According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, more than 250,000 people in the U.S. die every year from medical errors. Medical errors can also give rise to a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Examples of medical malpractice include (but are not limited to):

  • delayed diagnosis
  • misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a medical condition
  • mistreatment or failure to treat a medical condition
  • failure to order appropriate laboratory tests
  • errors in anesthesia administration
  • hospital oversight
  • hospital-acquired infections
  • errors in surgery
  • wrong-site surgery
  • unnecessary surgery
  • medication errors
  • medical tubing errors
  • errors involving patient allergies
  • emergency room delays
  • emergency room mistakes
  • failure to check the patient’s medical history
  • prematurely discharging a patient from the hospital

Who Can Be Sued for Medical Malpractice?

A medical malpractice case may be brought by an injured patient against any licensed health care provider. The provider can be either an individual or a medical facility. Examples of such facilities include hospitals and medical day care centers. Individual providers may include, among others, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, dentists and pharmacists.

Proving a Medical Malpractice Claim

To prevail on a medical malpractice claim in Pennsylvania a plaintiff (injured patient) must establish four basic elements:

  • a professional duty was owed by the defendant.
  • the defendant breached that duty.
  • the injury was a proximate result of that breach.
  • there is some sort of physical, emotional and/or pecuniary damage.

Unless there is a specific harm caused by the negligence, any negligence on the part of the defendant is irrelevant.

Compensation (Damages)

A medical malpractice claim allows the injured patient to recover damages – the compensation received for the harm suffered.

Three types of compensation that are potentially recoverable in a medical malpractice case. They are:

  • Economic damages which cover past medical bills, future medical bills, past lost earnings and future lost earnings
  • Non-economic damages which provide compensation for damages such as pain and suffering, embarrassment, humiliation, and loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Punitive damages, which are relatively rare, but can be awarded by a jury in cases of willful or wanton conduct or reckless indifference.

Statute of Limitations

In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is two years. There are, however, exceptions. If a child is injured by medical malpractice before the age of 18, the two-year statute of limitations does not begin to run until the child reaches 18. In addition, Pennsylvania’s “Discovery Rule” may extend the amount of time to file a claim if a person is unable to learn that they are injured or that their injury may have been caused by the medical malpractice.

If you believe that you may be the victim of medical malpractice, call Comitz Law Firm, LLC at 570-829-1111 or message us at to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.