Phillips, Phillips, and Smith-Delach, LLC
Call Today for a FREE Consultation
Legal Services

Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

The dangers of doctors sticking too closely to protocols

You go to see a doctor in Pittsburgh expecting for him or her to be able to determine exactly what is wrong with you. Yet we here at Phillips, Phillips, and Smith-Delach, LLC can attest to the fact that physicians are far from infallible. Often, medical errors originate during the diagnostic process. This begs the question of what sort of information to doctors rely on when diagnosing you?

Typically, you will convey your symptoms to a doctor, and then he or she will often follow standard sets of protocols to confirm what they believe may be wrong with you based off your input. These protocols are referred to as “heuristics,” and doctors often allow them to dictate how to progress with your care. However, there can be a risk in doctors relying solely on protocols when treating you.

Recovering from a traumatic brain injury

From motor vehicle accidents to mishaps on the playground, traumatic brain injuries happen for all sorts of reasons. Sadly, some people suffer a TBI due to medical professional negligence in Pittsburgh, and in other cities around Pennsylvania. At Phillips, Phillips, & Smith-Delach, we know how devastating this can be for patients as well as their loved ones and we believe that victims of brain injuries resulting from medical malpractice deserve justice.

Sadly, there are many different ways in which patients may sustain a TBI at the hands of a medical professional. For example, a patient's brain may be injured because of a surgical error, a medical professiona's failure to monitor a patient, birth injuries and various other reasons. Unfortunately, when the supply of oxygen is cut off, the brain may suffer permanent damage. To make matters worse, some victims and their families may not even realize that a brain injury took place until months or even years after the incident occurred.

Why are older people more prone to slipping and falling?

As you age, you may find your body starts to break down in certain areas. Vision, hearing and general strength and mobility all tend to diminish over time, and these and other factors put you more at risk of taking a serious fall as you grow older.

Additionally, when you do fall as an older person, you may be more likely to experience significant injuries, in part because your bones tend to weaken over time. Learning to identify risk factors for falling can you help you stay on your feet. As you grow older, you may become more susceptible to falling for these reasons:

The risks big babies may pose to mothers

Throughout their pregnancies, expecting parents closely monitor the growth of their babies, using that as a sign of healthy progress. It is possible, however, for a developing baby to grow to a point where his or her size could cause complications during delivery. Big babies are termed to be large for their gestational age (the actual clinical name applied to this condition is “fetal macrosomia”). While whether or not a baby is determined to be LGA depends on his or her exact gestational age, the Mayo clinic defines the fetal macrosomia threshold as being 4000 grams, or 8 pounds, 13 ounces.

There are already inherent risks that come with delivering an average size baby vaginally, whose weight is estimated by Stanford Children’s Health to be seven pounds. One can only imagine how much greater the stress may be on both mother and baby if the baby is close to two pounds larger. Mothers delivering LGA babies have shown to be at a greater risk of suffering complications such as:

  • Uterine rupture
  • Genital tract lacerations
  • Post-delivery bleeding

How common is cancer misdiagnosis?

Medical providers are educated and knowledgeable, but even the brightest of doctors can sometimes make mistakes. You may find yourself in the same boat as many people in Pennsylvania who have been recently diagnosed with cancer and wonder if there could be a mistake. Or you may belong to the group of people who believe they do have cancer but have been told by their practitioner that they do not. Unfortunately, the reality is that cancer misdiagnosis is much more common than you may think.


What you should know about chronic traumatic encephalopathy

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a very serious condition that has been known to occur after repeated brain injuries. While it is mostly associate with professional athletes, many people in Pittsburgh can be at risk of developing this condition depending on the circumstances. Accordingly, it’s important to understand how it develops, as well as the associated symptoms.

As stated by CNN, although CTE is brought about by repeated concussions, the most damaging aspect of the disorder is the buildup of a protein called tau. This is due to the brain being repeatedly jostled within the skull, which can lead to further degeneration over time. This is true even if the person afflicted with CTE experiences no more concussive episodes. Additionally, there is no cure for CTE and no real method of diagnosis. The condition can only be identified after death during the subsequent autopsy.

Complications related to premature births

Expectant mothers in Pittsburgh hope for a safe and problem-free delivery. In the event of a premature birth, there are a number of serious complications that can occur that can imperil the health and well-being of both mother and child. These complications can even prove life-threatening in some instances, and accordingly must be taken seriously by hospital staff.

According to the Mayo Clinic, premature birth complications are divided into two categories. In terms of short-term complications (which typically present within the first few weeks after birth), gastrointestinal issues can occur. This includes a condition known as necrotizing enterocolitis, which results from an inability of the gastrointestinal system to mature properly before birth. Other short-term complications can include heart defects, hypothermia and jaundice.

Interpreting a Glasgow Coma Scale score

Several of those that we here at Phillips, Phillips, and Smith-Delach, LLC have worked with in the past in Pittsburgh describe those minutes after their loved ones have experienced brain injuries to be incredibly traumatic. You likely know what they mean if you have been through such an experience yourself. You may witness healthcare professionals administering treatment and using jargon that is difficult to understand. This may include seemingly random numbers, which are in fact scores detailing your family member or friend’s level of consciousness. Understanding this scoring system may help you know to what extent he or she is injured, and to what degree he or she may recover.

The scoring system used to describe traumatic brain injuries in known as the Glasgow Coma Scale. According to the website, it measures your loved one’s various methods of response to stimuli on the following scales:

  •          Eye opening: 1-4
  •          Verbal response: 1-5
  •          Motor response: 1-6

Misdiagnosis of Lyme disease is a common occurrence

For people living in Pennsylvania, certain times of the year bring about an increased risk of contracting Lyme disease. While this condition can usually be treated effectively if caught early, it is commonly misdiagnosed by doctors due to its similarity to many different ailments. Failure to properly treat Lyme disease can lead to a host of serious complications, which can greatly impact the life of the sufferer.

According to, it can be extremely difficult to test for Lyme disease. In some cases a person may actually be infected with the illness but testing will come back negative. It’s also possible for a person who was infected by Lyme disease bacteria in the past to test positive for the illness even though they have no symptoms or complications.

What is a uterine rupture?

While child birth should be a joyous experience for all women, serious injuries can occur even at the most prestigious Pittsburgh hospitals. A uterine rupture is just one possible complication that can have tragic consequences for both mother and child. Accordingly, it’s important for you as a soon-to-be mother to be fully informed about this complication, why it occurs and how it can be treated.

As stated by, uterine ruptures happen during vaginal birth. Although less than one percent of women will experience this complication during childbirth, it poses a serious bleeding risk that can be fatal under certain circumstances. During birth, tears can develop that will result in the baby being pushed from the uterus into the abdomen. Symptoms typically include pain in the abdominal area, abnormal heart rates in the mother and baby and delayed labor.

Get In Touch

How Can We Help You?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Contact Information

Washington Office
29 East Beau Street
Washington, PA 15301

Toll Free: 888-351-8069
Phone: 724-705-0154
Fax: 724-225-4712
Washington Law Office Map

Pittsburgh Office
The Frick Building
437 Grant Street
Suite 426
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Toll Free: 888-351-8069
Phone: 724-705-0154
Fax: 724-225-4712
Map & Directions