Medical malpractice involves an act or an omission by a health care provider that deviates from accepted standards of practice and which causes injury to a patient. The elements necessary for the establishment of such a claim are that: (a) there was a legal duty; (b) that duty was breached; and (c) the breach caused an injury – financial or emotional. Expert witnesses are necessary in medical malpractice litigation to testify to issues relating to the standard of care that applied. Damages recoverable by a victim of medical malpractice may include compensatory and punitive damages, and damages may be assessed based on past and future loss.
Duffy + Partners has obtained recoveries and settlements from most of the large teaching hospitals and universities in the Philadelphia area. These include recorded verdicts against the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Wills Eye Hospital, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Hahnemann University Hospital, Temple University Hospital, Misericordia Hospital, Jeanes Hospital, Aria Health and Mercy Catholic Medical Center.
- In Campbell, Duffy + Partners won a $21,400,000 verdict on behalf of a diabetic man for treatment he received in the emergency room of Temple University Hospital. When Ronald Campbell was taken to the hospital in October of 2007, he was administered glucagons and glucopaste by emergency medical technicians, then discharged to family members, who found him unresponsive in bed the next morning. The defense argued that the treatment and discharge was proper, as Mr. Campbell had been brought to the hospital 11 times for high or low blood sugar levels in the five years prior (including one two days earlier), and that he failed to properly manage his diabetes by not complying with medical advice. However, the firm successfully argued that diabetics who suffer from repeated episodes of hypoglycemia develop a condition termed 'hypoglycemic unawareness' in which the brain becomes less sensitive to lower and lower glucose levels.
- In two recent cases, Duffy + Partners obtained over $20,000,000 in settlements (the parties of those matters remain confidential). In one of those cases, Duffy + Partners reached a $13,500,000 confidential settlement with a hospital for a child and her family. The child suffers from cerebral palsy as a result of the neglect of the hospital staff and physicians during the birthing process of the infant. In the other matter, Duffy + Partners reached a $7,500,000 confidential settlement with two hospitals for the family of a young man who died after his aortic dissection was misdiagnosed in the Emergency Room.
- In Divon, Duffy + Partners won a $6,000,000 verdict against Wills Eye Hospital for Peter Divon, a forklift operator who suffered blindness in one eye as a result of an infection which developed following a surgery to repair a detached retina. The verdict was reported as one of the largest verdicts in the state that year.
- In Smith, Duffy + Partners won a $4,500,000 verdict against Misericordia Hospital, finding the hospital negligent in their testing and treatment of David Smith, ultimately resulting in his death. Mr. Smith was taken by his mother to Misericordia, and ultimately died of an aortic dissection after the hospital staff failed to properly treat or diagnose Mr. Smith’s condition. The jury returned its verdict after a 2 week trial. The verdict was reported as one of the largest verdicts in the state that year.
- In Graves, a jury returned a $2,000,000 verdict following a 5 day trial, finding that Hahnemann Hospital and its staff committed malpractice during a surgical procedure by severing nerves in the client's throat. This verdict was especially remarkable considering no claim for lost wages or medical bills was made – the verdict was based entirely “pain and suffering."
- In Rivera, the firm successfully argued before a Philadelphia Jury that a 31-year-old man’s poor care at a local hospital led to his death, obtaining a $750,000 verdict for his family.