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Providence Medical Malpractice Law Blog

The potential for misdiagnosis of cervical spinal stenosis

Like most in Providence County, you likely accept the fact that certain aspects of your health may begin to deteriorate as you age. Yet that does not mean that you should be forced to live with daily pain and discomfort. Yet we at DeLuca and Weizenbaum LTD understand that the trouble with providers dismissing your pain as being age-related without investigating its cause lies in the potential for the underlying condition to worsen, taking an even greater toll on your quality of life.

One of the more common age-related issues that you may begin to experience (particularly after the age of 50) is cervical spinal stenosis. This is caused by a narrowing of the spinal canal at or near the neck. Eventually, the canal compresses to the point of actually pinching your spinal cord. As your reach this point, you may begin to experience initial symptoms, which according to the website Spine-Health.com may include:

  •          A heavy feeling in the outer extremities
  •          Intermittent pains in the arms and legs
  •          Impairment of your fine motor skills
  •          Difficulty enduring physical activities

Understanding assisted deliveries

Most in Providence County would likely agree that obstetrical and gynecological science has come quite a ways from the days when the delivery process often presented life-threatening complications to both mothers and babies. That may largely be due to the many tools that doctors now have to assist women with delivery. However, in many cases, the very tools that doctors use to try and avoid complications can end up being the avenues through which harm is caused.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists defines an assisted or operative vaginal delivery as one in which tools such as a vacuum extractor or forceps are used to help deliver a baby. ACOG’s data shows that such assistance occurs in nearly 3 percent of all vaginal deliveries that occur in the U.S. The use of forceps involves inserting a metal instrument into the mother’s vagina to grasp the baby’s head and help pull it out of the birth canal. A vacuum extractor is used much the same way, however it involves creating suction on the top of the baby’s head as opposed to grasping it.

What are drug administration routes?

Most in Providence County may tell you that drug errors occur when a healthcare provider gives a patient the wrong medication. While this certainly may be among the more common types of medication mistakes, the truth is that drug errors can occur any number of different ways. Almost as important as receiving the right drug is being administered the recommended dosage at the correct concentration. Beyond that, the administration route must also be considered. What are drug routes? They are the various methods through which a medication is introduced into your body.

If you are like most, then you envision a medication administration as you popping a pill into your mouth. Yet the website Healthline.com actually lists several different drug routes that providers may utilize. Listed below are the various methods through which drugs are dispensed:

  •          By mouth: Oral pills or liquids, sublingual medications, buccal drugs (held inside the cheek)
  •          By nasal passage: inhalants, nasal sprays, nebulizer treatments
  •          By injection: intramuscular or subcutaneous injections
  •          By skin: transdermal patches, topical ointments
  •          By delivery mechanism: intravenous infusions, enteral administrations via a G- or J-tube
  •          By other body openings: eye drops, ear drops, rectal suppositories

20 years later, doctor admits to lying about malpractice case

People in Providence County may place a great deal of trust in their healthcare providers. The expectation that comes with that is that their doctors and other caregivers will reciprocate that trust. However, information that has begun to emerge from within the medical industry in recent seems to cast doubt on that idea. Many healthcare practitioners today admit to feeling pressure to side with their colleagues when allegations of medical malpractice arise. Studies have even shown that providers may be reluctant to share information with patients about errors in their treatment. Some may say that these accusations and alleged admissions may only be given under the condition of anonymity, and thus are not verifiable. That is not the case anymore.

Recently, a retired surgeon admitted in an article he wrote that he lied during a malpractice case against one of his colleagues almost 20 years ago. Rather than admitting that previous incidents had called is colleague’s skills into question, the doctor instead chose to support him by not sharing any of those concerns. Today, the same doctor now works as a patient advocate, even going so far as to work with the very attorney who represented the plaintiff in the case he admits to lying in. In a recent interview, the doctor confirmed the notion that pressure exists amongst those in his profession to support their contemporaries no matter what.

Who are the members of your surgical team?

When you are scheduled for surgery in Providence County, you may feel as though the only provider that you are placing your trust and confidence in is your surgeon. In reality, however, complex surgical procedures are almost never performed by a single provider. Your procedure will typically require an entire surgical team if it is to be completed successfully. Understanding who the various team members are and what their responsibilities may be during your surgery may be helpful information for you to have prior to entering into the operating room.

According to the Encyclopedia of Surgery shared by Advameg, Inc., your surgical team will likely consist of your surgeon, an anesthesiologist, a certified registered nurse anesthetist and an operating nurse. Their specific duties are described as follows:

  •          The surgeon: Your surgeon’s role may the easiest to define. He or she is the one who leads the surgical team, and in most cases, performs the actual procedure.
  •          The anesthesiologist: Your anesthesiologist manages your pain through the administration of a local or general anesthetic, or by conscious or deep sedation.
  •          The CRNA: A CRNA will typically assist the anesthesiologist by monitoring your anesthetic levels and the function of the mechanisms delivering your medication. In some cases, he or she may step in and fulfill the role of the anesthesiologist entirely.
  •          The OR nurse: Your nurse provides you with your comprehensive care, including your pre- and postoperative treatments. He or she assists the surgeon during your procedure through tasks such as retrieving tools and implants and monitoring your vital signs.

Understanding the ED triage process

When you present to an emergency department in Providence County, you may feel, like everyone else, that you require immediate treatment. Yet we at DeLuca and Weizenbaum can attest to the fact that ED practitioners may error in determining which patients need to be seen first. However, there are recommended standards that, if followed properly, should discern whether your condition needs to be treated immediately.

Upon arriving at the ED (other than by ambulance), you will typically be seen by a triage nurse. His or her job is to determine your level of acuity (intensity of care required). To do this, it is recommended that he or she follow the algorithm established by the Emergency Severity Index. As described by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the five levels of this algorithm are as follows:

  •          Do you need immediate intervention in order to save your life? If yes, then you are assigned an ESI level of 1 and should be seen immediately.
  •          If not an immediate life-threatening condition, should you be made to wait? If no, you may be assigned a level 2 and taken back promptly.
  •          If you can wait, how many resources (i.e., lab work, imaging scans) will your treatment require? If the answer is more than one, then your vital signs should be considered. If they are abnormal, you should be upgraded to a level 2. If not, then you may be assigned a level 3. If your treatment requires one or no resources, you may be assigned a level 4 or 5, respectively.

Examining the lifetime cost of cerebral palsy

One of the more common problems to result from complications during delivery is oxygen deprivation. During the time a baby’s brain is deprived of oxygen, extensive and irreversible brain may occur. Often, the babies that suffer such damage may end up developing cerebral palsy, a condition characterized by motor and cognitive deficiencies that remain with them throughout their lives. According to information shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 10 percent of cerebral palsy cases in America are due to brain damage suffered at birth. Those Providence County families whose infants are stricken with this condition may face a future in which their physical and emotional resources may be strained as they work to care for these children. Beyond that, they could also be left to deal with inordinate financial expenses.

The cumulative cost of cerebral palsy may depend largely on the impairments one suffers from because of it. In certain cases, children who suffer from cerebral palsy from birth may be able to develop sufficient motor skills to walk, communicate, and even care for themselves to a certain degree. However, such progress is often only possible (and sustainable) through ongoing therapy sessions. For those who suffer from more severe deficiencies that make ambulating, eating or speaking impossible, or contribute to continued seizures and other severe cognitive impairments, the costs associated with meeting their needs can be greater.

Why are women more likely to have a heart disease misdiagnosis?

Heart disease has proven to be the top cause of death among men and women in America. Yet despite the lack of gender bias that this condition seems to observe, women in Providence County may be more likely to die from it than men. This may be due to the fact that, according to information shared by AARP, Inc., if you are a woman, then you may be seven times more likely to have your symptoms misdiagnosed than a man. Some point to the notion that many may still subscribe to that heart disease is a man’s condition. Indeed, much of the early research into diagnosing the signs and symptoms of heart disease and heart attacks was conducted primarily with men.

The trouble is that you may not display the same sort of symptoms when you present for treatment. The telltale sign considered by many in the clinical world to be an indicator of a heart attack is chest pain or tightness. If you do not experience those, however, that does not necessarily mean that you are not in danger of suffering a myocardial episode. In fact, it is believed that many women who are suffering heart attacks may not initially complain of chest pain at all. Instead, some of the indications that you, as a woman, may experience could include:

  •          Nausea and vomiting
  •          Difficulty breathing
  •          Back and neck pain

Kroger sued after pharmacy dispenses wrong medication

Many in Providence County, after having been written a prescription by their doctors, may go to their local pharmacies fully expecting those orders to be filled correctly. To prevent errors from happening, pharmacies may even have safeguards in place such as computer systems that warn them they may be dispensing the wrong medication. Yet even with added measures such as these, medication errors continue to happen. When they do, one’s only logical conclusion when trying to explain such mistakes may be to attribute them to human error.

That’s the claim that is being made in lawsuit filed by an Ohio man. The man received what he believed was high blood pressure medication from the pharmacy at a local Kroger store in late 2013. Shortly after beginning to take the medication, be began to experience disorientation and vomiting to the point of becoming severely dehydrated. He was eventually hospitalized and diagnosed as being in renal failure. After having the medication examined by another pharmacist, his wife discovered that he had actually been given an anti-seizure medication by the Kroger pharmacy.

Does signing a consent form preclude you from any legal action?

Like most in Providence County, you are likely familiar with the concept of a liability waiver. Such a document is typically offered by an activity or service provider, and your signing it may preclude you from seeking legal action should something go wrong. Yet do such documents exist in healthcare? They do, however you may not be aware of when and where you encounter them. It happens when you the sign for consent for treatment.

You may think that signing a medical consent form only gives a healthcare provider permission to treat you. By consenting to be treated, however, you also may be stating that you understand what potential complications may arise from a procedure. Even if you do end up experiencing such complications, if it is shown that you were mentally capability of signing your consent form, that you were not pressured to sign the form, and that the form adequately addressed the risks associated with your procedure, you may not be able to take any action.

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Cases of Interest

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  • $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
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