When we are sick or injured, we put our faith and trust in medical professionals to take care of us. When we have a medical emergency, we have to place even more trust in the doctors, nurses, and staff at the hospitals. However, hundreds of thousands of people all across the country and right here in Pennsylvania suffer of injuries and death are caused by medical mistakes every year. Many medical mistakes happen in hospitals and in the emergency room when patients expect to receive the best possible care. Negligence in hospitals and emergency rooms can result in permanent injuries and premature death.
If you or a loved one have been injured due to the negligence of a hospital or emergency room, you may be entitled to compensation. The hospital negligence and Pennsylvania wrongful death attorneys of Reiff & Bily have decades of experience fighting to protect those who have been injured. We fight aggressively for maximum compensation and offer free initial consultations. Call us today at (215) 274-0072 to learn more about your legal options.
Common Injuries in Hospitals and Emergency Rooms in Pennsylvania
Hospitals and emergency rooms are often hectic places. However, if you find yourself in the hospital or emergency room of a hospital you expect that your doctors, nurses, and the rest of the staff will treat your injury or illness with a certain degree of care. However, this is not always the case, injuries and premature deaths occur every day. Some of these injuries and deaths are caused by failing to diagnose, delay in diagnosis, incorrect diagnosis, discharging a patient too soon, administering the incorrect medication, administering the incorrect amount of medication, and the failure to treat.
In any hospital malpractice case, a person who has been injured is asserting that they were injured because the hospital or doctor failed to act. When a hospital or doctor fails to deliver the proper standard of care and the duty to reasonably provide for a patient’s safety and well-being, they can potentially be found liable for any injuries that result. Hospitals and medical professionals in Pennsylvania generally owe their patients the following duties:
- To use reasonable care to maintain safe and adequate facilities and medical equipment.
- To select, hire, and train competent physicians, nurses, and staff.
- To oversee all medical staff who provide medical care and treatment to patients
- To create, adopt, and enforce adequate rules and procedures to ensure high quality patient care.
Other forms of hospital negligence relate to surgical errors, leaving surgical equipment inside the patient, infection, failure to consult a specialist, failure to order proper tests, patient falls or other trauma, improperly training staff, understaffing the emergency department, improper maintenance of medical equipment, and insufficient policies or protocols.
Types of Claims Against a Hospital in Pennsylvania
Hospital negligence is often preventable and can cause or worsen a medical condition, necessitate readmission to a hospital, or require additional medical treatment. Patients have every right to expect and believe that they will receive due care while hospitalized, and should never suffer additional and avoidable harm while in a hospital’s care.
In the event that a person dies because of a doctor’s negligence a patient’s family can file a wrongful death. Under the Pennsylvania statute for wrongful death only certain family members and relatives can bring a wrongful death claim namely spouses, children, and parents of the patient. In the event that a patient has died because of the wrongful actions of a doctor they may be entitled to recover damages for reasonable medical care and for funeral expenses. In addition the patient’s family may be able to recover for certain pecuniary losses that they will experience as a result of losing their loved one, including a portion of the patient’s earnings the family members would have received has the patient lived.
Medical malpractice is another claim that can be filed against a hospital and the doctors who provided medical care. Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other medical professional commits medical negligence. Like negligence for everyday people on the street, medical professionals and doctors owe their patients a standard of care, however, in the medical community this standard is elevated to a standard used my medical professionals in the same geographic for similarly situated patients. In order for a person to bring a medical malpractice case they need to demonstrate that the doctor or other healthcare professionals act directly resulted in the patient’s injuries.
Is Hospital Negligence Common in Pennsylvania?
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), around 15,000 people are seriously injured in hospitals every month due to preventable mistakes and negligence. The HHS launched a patient safety initiative in 2011 to reduce hospital acquired conditions and injuries because hospital negligence has become a national health crisis, according to the director of the patient safety initiative. A staggering one in seven Medicare patients experienced some form of unintended harm that prolonged their hospital stays, caused permanent injuries, or resulted in death after receiving hospital treatments, costing over $4.4 billion dollars in additional health care costs. Common hospital acquired conditions caused by hospital negligence include air embolism, blood incompatibility, pressure ulcers or bed sores, catheter infections, and blood clots. These conditions can result in serious illnesses and death.
Emergency room mistakes and negligence can also cause permanent disabilities, illness, and wrongful death. The average wait to see a doctor or nurse in an emergency room is over three hours. Certain conditions like oxygen deprivation, infections, heart attacks, stroke, and spinal cord injuries may become substantially worse and more devastating with every passing minute. A two-year-old toddler had to have her feet and hand amputated after she waited over five hours in an emergency room to be seen by a doctor. By the time a doctor saw her, her strep infection overwhelmed her body and she had gone into liver failure. If this innocent toddler hadn’t had to wait so long, and if a doctor or nurse identified the severity of her infection sooner, this little girl would not have been left permanently disabled. Hospital emergency rooms are so overcrowded that many seriously ill patients are sent home after seeing a doctor for only a few minutes, and without having sufficient diagnostic tests performed. Many of these patients will later be admitted to a hospital after they have suffered far worse consequences of their illness or injury than should have been necessary.
Contact a Pennsylvania Hospital Negligence and Wrongful Death Attorney Today
If you or someone you love was seriously injured, permanently disabled, or made seriously ill as the result of emergency room or hospital negligence, the experienced Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorneys of Reiff & Bily may be able to help. For over three decades, our team of medical malpractice attorneys, doctors, and nurses have aggressively fought for catastrophically injured and wrongfully killed victims and their families, and have helped win hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation to cover medical costs, rehabilitation costs, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
Our attorneys have always advocated for patient and consumer safety and we believe that hospitals should be held accountable for negligence, and the preventable injuries and wrongful deaths their carelessness has caused. If you are suffering an injury or illness, you should not have to worry about a hospital mistake aggravating your condition or leaving you with permanent disabilities, and by holding hospitals responsible for their mistakes, we hope to put an end to hospital negligence. Call us today at (215) 274-0072 to learn more about your legal options.