While most people celebrate the hot summer month of July by hitting the beach or enjoying outdoor activities, it’s also the time that new residents begin at teaching hospitals throughout the United States. In Philadelphia, these residents flock to hospitals such as the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Temple, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, and Hospital of the University of Philadelphia to begin their medical careers. Unfortunately, this large cohort shift of graduates at the same time can pose a knowledge and supervision challenge for teaching hospitals. Inexperienced residents, new to the health system and often performing procedures for the first time, can make errors or oversights that result in patient harm. In fact, a 2011 study published by the Journal of General Internal Medicine documented a 10% increase in deaths in teaching hospitals during the month of July due to medical errors. This phenomenon is often referred to as “the July effect.”
Teaching hospitals are required to provide the supervision for residents by qualified attending physicians. However, the actual amount of supervision provided by these attending physicians may vary and not be sufficient to meet the resident’s needs. Or, the resident intern might not admit to knowledge deficits or seek out assistance when needed. When errors happen, they can have devastating consequences resulting in morbidity or mortality for the patient.
Medical malpractice cases can be very complex. For example, is the resident responsible for making an error, or is the attending also culpable due to lack of adequate supervision? Are there policies, procedures, or environmental factors within the health system that contributed to the error? Because of the complicated nature of medical malpractice claims, it’s important to secure a seasoned malpractice attorney as soon as feasible to ensure that your rights are protected.
A malpractice attorney will review your unique claim and determine the strength of the case. The attorney may consult with medical experts with specialty in that practice area in order to determine if standards of practice were met. Additionally, a malpractice attorney may also review if faulty equipment contributed to the injury.
The costs associated with Medical errors are significant. According to a 2010 study conducted by Milliman for the Society for Actuaries, medical errors in 2008 cost the United States $19.5 billion, with over $17 billion being directly associated with the cost of additional medical care. For an individual injured by a medical error, this may include costs for
- Longer hospitalization
- Follow-up procedures or surgeries
- Prescription medication
- In-patient or outpatient Rehabilitation
- Skilled nursing or long-term care
- Home caregivers
A Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney will work to obtain compensation for these potentially costly medical expenses that were necessitated by a medical professional’s error. In addition for compensation for direct care costs, a medical malpractice attorney may be able to seek compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Lost time at work
- Loss of future earnings
- Future medical expenses or care
- Wrongful death
Call a qualified medical malpractice attorney. If you have been injured due to the negligence of a medical professional, it’s critical that you take the first step and hire a medical malpractice attorney to pursue fair compensation for your physical injuries, pain and suffering.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Wieand Law Firm for their insight into medical malpractice cases.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.