Pennsylvania man wins $10 million in medical malpractice case

The medical field is unlike any other profession. Patients in Pennsylvania, and throughout the United States, place their trust in physicians and other medical care providers to help them through uncertain health situations. Thus, when something goes wrong and there appears to be medical negligence, patients can be put in very vulnerable and devastating situations.

One 60-year-old Pennsylvania man was placed in a very odd situation: planning his own, supposed imminent funeral. The man decided to develop an end-of-life plan after doctors informed him that he had only 18 months to three years to live. There was one problem: this was not actually the man's life expectancy. The doctors had misdiagnosed him, and, thus, misinformed him to quickly prepare for his impending death.

The man has fortunately not passed away. However, he has suffered irreparable harm as result of this misdiagnosis. Accordingly, he consulted with a medical negligence attorney and pursued a claim against the medical professionals, who misdiagnosed him. The case proceeded to trial, and the jury returned a $10 million verdict, which the state Supreme Court upheld.

In the man's case, it was clear what lead to his harm: a doctor's misdiagnosis. In other medical malpractice cases, it may not be as clear who is responsible for the corresponding harm and damages. The law appreciates that it may not always be clear, and permits plaintiffs to sue a host of individuals.

In particular, a plaintiff can sue the following people and institutions for medical malpractice: nurses, doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. Basically, anyone involved in the healthcare system may be subject to liability for negligent acts.

A common sense approach to litigation is to sue the individuals, who are most apparently responsible. Responsibility can also include their employers and medical drug providers.

Identifying all possible individuals and entities involved in a patient's plan of care is the first step in developing a successful case. Naming all potentially responsible parties will ensure that a patient has a full, appropriate recovery.

Source: The Times-Tribune, "Verdict upheld in misdiagnosis trial," Sept. 13, 2013.

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