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Pennsylvania Case Reviews Complexities of Medical Malpractice Suits

To successfully pursue and recover compensation in different types of Pennsylvania personal injury cases, a unique legal strategy must be considered and used for each case.  Some cases, like car accidents, rely on photos of the damage and physical injury, and they benefit from witness statements taken close to the time of the accident.  Other cases, like medical malpractice actions, depend more on expert witness testimony to help fact-finders understand the injury and what type of care was or will be necessary for the injured person.  All personal injury cases benefit from thorough investigations and experienced counsel, who understand what facts are significant and what can maximize recovery.

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania issued a decision in Pomroy v. Hosp. of the Univ. of Pennsylvania, that discusses the type of proof necessary in a medical malpractice action for a deceased patient with a long history of gastrointestinal health problems.  The patient used the same doctor for a long time and informed her that she suffered from a large, possibly cancerous polyp in her colon.  Different treatment options were discussed with the patient, since there was concern about the size of the polyp and the high possibility of the perforation of her bowel if it were removed during a colonoscopy.  The testimony shows that he explained the colonoscopy procedure would inject saline between the walls of the colon, which would increase the risk of perforation, but he did not explain the exact risk of perforation.  Even though the polyp was not cancerous, her treating physician recommended surgery due to its size and referred her to a surgeon. 

At this appointment, the doctor went over the risks of having the polyp surgically removed, which included risk of bleeding, risk of infections, risk of death, and risk that a colostomy bag would become a necessity if it didn’t work.  The patient repeatedly rejected the colonoscopy option and insisted upon the surgery.  The surgery was performed, and the patient died from a series of complication related to the surgery.  The patient’s husband sued the doctors and hospital on behalf of her estate.

The Superior Court provided the definition of medical malpractice from a prior Pennsylvania case:  the unwarranted departure from generally accepted standards of medical practice, resulting in injury to the patient.  This includes conduct arising form the rendition of professional medical services.  In all personal injury cases, duty and causation must be established, and the Superior Court found that there was no proof that the physician’s actions caused the patient’s medical complications that resulted in her death.  The court focused on the lack of evidence that he either failed to obtain informed consent prior to the operation or that he performed the surgery negligently.  The court determined there was no proof that the patient lacked information about the process to the degree that one could concur she would have avoided surgery had she been properly informed of the choices.  The court ultimately set aside the jury verdict, concluding that the evidence did not support the verdict.

The Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorneys at Needle Law Firm have the litigation experience you need to pursue your personal injury action.  The recent case demonstrates that familiarity with the law is necessary to obtain and maintain successful results.  Our attorneys have the knowledge you need to maximize the recovery you deserve. For a free, confidential consultation, contact us at 570-344-1266.

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