Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

Image result for emergency roomWhen emergency room doctors have a system that allows them to cross check their performances, it can lead to a reduction in medical errors, although not all types of errors.

Those results came from a randomized trial that was conducted in France, and involved a total of six emergency departments. Physicians in each of these departments were made to participate in cross-checks three times a day. During these checks, the physicians were required to present their cases to each other, and get feedback on the same. The results found that during the cross-check period, the rate of medical errors dropped to approximately 6.4% of patients who visited the emergency room, compared to 10.7%, during the non-check period during which patients got the standard care without any physician feedback.

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medication errorSeniors may be at a higher risk of suffering from a medication-related error. The Harvard Medical School has tips for seniors to prevent these dangerous errors and injuries.

There are reasons why seniors may be at a higher risk of suffering medication error-related injuries. Aging-related cognitive slowness may cause a senior to misunderstand a doctor’s instructions. Hearing impairment is also another factor in such misunderstandings.  That failure to understand instructions clearly could lead to overdosages and other possibly fatal errors.

Remember, there are a number of factors that affect not just the effectiveness of your drug, but also its ability to cause harm.  As a senior, you have the right to complete information about the medication that is prescribed for you. If your doctor has prescribed a certain medication, ask questions about it.

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Image result for hospital patient dischargeFar too many patients every year get themselves discharged from the hospital earlier than the doctor recommends. This is a common practice, but one that may have serious consequences for the patient.

The findings come as the result of a review which was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society recently and finds that such voluntary, early discharges by patients are very common. Certain patients are much more likely to get themselves discharged from the hospital early, in the face of the doctor’s advice. Male patients, for instance, are much more likely to get an early discharge, compared to female patients. Younger patients, according to the data, seem to be much more likely to leave the hospital early.

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anesthesia complicationsSeniors are living healthier and longer lives than ever before. With life expectancies on the rise, most seniors can expect to undergo at least one surgical procedure during their lifetime. That means going under general anesthesia, exposing the senior to a number of the complications that anesthesia can involve.

There is no denying the fact that an older mind is much more likely to suffer from the complications involved in general anesthesia. However, the good news is that due to advancements in medical technology, many of those complications can be foreseen and prevented.

One of the more common anesthesia complications that older patients are vulnerable to is postoperative delirium. A patient who suffers from postoperative delirium may come out of anesthesia feeling very confused or disoriented. He may have no awareness of his surroundings. There may be concentration and attention difficulties that may last from a few hours to a couple of days after the surgery. Generally, postoperative delirium only lasts for a maximum of a week after the surgery.

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Image result for iv dripA dose of acetaminophen could significantly increase comfort and reduce pain for patients coming out of anesthesia.

Those findings come from a recent study which was presented at a meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.  The study found that acetaminophen reduces the chances of patients suffering shivers and extreme chills when they wake up from the effects of anesthesia.

Approximately 50% of all patients who go under general anesthesia experience shivers, when they regain consciousness. The reason for these shivers is not known, but they are common after a surgery. These shivers are not just uncomfortable, but could also be painful. Additionally, such uncontrollable shivering when a patient comes out of anesthesia could actually be dangerous. It places a huge strain on the cardiovascular system, and preventing such shivering is always a priority for doctors. This is especially true in the case of patients who already have a high cardiopulmonary risk. For these patients, such shivering and chills could possibly be deadly.

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health-2662312_1920-200x300A new study finds that while many Americans have experienced a medical error, many are also able to identify the mistakes when they occur and are ready to inform staff at the hospital about it.

As many as one in five Americans have experienced a medical error. According to a new study conducted by the IHI/NPSF Lucian Leape Institute and NORC at the University Of Chicago, another one in three admitted to being involved in the care of a person who experienced an error.

Most of these errors were diagnostic errors. Approximately 59% of these errors involved an incorrect diagnosis, delayed diagnosis or failure to diagnose. More errors were likely to occur in outpatient settings than during in-patient care. About 6 out 10 adults experienced a misdiagnosis and 4 out of 10 respondents admitted that they were not treated with respect

xray-1488182-1280x960-300x225While radiologists are aware of the risks and effects of various radiological procedures, physicians may not be as informed about these risks. That lack of knowledge places patients in harm’s way.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology (JACR) found that physicians in the United States practicing across multiple disciplines were far less informed about the effects and risks of radiation exposure than they needed to be. Researchers at the University Of Colorado in Denver surveyed healthcare providers from multiple disciplines over a span of two years. They found that 26% of providers were ill-informed about the expected effects of radiation exposure and risks associated with medical imaging procedures.

According to radiologists who participated in the study, it is critically important that health care providers and physicians who supervise radiological procedures or request medical imaging exams are better informed about the exposure involved in these procedures, as well as the risks and benefits involved. They must have this knowledge in order to be able to comfortably and accurately discuss all the risks and benefits of a procedure with their patients, prior to the patient undergoing an exam. The lack of a bare minimum level of understanding of safety issues involving radiation is troubling, and bodes very poorly for patients.

20171230_145109-1-225x300Patient safety advocates know that focusing on hand hygiene and enhancing communication among team members can go a long way in reducing the risk of medical errors. However, many hospitals neglect other factors that can also increase the risk of errors. Many of these factors are never discussed in hospitals or medical settings, but they do have the potential to impact performance, and adversely affect patient safety.

A toxic hospital work environment, for instance, can actually promote medical errors. According to a recent survey of more than 1000 physicians, five common behaviors in many medical settings can increase the risk of medical errors.

Laziness

doctor-563428_1280-300x200An interesting new study finds that doctors and nurses may be very sensitive to criticism or scolding by patients, which could affect their concentration and place patients at risk.

The study which was conducted in Israel, focused on pediatric patients. In the study, doctors and nurses from several neonatal intensive care units were put through mock clinical scenarios. They used mannequins in place of sick infants, and professional actors were roped in to play the role of parents of the pediatric patients. When these parents scolded the teams, or criticized them for not doing their jobs properly, the researchers found a significant drop in the performance of the team.

Comments like, “I knew we should have gone to another hospital”, were found to impact the team’s performance. Overall, when doctors and nurses who were subjected to critical comments from the active parents were compared to other medical personnel who were not exposed to such comments, the researchers found an overall drop in performance on measures. This included those measures related to accuracy of diagnosis, information sharing, and the amount of time taken to diagnose the patient.

tablets-2148889_1920-300x135Americans are uninterested in having their rights to accountability in medical malpractice cases curtailed. Those are the results of a new study conducted by the Public Policy Polling Institute, which found that citizens of primarily Republican states are overwhelmingly against any tort reform laws that would limit their access to economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits.

The Public Policy Polling survey specifically focused on 7 states-Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Utah, Alabama, Texas, and Arizona. These are states that either always vote Republican, or have voted for either Democrats or Republicans in the recent past. The states were specifically chosen because voters in these states tend to favor tort reform laws that would restrict patient access to economic damages in cases involving injuries as a result of medical negligence. Continue reading