Patients in Pennsylvania who suffer injuries or medical complications due to negligent treatment from hospital staff can file a lawsuit against the hospital. If you were harmed by hospital negligence, you may have the right to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
The experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C. have the knowledge and resources to advocate for you in court to obtain the financial relief and justice you deserve. We have a proven track record of success in hospital negligence claims, including a $15 million verdict for a child who suffered kidney damage, a $14 million recovery against a hospital and doctors for a delayed diagnosis of epidural abscesses, and a $11.2 million verdict against a hospital that failed to diagnose a brain tumor. You don’t have to face this challenging time alone. Contact our office today for a free consultation with a medical malpractice lawyer in Philadelphia.
What Is Hospital Negligence?
Hospital negligence is a form of medical malpractice that occurs when hospital staff fail to adhere to the applicable standard of care in treating a patient, causing the patient to suffer injuries or medical complications. Staff physicians, nurses, physician’s assistants, pharmacists, and radiology and lab technicians, can all commit hospital negligence.
Although the standard of care can differ depending on the situation, medical professionals broadly define the standard of care as the treatment decisions or actions that other healthcare professionals of similar training and experience would undertake in identical circumstances. Thus, medical malpractice does not occur simply because a patient suffers an adverse outcome or complication. The law holds healthcare providers liable for negligence when other providers of similar qualifications would not have rendered the same treatment.
Failure to Maintain Safety and Quality
Hospitals must adopt policies and procedures to ensure staff treat patients according to the standard of care. Although adverse events or complications will occur, patient harm may rise to the level of medical malpractice when a healthcare facility fails to create or maintain a culture of safety and quality. Many medical malpractice claims arise from incidents where healthcare facilities have inadequate safety policies and procedures or hospital staff carelessly or intentionally disregard policies. A culture of safety and quality also requires a hospital to have adequate staff and equipment to treat patients. Medical malpractice can occur when staff become overworked due to inadequate staffing levels.
How Common Is Hospital Negligence?
A study by Johns Hopkins Medicine attributes more than 250,000 deaths annually to medical errors, making medical malpractice the third leading cause of death nationwide behind heart disease and cancer. Another study found that about one in five people in the U.S. reported experiencing a medical error at some point, with 4 percent reporting an error within the last year and 6 percent within the last five years. The study also found that about 700,000 Americans develop infections while receiving treatment in a healthcare facility.
Examples of Hospital Negligence in Pennsylvania
Hospital staff can be negligent in patient care in various ways. Some of the most common examples of hospital negligence in Pennsylvania include:
- Inadequate staffing levels
- Failure to screen employees, including hiring employees who have a criminal background or a history of committing medical malpractice
- Failing to train or supervise employees
- Not developing or adhering to policies and procedures designed to reduce the chances of patient harm, such as patient identification procedures or infection control policies
- Failing to inspect and replace or repair defective, broken, or worn equipment
- Failure to maintain hygiene or sterile environments leading to hospital-acquired infections
- Inadequate monitoring
- Medication errors, including failing to adhere to the medication schedule, miscalculating dosage, misreading the prescription, or making a wrong medication/wrong patient error
- Triage errors
- Premature discharge
- Misdiagnosis, failure-to-diagnose, and delayed diagnosis
- Lack of documentation
- Failure to provide post-discharge instructions
- Lack of patient follow-up
- Failure to treat
- Improper use of devices and equipment
- Surgical errors, including wrong site/patient/procedure, anesthesia errors, accidentally perforating or severing tissues, or leaving equipment or instruments inside a patient
- Failure to obtain informed consent
- Physical or sexual assault of a patient
How to File a Claim for Hospital Negligence in Pennsylvania
Under Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims, you have two years from the date you suffered harm due to medical malpractice to file a lawsuit against the healthcare facility and the negligent staff members. However, this deadline can extend or “toll” if you do not immediately discover the injury or harm caused by hospital negligence. In such a case, you would have to file suit two years from when you discovered or should have discovered that you suffered harm due to hospital negligence. Although two years may seem like plenty of time to file a lawsuit, your medical malpractice attorney will need weeks or months to investigate your case, gather evidence, and prepare your legal claim. The court can dismiss medical malpractice lawsuits filed after the deadline. If so, you may lose your right to seek compensation in civil court.
When filing a medical malpractice claim, Pennsylvania rules require the person filing, or the “plaintiff,” to file a “certificate of merit” with the complaint or within 60 days of filing the lawsuit. The certificate of merit must verify that an appropriately licensed healthcare professional has provided a written statement expressing their opinion, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that a hospital provider’s treatment fell outside the applicable standard of care and caused the plaintiff’s harm. A medical malpractice plaintiff must file a certificate of merit even when pursuing a claim of employer liability against a hospital after receiving negligent care from staff. The certificate of merit must assert that the plaintiff does not need expert testimony from a licensed medical professional for claims involving obvious negligence, like surgical equipment left inside a patient.
Contact Our Experienced Hospital Negligence Attorneys in PA
If you’ve suffered harm due to careless or reckless treatment from hospital staff, let a Philly hospital negligence attorney from Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C. help you pursue the compensation you deserve for your losses. Contact our firm today for a free, no-obligation consultation with our experienced medical malpractice lawyers in Pennsylvania.