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What Constitutes Medical Malpractice in Pittsburgh, PA? When looking at PA malpractice law, medical malpractice happens when a physician or other healthcare worker is involved in medical negligence. Medical negligence happens when the healthcare worker breaches, or violates, the standard of care. The standard of care in any Pittsburgh, PA medical field is the commonly accepted medical practices followed by a collection of medical professionals in the same geographic region for patients having suffered from a specific disorder or illness. This standard can change depending on several things, such as the patient's preceding medical history and also the age of the patient may come into consideration. On top of the act of medical negligence occurring, in order to have a medical malpractice claim the negligent act needs to have directly caused the patient's injuries. Proving medical malpractice can be a very complex journey and requires a Pittsburgh medical malpractice team of lawyers such as ours with both the experience and knowledge to call upon and work with medical expert witnesses in order to build the strongest case that will get the victim the compensation deserved. The Pittsburgh medical malpractice attorneys at The Firm are not afraid to fight for you in court, so many large Pittsburgh medical malpractice law firms settle far too early to move the case along. The Firm's Medical Malpractice Fee Structure The Firm offers a free initial consultation to discuss your medical malpractice claim. Most victims of medical malpractice do not have the resources to hire a medical malpractice law firm to protect their rights. An unexpected injury is most often not a part of your household budget. Medical bills and lost wages along with other financial concerns can greatly complicate your situation. If we are unable to recover financial compensation for you, based on your injuries, there will not be a fee for our services. This is commonly known as a “contingency fee." Attorneys put up large sums of money on these complex cases in order to hire experts, take depositions, gather evidence and oppose the large insurance carrier law firms. The law firm that you eventually choose should be able to cover the expenses for these battles. Ogg, Murphy & Perkosky has the resources, the experience and the dedication to resolve your case successfully. Contact us, to schedule a free, no obligation consultation. To schedule a free initial evaluation of your case please call 844.451.0104 or visit our “Contact Us” page. All phone calls/inquiries will be answered immediately.
On March 3, 2008, plaintiff's decedent Robert Cole, 63, a part-time school bus driver, sought treatment with his primary-care physician for a cough, progressive shortness of breath, and a fever. The previous week, Cole had undergone an operative procedure that required intubation and mechanical ventilation. Cole's doctor prescribed antibiotics, an inhaler, and an oral steroid, and ordered a chest X-ray. On March 5, Cole returned to his physician and was found to have an oxygen-saturation level of 81 to 82 percent. The X-ray was read as consistent with acute pulmonary edema, atypical pneumonia, or possibly the lymphangitic spread of cancer. Cole was then transferred to St. Clair Memorial Hospital in Pittsburgh. Upon his admission, he was treated with antibiotics for community-acquired pneumonia. A chest X-ray and CT scan of Cole's chest demonstrated a diffuse lung process that could have been consistent with infection or edema, according to court papers subsequently filed on behalf of Cole's estate. Pulmonologist David Celko was consulted, and he reportedly believed that Cole's condition was consistent with acute respiratory distress syndrome, aspiration, atypical pneumonia, or, less likely, malignancy. On March 7, with Cole's pulmonary status reportedly still guarded, a bronchoscopy involving bronchoalveolar lavage and transbronchial biopsy was performed by Celko, between 10:39 and 10:45 a.m. After the procedure, Cole was noted to have abdominal breathing, and required increased amounts of oxygen to maintain oxygen saturation of 90 percent. According to court papers subsequently filed on behalf of the estate, despite Cole's worrisome preoperative X-ray, the invasive biopsy, his postoperative breathing problems, and Celko's recognition that Cole's pulmonary condition could further deteriorate, Cole was placed in an unmonitored room. A couple of hours later, at roughly 1:30 p.m. Cole was found lying sideways in his bed, gasping for air. A code was called; despite resuscitation attempts, Cole died at 2:22 p.m., due to cardiopulmonary arrest. Cole's estate sued St. Clair and Celko and his practice group, South Hills Pulmonary Associates, for medical malpractice. (Also originally named as defendants were various other physicians and healthcare entities believed to have possibly been involved in the underlying treatment. The claims against those defendants were dismissed by stipulation relatively early in the litigation, and the caption was ordered to be amended accordingly, however the name of one physician-defendant remained in the caption through to the time of trial.) The claims against the hospital were discontinued shortly before trial, which proceeded as to the claims against Celko and his practice group. According to the estate's expert in pulmonology and critical care, Cole was at a high risk of clinical deterioration following the bronchoscopy; therefore, he should have been on a monitored unit so that he could be monitored more closely for a longer period of time. The expert also maintained that the transbronchial biopsy was unnecessary in helping to make a diagnosis in Cole's case, and that it further increased the risk that Cole's pulmonary condition would clinically deteriorate. The transbronchial biopsy should not have been performed because of Cole's elevated anticoagulation levels, which significantly increased the likelihood of intra-and post-procedural bleeding, it was argued. The defense's expert in pulmonology and critical care maintained that Cole was adequately monitored post-bronchoscopy. According to the expert, all appropriate personnel and procedures were in place, and Cole was cleared for transfer to the ward/floor without any obvious deviation from either hospital protocol or uniformly accepted standards of care, including lack of validation of the need of absolute requirement for continuous telemetry or oximetry monitoring.
According to the estate's expert in pulmonology, the transbronchial biopsy caused some bleeding in Cole's right upper lobe and contributed to his increased respiratory distress post-procedure, and ultimately contributed to his cardiopulmonary arrest and death. The expert opined that, had Cole been appropriately monitored post-procedure, with timely and appropriate interventions and treatment administered, the risk of a cardiopulmonary arrest would have decreased significantly. The expert concluded that Cole undoubtedly suffered some amount of pain and discomfort prior to his death. Cole was survived by a wife and son. According to his family, Cole was healthy, fit, and active for his age, as he had at the time of the underlying treatment recently retired from a long career with the Army Corp of Engineers. The suit maintained on behalf of Cole's estate sought to recover approximately $750,000 in damages for lost earnings and unspecified amounts of noneconomic damages for past pain and suffering. Cole's wife sought to recover damages under the state's Wrongful Death and Survival Acts. The defense's expert in pulmonology stated that he was uncertain as to Cole's cause of death.
The jury found that Celko had been negligent in treating Cole, and that his negligence was a factual cause in bringing about harm to Cole. The jurors concluded that the damages totaled $800,000.
Estate of Robert Cole: $400,000 Wrongful Death: Survival; $400,000 Wrongful Death: whttp://verdictsearch.com/verdict/pulmonologists-failure-to-monitor-caused-death-suit/rongful death
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The Law Firm of Ogg, Murphy & Perkosky represent clients throughout Pennsylvania including Allegheny County, Washington County, Westmoreland County, Fayette County, Greene County, Beaver County, Butler County, Lawrence County, Mercer County, Franklin County, Clarion County, Armstrong County, Indiana County, Somerset County, Erie County, Meadville County, & Jefferson County.