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

Medical malpractice process often lengthy

Medical malpractice claims may not be resolved for close to four years after a reported incident has occurred. And the typical claim is not filed until two years after such an incident has occurred.

Doctors may spin this as a need for medical malpractice reform. These doctors will point to the toll taken upon physicians and upon the time it takes for doctors to deal with these types of matters. And hospitals and clinics will point to the $200 billion that is spent each year in what is referred to as defensive medicine.

Whether we in Pennsylvania agree that what is required is tort reform legislation or the appointment of special "Health Courts" to hear medical malpractice claims, there is no question that the bringing of a successful medical malpractice claim is complex and requires the assistance of an attorney that thoroughly understands the medical malpractice area.

Though doctors like to point towards what are referred to as meritless claims, doctors and hospitals are not blameless for the medical malpractice system being the way it is. Only recently have doctors started to become more transparent in reporting doctor errors, and this has helped in resolving claims more quickly. The failure to report errors has in many instances fostered an atmosphere of distrust between doctors and patients.

Also, for all of the talk about needless litigation, only five percent of medical errors actually result in medical malpractice claims. If we place ourselves in the position of families and patients injured due to medical mistakes, it may seem surprising that there are not even more claims.

Individuals are having object left in their bodies following surgery, children suffer cerebral palsy due to a botched childbirth delivery, and patients suffer permanent brain damage due to improper administration of use of anesthesia. The injuries suffered due to medical malpractice are seldom minor.

Source: Forbes, "Medical Malpractice: Broken Beyond Repair?" by Robert Glatter, MD, Feb. 6, 2013

  • You can find out more about surgery errors and medical malpractice at our Pittsburgh lawyers' webpage.

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