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Providence Medical Malpractice Law Blog

What should you know about headaches and brain tumors?

Usually when you have a headache, it is nothing to worry about. However, in some cases, you or other Rhode Island residents might worry that a headache is a symptom of a brain tumor.

Many brain tumors are serious and are best caught early so you have the best chance possible at treatment, according to CNN. Headaches are not always the only symptom of a problem, however, and other signs may also be present. If your headache is new and not something you are used to getting, for example, this may be a sign that something serious is going on. Persistent headaches that occur alongside dizziness, nausea or vomiting may also be clues that need to be checked out. If you have a brain tumor, your headache may also accompany muscle weakness, speaking problems or changes in peripheral vision. Also, these types of headaches tend to start immediately upon waking up, rather than getting worse as the day progresses.

Medication errors you might not know about

At DeLuca & Weizenbaum, Ltd., we are aware of the dangers you might face if you are taking prescription medications. Some of the risks, such as adverse side effects, are something that every Rhode Island patient faces. Others, however, are the result of a mistake on the doctor’s or pharmacist’s part.

It is easy to understand that some medication mistakes may be relatively common, such as taking a dose that’s too high or being prescribed the wrong drug. According to Caring.com, other types of medication errors are less heard of but no less potentially devastating. For example, you might accidentally take two different kinds of medications that are fine on their own, but could have dangerous side effects when you mix them. Some of the most common and life-threatening side effects from mixing drugs include high blood pressure and dizziness. If you don’t think dizziness is that serious, imagine what could happen if you suddenly fall and hit your head.

Identity mistakes are a common form of medical error

Doctor mistakes can cause serious problems, especially in a hospital setting. You might think that these errors are few and far between. Unfortunately, as we’ve discussed in previous posts, medical errors occur more frequently than people might realize. At DeLuca & Weizenbaum, Ltd., we are prepared to help Rhode Island residents find justice if a doctor error caused harm.

Many hospital mistakes are the result of patient misidentification, according to STAT. What does this mean? Simply put, a medical identification error could occur if you are mistaken for another patient, or if your medical records are switched with others. For example, two Rhode Island hospital patients who had the same name were mistaken for each other. One man received the bill for the other patient’s emergency room visit.

Study suggests complications are common after gastric bypass

For millions of people in Rhode Island and across the United States, obesity causes a wide range of potentially life-threatening health issues. Many people choose weight loss surgery to help them address these concerns and to improve their quality of life. Like all operations, gastric bypass and other weight types of loss surgeries come with risks. Some may have been preventable and can contribute to significant complications.

In a recent study involving thousands of gastric bypass patients in Denmark, it was found that most patients experienced some type of adverse event within five years after the surgery. According to Medscape, 29 percent needed to be hospitalized as a result of these problems. The most common post-bypass complications included abdominal pain, fatigue, anemia and dumping syndrome (diarrhea soon after eating). Medical professionals concluded that surgeons may need more education to help diagnose potential complications sooner and avoid hospitalizations.

Making a case for wrongful birth

Many residents of Rhode Island know about wrongful death cases, but they might not have heard of wrongful birth. According to CBS News, some may file a claim for wrongful birth if a doctor error resulted in the birth of a child that the parents were unprepared to handle, either emotionally or financially.

There have been countless wrongful birth cases filed in numerous states since the 1970s. Down Syndrome and spina bifida are two of the most common conditions cited. What are some of the other situations that might lead to a wrongful birth claim? Most of the time, the parents did not know of a birth defect the child had before being born – either because the condition was not detected during prenatal testing or the parents were not made aware of certain screenings for specific conditions. A failed vasectomy or tubal ligation might also lead to a wrongful birth claim.

Is skin cancer harder to detect if you have tattoos?

For many residents of Providence, the idea of getting cancer is a frightening and sobering thought. There are three types of skin cancer that you might get, which vary in degrees of severity – melanoma, squamous and basal carcinomas. Skin cancer often has a highly successful cure rate as long as it’s caught early.

What if you have tattoos that cover significant areas of your skin? Would this make it harder for a doctor to accurately diagnose skin cancer? According to research by Australian Family Physician, you may in fact face a higher than usual chance of a missed or delayed diagnosis of skin cancer if you are inked. In particular, brightly colorful or dark tattoos have been shown to mask the appearance of abnormal moles, skin discolorations or other early signs of skin cancer.

Wisdom tooth surgery may come with serious risks

It is common for teenagers and young adults across America, including in Rhode Island, to have their wisdom teeth pulled. In most cases, the procedure results in little more than a few days of mild discomfort and swelling. However, there may be more risks involving wisdom teeth surgery than people realize. Some complications may cause lifelong pain, while others can be more serious or life-threatening.

What are the most common risks associated with wisdom tooth extraction? According to ABC News, at least 11,000 patients each year suffer from permanent nerve damage, which may cause numbness, tingling, loss of function or chronic pain. Many patients develop “dry socket,” which is a painful condition at the site of the extraction that can cause infections or further damage without treatment. In rarer cases, a patient’s jaw may be broken, infections may spread to internal organs or the patient can develop serious bleeding issues.

Mothers may want a say in their labor and delivery options

At DeLuca & Weizenbaum, Ltd., we believe you should have the right to choose the type of care you receive during your pregnancy, and the right to make informed decisions on your labor and delivery process. We understand that some situations necessitate a planned or emergency cesarean section; however, Providence doctors should not force you into unnecessary surgery simply because it is considered standard procedure after a previous C-section.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an astronomical number of pregnancies end in C-sections in America. The C-section rate in 2012 was 32.8 percent, but medical professionals say the cesarean rate for any country should be no more than 15 percent. Having had a previous C-section is a major reason many women undergo a second or subsequent surgery instead of attempting a vaginal birth after a cesarean – also known as a VBAC.

What should you ask your doctor to avoid medication errors?

Like most Providence residents, when you are prescribed a medication it would seem natural to trust that your doctor and pharmacist know what they are doing. Unfortunately, mistakes involving prescription drugs occur on a regular basis across the country. Common medication errors you might encounter could include being given the wrong dosage instructions, getting your medication switched for another that has a similar-sounding name or taking your new medication with others that are not safely combined.

Medication mistakes can have consequences ranging from uncomfortable side effects to death. Is there anything you can do that might reduce your risk of becoming another medication error statistic? According to the Mayo Clinic, it is wise to make a list of the following questions to ask your doctor or pharmacist before starting a new prescription:

Blood clots may pose a serious threat to patient safety

There can be few things quite as frightening to people as an invisible, yet life-threatening illness that carries little to no symptoms. The attorneys at DeLuca & Weizenbaum, Ltd., have represented numerous Rhode Island clients who were harmed by doctors who failed to diagnose serious medical conditions.

Blood clots are a potentially serious medical emergency, states the Mayo Clinic. When blood clots in a deep vein or artery, it can travel to other parts of the body and wreak havoc. Clots that form in the legs may move to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism (lung failure). A heart attack may be caused by a blood clot that forms in a heart artery, while a clot originating in a chamber of the heart may cause a stroke if it breaks loose and travels to the brain. Some of the factors that may contribute to blood clots include the following:

  • Certain medical conditions
  • Medications
  • Obesity or high blood pressure
  • Family history
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking

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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
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