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Providence Medical Malpractice Law Blog

The potential complications associated with LGA babies

Like most expectant parents in Providence County, you hope that your unborn baby grows and develops at a healthy rate. Some may think that the larger that a baby grows during gestation, the better. However, as we here at DeLuca and Weizenbaum LTD have seen, large baby deliveries can often be complicated. Macrosomia is the term used to describe babies who are large for their gestational age. Your potential for having an LGA baby can often be spotted during your pregnancy in time for you to attempt to manage the factors that can contribute to this condition.

How much does your baby need to weigh to be classified as LGA? According to the online publication VeryWell.com, the average weight of babies born in the U.S. is 7lbs., 7.5 oz. Babies born at 8 lbs., 13 oz. or above are considered to be LGA. Birth statistics shared by VeryWell.com shows that roughly over 320,000 babies were born in this weight category in 2013.

Early discharges potentially affecting patient diagnoses

When patients seek care at a hospital in Providence County, they likely all share the assumption that they will not be sent home until the clinicians they see know what is wrong with them. However, that may not always be the case. Diagnosing a patient’s condition is typically a process rather than an event, with doctors often being asked to consider a number of factors before making a definitive diagnosis. Yet all of the information needed to make such a decision may not be available at the same that providers believe the patient is ready to be discharged. Indeed, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality cites “assessment and communication of problems that remain unresolved at the time of discharge” as among the most common reasons for hospital readmissions.

Among the elements needed in order to correctly diagnose a patient are:

  •          An in-person physical assessment (including a review of a patient’s bodily systems).
  •          A pathological review
  •          Laboratory tests
  •          Imaging studies
  •          A patient’s response to medication

Why is it so hard to find a good primary care doctor these days?

You may have noticed that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a primary care physician in Providence County these days. Why is that? Information shared by the Center for Health Journalism of the University of Southern California shows that American medical schools churn out an average of 20,000 graduates a year. So why can’t you seem to find one of these new doctors?

The answer may lie in a paradigm shift within in the medical industry. Survey results released by The Physicians Foundation showed that in 2014, only 17 percent of physicians claimed to be operating in private practice, whereas 54 percent reported being employed by a hospital or healthcare association. Much of the reason behind this decrease in private practice physicians may be due to the heavy financial and regulatory demands required to run a medical clinic. Increased patient volumes due to more people having health insurance since the introduction of the Affordable Care Act combined with millions of Baby Boomers earning Medicare eligibility may require more resources than family practice doctors can come up with on their own.

Are you any safer in a clinic than in a hospital?

If you are like most in Providence County, then you likely view going to the hospital for treatment with a certain degree of apprehension. Yet due you exhibit the same hesitancy when visiting a local healthcare clinic? Information shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that compared to hospitals, clinics handle much higher volumes of patients seeking outpatient services. Their data shows that in 2012, over 928 million Americans sought care from physician’s offices and clinics, while in 2011, just under 128 million people went to hospitals for such services. Given the huge discrepancy in the number of visits between the two types of facilities, you might assume you have a greater risk of suffering from a provider error at a clinic.

Statistics regarding medical errors, however, typically come from hospitals, potentially implying that clinics are safer. While many may argue that errors in clinics are underreported, there may be some logic behind the assumption that hospitals may pose a greater risk to you. They do care for patients with a much broader range of conditions, thus exposing you to more infectious disease-causing pathogens. Plus, as the services provided in a hospital are more extensive than those offered in clinics, you may also be more likely to suffer greater harm from a procedure done in such a setting.

Medical center facing lawsuits from five former patients

When Providence County residents think about the hospitals and healthcare clinics in the region, they likely hold a certain degree of respect for the resources these facilities offer and the service provided by those working in them. However, even the most respected hospitals with the most decorated staffs may not be immune to mistakes. Some may argue that a single error here or there should not be used to damage a healthcare facility’s reputation. At the same time, failing to report such incidents and to attempt to hold the providers responsible for them accountable could be end up perpetuating the problem of a single facility producing an alarming error rate.

A recent series of medical malpractice lawsuits filed in Virginia seemingly shows how frequent errors at a single facility can be. A local law firm submitted claims against a VA medical center in the area on behalf of five separate clients. Each is of different ages, ranging from a young man of 34 to an elderly 81-year-old. Each of the plaintiffs is also seeking compensation for different types of errors. One alleges that complications from a reverse vasectomy procedure left him with neurological damages and still unable to conceive. The family of another claims that an undetected broken femur likely contributed to his death.

How well does your doctor know your medical history?

As you are sitting in an examination room in a Providence County clinic waiting to be seen by a doctor, you likely assume that the reason for any delay in your receiving treatment is at least partly because the physician is reviewing your medical record. Yet have you ever wondered what information is contained in your records, and how far the doctors examining them go to get the information needed to deliver quality care?

Many may picture a medical record as being a large file stored in some central location that all healthcare providers have access to. Electronic medical record technology has helped that idea come closer to becoming a reality, yet providers still face roadblocks in sharing important patient data. Often the extent of electronic records is limited to within a single organization. Thus, despite today’s modern technologies, your personal medical record is likely actually a series of files stored by the various providers that have treated you in the past.

How clean are your healthcare provider’s hands?

When you present as a patient at a hospital or healthcare facility in Providence County, you likely have (at the very least) one basic expectation: cleanliness. You anticipate that the rooms will be treated in have been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, and that those treating you follow strict hygiene standards. Yet what if you were told that when it comes to latter, that expectation is not always being met? In fact, information shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that many healthcare providers clean their hands less than half as often as they should.

Healthcare facilities are already breeding grounds for disease-causing microbes. Every day, healthcare workers may come in contact with any of the following pathogens:

  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Rotavirus
  • Clostridium difficile
  • Adenovirus
  • Hepatitis A
  • Streptococcus pyogenes

When STDs are mistaken for UTIs

Those in Providence County who may have a sexually transmitted disease may certainly want to know that. Unfortunately, as some of our clients here at DeLuca and Weizenbaum have had the misfortunate to find out, the potential of misdiagnosing an STD may be high. Many of the symptoms indicating the presence of an STD may be similar to other ailments. In men, these are often easier to differentiate. Yet if you are a woman, the question of whether or not you may have an STD may be harder to answer.

STDs often mimic the same manifestations of another disease common in women: urinary tract infections. The telltale symptoms of a UTI are typically frequent and painful urination. However, these are also common with the following STDs:

  •          Trichomoniasis
  •          Gonorrhea
  •          Chlamydia
  •          Genital herpes

Lawsuit alleges forceps injury caused baby’s brain damage

New parents in Providence County may inherit a whole new set of responsibilities when their babies arrive. Meeting those responsibilities for a brand new healthy baby can strain a couples’ physical and emotional resources. Plus, there are plenty of new expenses that accompany a newborn, as well. Imagine how much greater the emotional stress and financial strain may be if, along with assuming all of the traditional responsibilities of parenthood, a couple were also forced to deal with the aftermath of a debilitating birth injury to their baby.

Such is the struggle facing a Nebraska couple. Their infant son currently faces a lifetime of extraordinary needs after sustaining brain damage during his delivery. In a lawsuit filed against the facility where he was born, his parents’ attorney alleges that the mismanagement of his delivery is what has left him in his current state. Details of the lawsuit claim that not only did breathing problems that the boy was suffering from go attended by staff during his delivery, but also that the provider’s decision to use forceps resulted in the injury that led to his brain damage. The family’s attorney goes on to say that the boy’s electronic medical record was tampered with following the incident, which he claims is further proof of the facility’s culpability.

Who is responsible for adverse reactions to medications?

When your doctor in Providence County prescribes you a medication, you take it likely trusting that his or her confidence in it is enough of a guarantee regarding its safety. You should remember, however, that medications are made by pharmaceutical companies whose goals may at times be focused more on profits than patient safety. If a prescription drug does cause you or a loved one harm, who should be blamed: your doctor or the drug manufacturer?

Every year, hundreds of drugs are recalled in the U.S. These recalls may be due to a number of different factors, including:

  •          Contaminated products
  •          Inherent safety issues
  •          The discovery of dangerous side effects
  •          Packaging problems
  •          Labeling issues
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