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Providence Medical Malpractice Law Blog

What are the dangers in receiving the wrong blood type?

Every year, countless patients here in Providence and throughout the rest of the country enter hospitals and surgical centers to undergo procedures. These procedures range from simple surgeries that may take only a few minutes to highly-complex operative sessions involving multiple surgical teams working for many hours. Surgical patients place a great deal of trust on those performing and assisting with their operations. While that trust is typically warranted, it should be remembered that these people are prone to mistakes just like everyone else. It’s when these mistakes involve seemingly simple missteps that lead to potentially fatal consequences that healthcare providers come under fire.

One such error is administering an incorrect blood component. According to data shared by the Pennsylvania Safety Authority, one out of every 10,000 units of transfused blood is administered to the wrong recipient, is some cases even to those with the wrong blood type. Receiving an incompatible blood type can lead to a serious ABO incompatibility reaction, these results of which can be: 

Taking a closer look at prescription drug recalls

Most in Providence may associate problems with patient medications as stemming from doctors or other health care providers prescribing the wrong drugs. Yet in many cases, a patient’s prescription may be fine, but the medication that he or she has been prescribed may not be. Information gathered in a study done by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and shared by ABC News puts the estimated number of potentially dangerous pharmaceutical drugs recalled in the U.S. at one every month. Given that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that over 10 percent of Americans take five or more medications every month, such recall information shows how the potential for a dangerous drug reaction in patients can be so high.

Drugs can be recalled for any number of issues. Health care authorities may have received notifications that the medication could potentially cause harm based upon patient feedback. In certain cases, the problem may not be with the drug itself, but rather a sample that was either mislabeled or potentially contaminated. Recalls are typically issued by the FDA, but they may also be initiated by a drug manufacturer in an attempt to avoid possible products liability issues. 

The potential for the misdiagnosis of a TIA

Throughout our many years of experience in helping clients here at DeLuca and Weizenbaum, we’ve worked with a number of people who’ve suffered both directly and indirectly from the consequences of an inaccurate diagnosis. Strokes are among those medical events whose delay in treatment can have disastrous consequences. Yet often, people will exhibit risk factors for a stroke such as a transient ischemic attack, which, if treated properly and promptly, can greatly reduce one’s chances of actually having a stroke. In this post, we’ll examine the signs and symptoms of a TIA, as well as the potential for its misdiagnosis.

A TIA is often referred to as a “mini-stroke” in that a person suffers from a blockage of blood to the brains just as he or she would with an actual ischemic stroke. The symptoms of this condition may include the sudden onset of: 

What is a placental abruption?

Whereas childbirth once presented a number of complications that could have been disastrous to both mothers and babies in Providence, advances in obstetrics in recent years have helped to significantly lower the chances for such problems. Yet while the methods used to diagnose and treat these issues have improved dramatically, many complications in the delivery process cannot be prevented entirely. Placental abruption is one of these problems, and an early diagnosis of this condition is essential in saving the lives of those unborn babies affected by it.

A placental abruption occurs when the placenta begins to peel away from the uterine wall prematurely, depriving an unborn baby of essential oxygen and nutrients. This condition often occurs late in pregnancy or during childbirth, and is commonly triggered by sudden trauma to the abdomen or a mother’s water breaking prematurely due to fluid build-up around the uterus. According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, placental abruptions occur in 6.5 of every 1000 births in the U.S. 

The relationship between practice area and malpractice claims

Advances in medical science in recent years have made it possible for patients in Providence to receive higher levels of health care than ever before. Yet despite this potential for quality care, every year there are countless malpractice claims filed by patients who believed that they have suffered due to the negligence of their doctors. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, nearly $3.6 billion was paid out in settlement of over 12,100 malpractice claims in 2012. These numbers seem staggering, particularly given the fact that at the same time, overall patient satisfaction with health care has gone up. A review of which medical practice areas see the most malpractice claims may shed some light on reason behind these high numbers.

A 2011 study shared in the New England Journal of Medicine detailed the trends seen in medical malpractice claims filed between 1991 to 2003. The breakdown of those claims according to medical practice was as follows: 

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of post-surgical sepsis

Every year, many clients come to us here at the offices of DeLuca and Weizenbaum, Ltd with complications stemming from surgical treatment. Patients in Providence agree to such treatment under the assumption that it will end any pain and suffering that they’re currently going through, or help to avoid problems in the future. Yet the mere act of surgery can also present a great risk. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that cases of post-surgical infection account for 31 percent of all hospital-acquired infections. Of these infections, post-surgical sepsis is among the most dangerous. In this post, we’ll examine the potential causes of this problem, as well as its signs and symptoms.

Sepsis is commonly referred to as blood poisoning. It occurs when harmful bacteria and their accompanying toxins are present in the blood stream. It typically originates in tissues, often as the result of a surgical site infection. These infections can happen for a number of reasons, such as:

How can people avoid medication errors on their own?

People on Providence and throughout the rest of the United States place a lot of faith in the ability of both the medications they take and the providers that prescribe them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 82 percent of American adults frequently take at least one medication.  Medication errors are inevitable with that size of a patient population. However, there are steps patients can take to help avoid such mishaps on their own.

The first step in safeguarding oneself against medication errors is understanding that providers themselves are prone to mistakes. That understanding can encourage one to become a more active participant in his or her own care. With that encouragement, sticking to the following steps often becomes much easier: 

The problems presented by overdiagnosing

Medical mistakes made by providers in Providence and throughout the rest of the country can have a significant financial impact on the healthcare market. Information shared from the Institute of Medicine in a report by the diagnostic management company Premerus estimates that dealing with cases of medical negligence and misdiagnosis costs between $17 to $29 billion every year. These costs can potentially be felt across the market.

Most associate misdiagnosis with a failure to detect disease or the assignment of a wrong diagnosis. Yet recently, diagnoses that exaggerate a patient’s condition or assign them an ailment that isn’t even present have begun to be viewed as a serious problem. Many healthcare industry experts refer to this as “overdiagnosing.” 

Woman alleges poor prenatal care led to child’s birth injury

Most in Providence would probably assume that cases involving a birth injury would be limited to actions or inactions that occurred during the actual birthing process. Yet many view the probability of a successful delivery as having a direct correlation to the quality of prenatal care that an expectant mother received from her obstetrician. If a woman felt as her doctor was guilty of errors, misjudgments, or simple negligence during the prenatal period, she may draw the conclusion that such issues contributed to circumstances which endangered the health and safety of both she and her baby during delivery.

That’s exactly the claim that an Illinois woman is making after her newborn daughter allegedly suffered a severe shoulder injury during the delivery process. The woman claims that the child’s large size, coupled with her own significant weight gain during her pregnancy contributed the baby becoming stuck in the birth canal. As a result of this complication, her doctor had to use excessive force to complete the delivery. She now believes that had the same doctor taken the time to offer dietary counseling during her pregnancy as well as attempted to discover the baby’s weight via ultrasound, the problems associated with her delivery could have been avoided. 

Why should you have a primary care physician?

It may seem to people in Providence as though cases regarding medical malpractice seem to dominate today’s headlines. This may lead to a loss of faith in the healthcare system as a whole. This presents an a potentially complicated dilemma: you’re of course encouraged to seek medical attention for those injuries and ailments that can’t heal without intervention, yet concerns over the quality of that care or the potential for further problems may cause you even greater stress. One way to help resolve such a dilemma is by having a primary care physician.

Data shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that of the estimated 1 billion medical office visits that occurred in 2010, just over 55 percent of those were to primary care physicians. Yet researchers have shown that people who have a primary care doctor enjoy the following health benefits: 

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Cases of Interest

  • $15.7+ Million - Class Action Lawsuit Settlement
  • $10 Million Settlement - Brain Injury
  • $8.7 Million Verdict - Loss of Limb
  • $5,200,000. - Infant Brain Injury
  • $4,700,000. - Failed Spinal Surgery
  • $4.5 Million - Birth Injury Settlement
  • $4,000,000. - Wrongful Death Verdict For Failure to Diagnose Cancer
  • $3.6 Million Settlement - School Bus Negligence
  • $3,500,000. - Construction Site Injury Settlement
  • $3,000,000. - Construction Site Injury Settlement
  • $2,900,000. Settlement - Failure To Properly Treat Eye Cancer
  • $2.65 Million Settlement - Failure to Diagnose Brain Swelling
  • $1,607,000. Verdict - Negligent Prescription of Drug
  • $1,500,000. Verdict - Negligent Prescription of Drug
  • $1,250,000. Settlement - Failure To Treat Infection
  • $1,250,000. Settlement - Failure To Diagnose Fracture In Cervical Spine
  • $1.2 Million Settlement - Emergency Room Negligence/Wrongful Death
  • $900,000. - Physician Failure To Transfer Child With Life-Threatening Condition to Proper Hospital
  • $850,000. Settlement - Birth Injury
  • $700,000. Settlement - Failure to Advise Patient of Medical Finding
  • $300,000. Verdict - Slip and Fall
  • $375,000 Settlement - Auto Accident
  • $375,000 Settlement - Premises Liability
See all Cases of Interest

DeLuca & Weizenbaum, LTD.

DeLuca & Weizenbaum, Ltd. | 199 North Main Street | Providence, RI 02903 | Phone: 401-354-7233 | Toll-Free: 888-876-9415 | Providence Law Office Map

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