Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyer Max Kennerly
I’ve handled medical malpractice cases since the beginning of my career, including everything from birth injury, to cancer misdiagnosis, to surgical mistakes.
In 2008, I was co-counsel for the parents of an 18-year who died as a result of plastic surgery; the jury awarded her family $20.5 million, $15 million of it in punitive damages, the largest punitive damages in a Pennsylvania medical malpractice case, in a venue where defendants win 75% of trials. That verdict was then upheld in appeal — also a rarity in large-verdict medical malpractice cases, and in punitive damages cases — in November 2010. I’ve worked with medical experts in a wide variety of specialties, including neurosurgeons, heart surgeons, emergency medicine physicians, oncologists, radiologists, hospitalists, and family physicians. I’ve also cross-examined experts of the same specialties hired by defense lawyers and malpractice insurance companies.
Malpractice is sadly quite common, with potentially up to 440,000 patients dying every year. But successful medical malpractice lawsuits are far less common, and only 15,000 cases result in a payment each year. Having a good lawyer can make a big difference.
In my experience, there are four main types of medical malpractice: misdiagnosis, surgery mismanagement, birth injury, and medication errors.
Misdiagnosis (including delayed or wrong diagnoses) comprises up to one-quarter of all medical malpractice claims, with colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and prostrate cancer being the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions, so much so that medical negligence insurance companies have developed screening algorithms for all three. In many cases, a physician like a family physician, gastroenterologist or internist simply failed to follow up on subtle but revealing signs of cancer like anemia, bleeding, or low hemocrit levels and order a workup of blood tests. Cervical cancer and skin cancer are also unfortunately common, often because many gynecologists and general practitioners dismiss patient concerns as ordinary complaints instead of stepping back and considering each medical issue on its own merits. Read more about misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose malpractice lawsuits.
Surgery mismanagement is the next most common form of malpractice claim. Although some surgery malpractice lawsuits involve a simple technical error by a surgeon — such as a general surgeon, orthopedic surgeon, or neurosurgeon performing a technique improperly and thereby injuring the spine or adjacent organs — in our experience most claims arise not from a surgeon making a mistake in the middle of the procedure but from the hospital and staff as a whole failing to follow appropriate protocols to prepare for surgery, to monitor patients for complications during surgery, and to ensure patients recover safely. For example, many serious injuries arise in the post-operative period when the staff fails to notice hemorrhaging or when the physicians fail to take appropriate steps, like administering steroids, to prevent vision loss or blindness after major surgeries.
Birth injury cases involve failures by obstetricians, midwives, nurses or hospitals to appropriately diagnose and to treat complications that arise during birth. We are intimately familiar with obstetrics — I personally spent 78 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) with my own premature twins — and we know what fetal heart rates should indicate a problem, how shoulder dystocia should be managed when a baby gets stuck, when an emergency c-section should be ordered for fetal distress, when cerebral palsy was avoidable, and why babies are referred to head cooling for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy or to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for meconium aspiration. Read more about birth injury, baby brain damage and infant palsy malpractice lawsuits.
Medication errors are as simple and often as devastating as they sound. In 2008, for example, I and another attorney at the firm tried a case in which a woman was needlessly given an antibiotic to which she was allergic — despite telling three nurses and her doctor about the allergy and having a red armband that say, in large capital letters, that she was allergic. Sometimes patients are given the wrong medicine. Many times, patients are accidentally given extraordinary overdoses of anesthesia, insulin, heparin, and other common medications. Other times, the doctors and nurses fail to monitor a patients’ blood lab values to ensure that the patient’s dosages of powerful medicines like blood thinners are appropriately adjusted for the situation.
We apply our substantial medical knowledge, and substantial medical malpractice success, each and every day investigating, developing, litigating, advocating, and winning our cases. We stay on top of the cutting-edge research and stay in touch with the most qualified expert witnesses.
A lot of patients or their survivors come to us just looking for answers, not knowing if they want to file a lawsuit. That’s okay; our expert nurses, doctors, and lawyers will review your case free of charge. If we don’t think the physician or hospital was negligent in their care, we’ll tell you. If we find evidence of negligence or malpractice, we’ll tell you why, and discuss with you your options. If you decide to go forward, we will fight for your right to full compensation, using state-of-the-art litigation and trial strategies and top-notch experts, nurses, economists, and care planners.
If you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice, use the below contact form or call us at 1-215-948-2718 for a free, confidential consultation. We represent clients across Pennsylvania, with a focus on our medical malpractice and hospital negligence cases on Philadelphia, Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware, Chester, and Lancaster counties. Similarly, in New Jersey we focus on Camden, Burlington, Glouchester, Salem, Mercer, Ocean, and Atlantic Counties. In Delaware, we focus on New Castle and Kent counties. For certain cases, like wrongful death and childbirth malpractice, we partner with other firms to extend our representation nationwide.