September 22, 2017

Physicians Must Obtain Informed Consent Rules PA Supreme Court

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently ruled that physicians must obtain informed consent. A physician is personally responsible for obtaining informed consent from a patient prior to performing medical procedures. As a result, physicians cannot delegate this duty to other staff members, such as nurses or physician’s assistants.

Informed consent is defined as a formal agreement that a patient signs. The agreement gives permission for a medical procedure after having been told about the risks, benefits, etc. The goal of Informed consent is to be sure that the patient fully understands the procedure or treatment. And is also aware of the risks, benefits and other possible alternatives.

PA Malpractice Lawsuit – Physicians must obtain informed consent

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that physicians must obtain informed consent came as the result of Shinal v. Toms. This was a medical malpractice lawsuit filed against Geisinger Hospital in Danville. The case came about as the result of a brain surgery that went wrong. Consequently, the surgery resulted in serious injury to the patient. The patient suffered a stroke, brain injury and partial blindness. Most noteworthy according to the lawsuit, the physician’s assistant, not the operating physician, provided the patient with information about the procedure. It was also the assistant, and not the physician who obtained the patients signature on the consent form. Finally, the plaintiff claimed she was never informed of the risks of the surgery or alternative treatments.

The PA Supreme Court ruling outlined that the duty to obtain a patient’s informed consent is a non-delegable duty. The duty belongs solely to the physician conducting the surgery or treatment. “A physician cannot rely on staff to disclose sufficient information required to obtain a patient’s informed consent. Without direct dialogue and a two-way exchange between the physician and the patient, the physician cannot be confident that the patient comprehends the risks, benefits, likelihood of success and alternatives.”

Law Regarding a Patient’s Informed Consent

The PA Supreme Court decision that physicians must obtain informed consent is limited to the procedures mentioned in Section 504 of the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Act. The act specifically states: A physician owes a duty to a patient to obtain Informed Consent of the patient or the patient’s authorized representative prior to the conducting the following procedures:

  1. Surgery, including the related administration of anesthesia;
  2. Administering radiation or chemotherapy;
  3. Administering a blood transfusion and all blood products;
  4. Inserting a surgical device or appliance; and
  5. Administering an experimental medication, using an experimental device or using an approved medication or device in an experimental manner.

Your Rights as a Patient

Physicians must obtain informed consent. It is the right of every patient who needs to undergo a medical procedure, surgery or other medical treatment, to expect to be receive the information necessary about the treatment to make an informed decision. This information should include your diagnosis and the proposed treatment plan. Furthermore, it should also include any and all risks involved with the procedure or treatment, benefits of the treatment and also alternatives to the recommended course of treatment. Finally, a patient should be asked to sign an informed Consent Form only after being informed of all of these risks, benefits and alternatives, and it is clear that the patient understands all of the information.

If a patient is not fully informed of the risks involved with a medical procedure or treatment, and a serious injury occurs as the result of the treatment, the patient may have grounds for a medical malpractice suit. Certain situations may arise where informed consent is not required, such as in the event of an emergency. This may occur when a patient is unconscious and enters the emergency room with the life threatening injury.

Medical Malpractice Injuries

Have a question about the informed consent law, call us for more information. If you have been injured as a result of a medical error and would like to speak to an attorney, contact us today. If you have suffered due to the negligence of a healthcare provider, we can help. Call the medical malpractice attorneys at Distasio Kowaslski in Wilkes-Barre today at 570-970-5400.

 

August 16, 2017

Daniel Distasio Named to Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum

The Million Dollar Advocates Forum recently announced that attorney Daniel J. Distasio of the Wilkes-Barre personal injury firm Distasio & Kowalski, LLC has been certified as a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

Distasio is presently a life member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. This is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the country. The Forum is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts, awards and settlements on behalf of clients. Less than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members of the forum, which acknowledges excellence in advocacy. It also provides members with a national network of experienced colleagues for information exchange in major cases.

Daniel J. Distasio

Distasio earned his Juris Doctorate from the Dickinson School of Law. He focuses on cases involving auto & truck accidents, medical malpractice, personal injury and product liability.

For more information on Daniel J. Distasio or Distasio & Kowalski LLC, please call 570-970-5400.

July 26, 2017

Peter Biscontini named to Top 40 Under 40 Pennsylvania Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyers

Peter J. Biscontini, Esquire, an attorney with the Wilkes-Barre personal injury firm of Distasio & Kowalski, LLC has been selected by National Trial Lawyers for inclusion into its Top 40 under 40 Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyers in Pennsylvania.

This honor is given to only a select group of lawyers for their superior skills and qualifications in the field. Membership in this exclusive organization is by invitation only, and is limited to attorneys in each state or region age 40 or younger who have demonstrated excellence and have achieved outstanding results in their careers in either civil plaintiff or criminal defense law.

With the selection of Peter J. Biscontini by The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 Under 40, Mr. Biscontini has shown that he exemplifies superior qualifications, leadership skills and trial results. The Top 40 Under 40 is a comprehensive list of the most outstanding trial lawyers chosen to represent their state or region. The selection process for this elite honor is based on a multi-phase process, which includes peer nominations combined with third party research.

Distasio & Kowalski LLC, located in downtown Wilkes-Barre, specializes in Auto/Truck Accidents, Workers’ Compensation, Medical Malpractice, Product Liability, and Personal Injury/Wrongful Death. For more information on Distasio & Kowalski LLC, please call 570-970-5400.

July 26, 2017

Daniel Distasio named to National Association of Distinguished Counsel

Daniel J. Distasio, of Distasio & Kowalski L.L.C., has been selected to the 2017 list of the “Nation’s Top Attorneys” by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel (NADC). Less than one percent of practicing attorneys in the United States are selected for this honor. The recipients of this prestigious award have demonstrated the highest ideals of the legal profession.

NADC is an organization dedicated to promoting the highest standards of legal excellence. Members are thoroughly vetted by a research team, selected by a blue ribbon panel of attorneys with podium status from independently neutral organizations, and approved by a judicial review board as exhibiting virtue in the practice of law. This elite class of advocates consists of the finest leaders of the legal profession from across the nation.

Distasio & Kowalski LLC, located in downtown Wilkes-Barre, specializes in Auto/Truck Accidents, Medical Malpractice, Product Liability, and Personal Injury/Wrongful Death. For more information on Distasio & Kowalski LLC, please call 570-970-5400.

May 25, 2017

Attorneys from Distasio & Kowalski, LLC Named 2017 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers

Attorneys Daniel J. Distasio and Michael J. Kowalski, partners in the law firm of Distasio & Kowalski, LLC, have been named Pennsylvania Super Lawyers for the ninth straight year. They have been top rated in the category of Personal Injury Attorney. Super Lawyers are comprised of outstanding attorneys who have achieved the highest level of peer recognition and professional achievement.

2017 Rising Star

Attorney Peter J. Biscontini, an associate with Distasio & Kowalski, has been named a Pennsylvania Rising Star for 2017. The selection process for rising starts is the same as the Super Lawyers. The only exception is that to be eligible a candidate must be either 40 years old or younger or in practice for ten years or less.

Each year, no more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state receive this honor bestowed by Super Lawyers magazine. Super Lawyers is a rating of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas. The annual selections are made using a multiphase process. This includes nominations, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area.

Distasio & Kowalski LLC is located in Wilkes-Barre, PA. The firm specializes in Auto & Truck Accidents, Medical Malpractice, Product Liability, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death.

For more information on Distasio & Kowalski LLC, please call 570-970-5400.