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Two of Pittsburgh's UPMC medical malpractice suits have settled

When it comes to hospitals, medical staff and insurance a medical ailment can seem dizzying with all of the paperwork, appointments and follow-ups. It can be easy to feel lost in the shuffle of such a large organization all providing a different aspect of the healthcare process. Normally, the process works effectively in a way that provides the healthcare that a patient needs. However, sometimes things go amiss and when unhappy patients start to dig into the cause, they come up with negligent acts they never even imagined.

Take the Pennsylvania plaintiffs who just won a medical malpractice suit against UPMC for hospital negligence. Both parties received some level of care from the hospital in which their treatment shouldn't have been administered or was over-billed in accordance with the circumstances. This what's known as a whistleblower lawsuit because unethical bonuses or billing were involved that are in direct competition with providing the best recommendation for patient care. Bonuses were given to doctors based on how many type of a surgery was performed - which isn't conscionable.

That's a reason why the PA judge found in favor of the plaintiffs. This isn't the first lawsuit of this type against PA doctors and the hospital giant. In total, 13 other lawsuits were named alleging whistleblower actions, among other things. It is concerning that doctors would be incentivized by performing a certain type of surgery. However, at the end of the day, this is really hospital negligence more so than doctor negligence. This is because in the employee contact between doctor and hospital, the hospital outlines how it will compensate it's doctors, and while the terms may be negotiated, they are still the rules outlined by the employer, who is this case is in fact the negligent party.

It is certainly a favorable outcome for those who were injured or who felt slighted about the treatment that they received. The specifics about the damages weren't mentioned. The families and victims of the faulty treatments and over-billing were likely pleased with the judge's verdict. Allegheny County presided over the court proceedings.

Source: pittsburgh-gazette.com, "Two medical malpractice suits connected to pay issue settled," Kris B. Mamula, January 17, 2017

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