The Patient Advocate
The attorneys of Lupetin & Unatin recently teamed up with several other Pittsburgh area attorneys and members of the Pennsylvania Association of Justice (PAJ) to provide lunches for the staff of emergency departments, intensive care units, and COVID-19 command centers
Residents of Western Pennsylvania are fortunate to have access to some of the best doctors and nurses in the nation. However, a recent national survey which measures preventable injuries and illnesses suggests several area hospitals, including two of the region’s largest, fall short of expectations when it comes to patient safety. The Spring 2020 survey results were released on April 30, 2020. Nearly every hospital in the Western Pennsylvania region received an “A” or “B” grade. Two hospitals in the region received a “C”.
There are numerous VA Healthcare Systems and Hospitals available to veterans in Pennsylvania including the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System – made up of the Pittsburgh VA Medical Center-University Drive in Oakland and the H. John Heinz III Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Aspinwall. While the VA Health System provides a great service to our veterans, we have seen many instances where the medical care was substandard and led to avoidable injuries and death.
On March 9, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) issued a final rule that will amend the Code of Federal Regulations in ways that greatly enhance an individual’s ability to access their electronic health records through modern tools, like apps and the internet. Titled the 21st Century Cures Act: Interoperability, Information Blocking, and the ONC Health IT Certification Program, the final rule will become effective sixty-days after the date it is published in the Federal Register.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Declares Pennsylvania’s Seven Year Limit On Medical Malpractice Cases Unconstitutional
On October 31, 2019, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court handed down its opinion in Yanakos v. UPMC and declared Pennsylvania’s statute of repose unconstitutional. Before the Court, UPMC argued the statute of response complied with Article I, Section 11 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The Court found UPMC proved the statute of repose was related to the important government’s interest of controlling the rising costs associated with medical insurance and medical care. However, UPMC failed to produce evidence of how the statute of repose actually achieved this government interest.
A recent review of studies measuring the success of HPV immunization in reducing HPV infection, Genital Warts, and Cervical Intraepithelial shows a dramatic reduction in the instances precursors to cervical cancer in a wide range group of women from 13-29 years of age, as well as instances of genital warts among boys and young men. When a majority of population has been immunized, the virus is not able to propagate and be transmitted to the unvaccinated portion of the population.
Human Papillomavirus, better known as HPV, is a sexually transmitted infection that affects approximately 79 million mostly young Americans. In recent years, health care providers and researchers have led a concerted effort to stop the spread of HPV and for good reason – not only is HPV the most common infection among Americans, HPV infection causes several types of cancers, including cervical cancer, anal cancer, and cancers of the throat, base of the tongue and tonsils. According to the CDC, every year in the United States, HPV causes 33,700 cases of cancer in men and women.
Neither celebrity or character protect patients from medical malpractice. Note that this matter was settled privately and it is only because of hard working reporters that the public now has been informed. Since most serious cases are settled under confidentiality restrictions there is an ongoing silence about many careless acts resulting in many catastrophically injured patients.
The Constitution is the bedrock of our American society. Not a day goes by without many of us benefiting from one or more of the sacred amendments to our constitution, such as the freedoms of speech or religion, or the right to bear arms. At Lupetin & Unatin, we are privileged to work every day to advance an important right granted to each of us under the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Section 6 of the Constitution of Pennsyvlania – the right to a jury trial.
When the Congress under the Clinton administration passed the health information portability and privacy act commonly known and referenced as HIPPA there was a recognition that while healthcare would benefit from the creation of electronic medical records that such a development also posed inherent problems. Electronic records are easily modified deleted and viewed without detection. In order to assure the integrity of our electronic medical records regulations were promulgated to address these problems.