Top Medical Malpractice Questions

As a client once told us, “Carpey Law is the information resource for accident victims in Pennsylvania.” We live by that every day, and we kept that in mind when designing this website. Attorney Stuart Carpey’s mission is to empower people to make informed decisions about their legal case. Below are some of the questions we at Carpey Law hear the most from clients and prospective clients. We have divided these questions up into categories to make it easier to find what you are looking for. Navigate the links below to view the FAQ pages for each category.

Car Accident | Personal Injury | Medical Malpractice

General Medical Malpractice Questions

  1. What is medical malpractice?
  2. What does it mean that I must give “informed consent”?
  3. If I signed a consent form before surgery, have I waived my rights to a medical malpractice case?
  4. What is wrong-site surgery?
  5. Can a mammogram contribute to a misdiagnosis of cancer?
  6. I was treated by a physician, and my symptoms have gotten worse, not better. I think I may have a claim against my doctor. What should I do?
  7. Does a bad medical result from surgery mean that I have a medical malpractice case?

What is Medical Misdiagnosis

  1. What is a misdiagnosis and how I can I protect myself?
  2. Legally, is there a very big difference between failure to diagnose cancer & misdiagnosis of cancer?

How to Get Medical Malpractice Claims and Settlement

  1. What are some of the ways we attack the defense medical expert’s opinion?

What is Medical Malpractice Liability

  1. Who should be held accountable for my surgical error?
  2. Is it possible to sue someone other than my doctor for medical malpractice?
  3. Can medical students be sued for medical malpractice?
  4. Can a dentist commit medical malpractice?

Other Medical Malpractice Questions

  1. How can I learn if my doctor or prospective doctor has been sued for a medical malpractice?
  2. Is it important to get an autopsy in a medical malpractice case in which the doctor is accused of negligence resulting in the death of a patient?
  3. I heard objects can sometimes be left inside of a patient during surgery. What objects are most often left behind?
  4. A member of my family has died and I now need the advice of a personal injury attorney in Pennsylvania. Can you tell me what documents to bring to our meeting / how I can prepare?

General Medical Malpractice Questions

What is medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice is an umbrella term that may apply to an array of neglect inflicted on a patient by healthcare professionals. It occurs when a physician or other medical professional fails to adhere to the appropriate standard of care and as a result of that failure, causes an injury to someone else.



What is wrong-site surgery?

Wrong-site surgery is a very serious and potentially life-threatening form of medical malpractice. Wrong-site surgery is when a surgeon does one or more of the following:

  • Performs surgery on the wrong body part
  • Performs surgery on the wrong side of the body
  • Performs the wrong surgical procedure
  • Performs surgery on the wrong patient

Wrong-site surgery should never occur. Before performing a procedure, all medical professionals involved are supposed to verify the procedure being performed, the name of the patient receiving the procedure, and the part of the body on which the procedure will be performed. This should then be re-verified immediately before surgery.


Can a mammogram contribute to a misdiagnosis of cancer?

Mammograms are oft-used tool for breast cancer detection. It is commonly advised that women of a certain age make regular mammogram appointments. This is suggested even for women who are not showing signs of having breast cancer and especially for women who have a history of breast cancer in their families.

And while mammograms are undeniably important to a woman’s continued health, there are reports (such as the one described in this Harvard School of Public Health press release) suggesting that routine mammograms may actually be contributing to over-diagnosis of breast cancer.

Having regular mammography screenings is still very important to catching breast cancer early — but be aware that a diagnosis of breast cancer may be incorrect and calls for a second opinion.


I was treated by a physician, and my symptoms have gotten worse, not better. I think I may have a claim against my doctor. What should I do?

First, the best thing to do is to see another doctor to remedy the situation as quickly as possible. Under these circumstances, you may want to consult an experienced medical malpractice attorney. By putting it off any longer, you may be jeopardizing your health, as well as your chances of recovering damages caused by the doctor’s negligence.

Does a bad medical result from surgery mean that I have a medical malpractice case?

If your surgery returns unexpected or unsatisfactory results, does that mean you have a medical malpractice case? Stuart Carpey explains what you need to know.

Learn more about what medical malpractice is, who is responsible, and how you can best avoid it in this medical malpractice infographic.
What is Medical Malpractice Infographic- Medical Malpractice Attorney in Pa- Carpey Law


What is Medical Misdiagnosis

What is a misdiagnosis and how I can I protect myself?

A misdiagnosis is when a doctor comes to false conclusions about the causes of a particular ailment. Thousand of injuries and deaths each year are attributable to doctor misdiagnosis. The best way to prevent a misdiagnosis is to be an informed patient and disclose everything to your doctor. If you are unsure, it is always a good idea to get a second opinion and to consult a specialist.

Legally, is there a very big difference between failure to diagnose cancer & misdiagnosis of cancer?

Whether a doctor has failed to diagnose your cancer or has misdiagnosed your cancer, he or she may have committed medical malpractice. Of course, both cases depend on the details. For both, it is necessary to prove that a reasonable doctor should have been able to accurately diagnose your cancer. Failing to make that diagnosis, or misdiagnosing, can be seen as medical negligence.

How to Get Medical Malpractice Claims and Settlement

What are some of the ways we attack the defense medical expert’s opinion?

We start with the thinking that everything the defense expert is saying in his or her report is false, and we then force the expert to prove each and every portion of the opinion. This is done at the defense expert’s deposition or at trial by way of cross examination. We research the background of the expert, find prior written opinions or depositions from other cases, and scrutinize what the expert has said before and utilize that to destroy the expert’s opinion at trial.

What is Medical Malpractice Liability

Who should be held accountable for my surgical error?

Surgical errors happen often and in a number of ways. Examples of surgical errors include making an erroneous incision, operating on the wrong part of the body, administering an incorrect amount of anesthesia or other medication, and even leaving a surgical implement inside a patient. If a surgical error happened to you, there are multiple entities which may be blamed, including the surgeon, a nurse or other medical assistant, the anesthesiologist, a pharmacist, or the hospital itself. There are a number of ways in which a hospital and its staff can be found negligent in the event of a surgical error. Speak with a personal injury attorney to learn more.

Is it possible to sue someone other than my doctor for medical malpractice?

Yes. A medical malpractice lawsuit can be filed against any and all medical professional, including doctors, nurses, physical therapist, and medical technicians.

Can medical students be sued for medical malpractice?

Yes. Medical students are not seasoned doctors or nurses, and they certainly need the knowledge of hands-on training to complete their education, but if a medical student makes a mistake that puts a patient in harm’s way, he or she can be held accountable.

In fact, medical students are insured with medical malpractice coverage in case a mistake occurs during their training. Either the school at which the students are enrolled will supply this coverage or the facility in which they are training will supply the coverage.


Can a dentist commit medical malpractice?

Yes. A dentist who has failed to provide good dental care to a patient or has caused injury to the patient due to his or her negligence has committed dental malpractice.

Other Medical Malpractice Questions

How can I learn if my doctor or prospective doctor has been sued for a medical malpractice?

If your doctor was sued for malpractice your state licensing board should have a record of it. You can submit a request for the information.

Is it important to get an autopsy in a medical malpractice case in which the doctor is accused of negligence resulting in the death of a patient?

Yes, an autopsy is necessary in such a malpractice case. It is important to show that the doctor’s negligent actions were the direct cause of the patient’s death, and one of the only ways to accomplish this is to have an autopsy.

I heard objects can sometimes be left inside of a patient during surgery. What objects are most often left behind?

With so many objects being put to use during certain surgeries, it is possible that, occasionally, one is going to get left behind. Objects which may, unfortunately, are most commonly left inside a patient can include:

  • Sponges
  • Gauze
  • Claps
  • Towels
  • Needles
  • Cotton Swabs
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Retractors

A member of my family has died and I now need the advice of a personal injury attorney in Pennsylvania. Can you tell me what documents to bring to our meeting / how I can prepare?

Losing a loved one is the hardest thing to deal with and you have our sincerest sympathies. To help make your meeting with a Pennsylvania personal injury attorney go as smoothly as possible in this trying time, do your best to collect some or all of the following:

  • An original death certificate, which can be provided by the funeral home
  • A bill from the funeral home
  • If an autopsy has been performed, let us know and we can look into it
  • Some basic information on any doctors the loved one has visited in recent years
  • Some basic information on family members
  • A copy of your loved one’s will, if one was made
  • Any and all of your loved one’s medical records

There is more information you can bring but this is a fine start. If you have any questions regarding these materials and anything else you’d like to bring to your meeting, call your Pennsylvania personal injury attorney. He or she will be glad to offer guidance.



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