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Edward S. Shensky is a Shareholder and member of Stark & Stark’s Accident and Personal Injury Group. Mr. Shensky focuses his practice on complex injury, medical negligence and construction accident claims.

The plaintiff in a medical malpractice lawsuit in Pennsylvania recently attained a victory against one of the largest health insurance companies in the state: Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Plaintiffs sought to obtain records from Blue Cross which related to the plaintiff’s underlying medical malpractice claim against various defendants, including an orthopedic surgeon, a nurse

In a medical malpractice case a claimant must prove that a doctor or health care facility breached or violated the “standard of care.” On paper, this might sound like a simple concept to understand, and therefore prove. However, the truth of this is much more complicated.

Standard of care, in a medical malpractice action, means that a healthcare provider must possess the same knowledge and skill, and exercise the same level of care, that is normally provided by other healthcare providers in that field. For an example, a gynecologist must possess the same knowledge and skill as another gynecologist, and must exercise the same level of care that another gynecologist would provide if presented with a similar patient with a similar medical problem.

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Often, medical malpractice lawyers are questioned by individuals who have had a bad outcome from a surgery or other treatment, and are seeking a potential lawsuit against a physician or other healthcare provider. However, just because a patient experienced a bad outcome does not necessarily mean that the healthcare provider was negligent. Sometimes, it merely means that the end result was not as good as the patient anticipated.

Pennsylvania law requires that the parties in a lawsuit present expert testimony at trial to support the existence of negligence on the part of the defendant healthcare provider. The expert must be qualified in the same area of expertise as the individual being sued. For example, you can’t have an expert dermatologist appear for either the plaintiff or the defendant if the case involves a possible mistake by a neurosurgeon. Both parties will need a neurosurgeon expert to testify.

Initially, the plaintiff must have an expert who reviews the medical records and can state that there has been a breach of the standard of care, in other words “negligence,” on the part of the healthcare provider. In addition, the expert must state that the aforementioned breach was the cause of the damages that the plaintiff claims occurred.

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The causes of motor vehicle accidents are many: negligent drivers, slippery roadways, and sometimes, defective highway design. Many people do not realize that improper highway design may have been the cause of a motor vehicle accident. State and local governments, agencies of state or local governments, or municipalities, can however, be held accountable for creating

We have all heard stories about elderly patients being abused in nursing homes.  Unfortunately, it is a constant worry as many of us plan for our parents’ or loved ones’ future once they can no longer care for themselves at home.  Knowing the signs of nursing home abuse and contacting a lawyer who specializes in

In 2002, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania created the Patient Safety Authority, the “PSA”, to monitor all medical mistakes at health care facilities, including hospitals, free-standing surgical centers, birthing centers and abortion clinics in the Commonwealth (nursing home incidents are also documented, under a another agency).  Pursuant to the law which created the PSA, all these

In a recent unanimous decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that a government agency cannot assert lawyer-client privilege to protect records when the state attorney general considers those records necessary to fulfill his duties.   The Court went on to say that when the attorney general’s office looks into suspected wrongdoing at a state agency, the

In 2013, the Pennsylvania legislature passed “The Benevolent Gesture Medical Professional Liability Act”, which is colloquially referred to as “The Apology Law”.  This statute allows a health care provider to apologize to a patient for a mistake or perceived mistake, or a bad outcome, without fear that the apology will be used against the health

Not every complication which occurs during or as a result of surgery is actionable under the law.  Some complications are foreseeable and a risk of certain procedures. In addition, just because a surgery is unsuccessful does not mean that a surgeon was negligent.  However, many complications are the result of a preventable mistake, and if

In 2013, Pennsylvania had the fewest traffic fatalities since record-keeping in the Commonwealth began in 1928. The number of traffic related deaths dropped to 1, 208 from 1,310 in 2012. There were declines in the number of fatalities among those not wearing seat belts, deaths caused by speeding, deaths in single vehicle crashes, and DUI related deaths.
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