Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Proving up medical malpractice claims

Many jury verdicts in medical malpractice lawsuits are not favorable to the injured patient. In part, this is because such lawsuits are complex, and because the outcome can come down to the credibility of the plaintiff versus that of doctors or hospital staff.

A Pennsylvania woman recently claimed that the negligent treatment of a doctor was responsible for her being diagnosed with reflex sympathetic dystrophy for her left hand. She asserted that the cast the doctor placed upon her wrist during surgery was too tight, and this resulted in her medical condition.

The Pennsylvania jury ruled against her claim. Though the jury ruling went against the patient, certain members of the jury did believe that medical malpractice took place. The defendants in this matter did receive enough support from this jury, however, to dismiss the patient's claim.

It appears that the jury did not believe the cast was responsible for the condition. Instead, the jury may have believed that the patient's medical condition came about from the fall when she originally fractured her arm.

Because a medical malpractice lawsuit was dismissed does not mean there was the absence of a medical mistake. It may simply mean that there was not enough evidence available to prove such a claim.

The reason why attorneys do need to be well versed in the medical malpractice area for cases to succeed is precisely because outcomes of these cases are swayed by medical testimony. Refuting medical testimony requires knowledge of medical procedures, and the ability to garner expert testimony that shows errors were made by medical staff.

Source: Republican Herald, "Jury rules for city doctor in malpractice case," by Peter E. Bortner, September 14, 2012

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