Medical Malpractice Cases
Video by Stephen Karp & Peter Hart
How do you know if you have a valid medical malpractice case? The best thing to do is to talk to a personal injury lawyer who can review the aspects of your situation in detail.
This video is a candid conversation between two experienced medical malpractice attorneys, during which they discuss their general overview of medical malpractice, what constitutes a potential winnable case, and how a personal injury lawyer will decide which medical malpractice cases to take on. They also talk about the misconception and myth that lawyers just blatantly suit is these situations – there is a substantial outlay of expenses to create a solid case, including the need to often hire expert doctors in the exact medical field of the malpractice.
Our Video Contains Medical Malpractice Cases, Statistics & Stories
If the personal injury case is well defined with documentation, there is often a settlement before going to court. Once it goes to trial, however, most cases are ruled in favor of the doctors and hospitals.
Below is a transcription of the video. We hope that the conversation between Stephen Karp and Peter Harp gives you a clear understanding of how a personal injury will view your medical malpractice situation. As always, for additional consultation, direct contact with Karp and Hard is always encouraged.
Medical Malpractice Conversation Video Transcript:
SLIDE: KARP & HART MALPRACTICE CONVERSATION
PETER HART: Good morning Steve, how are you today?
When you are a lawyer handling personal injury cases, you can’t help but feel sadness and empathy for your clients who are injured. You may represent a client for up to three or four years and in most cases, you never know that person to be in good health. By the time I meet the client, they are already injured, sometimes very seriously. Obviously, you wish for a speedy recovery but sometimes that doesn’t happen. I have seen many clients who live in constant pain from accidents involving automobiles, medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, dog bites and slip and falls.
What’s worse than representing an injured client, is an injured client who is a child. Childhood is the time in our lives when we’re supposed to have no problems, no worries, and certainly, no health issues. Unfortunately, I have represented dozens of children who have been injured by the negligence of others. A few memories stand out after so many years practicing personal injury law in Chester County, PA.
Chester County Birth Injury Medical Malpractice Cases
The most horrific cases are those involving a child injured at birth. Some birth issues are God’s work, but others arise from physician and nursing negligence. I have represented children who would have been completely healthy were it not for a delay in their delivery in the hospital. These were cases where there were signs of fetal distress, yet the nursing staff either did not bring it to the attention of the doctor or the doctor disregarded the signs of distress from a fetal monitor. The children were born with Cerebral Palsy which not only has a life altering effect on the child, but also on the parents and siblings as well. The attorney cannot help but share in the sadness.
West Chester, PA Dog Bite to Children Personal Injury Cases
I represented a 5 year old boy who was mauled by a Pit Bull. The wound required several surgeries and not only left the child with a horrendous scar but a limitation in his mobility. When you have to present a dog bite personal injury case and your damages include not being able to play with the other children, it tugs on your heart.
Doctor & Hospital Child Illness Misdiagnosis
Of course, there are those cases in which death prevents you from ever meeting your client. A child contracted Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever during a summer camp. Both the doctors and the hospital failed to make a timely medical diagnosis. If the proper medication was given, there would have been a complete recovery. It was not, and because of this medical misdiagnosis the child, 8 years of age, died from the disease. Although I never met the little girl, through family pictures, videos and stories about her, I felt that I knew her.
Sometimes I wish I only did commercial litigation where the worst problem a client has is a loss of money.
In a recent Pennsylvania Common Pleas case, a Judge ruled that if a jury so decides, a doctor may potentially be found to be liable for his patient’s injuries – a patient who was injured in a car accident after leaving his office an hour after passing out during an examination. Apparently, the patient who became a plaintiff due to his automobile accident injuries was enrolled in a drug rehabilitation program where he was receiving regular medical help including methadone treatment. Although the patient passed out during his treatment, the doctor felt he was okay to drive his motor vehicle from the office only an hour later.
The judge was asked to make a ruling on what is called a Summary Judgment Motion. This is a Motion where the defendant attempts to stop the case from being decided that by a jury, and instead requests that the judge throw the case out. The Judge ruled however, that there was enough of a factual dispute to require that it be heard before a jury who would be in the best position to determine the accuracy and credibility of the witnesses’ testimony.
This case is very similar to other medical provider and doctor liability cases where they are charged with making certain decisions or implementing restrictions depending on the patient’s condition and circumstance. For example, if a psychiatrist recognizes that a patient is acutely suicidal or homicidal and lets that patient leave his or her office without doing anything more, he or she could possibly be held responsible for injuries caused by the patient.
This is also somewhat akin to what we call the Liquor Dram Shop cases where a bartender serves a person alcohol who he or she sees is visibly intoxicated. The bartender could arguably be held liable for serving that person more alcohol and then permitting the intoxicated patron to drive away from the premises causing an accident. It is also similar to a case where someone gives the car keys to a person who he or she knew was too intoxicated to drive.
This is why the judge decided that the methadone case was to be heard by a jury so that it could hear both sides of the issue; learn all the relevant facts and then determine if the doctor was negligent.
Peter has been featured as the “Top Main Line Attorney for Medical Malpractice for Patients” by the editors of Main Line Today magazine.
From the article, featured in the August 2011 edition of Main Line Today:
Peter J. Hart’s thirst for spirited dialogue and his uncommon empathy for his clients came in handy during the three-year case of a client crushed between a truck and a bulldozer. “His back pain forced him to lie on the floor in my conference room during his deposition,” Hart says. “Five defense attorneys were peppering him with questions when, at one point, he quipped, ‘I guess I’m going to have to take this lying down.’”
Thank you to the clients who have nominated Peter for this award!