Taking-Pills-300x225Medication errors, in which patients take the wrong medication or the wrong dosage, send hundreds of thousands of people to US emergency rooms annually. New technology, however, could help reduce the risk of these potentially serious errors.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School recently analyzed the effect of new software on medical error rates. They studied the medical records of more than 800,000 persons, and analyzed the impact of the software that was specifically designed to minimize the risk of mistakes during the prescription process.

The software, developed by an Israeli company, utilizes an approach that aims to point out errors in the medication prescribing or administration. For example, a drug that is typically used in pregnant women, but has been prescribed for an elderly male, is an anomaly that would not typically be identified or pointed out. The software however, finds these mistakes and according to the researchers, provides a very innovative way to notify healthcare personnel of such errors before they have any chance of adversely affecting the patient.

broken-arm-2117980_1920-169x300Studies report that many as 75% of all medical malpractice lawsuits that claim radiology errors might be linked to cognitive biases by radiologists. Radiologists must be trained about the existence of these biases and be equipped with the skills to deal with them.

For instance, radiologists often suffer from a context-related bias, because they do not have an appropriate clinical or framing context when they’re interpreting an image. This can result in the radiologist making the wrong decision, with possibly serious consequences. Such risks are higher when a patient’s medical history is incomplete.

According to the report, radiologists can get around this problem by ensuring that they have information that is directly supplied by patients, in addition to the clinical histories that they already have at their disposal. That gives them greater context in which they can make an appropriate and correct decision.

anesthesia-injury-pic-23-300x295Anesthesia injuries occur due to several factors, many of which are beyond the control of the patient. However, that does not mean that a patient should not take simple and basic steps to prevent injuries and errors. If you are scheduled to undergo surgery utilizing general anesthesia, there are steps you can take to ensure the anesthesia safer for you.

First, obey your doctor’s instructions. When you are administered general anesthesia, the digestive muscles that are responsible for preventing food and stomach acids from leaking into your lungs are relaxed. In a situation like this, regurgitation or vomiting is a real risk. There is also a very strong risk of choking or suffocation.  This is the reason why your surgeon will advise that you avoid drinking or eating food before being administered anesthesia. Typically, you must avoid food at least six hours before your surgery. You may be allowed to drink water; however, it is necessary to clear this also with your doctor.  

You may be required to continue taking your medications until a few hours before the surgery. Try to take your medication with very little water. Discuss any medication use before for the surgery with your doctor.

whisky-644372_1280-300x200With all the focus on anti-distracted driving measures these days, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that drunk driving kills more people than any other accident factor across the country, except speeding. Thankfully, the number of drunk drivers on our roads has significantly declined, but motorists in Indiana continue to be at risk from intoxicated drivers.

A look at Indiana’s drunk driving accident statistics for the past few years provides a more complete picture. According to the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, as many as one in three traffic accident fatalities in the United States involves legally drunk driver. The term refers to a driver operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration of a minimum of .08%.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also estimates that there were a total of 2,210 alcohol-related accident fatalities in the state of Indiana between 2003 and 2012. The vast majority of fatalities involving intoxicated drivers were persons in the age group between 21 to 24.

pills-1885550_1920-300x225The results of a new study that specifically focused on registered nurses found that the most common types of drugs associated with medication errors by registered nurses, were cardiovascular drugs.

The study which is due to be published soon in the journal Applied Nursing Research, found that among the cardiovascular drugs analyzed in the study, most of the medication errors involved anticoagulants. While approximately 22.7% of medication errors involved cardiovascular drugs, 11.3% of those errors were associated with anticoagulants.

In the study, the researchers found antimicrobial drugs accounted for approximately 19.1% of the errors, while electrolytes accounted for about 11% of the errors, and both endocrine drugs and analgesics accounted for 8.8% of the errors recorded. Among the antimicrobial drugs, vancomycin was most susceptible to medical error, with an error rate of 6.1%. Among the cardiovascular drugs most susceptible to medication errors were heparin, warfarin, and enoxaparin.   

heart-1767552_1280-300x169Women are approximately 50% more likely to be wrongly misdiagnosed after a heart attack, a dangerous trend that places their lives at severe risk.

According to a new study, which focused on patients admitted to NHS hospitals in Britain, as many as 3 in 10 female patients have an initial diagnosis that is different from the final diagnosis.

There are two different types of heart attack: A Stemi attack involves a complete blockage of the coronary artery that is responsible for supplying blood to the heart muscle. However, the NStemi type of heart attack involves a partial blockage of one or more arteries. The NStemi type is more common, although both of these types of heart attacks can result in significant harm to the cardiac muscle.

Winter-Weather-300x204It’s hard to live in Indiana in the winter. While this year has been more mild than most, those trapped on Indiana roads in December know that conditions can change in a matter of minutes, making any commute a dangerous proposition.

It is critical that Indiana drivers prepare themselves for the sudden changes that winter can bring. A number of good safety tips can help make you and your loved ones safe while traveling on Indiana highways and byways over the next couple of months.

For instance, ensuring that your car is in good working order can reduce the possibility of being stranded on the side of the road. Winter temperatures that fall well below freezing are hard on batteries, belts and hoses. Have your car inspected, the battery tested, and make sure that all the fluids filled.  A full reservoir of windshield washer fluid can ensure that your visibility is at its best when driving in slushy, wet road conditions. If your tires are worn out, you will have limited control over your vehicle if the roads are covered in ice or snow. Having tires with a good tread is critical to safe driving.

baby-hand-300x174Erb’s palsy is a condition linked to nerve injury during childbirth. When the upper nerves of the neck are injured during birth, it gives rise to this terrible condition.

Erb’s palsy is typically caused when the baby’s head and neck are stretched and pulled to the side, during a delivery. When the nerves are stretched, the resulting injuries can cause weakness in the nerves which are responsible for allowing the baby to move arms, and shoulder muscles. An injury to these nerves will reduce feeling or movement in the shoulders, arms and hands. A child who has Erb’s palsy may be unable to move the shoulders, reach his arm up above his head, and perform other activities that should be easy as he grows older.

The doctor or pediatrician will conduct tests in order to determine whether your child has suffered Erb’s palsy. These tests could include x-rays, and even nerve tests. The pediatrician will check the baby’s response to the Moro reflex test, which is an involuntary response to any kind of stimulation. If all of these studies and tests determine that an injury has taken place, the doctor will monitor your child over a period of the next few months or even years, to determine if the nerves that have been injured have begun to recover. Remember, that most children who have suffered Erb’s palsy will recover on their own, although the recovery may take as long as two years.

xray-1129436_1280-251x300
Radiologists are in a position to identify signs of injury in seniors, and this could assist them in detecting elder abuse.

This finding came from a recent study that was published in the American Journal of Roentgenology. Radiologists have long been relied on for their unique access to signs of child abuse, and are often called on to identify signs of such abuse, but the same hasn’t been done in the case of elder abuse or nursing home abuse. That could be because signs of nursing home abuse are harder to identify than child abuse. However, researchers now say that it is very evident that diagnostic radiologists are often in a position to identify injuries that may be consistent with elder abuse.

Certainly, there are challenges when radiologists attempt to identify signs of elder abuse. For instance, an old fracture in a child may indicate neglect or abuse, but in a senior adult, a fracture may not mean the same thing. Many senior do suffer falls, and the risk of a fall increases with a senior’s age.

apothecary-437743_1280-300x200Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, which is a horrible fact. Fortunately, in the future, we may have scientists and researchers who are much better equipped to deal with this severe health care problem.

The country’s first PhD in healthcare quality and patient safety is currently being offered at North Western Medicine. The aim of the program is to prevent the more than 440,000 fatalities that involve medical errors every year. The first batch of students with a PhD in healthcare quality and patient safety graduated in 2016. A second batch is already participating in the program.

According to experts who were involved in the program, medical errors are a major problem plaguing the healthcare industry, and over the years, too few concrete steps have been taken to reduce the errors and their impact. This is a problem that requires expert minds. In it’s current for, the medical community is ill-equipped to deal with the magnitude of the problem.