This can involve diagnosis, surgery, treatment or care that is “negligent,” which means it does not meet what a reasonable person in the same profession would do under the same circumstances. It can mean unreasonably failing to monitor employees or patients, recommending an unnecessary procedure, incorrectly performing surgery or another procedure, or missing a diagnosis.
In addition, in medical cases, a provider may also be liable for failing to obtain informed consent, by not accurately telling the patient the risks of a procedure.
In any professional negligence case in Pennsylvania, the law requires the person bringing the case to have a statement in writing, from a qualified professional of the same specialty as the person being sued, saying that the person being sued was negligent and that this caused harm. Obtaining a thorough and objective review of the case by a qualified professional of the same specialty is thus an essential part of the review of any case of possible professional negligence.
Case Study: Negligently Placed PIC Line in Newborn
- A hospital’s neonatal unit inserted a PIC line to administer nutrition to a premature infant, but placed the PIC line too close to the infant’s heart.
- The infant, who had been fine up to that point, then began to show signs of rapid decline, which the hospital’s neonatologist and nurses did not correlate to the insertion of the PIC line, and the infant died.
- The case settled.
Case Study: Negligent Failure to Monitor Signs of Fetal Distress
- During a mother’s labor, a hospital’s delivery nurse repeatedly noted signs of possible fetal distress on the fetal monitor strips, but did not follow the hospital’s protocol for such a situation.
- The baby was born with severe cerebral palsy.
- The hospital settled the case halfway through trial.
Case Study: Negligent Failure to Order Caesarean Delivery
- During her prenatal care, an expectant mother’s OB Gyn noted signs that the mother’s pelvic structure might be too narrow for the baby to pass safely through.
- During labor, the doctor waited too long to call for a caesarean delivery after the baby’s descent stalled, and the baby died shortly after birth.
- The case settled before trial.