So the question has been asked, “What constitutes Medical Malpractice in Pennsylvania?” There are no short answers, many types of medical errors can lead to medical malpractice lawsuits in Pennsylvania. Misdiagnosed cancer, failure to diagnose, anesthesia errors, and birth injuries are all examples of negligence resulting in medical malpractice violations under Pennsylvania law. If you are a Pennsylvania resident and you have become injured due to a medical professional’s negligent care, you may have a medical malpractice claim. We recommend consulting with one of the experienced medical malpractice lawyers at Schwartz and Schwartz as soon as possible.
Pennsylvania’s Medical Malpractice Laws
Unfortunately, some doctors who engage in medical malpractice are not properly censured, and they go on to engage in medical malpractice multiple times. Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, nurse, or other types of healthcare professional commits medical negligence. Medical negligence occurs when the doctor fails to provide the patient with reasonable medical care under the circumstances. Doctors owe their patients the duty of care and treatment with the degree of skill, care, and diligence use or expected of a reasonably competent physician under the same or similar circumstances.
When a healthcare professional violates or breaches the standard of care, he or she commits medical negligence. Courts will decide the standard of care based on the generally accepted medical practices used by doctors in the same geographic area for patients suffering from a similar medical condition or illness. The standard of care can change depending on the patient’s age, prior medical history, and specific aspects of his or her medical condition.
If a doctor’s negligence has injured you, you will need to prove that the medical negligence directly resulted in your injuries. It is not enough for you to prove that your doctor acted negligently. Instead, you will need to prove that the doctor’s negligent act caused your injuries. Proving causation is one of the most challenging aspects of bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Typically, plaintiffs rely on medical experts to prove medical negligence.
Types of Medical Malpractice in Pennsylvania
There are various types of medical malpractice causes of action. All of these types of medical malpractice lawsuits involve a healthcare provider’s negligence or recklessness. As a result of a doctor’s negligence, patients become even more injured or suffer new injuries that result in financial and emotional damages.
- Misdiagnosis: In these cases, the doctor fails to recognize a medical condition that needs to be treated quickly. For example, an emergency room doctor may fail to recognize a heart attack in a patient, leading to the patient’s death.
- Delayed diagnosis: In this case, the medical professional will diagnose the condition correctly but not promptly. A delay in diagnosis of cancer, for example, can cause cancer to become more severe and deadly.
- Birth injuries: Birth injuries are one of the most common results of medical malpractice. When obstetricians fail to perform a C-section quickly enough, the mother and baby can become severely injured or even die. Similarly, when doctors failed to monitor the fetus’s heart rate adequately, the fetus could suffer life-altering injuries
- Prescription Medication Errors: Sometimes medication errors occur when a nurse gives a patient the wrong medication type in an IV bag. Medication errors can also happen when a doctor prescribes the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of a medication. Finally, medication errors can occur at the pharmacy when a pharmacist places the wrong medication type in the patient’s pill capsule.
- Anesthesia Errors: Anesthesia errors can be deadly. When an anesthesiologist gives patients the wrong amount of anesthesia or gives them a type of anesthesia that the patient is allergic to, the patient can become injured. In some cases, doctors will provide too much oxygen, causing the patient to suffer brain damage.
- Surgical errors: There are various types of surgical errors that can cause additional injuries to a patient. In some cases, the doctor will amputate the wrong limb. In other cases, the doctor will operate on the wrong part of the brain. In other cases, the doctor may delay surgery until it becomes harmful to the patient. Finally, a doctor may leave an instrument in the patient’s body or accidentally cut a patient’s organ or vein, causing a dangerous amount of blood loss.
Pennsylvania Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice
If you or your loved one has become injured in a medical malpractice case, it is crucial that you speak to an attorney about your case as soon as possible. Pennsylvania places a limit on how long plaintiffs have to bring medical malpractice lawsuits. According to Pennsylvania medical malpractice law, you must bring your medical malpractice claim within two years after becoming injured. The clock begins to run when you discovered or reasonably should have discovered that your injury occurs.
Additionally, if your injury occurred after March 2002, you only have seven years to discover your injury, or you will be barred from bringing a medical malpractice claim. Due to these time restrictions, it is wise to consult with a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible after you discover your injury. Medical malpractice lawsuits are complex and require significant investigation during the discovery process. The more time your lawyer has to prepare your case, the better.
Damages Available in Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Cases
The financial compensation you seek in your medical malpractice lawsuit is known as your damages. Under Pennsylvania law, successful patients in medical malpractice lawsuits are entitled to several different types of damages. Compensatory damages are damages that can easily be assigned a monetary value. Compensatory damages include the cost of medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. Non-economic damages are also available for intangible costs, such as the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of your injuries. There is no cap on medical malpractice damages in Pennsylvania.
Contact a Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
If a doctor’s negligence has injured you, you need an experienced medical malpractice lawyer on your side. Contact Schwartz & Schwartz today to schedule your free initial consultation and learn how we can fight for your right to compensation.