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Providence Medical Malpractice Law Blog

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.

Taking a closer look at surgical site infections

While surgical science may have come a long way in recent years, the experiences of many of those we help here at DeLuca and Weizenbaum LTD have taught us that cutting into the human body is rarely routine. While the potential for complications should not scare you away from having necessary surgery in Providence County, you should still know that problems may occur even after your surgery is completed. One such problem is a surgical site infection.

Simply having surgery may increase your risk of infection given that your skin serves as natural barrier against harmful bacteria and microorganisms. Information shared by Johns Hopkins Medicine shows that the decision to have surgery carries with a one – three percent chance of suffering an infection at the site of your procedure. The types of surgical site infections most commonly seen can be grouped in three categories:

  •          Superficial incisional: Localized to the skin around your incision; characterized by pus secreting from the cut itself.
  •          Deep incisional: Infection in the muscles and tissues beneath your incision; also characterized by the presence of pus, as well as your incision reopening.
  •          Organ or space: Infection in the underlying organs or in the spaces between them; signs may include abscesses surrounded by inflammation.

Doctor sues his own hospital over patient misdiagnosis

For many in Providence County, the value placed on a second medical opinion may not be high due to the assumption that doctors may tend to support each other’s diagnoses no matter what. It should be remembered, however, that a doctor’s first responsibility is ensuring the well-being of his or her patients, not protecting a contemporary’s reputation. In fact, some patients may find other doctors to be among their strongest advocates in remedying any wrong done to them.

An example of this appears to be unfolding at a Kansas hospital, where a doctor employed there has taken the drastic action suing the facility itself. The driving force behind his decision was due to an error made by a colleague that resulted in a patient not only being erroneously diagnosed with cancer, but also having an organ removed unnecessarily. In his complaint, the doctor goes on to say that steps where then taken to cover up the error, even to the point that the patient still does not know about the misdiagnosis. His lawsuit goes on to say that after bringing the error to the attention of the facility’s chief medical officer, nothing was done. He ultimately chose to inform the Joint Commission of the situation, a decision which later allegedly led to the hospital president retaliating against him.

Birthing positions and potential delivery complications

When asked to envision the birthing process, most in Providence County would likely picture a woman either in a supine or partial sitting position with her legs or knees elevated. Indeed, information shared by the website EvidenceBasedBirth.com shows variations of this position to be the preferred delivery position in over 92 percent of deliveries in the U.S. However, some studies seem to suggest that delivering a baby in this position may actually increase the risk of an adverse event.

According to study data shared by Chiro4Family Wellness, 10 percent of the cases observed where mothers delivered in the popular reclined sitting position resulted in babies experiencing impaired brain function. The study architects go on to theorize that this could be due to the fact that having a woman lie on her back during labor effectively closes the pelvic opening, causing increased stress to the baby during delivery.

What can go wrong with LASIK surgery?

LASIK has become a common elective surgical procedure in Providence County and throughout the U.S. in recent years. Countless people may see it as a way to correct near-and farsightedness and astigmatism. However, like all surgical procedures, it is not without its risks. Proponents of LASIK may champion it largely due to its low error rate, which, according to WedMD, is estimated to be between 2 and 5 percent. Unfortunately, if you happen to fall into that demographic, the results of your LASIK errors can be devastating.

Just what may those results be? Some include:

  •          Halos Double vision
  •          Severe dry eye
  •          Corneal damage
  •          Loss of vision

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Cases of Interest

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