Medical Malpractice Cases And You: Lessons Learned

Errors by doctors, nurses, hospitals and other staff members happen regularly. The best protection for you and your loved ones is to know your rights.


A 51-year-old Lehigh Valley nun was admitted into a hospital last Dec. 21 with flu-like symptoms. A little more than two weeks later, she was dead, with her death caused by “therapeutic misadventure,” in a ruling by a Lehigh County coroner.

In a separate case, a 62-year-old Philadelphia man had to have more than two feet of his colon removed after a doctor caused perforations during a colonoscopy conducted in 2008.

In both cases, patients were greatly harmed due to alleged errors in their care.

The case involving the nun is just beginning its way through the courts after a lawsuit was filed by the nun’s estate, alleging medical treatment errors when her bedside blood sugar test results differed from more reliable laboratory tests, according to a story in The Morning Call in Allentown.

The lawsuit alleges that hospital tests done with a hand-held monitor and paper strips showed on Jan. 3 that her blood sugar levels were elevated, the story says. In response, “doctors ordered that she receive insulin to lower her blood sugar levels,” according to the newspaper.¬† “More reliable lab tests, however, showed that her blood sugar levels were ‘far below normal,’ a state Department of Health report found.”

A nurse soon discovered the incorrect information later but the insulin wasn’t halted, which continued to lower the woman’s blood sugar levels, the story says. Soon, the nun was comatose and she died three days later.

The lawsuit alleges that “the hospital staff failed to handle the bedside test equipment and the paper strips properly” because the test strips were faulty.

Photo of a stethescope and a gavel. Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/-Oxford-

In the colonoscopy case, the patient was recently awarded a $2 million verdict against his two doctors for errors in his care that led to his injuries, according to a story in The Legal Intelligencer.

The man’s colon was apparently “dramatically overinflated” by one of the doctors during the colonoscopy, according to a pre-trial motion, which apparently led to perforations of the colon. He later required emergency surgery to repair the problem, the story reported.

Both cases are clear reminders that patients and their families must be vigilant about the medical care that they receive. Questions about treatment, risks and procedures must be asked of doctors and other medical staff before procedures begin so that patients and their families know what is expected and what will happen.

But at the same time, patients and families aren’t doctors and they can’t know every question to ask. That’s where skilled, expert, compassionate and thorough legal representation is needed by patients and their families who have been harmed by medical errors or omissions during their treatment.

These kinds of cases happen on a regular basis, but they can be fought by legal teams that are prepared to fight for their client’s rights all along the way to a fair settlement or just verdict.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to help you and your loved ones if you are severely injured in an incident of medical malpractice. Call us for a consultation and tell us what happened so we can determine how we can assist you.

When Winning Matters Most, call MyPhillyLawyer.