UA-154033959-1 Medical Malpractice: What you need to know & What you can do

Medical Malpractice: What you need to know & What you can do

November 6, 2019

Medical malpractice arises when a medical practitioner does something negligent. Specifically, in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, there’s a standard of care that a doctor is supposed to exercise depending upon their expertise.

 

Preventable Negligence; Tragic Instances

In one instance, we worked on a case involving a 20-year-old mother of two whose doctor didn’t do the proper cancer testing. She then developed cervical cancer and passed away. Obviously the doctor, her family doctor in this case, was given a description of symptoms for numerous years that he either ignored or didn’t understand. Nonetheless, he didn’t send her for the testing that was necessary to figure out what’s going on.

And as a consequence, tragically, the two children were raised by someone other than their mother. In that case, the doctor operated below the standard of care that a family doctor should have under those circumstances. Thus, if a doctor is that neglectful, or a medical professional commits that type of error, they’re responsible for the results. In this case, it was very difficult to put a number on something like that; however, we wanted to make sure that the children were taken care of.

In another medical malpractice case we handled, a 65-year-old lady went for a colonoscopy, and the doctor who performed the colonoscopy perforated her bowel. As a result of her bowel being perforated, she was having issues for days and days after she was sent home. Eventually, she went to the emergency room, and to make a long story short, she developed sepsis, and for months and months; she lingered with this infection and eventually met her demise. And the reason that she met her demise was because various practitioners didn’t follow the standards and procedures that they should have, and this lady, who was just an incredible woman, and her family was just so beautiful together. Their lives were shattered forever.

Another example would be if a doctor does a surgery and leaves in a sponge and doesn’t take the sponge out, a person develops a horrendous infection, obviously that’s medical malpractice practice. So medical malpractice can encompass so many different things. Improperly reviewing an MRI, improperly reviewing an X-ray, not sending someone for a test that they need—those sorts of things. But medical malpractice cases are very expensive now. The reason I mention that is there has to be almost an “OMG. Oh my God” component to the damages because those kinds of cases can cost $100,000 or more to get to trial, and again, I take all the risk. I lay out all the money to the extent that we don’t prevail I have to endure that. So I have to take a case that I think has a lot of jury appeal and has the potential for a significant verdict.

 

The Issue of Informed Consent

If you’re talking about the notion of informed consent, this relates to a client who is going to go get a surgery or procedure. The client is given this 20 page-document that lists all the possible repercussions, and is asked to sign it. That is a defense in a medical malpractice case, and I would suggest that, as a patient, you read those forms carefully. On the other hand, I am also a realist to know that not many people even read those papers, particularly if what they’re undergoing is an emergent kind of matter or something of that nature. At the same time, it’s also interesting because a lot of facilities engage in things that are not mentioned on all those documents so it’s really on a case-by-case basis.

So it’s important to remember that Informed consent is a document that lays out all the issues that could possibly arise. A hospital could issue it; a doctor could issue it. Anybody can issue an informed consent, and that’s the document that they ask you to sign.

 

Statute of Limitations

What I would say about medical malpractice is that it's important to know that the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is two years from when you knew or should have known of the malpractice. For example, you’ve had a procedure nine years ago, but it wasn’t until you went to the doctor two months ago that you realized that the doctor who did the original procedure was negligent. So in medical malpractice case, the statute of limitations begins to run from when you knew or should have known.

To clarify this point, the client wouldn’t have known it until the doctor said, “Hey this other doctor screwed up.” So the statute runs then. So it’s not over.  In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the statute of limitations, generally for personal injury cases, is two years from the date of accident unless you’re involving a minor, and then it runs for two years from the date that the minor turns 18. And those are important issues and the reason people get lawyers, no matter what lawyers’ reputations are, is that they need to; it’s necessary.  There are so many convoluted areas, so many pitfalls.  If you don’t know how to navigate the terrain, you can easily mess up a case completely.  So always err on the side of getting more information or getting over-informed because that’s a much better position to be in than being under-informed.

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Montgomery County

Abington 19001, Ambler 19002, Arcola 19420, Ardmore 19003, Audubon 19403, 19407, Bala Cynwyd 19004, Belmont Hills 19004, Black Horse 19401, Blue Bell 19422, 19424, Bridgeport 19405, Bryn Athyn 19009, Cedars 19423, Center Square 19422, Cheltenham 19012, Collegeville 19426, 19473, Colmar 18915, Conshohocken 19428, 19429, Creamery 19430, Dresher 19025, E Greenville 18041, Eagleville 19403, 19408, 19415, Earlington 18918, East Greenville 18041, East Norriton 19401, 19403, Elkins Park 19027, Erdenheim 19038, Fairview Village 19409, Fairview Vlg 19409, Flourtown 19031, Fort Washington 19034, Foxcroft Sq 19046, Foxcroft Square 19046, Franconia 18924, Frederick 19435, Ft Washington 19034, Gilbertsville 19525, Gladwyne 19035, Glenside 19038, Green Lane 18054, Gulph Mills 19428, Gwynedd 19436, 19454, Gwynedd Valley 19437, Gwynedd Vly 19437, Harleysville 19438, 19441, Hatboro 19040, Hatfield 19440, Haverford 19041, Hollywood 19046, Horsham 19044, Huntingdon Valley 19006, Huntingdon Vy 19006, Jeffersonville 19403, Jeffersonvlle 19403, Jenkintown 19046, King of Prussia 19406, Kng of Prussa 19406, Kulpsville 19443, Lafayette Hill 19444, Lafayette Hl 19444, Lamott 19027, Lansdale 19446, Laverock 19038, Lederach 19450, Limerick 19468, Linfield 19468, Lower Gwynedd 19002, Mainland 19451, Maple Glen 19002, Meadowbrook 19046, Melrose 19027, Melrose Park 19027, Merion Sta 19066, Merion Station 19066, Miquon 19444, Mont Clare 19453, Montgomeryville 18936, Montgomeryvle 18936, Narberth 19072, Norristown 19401, 19403, 19404, 19405, 19406, 19407, 19408, 19409, North Wales 19436, 19454, 19455, 19477, Oaks 19456, Ogontz Campus 19001, Oreland 19075, Palm 18070, Penllyn 19422, Penn Valley 19072, Pennsburg 18073, Perkiomenville 18074, Perkiomenvlle 18074, Phoenixville 19453, Plymouth Meeting 19462, Plymouth Mtng 19462, Pottstown 19464, Red Hill 18073, 18076, Rockledge 19046, Roslyn 19001, Royersford 19468, Rydal 19046, Salford 18957, Salfordville 18958, Sanatoga 19464, Sassamansville 19472, Sassamansvlle 19472, Schwenksville 19473, Skippack 19474, Souderton 18964, Spring House 19477, Spring Mount 19478, Stowe 19464, Sumneytown 18084, Telford 18969, Trappe 19426, Trooper 19403, Tylersport 18971, Upper Gwynedd 19446, Valley Forge 19484, 19485, W Cnshohocken 19428, West Conshohocken 19428, West Point 19486, Willow Grove 19090, Worcester 19490, Woxall 18979, Wyncote 19095, Wyndmoor 19038, Wynnewood 19096, Zieglersville 19492, Zieglerville 19492

Delaware County

Aldan 19018, Aston 19014, Boothwyn 19061, Brookhaven 19015, Broomall 19008, Bryn Mawr 19010, Chadds Ford 19317, Chester 19013, 19014, 19015, 19016, 19022, Chester Heights 19017, Chester Hts 19017, Chester Township 19013, Chester Twp 19013, Chesterbrook 19087, Cheyney 19319, Clifton Heights 19018, Clifton Hts 19018, Collingdale 19023, Concordville 19331, 19339, 19340, Crum Lynne 19022, Darby 19023, Drexel Hill 19026, E Lansdowne 19050, East Lansdowne 19050, Eddystone 19013, 19022, 19028, Elwyn 19063, Essington 19029, Folcroft 19032, Folsom 19033, Garden City 19063, Garnet Valley 19061, Glen Mills 19342, Glen Rdl Lima 19037, Glen Riddle 19037, 19063, Glen Riddle Lima 19037, Glenolden 19036, Gradyville 19039, Havertown 19083, Holmes 19043, 19098, Lansdowne 19050, Lenni 19052, Lester 19029, Lima 19037, Linwood 19061, Manoa 19083, Marcus Hook 19061, Media 19063, 19065, Media 19091, Milmont Park 19033, Morton 19070, Moylan 19065, Newtown Sq 19073, Newtown Square 19073, Norwood 19074, Ogden 19061, Phila 19113, Philadelphia 19113, Pilgrim Gardens 19026, Pilgrim Gdns 19026, Primos 19018, Primos Secane 19018, Prospect Park 19076, Radnor 19008, 19080, 19087, 19088, Radnor 19089, Ridley 19070, Ridley Park 19078, Rose Valley 19063, 19086, Rutledge 19070, Saint Davids 19087, Secane 19018, Sharon Hill 19079, Springfield 19064, St Davids 19087, Strafford 19087, Swarthmore 19081, Thornton 19373, Trainer 19061, Upper Chichester 19013, 19014, 19061, Upper Darby 19082, Uppr Chichstr 19013, 19014, 19061, Villanova 19085, Wallingford 19086, Wayne 19080, 19087, 19088, 19089, Woodlyn 19094, Yeadon 19050

Chester County

Atglen 19310, Avondale 19311, Berwyn 19312, Birchrunville 19421, Brandamore 19316, Chatham 19318, Chester Sprgs 19425, Chester Springs 19425, Coatesville 19320, Cochranville 19330, Devault 19432, Devon 19333, Downingtown 19335, 19372, E Fallowfield 19320, East Fallowfield Township 19320, Elverson 19520, Exton 19341, Exton 19353, Franklin Center 19341, Franklin Ctr 19341, Frazer 19355, Glenmoore 19343, Honey Brook 19344, Immaculata 19345, Kelton 19346, Kemblesville 19347, Kennett Sq 19348, Kennett Square 19348, Kimberton 19442, Landenberg 19350, Lewisville 19351,Lincoln Univ 19352, Lincoln University 19352, Lionville 19353, Lyndell 19354,Malvern 19355, Mendenhall 19357, Modena 19358, New Londn Twp 19352,New London 19360, New London Township 19352, NewLondon TWP 19352, Nottingham 19362, Oxford 19363, Paoli 19301, Parker Ford 19457, Parkesburg 19365, Phoenixville 19460, Pocopson 19366, Pomeroy 19367, Pottstown 19465, Romansville 19320, Sadsburyville 19369, Saint Peters 19470, Southeastern 19397, 19398, 19399, Spring City 19475, Steelville 19310, Suplee 19371, Thorndale 19372, Toughkenamon 19374, Tredyffrin 19312, Unionville 19375, Uwchland 19480, Valley Forge 19481, 19482, 19493, 19494, 19495, 19496, Valley Township 19320, Valley Twp 19320, W Brandywine 19320, 19343, 19344, Wagontown 19376, West Bradford 19320, 19335, 19380, West Brandywine 19320, 19343, 19344, West Chester 19380, 19381, 19382, 19383, 19388, West Grove 19390, Westtown 19395

Bucks County

Andalusia 19020, Bedminster 18910, Bensalem 19020, 19021, Blooming Glen 18911, Bristol 19007, Buckingham 18912, Carversville 18913, Chalfont 18914, Churchville 18966, Cornwells Heights 19020, Cornwells Hts 19020, Croydon 19021, Danboro 18916, Doylestown 18901, 18902, 18933, Dublin 18917, Durham 18039, Eddington 19020, Edgely 19007, Erwinna 18920, Fairless Hills 19030, Fairless Hls 19030, Fallsington 19054, Feasterville Trevose 19053, Ferndale 18921, Forest Grove 18922, Fort Washington 19048, 19049, Fountainville 18923, Fstrvl Trvose 19053, Ft Washington 19048, 19049, Furlong 18925, Gardenville 18926, George School 18940, Hartsville 18974, Hilltown 18927, Holicong 18928, Holland 18966, Hulmeville 19047, Ivyland 18974, Jamison 18929, Kintnersville 18930, Lahaska 18931, Langhorne 19047, 19053, Levittown 19054, 19055, 19056, 19057, 19058, Line Lexington 18932, Line Lxngtn 18932, Lumberville 18933, Mechanicsville 18934, Mechanicsvlle 18934, Milford Sq 18935, Milford Square 18935, Morrisville 19067, New Britain 18901, New Hope 18938, Newportville 19056, Newtown 18940, Oakford 19053, Ottsville 18942, Penndel 19047, Penns Park 18943, Perkasie 18944, Pineville 18946, Pipersville 18947, Plumsteadville 18949, Plumsteadvlle 18949, Point Pleasant 18950, Pt Pleasant 18950, Quakertown 18951, Revere 18953, Richboro 18954, Richlandtown 18955, Riegelsville 18077, Rushland 18956, Sellersville 18960, Silverdale 18962, Solebury 18963, Southampton 18954, Southampton 18966, Spinnerstown 18968, Springtown 18081, Trevose 19053, Trumbauersville 18970, Trumbaursvlle 18970, Tullytown 19007, Upper Black Eddy 18972, Upper Holland 19047, 19053, Upper Makefield 18940, Uppr Blck Edy 18972, Upr Makefield 18940, Warminster 18974, 18991, Warrington 18976, Washington Crossing 18977, Washington Xing 18977, West Bristol 19007, Wshngtn Xing 18977, Wycombe 18980, Yardley 19067, Zionhill 18981

Philadelphia County

Manayunk 19127, Mid City East 19102, Mid City West 19103, Middle City East 19102, Middle City West 19103, Overbrook Hills 19151, Overbrook Hls 19151, Phila 19101, 19102, 19103, 19104, 19105, 19106, 19107, 19108, 19109, 19110, 19111, 19112, 19114, 19115, 19116, 19118, 19119, 19120, 19121, 19122, 19123, 19124, 19125, 19126, 19127, 19128, 19129, 19130, 19131, 19132, 19133, 19134, 19135, 19136, 19137, 19138, 19139, 19140, 19141, 19142, 19143, 19144, 19145, 19146, 19147, 19148, 19149, 19150, 19151, 19152, 19153, 19154, 19155, 19160, 19161, 19162, 19170, 19171, 19172, 19173, 19175, 19177, 19178, 19179, 19181, 19182, 19183, 19184, 19185, 19187, 19188, 19191, 19192, 19193, 19196, 19197, Philadelphia 19019, 19092, 19093, 19099, 19101, 19102, 19103, 19104, 19105, 19106, 19107, 19108, 19109, 19110, 19111, 19112, 19114, 19115, 19116, 19118, 19119, 19120, 19121, 19122, 19123, 19124, 19125, 19126, 19127, 19128, 19129, 19130, 19131, 19132, 19133, 19134, 19135, 19136, 19137, 19138, 19139, 19140, 19141, 19142, 19143, 19144, 19145, 19146, 19147, 19148, 19149, 19150, 19151, 19152, 19153, 19154, 19155, 19160, 19161, 19162, 19170, 19171, 19172, 19173, 19175, 19176, 19177, 19178, 19179, 19181, 19182, 19183, 19184, 19185, 19187, 19188, 19190, 19191, 19192, 19193, 19194, 19195, 19196, 19197, 19244, 19255, William Penn Annex East 19106, William Penn Annex West 19107, Wm Penn Anx E 19106, Wm Penn Anx W 19107

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