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Medical Malpractice Blog

What to do about errors in medical procedures

Arizona patients who go to a doctor for treatment may assume that everything will be safe. However, this is not always the case. Doctors may make mistakes just like any professional might.

In some cases, those mistakes might rise to the level of medical malpractice although this is not always the case. When medical professionals acknowledge an error promptly, there is sometimes less chance of a lawsuit. People often simply want the matter acknowledged and fixed. However, they may begin to feel differently if it appears the doctor is avoiding them and the issue.

Hypoxia: what it is, and how to prevent it

Hypoxia is a type of birth injury that all expectant mothers in Arizona should watch out for. The condition arises when a baby suffers a shortage of oxygen before, during, or after delivery, and if not treated promptly, it can lead to cognitive deficits, cerebral palsy, and hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, a condition in the brain caused by asphyxia.

The possible causes of hypoxia are many. It could result from infection, an abnormality in the blood vessels of the brain, an umbilical cord injury, or prolapse of the umbilical cord. In a condition known as placental abruption, the placenta could separate from the uterus during the third trimester, endangering both mother and child. Also, the placenta could be rendered unable to supply enough oxygen and nutrients to the child. Other risk factors include congenital heart disease and the collapse of blood vessels in the heart. Shoulder dystocia is a danger that arises during labor, as the baby's shoulder gets caught behind the mother's pubic bone.

Hospital and surgeon sued for nude photos of surgical patient

Any person undergoing surgery in Arizona places a huge amount of trust in the medical staff. A lawsuit filed by a woman in another part of the country reveals the trauma that a medical staff's poor judgment can inflict on a patient. A woman alleges in her legal claim that people took and shared nude photos of her while on the operating table for hernia surgery. She had worked at the hospital previously and knew staff members. Her lawsuit named the surgeon, the hospital and its chief executive officer as responsible for invasion of privacy and medical malpractice.

The woman acknowledged that before the surgery, she placed fake intestines on her body. Although she willingly took part in the joke, she insists that she never granted permission for picture taking. A nurse took multiple pictures while the woman was unconscious and shared them with others. Some images showed her genitals.

Medical mistakes that could be harmful

There are a number of mistakes that medical professionals might make that could harm Arizona patients. In one case, doctors nearly operated on the wrong patient who had the same name as the patient needing surgery. A surgery can also go wrong if a surgeon operates on the right patient but the wrong site or if a foreign object is left in the patient.

Another potential error is removing a breathing tube too soon after surgery. On the other hand, a urinary catheter might be left in too long and result in an infection. Infections may also happen when medical professionals wearing latex gloves wash their hands less frequently, possibly because they do not know that some germs can penetrate the gloves. A ventilator can spread an infection as well.

What to know about medical malpractice claims

Arizona residents may be aware of the health issues medical errors may cause. According to the British Medical Journal, they are the third-leading cause of death in the United States. Only heart disease and cancer account for more than the 251,000 deaths caused by medical error in 2016. The study published in the British Medical Journey has been corroborated by multiple studies in the United States.

Medical malpractice is one of the leading causes of death, and it accounted for more deaths than strokes and accidents in 2016. However, this does not mean that every medical error is the result of malpractice. This is only true if it can be shown that a doctor or other medical professional didn't meet the standard of care owed to a patient. Furthermore, it has to be shown that there was an injury that was caused by the negligence of a doctor or medical professional.

Study analyzes the role of durotomy in malpractice cases

When patients undergo spinal surgery, they often suffer small tears in the outer membrane of their spine. The tear is called durotomy and is sometimes unavoidable. In most cases, though, the surgeon will detect it and order a second operation to repair the injury, leaving the patient with no long-term issues to worry about. Arizona residents should know, however, about a study analyzing how durotomy is addressed in medical malpractice suits.

Claims of medical malpractice arise when these dural tears are not discovered in time and lead to spinal fluid leaks and other serious injuries. However, the authors of the study have shown that in the majority of these claims, the ruling is in the surgeon's favor. The results, published in Spine journal, are based on 48 cases of medical malpractice culled from three legal databases. Of these verdicts, 27 favored the surgeon while 21 favored the plaintiff.

Was your commercial truck accident caused by bad brakes?

A giant, heavy vehicle like a semitruck poses a lot of challenges for engineers. Namely, how do you get this giant vehicle to stop as quickly as possible to avoid car accidents? Because of the size and weight of these vehicles, truck designers have created a special kind of braking system called "air brakes."

These kinds of breaks are better for large trucks, such as 18-wheelers, because they have so many wheels. Without air brakes, the driver could not apply equal pressure simultaneously to all of the brakes. However, the owners of semitrucks must regularly maintain the complicated air braking systems on these vehicles, or they will face the risk of a fatal or injurious accident caused by brake failure.

New AI software helps doctors diagnose pneumonia

Software controlled by artificial intelligence may soon help doctors in Arizona and across the U.S. diagnose pneumonia more accurately. The software could also improve health care treatment in parts of the world that have limited access to radiologists.

CheXnet, which was created by researchers at Stanford University, uses a convolutional neural network to process chest images according to a specific set of parameters. Scientists trained the software's AI brain by having it process 112,120 chest X-ray images labeled with up to 14 separate diseases, including pneumonia. After four weeks, CheXnet was outperforming older types of diagnostic software used to help diagnose pneumonia. Researchers then tested the software against four skilled radiologists and found that it was more accurate than humans at spotting the disease.

Woman awarded $12 million after being given dangerous drug

On Nov. 8, it was reported that a 46-year-old Arizona woman was awarded $12 million after she became severely incapacitated by what was thought to be a medical error. According to the report, it is likely that the hospital may appeal the verdict as the woman was found to be at least partially at fault.

On Sept. 13, 2013, the woman was admitted to an emergency room for pain in her back, sides and upper abdomen. She also reportedly had thin blood as she was taking a blood-thinning drug due to clots in the veins in her legs and lungs. The doctors gave the woman a drug called Profilnine to treat the symptoms. However, the drug caused an oxygen deprivation to the woman's brain. As a result, she was hospitalized for seven weeks and now remains in what was classified in the court filings as a chronic vegetative state.

Even doctors can make mistakes

As many as 12 million patients in Arizona and throughout America are misdiagnosed every year. This is according to the Armstrong Institute Center for Diagnostic Excellence at Johns Hopkins. Roughly a quarter of a million people die from a medical error each year. Mistakes may include misdiagnoses, diagnoses that come too late or doctors prescribing the wrong type of treatment.

The issue of medical errors and their impact on patients has long been a focus in the medical community. In 1999, a report called "To Err Is Human" was the first analysis to find that the health care system in the United States could be made safer. Despite increased reporting and improved technology, people are still put in danger because of how they are treated as opposed to the medical issues that they may have.

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