a person gets infected as a result of environmental factors. However, other infections are preventable and the failure to address the infection or take proper measures may be negligence
- Sending a patient home too soon
These are just a few actions that might constitute medical malpractice in a hospital setting. If you have suffered serious injuries because of a healthcare provider’s actions, you should explore your options. Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann offers free consultations to help determine whether you might have a medical malpractice claim. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.
How Hospital Malpractice Impacts a Patient
Some mistakes cause little harm, and not every medical error is grounds for a medical malpractice claim. However, when a patient is seriously affected by a medical error, they have the right to consider filing a claim.
Hospital malpractice can have a serious impact on the life of a patient, including:
- The worsening of an existing condition
- A new condition unrelated to the initial reason a patient sought treatment
- Costly medical treatment to treat injuries or illness from malpractice
- Inability to work because of condition
- Physical and emotional suffering
- Disfigurement, loss of life’s pleasures
- Expenses for medical hospitalization, rehabilitation, alterations to one’s home or living condition
Payment in Medical Malpractice Claims
When you file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you are saying that you have been harmed by a healthcare provider’s substandard care and that you want compensation for the harm – or damages – you have suffered.
These damages can include:
- Medical expenses
- Ongoing treatment
- Lost income (future or past earnings)
- Physical or mental trauma
- Loss of life’s pleasures
- Future medical and hospital expenses, including rehabilitation
- Alterations to one’s home.
Many of the costs a patient faces can be easily calculated. Medical bills, for example, can be determined by reviewing records, receipts and other documents the patient’s representative can obtain. Other damages, such as trauma or loss of life’s pleasures, are considered “non-economic.” This label is inaccurate because these damages have very deep economic consequences.
While finding out how much your case is worth can be complicated, an experienced hospital malpractice attorney at Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann can help you find out how much you are owed and who is responsible for your condition. Call us or fill out our online form to learn more.
Meet Cliff Rieders – The Attorney That Wrote the Book on Medical Malpractice.
When Cliff Rieders started fighting for patient safety a long time ago, it was considered a new and novel concept. In 1999, The Institute of Medicine had just published its blockbuster report, “To Err Is Human; Building a Better Health Care System.” When attempts were made in 2002 to create insurmountable hurdles to bringing legitimate medical malpractice cases, Cliff Rieders was President of the Trial Lawyers, now called the Pennsylvania Association for Justice.
As part of the legislative package signed by Governor Schweiker, Rieders demanded and received that Pennsylvania establish its own Patient Safety Authority. It was known that the number of preventable deaths in hospitals were the equivalent of two 747s crashing every month with a loss of all lives aboard. Preventable medical errors in hospitals are anywhere between the third and fifth leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States.
THIS HORRENDOUS SITUATION IS THE LEADING CAUSE OF THE INCREASE IN HEALTH CARE COSTS.
Cliff Rieders was one of the original appointees to the Patient Safety Authority in Pennsylvania. With approximately 330,000 incidents and serious events reported each year to the Patient Safety Authority, and only 1,400 lawsuits filed in the same year, it is readily apparent that many preventable patient harms go uncompensated.
Rieders has handled cases against many of the major institutions in the area where there has been serious medical malpractice, including but not limited to Susquehanna Health System, Geisinger Medical Center, Memorial Hospital, Robert Packer Hospital, Guthrie Clinic, and others. Rieders secured a $16.8 million verdict against Guthrie, Packer and individual doctors as a result of a medical malpractice case.
Medical malpractice is a very specialized field of law. Rieders is not only a Board-Certified trial lawyer, but in fact wrote the book on medical malpractice that every lawyer and many judges in the Commonwealth utilize. Rieders teaches the courses for both the Pennsylvania Association for Justice and the Pennsylvania Bar Institute that lawyers from all over the state attend. Rieders has written some of the major briefs and argued significant cases before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. In addition, Rieders serves as a member of Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court Standard Jury Instruction Committee and participates actively in the writing of jury instructions. Not a lot of people know the field of medical malpractice and hospital malpractice cases better than Cliff Rieders.
If you or a loved one has suffered because of medical complications at a hospital, you need legal representation. The experienced medical malpractice attorneys of Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann have spent decades honing their skills and successfully representing Pennsylvania families who have suffered an injury or loss due to someone else’s negligence. Our deep sense of loyalty to each client drives us to pursue each claim vigorously.
We offer a free consultation to examine the facts of your situation and show you how we can help.
Hospitals are Held to Standards
Hospitals, through the appropriate administrators, must act reasonably and uphold proper standards of care for their patients:
- First, a hospital must use reasonable care in the maintenance of safe and adequate facilities and equipment.
- Second, a hospital must select and retain only competent physicians.
- Third, a hospital must oversee all persons who practice medicine within its walls as to patient care;
- Finally, a hospital must formulate, adopt and enforce adequate rules and policies to ensure quality care for its patients.
The above points are called the Thompson v. Nason Rules. This is for corporate responsibility of a hospital. However, there is also vicarious liability, when a hospital agent, servant or employee acts in a negligent fashion. There is also a concept of ostensible agency when a patient has a right to believe that a doctor is employed by the hospital, even though he or she may not be. Hospitals can be responsible for both or either, in addition to the individuals being held responsible.
When Can Patients Sue a Hospital for Negligence?
A hospital is not responsible for every medical complication, injury or death suffered by its patients. Whether a hospital will be liable depends upon whether the hospital acted reasonably and with competence with respect to the medical services provided. A hospital will also be liable when it employs a doctor or other healthcare professional who is negligent or when there is apparent employment. When a patient suffers harm from neglect, incompetence or lack of reasonable care, the hospital may be responsible if the negligence was a factual cause in bringing about the harm.
Some examples of hospital negligence include: inadequate triage systems, inadequate supervision of individuals involved with medical care, inadequate policies for obtaining medical clearance and inadequate systems for recordkeeping. Perhaps the greatest cause of hospital negligence is failure of communication and what is called systemic negligence. Sometimes doctors never read nurses’ notes or do not even know what the nurses have seen in the way of patient care. In other situations, hospitals will have on their staff doctors and professionals who they have every reason to know or should know are incompetent or not doing their jobs.
Hospital Malpractice Cases: Not everyone working in a hospital is considered an employee.
Not everyone with privileges at a hospital automatically make that hospital negligent. The Mcare Act, which Cliff Rieders participated in the writing of, specifically addresses when a hospital is negligent because an individual appears to be a hospital employee even if that person is not, in fact, a hospital employee. Under certain circumstances, a hospital can be responsible even for non-employees of the hospital.
Sometimes a hospital will be responsible for supplying unsafe products. This is not always the case, and in fact must be carefully understood. The relationship between doctor, hospital, health care provider, manufacturers of medical products and suppliers of pharmaceuticals is complex. Make sure that you choose somebody who knows the law, understands the field and has a great deal of experience.
Even federal laws can come into play. There are certain facilities that come under the rubric of federal regulation. Knowing when to file in federal court and when to stay in state court is a matter of great moment. Again, an experienced attorney is absolutely necessary.
How Common Is Medical Malpractice at Hospitals?
Healthcare professionals must adhere to the standard of care established in the community. They have a responsibility to know what diagnostic tools, treatment options, and medical decisions are appropriate. Yet medical errors are alarmingly common at hospitals. Some of the most common medical mistakes made at hospitals, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, include:
- Medication errors (7,000 deaths per year)
- Unnecessary surgeries (12,000 deaths)
- Hospital-acquired infections (80,000 deaths)
- Other hospital errors (20,000 deaths).
Among the other common forms of hospital malpractice cases are: missed or delayed diagnoses that put patients at risk, leaving surgical tools inside patients’ bodies, misreading test results, misusing medical equipment, turning away emergency room patients with serious symptoms, and not performing urgent medical interventions.
When situations like this occur, the patient and family suffer terrible consequences.
Underlying Causes of Hospital Malpractice.
There are many factors that make serious medical errors likely. One single incident of medical malpractice can have many contributing factors. In some cases, a complication can be caused by an individual’s carelessness. In others, a patient might suffer harm because of a medical facility’s institutional failings. However, it is often the case that a hospital’s practices and an individual’s mistakes are to blame.
Examples of factors that contribute to medical malpractice include:
- Overworked or fatigued workers
- Insufficient staffing of workers
- Undertrained workers
- Dirty surfaces or equipment
- Hazardous property conditions
- Poorly maintained medical equipment
- Miscommunication between providers or departments in a hospital.
If you have suffered harm during your hospital stay, you should know that you do not need to know the underlying reasons behind any errors that caused your injury or illness. When you work with an experienced medical malpractice attorney like Cliff Rieders, you can be sure that the cases he agrees to handle will be thoroughly investigated.
Our clients know that they can count on us to handle every part of their claim, so they can focus on recovery. When you schedule a free consultation with Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann, we will give you a straightforward assessment of your situation. If we accept your case, our team will work tirelessly to get you compensation that you deserve.
Trust Our Firm for Honest Answers
Medical malpractice law is highly regulated by a complex body of rules. Whether in settlement negotiations or pursuing a favorable trial verdict, the experienced attorney, Cliff Rieders, of Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann is familiar with the law and thoroughly prepared and committed to achieving a just outcome. With our staff, we offer strength in numbers while providing top-notch personal service.
If you or your loved one has suffered from hospital malpractice, do not delay. Consult Cliff Rieders at Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann by calling 800-326-9259 for a free consultation, or use our online contact form.
Based in Williamsport, we serve clients throughout the state of Pennsylvania, offering a free consultation on all injury matters. More than that, we offer you experience, knowledge, compassion, and a long history of results.