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Providence Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Examining the different types of pelvises

There are many things that an expectant mother in Providence County can do to help avoid the potential of delivery complications, such as maintaining a healthy weight or taking prenatal vitamins. However, there are also certain factors beyond a mother’s control that can end up impacting their deliveries, as well. One of these is the size and shape of her pelvis.

Clinical research has shown there to be four common types of female pelvises. The website Parent24.com lists these different types (along with impact their size and shape may have on a pregnancy) below:

  •          Gynaecoid: The widest and broadest pelvis type, a gynaecoid pelvis is the least likely to cause trauma to an average-size baby.
  •          Android: An android pelvis has a heart-shaped brim, thus making it much more narrow in the area of the sub-pubic arch. This can contribute to longer labors, forcing mothers to move around more often to assist with a baby’s descent.
  •          Anthropoid: With a wide outlet yet narrow sections in other areas of the pelvic cavity, an anthropoid pelvis type can slow delivery if a baby does not engage in an anterior position.
  •          Platypelloid: The kidney-shaped brim of a platypelloid pelvis type makes it somewhat more difficult for a baby to descend into the mother’s pelvis, yet easier to complete delivery once he or she is in due to its roomy outlet.

When should you seek a second opinion?

Being misdiagnosed can really put you in a dangerous position, as your diagnosis affects the care you receive (or recommended lack thereof). You no doubt want to trust your doctor in Providence County, yet with so much on the line, can you afford not to consider seeking a second opinion?

Study shared by CBS News shows that 12 million American adults are misdiagnosed when seeking outpatient care each year. It is estimated that half of those cases could produce significant harm. Yet simply because misdiagnosis cases appear to be this common does not mean that your doctor is wrong. When, however, should you consider whether he or she might be?

Errors from separate surgeries cited in lawsuit

Whenever a patient seeks surgical treatment at any of the hospitals or medical centers in Providence County, the potential exists for there to be complications. Such issues may arise due to errors made during the performance of a procedure itself, or a failure to render adequate care during the post-operative period. While the mechanisms of these complications may differ (e.g. intraoperative issues, surgical site infections), the results that they produce are often the same: severe impairments that can dramatically alter one's standard of living.

An Iowa woman is currently having to deal with such impairments after experiencing complications from two different surgeries.  She continues to be plagued by headaches along with physical and cognitive impairments after having to go through intense IV treatments and therapies after suffering a stroke during surgery in early 2016. That procedure was actually done in follow-up to a previous one undertaken to remove a benign tumor from the lining of her brain as well as a portion of her skull. She subsequently contacted the doctor complaining of chronic headaches as well as pain at her incision site. It was later discovered the site had become infected. Her doctor's delay in removing the infected titanium mesh put in to replace the removed portion of her skull resulted in her now needing continued antibiotic treatment. When she finally did undergo surgery to remove the mesh, the severe blood loss that followed the removal of a portion that had become stuck to her skull membrane caused her stroke.

Assigning vicarious liability to prescribing physicians

Have you ever considered if the use of medication by a complete stranger could somehow affect you, as well? Many of those in Providence County that we here at DeLuca and Weizenbaum have worked with in the past may tell you yes based off their own personal experiences. If you were ever to encounter such a scenario, could the prescribing doctor be held liable, just as he or she would be in a case involving a medication error that you experience?

Say that you are involved in a car accident which was later determined to be the fault of another driver who was drowsy following the use of a medication. Such a scenario was described in an analysis shared by the National Institutes of Health. It claims that in order to hold a prescribing doctor liable in such a scenario, “The Four Ds” of malpractice must be proven. These are:

  •          The doctor must have a duty of care to the person who caused the accident.
  •          The doctor was derelict in fulfilling his or her duty to the patient.
  •          His or her dereliction was found to be directly responsible for any accident the patient was involved in.
  •          Such an accident caused damages and injuries to the patient (and to you).

Linking errors to provider specialties

Patients in Providence County place a great deal of trust in the doctors that treat their various ailments and injuries. Typically, they are willing to invest such trust due to a clinician's educational background combined with his or her experience. Of course, no two patients are alike, and neither are the ailments they may be suffering from. As a person's medical issues become more complex, specialty providers are often required in order to render the right treatment. This may lead some to question if medical error rates are linked to provider specialties.

One way to determine this may be to review the number of medical malpractice claims filed against doctors of different specialties. Information shared by the New England Journal of Medicine shows the five most common provider specialties listed in medical malpractice claims to be:

  •          Neurosurgery
  •          Thoracic-cardiovascular surgery
  •          General surgery
  •          Orthopedic surgery
  •          Plastic surgery

Do people really wake up during surgery?

Like many people in Providence County, you have likely heard stories of patients waking up during their surgeries and dismissed them as being just that: stories. Anesthetic agents make it possible for doctors and surgeons to perform many of the life-saving treatments they offer. However, as outlandish as it may seem, it is possible for you to regain a level of consciousness during surgery (the clinical term for such an incident is referred to as “anesthesia awareness”).

Research data shared by the National Institutes of Health shows anesthesia awareness to occur in one to two of every 1000 surgical cases. The severity of cases may vary, although most reports describe patients only recovering a small degree of consciousness. In such a state, you may feel what is being done to you, yet not be fully aware of everything going on around you. Cases of near full awareness during surgery are said to be extremely rare.

Baby suffers brain damage due to doctor’s failure to act

Even though advances in field of obstetrics have helped to drastically improve the outcomes of deliveries in Providence County, it should still be remembered that giving birth is a complex process, during which any number of complications may occur. The complexity of childbirth often requires doctors to be at their absolute best, ready to make decisions at a moment’s notice that could end up drastically affecting the life of a baby as well as his or her family. One can only imagine the problems that may arise if a delivering mother does not have her doctor’s full and undivided attention during this process.

A case in Florida illustrates just what may happen in such a scenario. A mother was recently awarded a settlement in excess of $33 million after a judge determined that negligence on the part of the on-call doctor at the facility where she delivered her son resulted in the boy suffering brain damage. Experts who testified during the trial stated that the doctor failed to notice that the baby’s fetal heart rate indicated serious distress, which may have been caused by the doctor’s decision to administer contraction-inducing drugs for more than an hour. After three failed attempts to deliver the boy using a vacuum extractor, the doctor still did not initiate an emergency C-section which could have help to avoid any injuries. The doctor actually wasn’t even in the room when the boy was delivered. He was away on one of the many breaks he took during the delivery, one of which he used to field a call from his stockbroker.

Determining the reasons behind short visit times

Your primary care doctor in Providence County may take the time to ask questions about your family, your job, and other personal details before giving you a thorough evaluation. Yet what if you are unable to see your regular physician, or you do not have one at all? Many of those who come to see us here at DeLuca and Weizenbaum LTD describe scenarios where they felt as though rushed visits by doctors ended up with them being misdiagnosed. If you feel as though you did not receive enough attention from a physician during a visit, you may justly want to know why.

Information shared by Business Insider shows that most patients only spend between 13-16 minutes with a doctor during each visit. In that time, a doctor is expected to do a detailed assessment, including an evaluation of your body systems along with a review of your medical history. He or she must also then dedicate the time needed to ensure accurate medical decision-making. Granted, not all of these tasks need to be completely done in your presence, yet you’d expect to see your attending doctor long enough to feel as though you are involved in them (which you should be).

Reviewing the reasons for the under medication of cancer patients

The abuse of pain medication by people in Providence County and throughout the rest of the U.S. has been well-documented. Oftentimes, cases of abuse begin by one having a legitimate need for such medication, yet ultimately becoming addicted to it. Given the potential for addiction, doctors must be judicious in prescribing pain medication. Yet can that apprehensive attitude result in patients being under medicated?

Information shared by the National Institute of Health shows that as many as 76.2 million Americans suffer from some form of chronic pain. Many find that to be a side effect of other conditions or even treatments, such as cancer care. In fact, the NIH lists pain as being a potential barrier to cancer treatment given that many patients may be unwilling to endure the suffering their care causes.

Are documentation errors potentially dangerous?

Your concerns about your medical treatment likely begin and end with your face-to-face interactions with your provider. He or she diagnoses you, treats you, gives you advice and then sends you on your way. Yet there is a whole other element to your medical care that you do not see yet is just as vital to your safety. As many in Providence County and throughout the rest of the U.S. are discovering, documentation errors are becoming a new problem facing both patients and providers today.

Before, in between and after consulting with you, doctors, nurses and other clinicians make notes in your medical record. Not only are those notes used to help determine your course of treatment during that single visit, but doctors will also rely on them in the future when administering care. Any errors could result in a vital aspect of your medical history being missed, any allergies you suffer from not being discovered, or you being given the wrong blood type.

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