Malpractice

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Turn to our experienced Philadelphia medical malpractice law firm for answers and help with regard to any type of medical-related injury or death :.

Malpractice & Legal

Other less common areas of medical malpractice in Pennsylvania include: plastic surgery mistakes, sepsis and infection, heart attack, sexual assault by doctor, blood thinning, bacterial meningitis, compartment syndrome, bowel perforation or rupture, and necrotizing enterocolitis. Be aware that only certain individuals are eligible to file a lawsuit involving the wrongful death of a loved one. After six months, if the personal representative has not filed, it falls to other beneficiaries.

If the PA medical malpractice claim is not made within two years of the death of the victim, beneficiaries and all other parties forfeit the right to file a wrongful death claim. The Hippocratic Oath requires physicians to uphold specific ethical standards to protect their patients when practicing medicine. Often, when new clients discuss their concerns with our Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers, they say that they want to know why it happened even more than they want compensation.

However, the reality is that medical mistakes are expensive to deal with. You may need corrective surgery or a long time off work to recuperate. You may have lasting disabilities to live with.

Our goal is to hold negligent parties and their insurers responsible for the harm they have caused our clients. Contact us here or call us at our Philadelphia, PA office at Defendant Doctor Specialties. There were cases in which the negligence occurred at community hospitals or private clinics, 26 which occurred at academic hospitals and 5 cases which occurred at Veterans Administrations. We found 40 In these cases, it was claimed that there was a failure to diagnose a stroke-in-evolution. There were 5 cases in which a doctor was named as a defendant where he or she was only involved via a telephone call.

In 5 case descriptions, it was explicitly stated that the verdict was reduced to reflect a statutory cap on damages.

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A failure to diagnose and treat are the most common allegations leading to medical malpractice in the treatment of acute stroke. Less common allegations included lowering blood pressure in AIS and ELVO, giving heparin in a patient who was suffering an ICH and failure to treat a patient suffering a post-carotid endarterectomy stroke. Several cases alleged not only negligence in regard to the treatment of stroke but also contained co-allegations of negligence not related to acute care such as a longer-term failure to medically manage a patient to avoid the stroke and a failure to treat a patient for a fall suffered after a stroke.

There were cases which did not provide sufficient information to reliably assess injury severity.

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Two cases only had minor injuries, 41 cases had moderate injuries, 75 cases had severe injuries, and 49 cases involved a deceased plaintiff Table III in the online-only Data Supplement. More severe injury had higher average payouts with severe injury leading to higher payouts on average than death.

The value of 31 settlements was confidential or not listed so 43 cases listed the settlement amount. Seven cases alleged a failure to treat or to timely treat with thrombectomy. The strokes leading to these lawsuits were suffered between and with the cases being resolved between and Having a neurologist named as a defendant was also more likely to result in a verdict favoring the defense.

Due to the time-sensitive and multidisciplinary nature of stroke care, doctors from a variety of specialties can be named in litigation. Emergency department doctors and primary care physicians can often be the first point of contact for stroke patients and are, therefore, at a relatively high risk of litigation. Neurologists are also typically involved in the emergency care of stroke patients and are at risk of being named in litigation.

Even doctors not routinely involved with acute stroke patients can have patients suffering strokes present to them and can be found negligent for their subsequent care. Several previous papers have looked at medicolegal aspects of stroke care. We found cases related to the emergency management of stroke. Even in such situations where there was no monetary cost there may have been considerable time and emotional costs on the defendant healthcare providers. The finding that more than half of these cases result in no payout is consistent with most previous analysis of this type, 5 , 6 , 8 , 14—19 although not all analysis has shown this.

Cases may be settled outside of court for many reasons.

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In these cases, damages were often considerable. Although several judgements likely exceeded defendant doctors policy limits, previous studies have shown that instances of physicians having to personally pay towards damages are rare and usually small. Cases with a stroke after a procedure were relatively common.

Common procedures which led to strokes and to litigation included carotid endarterectomies and obstetrics delivery. The allegations in these cases resolved around a failure to diagnose a stroke post-procedure and a failure to timely treat this stroke. This analysis found 5 cases in which a doctor was named as a defendant due only to advice given to a patient, or to another medical provider, over the phone. This included cases where a doctor only spoke to the patient over the phone and failed to interpret stroke symptoms and send the patient to the hospital and cases where a doctor was allegedly consulted over the phone in regards to the care of a stroke patient.

Given that the majority of patients presenting with a possible stroke will have a neurologist involved in their acute care, this percentage is surprisingly low. These numbers suggest doctors put themselves at greater legal risk by not involving a neurologist in the evaluation of a possible stroke patient. It is also possible several lawsuits, which did not have a specified allegation of a failure to involve a neurologist, may have nonetheless been avoided had a neurologist been timely involved.

In this analysis, the average payout increased as injury severity increased. This is expected given that one of the primary purposes of litigation is to compensate patients for their injuries.


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Severe injury resulted in higher average payouts than cases in which the patient died. It has been found in previous analyses that severe and permanent injury results in higher payouts than death for medical malpractice cases in general. The approval of tPA for AIS in gave doctors an effective treatment option for this damaging disease.

Litigation related to a failure to give tPA for AIS has steadily risen since with this analysis discovering a case occurring as early as for a patient suffering a stroke in with the case taking place in This has been an issue of contention in many cases alleging a failure to treat with tPA and different cases have resulted in different outcomes.

Whether a state allows recovery due to the loss of chance doctrine has a major effect on whether a medical malpractice lawsuit related to a failure to treat with tPA will be successful. Several trials have shown the benefit of thrombectomy for patients suffering ELVO. The inclusion criteria used varied by trial with most, but not all, trials requiring perfusion imaging demonstrating salvageable penumbra for patient selection. This means that not all ELVO patients are eligible to receive thrombectomy and patient selection is an important factor in the efficacy of this treatment.

A patient-level meta-analysis of the randomized clinical trials evaluating thrombectomy published in demonstrated an odds ratio of 2.

Malpractice

Another important medicolegal consideration of thrombectomy is the time window for treatment. Thrombectomy was originally approved for up to 6 hours after last known well and the recent American Heart Association stroke guidelines recommended thrombectomy in specific patients up to 16 hours from time last known well with Class of Recommendation 1 and Level of Evidence A backing. Systems of care necessarily lag behind updated recommendations which will likely lead to an increase in litigation related to timely treatment of AIS.

One factor which is often involved in cases alleging a failure to give tPA is whether tPA could have been given within the time window for treatment with tPA. The 3-hour window for the use of tPA is well established and most commonly used in lawsuits. The four and a half-hour window for tPA is not unanimously accepted as it was endorsed by the American Heart Association but was not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Nonetheless, some lawsuits have been filed arguing for the four and a half window as the standard of care for giving tPA. Due to this relatively narrow time window patients presenting outside of this window cannot claim failure to treat with tPA. The original 6-hour window for thrombectomy expanded on this window increasing the potential for ELVO strokes to present within the treatment window.

The recent increase to 16 or 24 hours may further increase the risks or litigation related to failure to diagnose and treat ELVO. We report here that the average time to resolution of cases involving management of stroke was 4.


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  • The first case related to a failure to treat AIS with tPA occurred 5 years after the guidelines were changed in Because of this time delay between an incident occurring and a case being concluded, no US cases have yet resolved and been reported after thrombectomy guidelines changed in As with cases alleging failure to treat with tPA, it is probable that cases alleging failure to perform thrombectomy will increase and there will be an increasing number of claims in the coming years.

    Seven cases involving thrombectomy were identified in this review. All of these strokes occurred before These cases involved multiple allegations eg, failure to timely diagnose the stroke, failure to give tPA, and a failure to perform thrombectomy which is likely a factor in why some of these cases led to plaintiff verdicts before the proven efficacy of thrombectomy.

    Nonetheless the inclusion of a failure to perform thrombectomy as an allegation is surprising and these cases highlight the critical role of factors other than adhering to medical evidence in determining the outcome of a legal case. These are numbers that will likely evolve in the coming years and should incentivize practitioners and hospital systems to upgrade rapidly to meet guidelines and avoid litigation.