What happens when a hospital makes a mistake? All too often, patients at hospitals across the country suffer serious, sometimes life-threatening, injuries due to medical malpractice.
The harm that injured patients sustain can affect every aspect of their lives. The only way they can truly hold the hospital accountable is by filing a hospital malpractice lawsuit.
If you believe you may have a medical malpractice claim against one of the four Tower Health system medical facilities in Pennsylvania, the law firm of Console & Associates, P.C. may be able to help. Our hospital malpractice lawyers have decades of experience investigating potential medical negligence cases. We can help you understand your legal rights and evaluate your case at no charge.
The consultation is free and confidential. Call (866) 778-5500 or complete our contact form to get your questions answered and your case against a Tower Health hospital started right away.
Tower Health isn’t one hospital but rather a health network that encompasses four Pennsylvania hospitals:
The hospitals that are part of Tower Health employ 11,500 healthcare professionals and other workers and serve patients throughout the Pennsylvania counties of Berks, Chester, Philadelphia, and Montgomery.
Besides being a general medical and surgical hospital, Tower Health’s Reading Hospital is also a teaching hospital that is home to a Level I Trauma Center, a certified stroke center, and—by its own count—the “busiest emergency department in the state of Pennsylvania.” More than 100,000 patients visit the hospital, which includes 22 buildings and more than 647 beds, each year.
The hospital was ranked eighth in Pennsylvania on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Regional Hospitals list for 2022 through 2023, although it was not nationally ranked for any medical specialty.
Still, Reading Hospital was rated as “high-performing” in the following specialties, procedures, and conditions.
For the following specialties, procedures, and conditions, U.S. News & World Report rated Reading Hospital as “average.”
For the category of Patient Experience, U.S. News & World Report listed a score of three out of five stars.
The Leapfrog Group, an independent, national nonprofit patient health and safety organization, awarded Reading Hospital a letter grade of “B” on a scale of A through F in the fall of 2022.
The hospital has consistently received “B” grades from The Leapfrog Group since 2020, having dropped from the “A” grades it received in 2019.
Per The Leapfrog Group’s assessment, the hospital performed above average—in other words, favorably—in most categories. However, the hospital achieved only average or below average scores in the following categories, indicating more frequent (and less favorable) rates of the following:
Although Pottstown Hospital has only 219 beds, it is home to the second-busiest emergency room in Montgomery County, PA, where upwards of 40,000 patients come for help each year. The hospital is listed as a Primary Stroke Center and reported that it is certified by the relevant credentialing bodies for heart failure, chest pain, and hip and knee replacement procedures.
Pottstown Hospital is neither nationally ranked nor regionally ranked in Pennsylvania by U.S. News & World Report. However, U.S. News does rate the general medical and surgical hospital as “high-performing” in two procedures and conditions: kidney failure and COPD.
In the following specialties, procedures, and conditions, U.S. News & World Report ranked Pottstown hospital as merely “average”:
For three conditions and procedures, according to U.S. News, Pottstown Hospital scored “below average”:
The Patient Experience score U.S. News reported for Pottstown Hospital was only two out of five stars.
The Leapfrog Group gave Pottstown Hospital a letter grade of “C” in the fall of 2022, consistent with its scores from fall 2021 and spring 2022—and indicating an improvement from the previous four grading periods, during which the hospital earned only a “D” grade.
The categories in which Pottstown Hospital received average or below average ratings from The Leapfrog Group include:
The 144-bed Phoenixville Hospital is home to a Primary Stroke Center, a robotic surgery center, a cancer center, a breast health center, and an inpatient rehabilitation center, among the other medical services it offers.
The only specialty, procedure, or condition for which Phoenixville Hospital has been recognized as “high performing,” according to U.S. News & World Report, is COPD. For one procedure, lung cancer surgery, U.S. News gave the hospital a “below average” rating.
Phoenixville Hospital earned “average” ratings for the following 16 specialties, conditions, and procedures.
The Patient Experience score U.S. News reported for Phoenixville Hospital was three out of five stars.
From The Leapfrog Group, Phoenixville Hospital in Pennsylvania earned a “C” letter grade in fall 2022, representing an improvement over the “D” grades it received over the previous five grading periods and a return to its 2019 scores. The categories for which The Leapfrog Group awarded Phoenixville Hospital scores in the average and below average range include:
The fourth and final hospital in the Tower Health system is St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, a 188-bed pediatric hospital. The emergency department at this facility is one of the busiest children’s emergency departments nationwide, receiving more than 70,000 young patients each year. The hospital also offers a pediatric burn unit, a Level I Pediatric Trauma Center, a heart center, a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and a pediatric oncology department.
The Leapfrog Group has named St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children one of the Top Children’s Hospitals in the nation three times (as of 2022), in 2014, 2017, and 2018.
Collectively, the hospitals that make up the Tower Health system are high-achieving in a number of categories. In fact, both Pottstown Hospital and Phoenixville Hospital have received national recognition, the Reading Eagle reported in February 2023.
The unfortunate reality is that medical errors can still occur even at well-regarded hospitals.
If you believe that you or a loved one was the victim of medical negligence at any of the hospitals that make up the Tower Health system, you should speak to an experienced Pennsylvania malpractice attorney right away.
What Tower Health Patients Should Know About Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice law is complicated, but having an experienced lawyer for hospital malpractice on your side can simplify things.
A simple medical malpractice definition is medical care that deviates from the standard of care.
The standard of care refers to the standards set by the larger medical community. Generally, a doctor or another healthcare provider is expected to provide patient care that aligns with what other practitioners in the field would consider appropriate or acceptable for the circumstances. Failing to do so could lead to preventable negative outcomes for the patient and, in turn, a medical malpractice lawsuit.
A doctor who fails to order the diagnostic tests that are, in the view of the larger medical community, consistent with a patient’s symptoms and risk factors may be committing malpractice. Similarly, a doctor generally can’t go against the guidance of the larger medical community to recommend interventions that are not backed by scientific data instead of ordering proven, appropriate treatments.
Some types of medical malpractice that may occur in hospital settings include:
This list isn’t exhaustive. Medical malpractice claims are as unique as an individual patient’s medical history. If you have any reason to suspect that medical malpractice could have played a role in your injury, it’s worth reaching out to a law firm that handles hospital malpractice cases for a free consultation.
How do you know if you have the grounds to sue Tower Health for any harm that you may have suffered while you were in one of the health system’s facilities? Hospital malpractice attorneys generally look at two main criteria:
Deviation from the standard of care is one of the most important medical malpractice elements you need to have the grounds for a successful case. If your healthcare provider’s actions were consistent with the standard of care, you most likely could not pursue a medical malpractice claim, even if the outcome of your treatment was unfavorable.
The next major element of hospital negligence cases is damages, or the harms and losses you suffered. If a hospital deviated from the standard of care and something terrible could have happened—but didn’t—you generally don’t have a case. You can report the medical error by filing a complaint with the state, but since you can only sue a hospital for damages you actually sustained, you wouldn’t have the grounds for a lawsuit in this situation.
Suppose, however, the medical error caused you considerable harm. You spent more time in the hospital, had to undergo additional tests and procedures, and potentially faced further complications. Your injury caused you to incur thousands of dollars in additional medical bills, kept you out of work or otherwise prevented you from moving forward with your life, and caused you significant pain and suffering. In this case, these damages are likely enough to warrant pursuing a medical malpractice claim.
Because the practice of medicine and the handling of legal cases involving medical malpractice are both so complex, it can be difficult for you to determine whether hospital negligence is to blame for the harm you suffered. Even experienced hospital malpractice attorneys need to gather enough information to thoroughly evaluate a potential claim.
When you call a law firm about a hospital malpractice case against Tower Health, you will be asked to provide as much information as you can about your situation. The next step in a Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyer’s investigation is to attain and thoroughly review your medical records.
Proving a medical malpractice claim requires the professional opinions of medical experts—in other words, doctors—that support your claims that the hospital or its staff failed to care for you in accordance with the standard of care. To determine if you have a case, a hospital malpractice attorney may seek opinions from expert witnesses early on as they evaluate the likelihood of success for your claim.
The hospital negligence attorneys at Console & Associates, P.C. undertake this initial investigation at no cost to you. If it turns out that you don’t have a case, you haven’t spent your own money only to find out that you’re not entitled to compensation. If you do have the grounds for a case, there’s no pressure or obligation to move forward with a claim if you don’t want to. We will talk to you about your legal rights and options, what to expect from the legal process, and how we can help you move forward with a claim on a no-win, no-fee basis.
Claims against Tower Health medical facilities are subject to Pennsylvania’s medical malpractice statute of limitations. This law establishes a deadline by which a patient must file a medical malpractice lawsuit. If you miss this legal deadline, you will no longer be able to pursue a claim against the hospital for the harm you have suffered.
In Pennsylvania, the medical malpractice statute of limitations is generally two years. Because medical errors and their consequences aren’t always clear right away, this two-year period begins on the date the error or incident of malpractice was discovered or should have been discovered. In other words, if it was clear from the start that a surgery was botched, you have only two years from the date of the procedure. On the other hand, if it took months to uncover a preventable injury that occurred during surgery or a foreign object that was left in the body, you would have two years from the date of this discovery to file a lawsuit.
Two years isn’t a long time, especially when you’re dealing with serious health issues and medical tests, procedures, and recovery periods that stretch out over weeks or months. If you believe you may have a claim against a Tower Health hospital, you need to take action as soon as possible by reaching out to an experienced Pennsylvania hospital malpractice lawyer.
The following are examples of past malpractice claims against hospitals in the Tower Health medical system that have been reported in local and regional news publications.
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Just how common is medical malpractice?
The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that medical errors kill 225,000 patients annually—and that many of these errors occur in hospitals. Researchers included in these fatalities the 80,000 patient deaths arising out of hospital-acquired infections, 12,000 deaths from unnecessary surgeries, 7,000 deaths due to hospital medication errors, and 20,000 deaths from unspecified “other hospital errors.”
A 2016 study by Johns Hopkins Medicine found that medical error is now the third leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for 250,000 deaths per year.
These statistics don’t even include the vast number of serious but non-lethal medical errors, many of which likely go unreported.
Given the prevalence of medical errors nationwide, what’s surprising is how (comparably) few medical malpractice lawsuits are filed. In 2020, 1,476 medical malpractice lawsuits were filed in Pennsylvania, The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania reported.
Pennsylvania is consistently among the top five states with the highest total medical malpractice payouts. Between 1990 and 2020, there were 36,843 cases of reported medical malpractice in the state, amounting to a total of $10,232,740,000 in compensation, according to the National Practitioner Data Bank’s Medical Malpractice Payout Report.
If you decide to move forward with a hospital malpractice claim against one of the Tower Health facilities, you may be able to seek compensation for economic damages like medical bills, projected future medical expenses, and lost wages, as well as non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
Your attorney will handle every aspect of the claim on your behalf, including investigating potential medical errors, securing expert witness opinions and other evidence, calculating the full extent of your damages, representing you in legal proceedings and negotiating a settlement or fighting for you in court.
If you’re trying to sue a hospital for negligence, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Our Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyers have decades of experience helping injured patients get the compensation they deserve. We’ll review your case at no cost and, if you hire us to handle your claim, represent you on a no-win, no-fee basis so you can focus on getting better.
Help for a medical malpractice case against a Tower Health hospital is just a phone call away. For a free case review, call 866-778-5500 today or complete our contact form.