Medical Malpractice and Outpatient Care

At one time, doctor’s offices were used for simple examinations with all the major medical action taking place in hospitals. Fast forward to today, where outpatient care for many services is the rule, not the exception. In 2018, Pennsylvanians made more than 1 million outpatient surgical visits. As the number of outpatient visits skyrockets, we probably will see a corresponding increase in medical malpractice cases.

Defining Outpatient Care

Some facilities offer outpatient services. However, patients are not required to be admitted or stay in the facility overnight. Outpatient care sometimes is called ambulatory care.

This type of care is not limited to hospitals but also is offered in other settings like:

  • Doctors’ offices
  • Urgent care clinics
  • Specialty clinics
  • Ambulatory surgical centers.

For example, Larry needed cataract surgery. Rather than being admitted to the hospital, he was able to have the procedure done at a clinic devoted to eye surgery only. Larry saved money and spent his recovery time in the comfort of his own home.

Problems with Outpatient Care

At first glance, using an outpatient facility can save time and money. However, outpatient care is not without its problems.

For one thing, freestanding outpatient facilities might not be equipped to handle medical emergencies. Patients in distress would have to be transported to a nearby hospital. When every second counts, waiting for an ambulance, loading a patient, and moving to another facility can cost lives. In-hospital ambulatory units also might be unable to handle emergencies. However, they should be able to respond quickly since they are located within the hospital itself.

At one time, misdiagnosis was one of the most common mistakes made in an outpatient setting. However, modern medical technology has broadened the scope of outpatient surgeries. As the number of surgeries increases, we likely will see an increase in surgical errors.

People who have been injured because of outpatient care may have a medical malpractice claim.

Medical Malpractice in Pennsylvania

Most claims for medical malpractice must be made within two years after the date of the patient’s injury. However, certain injuries do appear quickly. Some claims may be ‘tolled’ or stopped until the patient realizes a medical provider harmed them.

Some states limit the amount of money a patient can recover in a medical malpractice case. At this time, Pennsylvania does not have a cap on compensation. This applies to both economic and non-economic medical malpractice damages.

Sometimes Medical Malpractice and Outpatient Care Go Together

Medical malpractice claims, including those for negligence at an outpatient care center, are complicated. Often, many parties are involved in the chain of treatment. Powell Law features James F. Mundy, Esq., as an attorney who has successfully litigated medical malpractice cases for several decades. Since 1906, our practice has evolved litigating personal injury claims, including medical malpractice cases, and building a body of knowledge and expertise that unquestionably provides our clients with an incomparable advantage. Powell Law has an established 115-year-old reputation throughout northeastern Pennsylvania. Contact Powell Law at call (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE.

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