Of course, every case and every client matters. But in some cases, we are proud to be able to achieve something that goes beyond the usual limits of what can be accomplished in one action. The following are some examples:
- We successfully settled a case against a major area hospital where the claims were that the triage staff failed to appreciate the seriousness of a patient’s condition, leading to a significant delay in his getting proper treatment. One issue in the case involved the hospital’s refusal to refuse family members to participate in the triage process, during which a nurse obtains vital but preliminary assessment information in order to rate how urgently the patient needs to be seen. As part of the settlement of the case, which included substantial financial terms, the hospital agreed to reverse this policy and in the future to allow family members to participate in the triage process where appropriate.
- In a medical malpractice case against a major hospital, it was revealed during depositions that the reason the patient had suffered a major complication during an emergency surgery was the fact that she was operated on by a surgical trainee. And the reason a student had performed the surgery was because the patient had no health insurance. And the reason for trainees operating on patients without insurance: It was the hospital’s policy. The case ended in a seven-figure settlement, but we were able to force the hospital to change this antiquated policy as part of the deal as well.
- In a case that went all the way to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, we were able to make a significant impact on the law regarding the statute of limitations. The general rule in Pennsylvania is that an injured person has two years to file a claim in court starting from the date of the injury. Often, however, the injured person is unaware there has been an injury. The “discovery rule” holds that the two-year limitations period starts from when a person knows or should know through reasonably diligent investigation that there is a basis for filing a claim. In Gleason v. Borough of Moosic, 15 A.3d 479 (2011), the Supreme Court agreed with our position, that when determining whether an individual “should have known,” that is, whether the person exercised reasonable diligence, any questions about the facts should be decided by a jury, not the judge.
- In a case involving medical negligence on the part of an orthopedic surgery practice, we confronted the question of whether arbitration agreements are enforceable. Here, before receiving treatment from the physician, the patient had been forced to sign an arbitration agreement, agreeing to waive her right to bring any claim, regarding the treatment (if there should ever be such a claim) in court. Joining with several other patients who were in the same position, we argued to the court that the arbitration agreement was unenforceable. The Court agreed and the cases were allowed to proceed to court, with the patient’s full rights in tact.
- In a medical malpractice action against a major hospital involving a patient who died after a cardiac catheterization, it was found that the reason she had died was because the nurses had not been vigilant in monitoring the patient for signs of internal bleeding after the procedure. The cardiac cath procedure carries a risk of bleeding, so monitoring afterwards is critical. As part of the settlement of the case, which involved substantial financial terms, the hospital agreed to hold a seminar for its nursing staff on the importance of post-cath monitoring.