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Providence Medical Malpractice Law Blog

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.

Detailing Bayes’ Theorem

If you come to us here at DeLuca & Weizenbaum LTD after having been misdiagnosed by a doctor in Providence County, you may question how a professional educated to spot the signs of distress or disease in patients could make such a mistake. A closer look at the diagnostic process may help pinpoint where errors may have occurred.

According to Medscape, many healthcare providers apply a probability test known as Bayes’ Theorem when determining the likelihood that you may have a disease. Your doctor first performs an evaluation to determine your pretest odds of having a certain disease or malady. Diagnostic sensitivity tests then screen for the potential presence of a condition, while specificity tests confirm its occurrence. The sensitivity and specificity rates of these tests are then used to formulate a likelihood ratio, or how likely a positive result indicates you do in fact have the condition in question.

Linking elective C-sections to infant respiratory issues

The increase in cesareans performed in Providence County and throughout the rest of the country has also come a rise in the number of women requesting elective C-sections. According to information shared by the National Center for Health Statistics through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 32 percent of all live births in America are performed via C-section. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports that as many as 2.5 percent of those are requested in cases where there are no mandated maternal or fetal indications.

Many may accept the belief that elective C-sections are a safer method of delivery than vaginal births because the potential for complications arising from labor or a baby’s descent through the birth canal are eliminated. At the same time, some may suggest that doctors push this alternative on expectant mothers because it may be more convenient for them. Whatever the actual reasons behind an elective C-section may be, evidence may suggest that it could pose an increased risk of babies suffering neonatal respiratory distress syndrome.

Detailing the need for medical interpreting services

It may not be uncommon to hear people in and around Providence County speaking a language other than English. Given the diverse mix of ethnicities in the U.S., you may assume that most providers of professional services, including healthcare, understand the need to be able to communicate in a different language. However, research data seems to show that when language differences exist between doctors and patients, there may be a significant risk of vital information being “lost in translation.” As we at DeLuca and Weizenbaum LTD can confirm, the results of poor communication in healthcare can be devastating.

Information shared by Modern Healthcare shows 9 percent of the population in the U.S. is at risk of suffering an adverse medical event due to the language barriers that may exist between themselves and their providers. How can this number be so high? Imagine you present at a hospital with a family member or friend that does not speak English. While you may be able to communicate his or her condition to the nurses and doctors, your familiarity with clinical procedures and medical terminology may be limited. Therefore, it should not fall to you to interpret a doctor’s instructions back to your loved one. Any doctor that asks you to do so may be denying his or her access to adequate care.

What if you are given the wrong medication?

If you are like most in Providence County, then it has likely been drilled into your head since you were young to be careful not to take the wrong medication. However, if you have been prescribed a medication by a doctor and secured it through a licensed pharmacy, then most may find it reasonable for you to assume that you have the correct drug. Even if you pay close attention to the drug label, your lack of familiarity with prescription drug names may not tip you off to possibly having been given the wrong medication. So what should you do if you are given the wrong drug and end up taking it?

First off, do not panic; raising your blood pressure could potentially increase the dispersal of the drug throughout your body. According to the website for the National Poison Control Center, you should call them immediately. Be prepared to provide information such as your age and weight, the name of the drug you took, as well as the amount taken and the time you took it. If you need immediate medical assistance, the poison control representative with whom you are speaking should be able to coordinate your care with emergency responders.

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Cases of Interest

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  • $1.2 Million Settlement - Emergency Room Negligence/Wrongful Death
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  • $850,000. Settlement - Birth Injury
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