A recent BMJ (British Medical Journal) study listed medical errors as the third leading cause of death in the United States. The BMJ recommends that healthcare providers make prevention of patient harm the top healthcare priority and institute policy and procedure changes directed toward that objective.

The study points out that the medical cause of an injury or death on the death certificate doesn’t reflect that “communication breakdowns, diagnostic errors, poor judgment, and inadequate skill can directly result in patient harm and death.”

Continue Reading Preventing Harm to Patients should be Priority #1 for Healthcare Providers

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

A new Massachusetts law has created a procedure designed to encourage early resolution of medical malpractice claims and avoid litigation.  For the most part, in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, medical malpractice claims are adjudicated through the courts.  Unlike other types of personal injury claims, where a significant percentage of cases settle before a lawsuit is actually

Generally, physicians and their liability insurance carriers are required to report all medical malpractice payments to the National Practitioner Data Bank.  Due to a legal loophole that exists in certain states, however, doctors and their insurance companies have be able to avoid reporting medical malpractice settlements that result from a mediation process.  In effort to

Before a doctor performs any type of medical procedure, they must obtain the patient’s “informed consent” to do so. In general, this means that the patient must be provided with all potential risks, side effects and alternatives to the procedure, so that they can make an educated decision about whether or not to go through with the procedure. Pennsylvania courts have long recognized this requirement and have even held that a physician’s failure to obtain a patient’s informed consent before performing a surgery or procedure may amount not only to negligence, but to a battery.
Continue Reading Can Informed Consent be a Defense in Medical Malpractice Cases?

The Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (or “MCARE”) Act Statute of Repose is a topic that has been previously discussed in this space. Statutes of Repose are similar to statutes of limitations. They provide a date or time frame by which a lawsuit must be filed. However, they are stricter than statutes of limitations. Once a statute of repose has expired, the legal cause of action actually ceases to exist. The MCARE Statue of Repose, which applies to medical malpractice cases, provides:
Continue Reading Superior Court Clarifies Scope of MCARE Statute of Repose

A two Judge Panel of the Appellate Division on November 27, 2013 found that the Trial Court erred by disallowing plaintiff’s request to name a doctor as an additional party beyond the Statute of Limitations. The Court followed the analysis of Lopez and its five factors and determined that in totality there was basis for the relief sought and plaintiff must be able to join this additional party.
Continue Reading Appellate Division Clarifies the Principles of Equitable Tolling and Allows Joinder of a Physician Post Expiration of the Stature of Limitations