What Is Medical Malpractice in Pennsylvania? Common Examples and What Qualifies.

We trust healthcare providers to keep us healthy and treat injuries or medical conditions. However, errors or deficient treatment can seriously harm a patient. When a healthcare provider negligently treats their patient, and the patient suffers injuries or complications, the provider may have committed medical malpractice. Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional breaches their duty of care to their patient and provides treatment that falls outside the standard of care.

Defining Medical Malpractice

In Pennsylvania, medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider renders treatment that falls below the applicable standard of care. The specific details of the standard of care vary from patient to patient. However, healthcare professionals generally describe the standard of care as the actions and decisions that other healthcare providers of similar training and experience would undertake in identical circumstances. Thus, an adverse patient outcome does not automatically mean that medical malpractice has occurred. Instead, a provider commits malpractice when they render negligent or unskilled treatment that other medical professionals would not have performed, and the patient suffers harm.

Medical malpractice law extends beyond doctors. Other healthcare professionals, such as physician’s assistants, nurses, therapists, mental healthcare providers, dentists, pharmacists, chiropractors, optometrists, and even medical facilities, can commit medical malpractice.

Examples of Medical Malpractice

Negligence can take many different forms. Some of the most common types of medical malpractice that occur in Pennsylvania include:

  • Misdiagnosis/delayed diagnosis
  • Failure to treat/delayed treatment
  • Premature discharge from the hospital
  • Misinterpretation of diagnostic test results/radiology scans
  • Performing surgery on the wrong patient or body site
  • Leaving surgical equipment inside a patient
  • Failure to monitor the patient’s condition
  • Anesthesia errors, including administering too much or too little anesthesia
  • Medication errors, including prescribing contraindicated drugs, miscalculating dosage, prescription filling errors, missing doses, or administering medication to the wrong patient
  • Hospital-acquired infections
  • Inflicting birth injuries
  • Failure to consult with or refer patients to specialists
  • Nursing home negligence

How Do You Prove Medical Malpractice

Proving that injuries or health complications occurred due to negligent or unskilled medical care can involve complex facts. Examples of evidence that a patient may use to prove their medical malpractice claim include:

  • Medical records
  • Provider notes
  • Progress reports
  • Patient charts
  • Staffing records
  • Diagnostic test results
  • Surveillance footage
  • Witness testimony

To file your petition for a medical malpractice case in Pennsylvania, you must also file a “certificate of merit.” This document asserts that an appropriate licensed professional has provided a written statement about the alleged medical malpractice. This person will likely provide expert testimony in court.

The average juror may not know whether a healthcare provider’s treatment falls outside the scope of the applicable standard of care. As a result, a patient must provide testimony from another healthcare provider who can explain the specifics of the standard of care in the patient’s case, how the defendant’s conduct failed to meet the standard of care, and how the negligent care harmed the patient.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney Today to Seek Accountability and Justice

When you’ve suffered injuries or medical complications due to negligent healthcare, you deserve to seek compensation and justice from the medical providers who harmed you. Contact Ainsman Levine, LLC, today for a free initial consultation with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to discuss how you can obtain compensation.