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UPMC Lawsuit Includes Linen Company

A little while ago, our blog highlighted the recent lawsuit that hit UPMC involving mold and the impact it had on organ donation (our original blog post can be found by clicking this link).  According to updated news reports, the same families of the organ transplant patients are now also including UPMC's linen provider in the lawsuit.  The linen service was added to the lawsuit after the same type of mold that killed the transplant patients was also found at the linen plant. The families' position is that the mold from the hospital (and their linens) resulted in mold in the transplant patients' lungs, which ultimately caused their deaths.  The linen plant has issued a statement regarding their position on the matter as well.  


Medical malpractice is hard to prove in the legal world, but negligent doctors and hospitals should be held accountable when failing to properly diagnose or implement improper treatments that lead to severe injuries. Pain, suffering, medical bills (both past and future) and a lost earnings are just a portion of the hardships that patients have to endure as a result of medical malpractice. If you feel that you or a loved one has been a victim of hospital negligence that led to severe injury, please contact our law office at 814-946-4100 for a consultation with Attorney Doug Stoehr.


To read the original article, please click here:
http://www.thecourierexpress.com/news/local/paris-healthcare-linen-services-targeted-in-lawsuit-against-upmc/article_7e727982-41d7-533a-b6a8-e51405c44a41.html

Facebook Undermines PA Woman's Personal Injury Lawsuit

Sometimes, what you post on social media can really influence the validity of your legal claim.  Recently, a Pennsylvania woman discovered this fact when she went to pursue a lawsuit against doctors whom she felt misdiagnosed her.  According to the report, published by McCall.com, the Pennsylvania Superior Court recently ruled that the woman failed to sue doctors within the two-year statute of limitations for such cases.  The woman's original argument was that physicians misdiagnosed her Lyme disease as multiple sclerosis. 


  According to the article, the woman "had argued she didn't know about her Lyme disease until she tested positive for it in 2010, nine years after she first developed symptoms. She argued the statute of limitations didn't start until her diagnosis." However, Facebook evidence brought into the case showed that the woman had been telling people for many years that she thought she had Lyme disease, which the court felt lent less credence to her case. 


If you are pursuing a personal injury claim, you should be careful about what you choose to post on social media sites.  Even if you are significantly injured, defense attorneys might try to twist what you write or update to compile a case against you. One picture or post, taken out of context, may cost you a significant amount of money in a personal injury case.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury attorney serving western and central Pennsylvania. Please call his office for your free initial consultation at 814-946-4100.

Slipping On The Winter Ice?

Slip and fall injuries tend to increase during the winter months, due to an increase in bad weather, such as sleet, ice, and snow.  These falls may lead to long-lasting and/or painful injuries, such as broken bones, concussions, and loss of consciousness.  Extended damage from such an injury may include chronic pain and nerve damage.


Slip and fall injuries may result from improper care or maintenance of outdoor facilities, like sidewalks, driveways, or steps.  Owners may not promptly shovel their sidewalks, pour rock salt on their steps, or fail to perform other types of common and expected winter maintenance measures.  If an injury occurs due to the improper maintenance of such areas, the owners of the property may be liable for the injury.


If you or a loved one has sustained an injury from a slip and fall accident, it might be time to consult with an attorney.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer located in Altoona, PA who serves the western and central Pennsylvania area.  For more information on his legal practice, please visit his website at http://www.stoehrlaw.com or call his office at 814-946-4100.

Tort Reform Hurts Doctors and Patients

How much do you know about the current state of medical malpractice insurance and insurance reform?  Well, recent reports show that medical malpractice premiums and claims per doctor are at their lowest rates in 40 years.  However, many patients still  feel that they have not received proper compensation for medical errors made during their care. This is related in large part to tort reform. 

Many researchers feel that the potential repeal of Affordable Care Act, which has resulted in many possible replacement bills, also includes corresponding tort reform proposals that may hurt injured patients.  Many of these reform proposals reduce the authority of local juries and could be construed as stripping injured patients of legal rights.  Even though claims and premiums are the lowest in four decades, the insurance industry continues to hurt both doctors and patients.  Tort reform proposals include such measures as putting caps on monetary compensation for injured patients, which hurt the victim.  Additionally, these same reform proposals don't lower malpractice premiums for doctors.  So, both parties are hurt and neither receive any kind of benefit to make the reform beneficial for them. Furthermore, these same injured patients will be forced to rely on government disability and public health programs for help, which should have been  addressed through insurance claims to begin with.  

Some parties argue for tort reform, which, as stated above, would put a cap on awards for injury or negligence.  They argue that, if there was a cap on awards, there would be fewer legal claims, and felt that arbitration decreases the projected expense and awards of cases. These facts are not completely accurate.  Arbitration does NOT decrease the expense and value of claims in all cases; in fact, they may increase the awards from claims in some cases.  Additionally, medical malpractice cases are not as "easy to prove" as these proponents of tort reform would make you believe.  These cases can be difficult to prove, as well as time-consuming. Therefore, the implications that most medical negligence cases are easy to prove and will most likely result in large awards are inaccurate.

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer practicing in the western and central Pennsylvania region.  For more information on his firm or to discuss your potential claim, please call his Altoona, PA office at 814-946-4100.

Nursing Home Residents Have Trouble In Hospitals

It is not uncommon for elderly nursing home residents to be in poor health or in need of medical assistance. In some of these situations, an emergency room visit may be essential for that patient.  However, an emergency room visit may also lead to infection in the nursing home later on.

An article published by University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine recently explored this phenomenon.  According to the article, an ER visit may lead to 3x risk of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections for nursing home residents.  Within the nursing home setting, the rate acute respiratory or GI infections was at 5% within a week of an emergency department visit as opposed to 2% when not the resident did not leave the long-term care facility.  After accounting for other variables, residents at such homes were actually 3.9x more likely to acquire an infection following a trip to the emergency department.  One researcher is also quoted as saying, "If they acquire an infection while in the emergency department, these residents may be the source of an outbreak upon return to their facility".


All in all, hospital visits from a nursing home lead to high-risk periods for all of the nursing home residents once the sick person returns.  New nursing home residents transferred from hospitals may pose an even higher risk for an outbreak of illness within the facility. 

Applying this knowledge, if someone you know has been recently admitted into a nursing home from a hospital, has recently been to the hospital, or has friends in the nursing home that have just returned from the hospital, it will be crucial to monitor those people for any changing conditions or health issues.  If you feel that your loved one needs more care than they are currently being given by the nursing home staff, you may need to discuss changes with the nursing home employees.  


Attorney Doug Stoehr is a central Pennsylvania lawyer specializing in nursing home abuse and negligence.  For more information on his practice and to consult him about your potential medical claim, pleaes call his office at 814-946-4100. 

UPMC Sued For Transplant Deaths

Over the past year, UPMC was under fire for conditions in the transplant program in their hospital.  A recent lawsuit was pursued by the family of a transplant patient from Ohio who died during a mold outbreak.  The patient, who had received a heart transplant, was one of at least three patients who died soon after receiving the new organ.  The CDC weighed in on the occurrences and reported that a specially ventilated room in the hospital's cardiothoracic intensive care may have caused the mold issues.  

Medical malpractice is hard to prove in the legal world, but negligent doctors and hospitals should be held accountable when failing to properly diagnose or implement improper treatments that lead to severe injuries. Pain, suffering, medical bills (both past and future) and a lost earnings are just a portion of the hardships that patients have to endure as a result of medical malpractice. If you feel that you or a loved one has been a victim of hospital negligence that led to severe injury, please contact our law office at 814-946-4100 for a consultation with Attorney Doug Stoehr.

Penn State Speaker Advocates For Patient Safety

In interesting news, Penn State-University Park recently hosted a speaker who advocates for patient safety in the area.  The speaker, Sorrel King, told the story of her 1 1/2 year old daughter who died as a result of medical error.  According to a news article released by Penn State, King's daughter Josie died due to dehydration and an incorrectly administered drug while being treated at a hospital in Baltimore. As a result of her daughter's death, King wrote a book and started a foundation to advocate for patient safety and help facilitate changes in the health care industry.  As King noted in her speech, she felt that her daughter's death was due to a lack of effective communication, and not from doctor/nurse mistakes.  

How can you help your loved ones avoid medical errors?  First of all, it is important to be very aware of what your loved one is being treated for, what medication and dosages they are on, and where/when they are scheduled for surgery.  It is also important to be alert for signs of infection, such as unusual redness or swelling at wound sites. In some cases, a wrongful death lawsuit may be appropriate if your loved one died as a result of a medical error. If you have been the victim of a hospital error/unsafe situation (including infections, accidents, and additional injuries) and have suffered significantly as a result, it may be time to seek legal counsel.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is skilled in taking these types of claims and is your local hometown lawyer who can get the job done! Contact his Altoona, PA area office at 814-946- 4100 for your free initial consultation. 

For more information on the Penn State article, please visit this link:

http://news.psu.edu/story/404643/2016/04/15/academics/mother-shares-story-students-hopes-preventing-fatal-medical-errors

What Is Adhesion Pain?

Have you heard of adhesion pain before? Chances are that you have not heard of this medical term unless you or a loved one has had very extensive or invasive medical treatments.  However, adhesion pain is a very real and painful medical problem.  So what is the condition, anyway?  Adhesion pain can best be described as "pain resulting from internal scar tissue that fuses together, most often in the abdominal region."  

Curious and want to learn more? Here are some fast facts about adhesion pain (resources from Pain Pathways magazine):

  • Adhesion scars can come not only from surgical procedures, but from injuries that do not require invasive surgery, such as getting hit in the stomach or being in a car accident.  
  • Adhesion scars can result in a serious medical complications, including chronic abdominal pain, fusion of internal organs, obstruction of the bowels, and infertility.
  • Adhesion scars don't not appear on medical scans, such as CAT, PET, or x-rays.  So, that means that they can sometimes be tricky to diagnose!
  • Treatment normally involves attending to the symptoms, and not the actual adhesion scar.  Although surgery is available to cut adhesion tissue, it may actually lead to more scar tissue and potentially worsen the problem. 
  • As a result of the recognition and diagnosis of adhesion scar pain, some foundations and support networks have been formed around the country for those suffering from adhesion scar pain.

The formation of adhesion scar tissue can occur after a wide variety of accidents and injuries, such as car accidents.  It is very important to monitor your pain and consult with a knowledgeable physician if you suspect that you may have a case of adhesion scar pain, especially if it leads to bowel obstruction or other painful disorders.  If you experience adhesion pain as the result of a car accident, it may be time to consult with an attorney.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer located in Altoona, PA and serves the central and western Pennsylvania area.  For more information on him and his firm, please call his law firm at 814-946-4100. 

Medical Errors Lead Mortality Causes in U.S.

When you hear about leading causes of death in the United States, what do you think of? Maybe car accidents, cancer, or other related illnesses? Well, it may surprise you to know that medical errors in hospitals are responsible for between 200,000-400,000 deaths per year. Some of these errors include hospital-acquired infections, medication errors, wrong operations, and diagnostic errors. These numbers don't even include deaths from medical errors committed in a hospital, but occur after the patient has been discharged.

So, what does that mean for you and your loved ones? First of all, it is important to be very aware of what your loved one is being treated for, what medication and dosages they are on, and where/when they are scheduled for surgery. It is also important to be alert for signs of infection, such as unusual redness or swelling at wound sites. Your hospitalized loved one should be also be asked questions relating to how they're feeling, their pain levels, and when they last took their medications.

In some cases, a wrongful death lawsuit may be appropriate if your loved one died as a result of a medical error. If you have been the victim of a hospital error/unsafe situation (including infections, accidents, and additional injuries) and have suffered significantly as a result, it may be time to seek legal counsel. Attorney Doug Stoehr is skilled in taking these types of claims and is your local hometown lawyer who can get the job done! Contact his Altoona, PA area office at 814-946-4100 for your free initial consultation.

For more information on the medical error mortality study, please visit this link:

http://www.natlawreview.com/article/medical-errors-hospitals-are-third-leading-cause-death-us.

What You Need To Know About Medical Errors

Are you knowledgeable about medical errors? Do you know what warning signs to look for? Well, luckily for you, a recent article by Becker's Healthcare just listed the top 10 things you need to know about medical errors. Some of them include things like the most common preventable medical errors (spoilers: they include infections and medication errors). Medical errors are occurring on the state level to varying degrees. For example, about 25% of Massachusetts residents have experienced a medical error in the past five years, according to a Harvard research study.

So, what are health professionals doing about this? Well, according to the Becker article, "In June 2015, the National Patient Safety Foundation released guidelines developed to help healthcare organizations improve the way they investigate medical errors, adverse events and near misses. NPSF, with a grant from The Doctors Company Foundation, convened a panel of experts and stakeholders to examine best practices around root cause analyses and developed new standardized guidelines."

Want to know more? Read the original article here:

http://www.beckersasc.com/asc-quality-infection-control/10-things-to-know-about-medical-errors.html

If you've been the victim of a medical error, it may be time to seek legal counsel. Also especially important, If you have been the victim of an erroneous prescription and have suffered significantly as a result, it is crucial to hold on to the medication vial. It is important both legally and medically (so medical professionals know how to help you and what went wrong). If you feel that you've been a victim of a serious medical mistake, it may be time to seek legal counsel. Attorney Doug Stoehr is skilled in taking these types of claims and is your local hometown lawyer who can get the job done! Contact his Altoona, PA area office at 814-946-4100 for your free initial consultation.

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