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Pittsburgh Elder Law Blog

Doctor on trial for alleged misdiagnosis worth millions

A doctor who has specialized in treating eye ailments in a largely older patient base has been on trial after facing serious allegations. The 62-year-old doctor is accused of bilking Medicare of an estimated $105 million for alleged misdiagnosis of a relatively rare eye disease. While this trial is not taking place in Pennsylvania, it may highlight the vulnerability of some patients who place their blind trust in their medical providers.

The trial has been going on for some time and features testimony of a prosecution witness who has disputed many of the accused doctor's diagnoses of a degenerative eye disease in many of the physician's patients. One of the patients was told that he suffered several ailments in both of his eyes. However, the man does not have an eye on the right side. It had been removed and was replaced by a non-functional prosthetic eye. Further testimony was offered that negated the purported illness in the patient's remaining eye.

Report seems to suggest SSD payments delayed for ill recipents

Social Security Disability was put into place to provide financial assistance to those who are unable to work due to either physical or mental disabilities. However, some who were approved for SSD benefits have been forced to wait while they struggle financially. There may be Pennsylvania residents who are also waiting for these benefits to arrive in time to provide relief.

One woman who is fighting terminal ovarian cancer filed for and was reportedly approved to start receiving these vital payments. However, she was told that regardless of meeting the program's requirements, she was placed on the 26-plus-week waiting list. The 49-year-old woman requires regular chemotherapy treatments that leave her too weak and ill to work. She now fears losing her family home before the promised SSD payments start.

Suspected nursing home neglect leads to federal lawsuit

Families turn to those companies that offer experienced and compassionate care when looking for suitable placement for elderly or disabled loved ones. When a facility then permits alleged nursing home neglect to occur, it not only violates the trust of families, but may also result in a federal lawsuit in some circumstances. Pennsylvania residents do have resources to turn to if they suspect a loved one has suffered harm while receiving care at these facilities.

One such case of suspected neglect resulted in a resident dying. The man was reportedly found in an unconscious state in his room at a facility that had a reputation for providing experienced care for individuals with disabilities as well as providing rehabilitative services. The resident was transported to a local medical facility where he died a short time later.

CNN investigation reveals disturbing nursing home abuse cases

Seeking long-term care for an aging or ill loved one can be a difficult, but necessary, task and the majority of these decisions are made after much consideration as to which facility will provide the best care. Unfortunately, even the most careful deliberation may not uncover all nursing home abuse allegations. A recent report may help Pennsylvania residents who may be researching options for their own loved ones.

A CNN investigation concerning the issue of abuse at nursing facilities has unearthed disturbing reports of rape and other sexual assaults at homes located in various states. Officials at these facilities have blamed several facets of the laws regulating abuse allegations as the reasons why some reports are not available to families seeking information. Instead, because the alleged victims are often not considered credible, assailants are not held accountable for their alleged assaults.

Couple files malpractice suit for alleged hospital negligence

Pennsylvania residents usually place inherent faith in those whom they entrust with their medical care. While it is not a common occurrence, one incident of hospital negligence can have life-long repercussions. One such alleged incident resulted in the loss of a patient's limb.

The man stated that a care provider did not follow accepted standards of care for his particular ailment, and he suffered from worsening afflictions as a result. After a succession of more serious complications, the man was forced to undergo a surgical procedure to remove his leg just below his right knee. He and his spouse have now filed a malpractice claim against the hospital that employed the doctor who treated the man.

Social security and SSD should be here for the long term

President Roosevelt first established Social Security in 1935 as a safety net for those in retirement. However, its demise has been anticipated for years with many sounding the death knell with greater urgency. These monies, which now take many forms, including but not limited to SSD, SSI and longer-term disability, are an important factor in keeping a roof over the heads of those in need. Pennsylvania residents who depend on these payments may be relieved to hear that the program should be around for the long term.

A recent review of the program's financial stability reveals that, while many congressmen have declared the system nearing insolvency, that does not appear to be the case. The program still has a budget surplus and has managed to increase revenue. There is a gap of approximately 0.3 percent between growth and payouts, which translates into a significant amount of money when working with sums in the billions of dollars. However, the overall balance is an estimated $2.85 trillion.

Former employee sentenced in nursing home abuse case

Many families select a nursing home for their older loved ones based on the belief that those family members will be well-cared for by the staff. Nursing home abuse may be the farthest thing from their minds. Pennsylvania families may benefit from learning more about the outcome of one such incident in a neighboring state.

A former caregiver at one nursing facility was recently sentenced to jail for 12 months after she attacked a stroke patient in her care. The 20-year-old woman was convicted after she hit the elderly woman in the face as she lay in bed. The victim suffered from bruises, swollen eye lids and a tear to the skin on her hand. The now-convicted woman is also said to have thrown a cup of liquid at the 85-year-old woman and threatened to cause her further harm.

Former anesthesiologist alleges medical malpractice policies

Doctors study for years and work hard to build a solid reputation as a quality care provider. Therefore, it may be unlikely that an individual doctor would voluntarily make allegations that a hospital would allow policies to remain in place that could lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit without a valid reason. While one particular doctor who has done so is not located in Pennsylvania, the story may be of interest to patients here.

This former chief anesthesiologist, who stated he was forced into a resignation, recently filed a lawsuit against his former employer and has alleged that the medical facility engaged in and allowed practices that could prove detrimental to the health of certain patients. The lawsuit alleges that the hospital installed video recording devices within operating rooms that not only violated patients' privacy but could also endanger the well-being of said patients in the process. Along with this allegation, the doctor highlighted other decisions that he stated jeopardized the well-being of patients.

Resident claims she was victim of nursing home abuse

As beloved family members age and start to develop health problems, many family members seek help in taking care of them. Nursing and assisted living facilities are often entrusted to provide this care. However, there are instances when this trust is violated and a resident falls victim to nursing home abuse. Families who have loved ones in these facilities in Pennsylvania may be interested in a report of alleged abuse in one facility.

According to the civil suit that was filed, an 84-year-old woman was allegedly restrained in her wheelchair for several hours. The resident apparently has some cognitive difficulties and relies on staff to tend to personal needs. It is unclear whether this impairment led two nursing staff members to allegedly tie the woman to her wheelchair and then purportedly administer a narcotic sedation medication.

Student claims misdiagnosis has caused her permanent harm

College students are so busy with trying to fit in classes, homework, a social life and possibly jobs that they may not give much thought to their health. However, a busy lifestyle and crowded living conditions may leave them more susceptible to coming down with a serious illness. Families in Pennsylvania with loved ones in college may be interested in what one student endured after an apparent misdiagnosis.

The student, who was 19 at the time of the incident, described coming down with sudden physical complaints that caused her to seek treatment at a medical clinic. Once there, her mother requested that the attending physician assistant run a test for meningitis. Instead, the assistant ran a swab test for influenza. When that test came back negative, the young woman was advised to return home and self-treat with fluids and rest.

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Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C.
707 Grant Street, Suite 2500
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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