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The Role of Medical Record Analysis in Proving Malpractice Claims

Medical malpractice claims hinge on the ability to prove that a healthcare provider deviated from accepted standards of care, causing harm to a patient. In Pennsylvania, as in all states, a critical element of these claims involves a thorough examination of medical records. These documents provide a foundational blueprint for establishing both the standard of care and the deviations from it. At Leeson & Leeson, our experienced Bethlehem medical malpractice attorneys are skilled in navigating the complexities of medical records analysis. We ensure that every piece of pertinent information is examined to substantiate your claim and help you achieve the justice you deserve.


Understanding the Importance of Medical Records



Medical records are comprehensive files that document a patient's health history, the treatment they received, their response to that treatment, and much more. They typically include doctor's notes, test results, imaging studies, lab reports, and communications between medical professionals. In the context of a malpractice lawsuit, these records serve several critical functions:


  1. Evidence of the Standard of Care: Medical records help define what the standard of care was in the context of the patient's condition. They reveal what symptoms were reported, what diagnostics were ordered, and how the patient was treated.

  2. Documentation of Provider Actions: These records provide a timeline that is essential for understanding what the healthcare provider knew, when they knew it, and how they responded.

  3. Basis for Expert Testimony: In malpractice cases, expert witnesses rely heavily on medical records to form their opinions. These experts determine whether the care provided met acceptable standards based on what was documented at the time of treatment.


Analyzing Medical Records: A Detailed Process


The process of analyzing medical records in the context of a malpractice claim involves several detailed steps:


  • Chronology Creation: Legal teams create a detailed chronology of events based on the medical records to visualize the progression of treatment and identify any gaps or anomalies.

  • Identifying Deviations: Experts and legal teams scrutinize the records to identify specific instances where the care provided deviated from standard practices.

  • Linking to Harm: It is not enough to show that a mistake was made; it must also be shown that this mistake directly caused harm to the patient. This causal link is often the most challenging part to prove and relies heavily on the details documented in the medical records.


Recent Developments in Medical Record Analysis


Recent legal and technological developments have impacted how medical records are used in malpractice litigation. Federally, the push towards digital health records has introduced complexities related to electronic record keeping and privacy. Pennsylvania courts have seen an increase in cases discussing the admissibility of electronic health records and metadata in trials.


Moreover, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has recently issued decisions that emphasize the importance of full access to medical records for plaintiffs in malpractice suits, reinforcing that a patient's right to this information is paramount for the pursuit of justice.


Reach Out to Our Office Today 


For anyone considering a medical malpractice claim, understanding the critical role of medical records is essential. These documents are not merely files but are the bedrock upon which cases are built and argued. If you or a loved one has suffered due to potential medical malpractice, do not hesitate to reach out to Leeson & Leeson in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Our Bethlehem Medical Malpractice Lawyers expertise in handling these sensitive and intricate cases can make a significant difference in the outcome of your claim.


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