A Pennsylvania judge approved a $1 million settlement during July 2013 in a Pennsylvania medical malpractice (wrongful death) lawsuit brought by the surviving wife of a 56-year-old man who suffered a blood clot three weeks after hip replacement surgery that allegedly was misdiagnosed and caused his unnecessary death three days later.
According to the medical malpractice lawsuit, the man had undergone hip replacement surgery in April 2008. When the man suffered severe shortness of breath, weakness, and other signs and symptoms of a serious medical condition while at home about three weeks later, he returned to the emergency room of the hospital. He died three days later due to a blood clot that his family alleged was not timely diagnosed or treated.
The terms of the $1 million settlement are confidential although it was disclosed that the settlement amount will be divided equally between and paid by the medical malpractice insurance company for the defendant cardiologist and by the Pennsylvania Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund (“Fund”) that is funded by assessments paid by participating Pennsylvania health care providers. The man’s family will receive $589,325 from the settlement after payment of legal fees and expenses as approved by the judge. The medical malpractice defendants continued to deny their liability to the family despite the settlement of their claim.
The Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund (officially, “Mcare”) became law in Pennsylvania on March 20, 2002. Under Pennsylvania law, a participating health care provider providing health care services in Pennsylvania is required to purchase medical professional liability insurance or provide self-insurance for policies issued or renewed in calendar years 2004 and 2005 in the amount of $500,000 per occurrence or claim and $1,500,000 per annual aggregate for a participating health care provider that is not a hospital (the amounts are higher for later medical malpractice insurance policies and renewals of the policies). If a medical malpractice claim exceeds the limits of a participating health care provider’s basic insurance coverage or self-insurance plan, the Fund is responsible for payment of the claim against the participating health care provider up to the Fund’s liability limits. The limit of liability of the Fund for each participating health care provider for calendar year 2003 and each year thereafter is $500,000 for each occurrence and $1,500,000 per annual aggregate. Source: Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (Mcare) Act, Section 711. Medical professional liability insurance.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the risk of developing DVT (“deep vein thrombosis,” which is the formation of a thrombus (blood clot) within a deep vein, most commonly in the thigh or calf) extends for at least three months after joint replacement surgery, with the risk of DVT being greatest two to five days after surgery and a second peak development period about 10 days after surgery (after most patients have been discharged from the hospital).
If you or a loved one developed DVT (a blood clot) after hip replacement or other orthopedic surgery and suffered serious injuries or death as a result, you should promptly seek the advice of a local medical malpractice attorney in your state who may agree to investigate your possible medical malpractice claim for you and file a medical malpractice lawsuit on your behalf, if appropriate.
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