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Providence Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Failure to diagnose embolism results in man's death

Diseases typically present with a specific set of signs and symptoms that physicians are trained to recognize. Recently, when a man showed signs of pulmonary embolism after a surgery, the physician's failure to diagnose his condition led to an unfortunate, untimely demise. His family took the case to court and won. Individuals in Rhode Island may benefit from learning about his case by becoming more aware of the signs and symptoms of embolism. Any family similarly affected will also benefit by learning about their options for getting justice after medical malpractice. 

In 2011, the man slipped from his work truck and injured his leg. The ruptured tendon that resulted from the fall was operated on at the local hospital. After the surgery, he complained of shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling and tachycardia. The man later died of a pulmonary embolism, in which a blood clot had travelled to his lungs. 

Drug error leads to $12 million award for injured woman

A contested use of a dangerous drug has led to a monetary award for a woman injured in a hospital. The woman won a $12 million jury verdict after the trial, which will now be applied towards her ongoing medical needs. Although this incident occurred in another state, individuals in Rhode Island may be interested to learn of the details of the drug error case in the event of something similar in their own lives. 

The woman had originally been referred to the hospital due to very thin blood. A test revealed the dangerously thin level, and her physician sent her to the ER. In the past, the woman had been treated for the same issue with Vitamin K or fresh frozen plasma. In this case, a physician at the hospital chose to treat the condition with the drug Profilnine. The drug worked to thicken her blood, but within two hours, the woman was screaming in pain and later suffered a heart attack that resulted in damage to her brain.

Childbirth injury affects thousands of infants yearly

Every pregnancy comes with certain risks. One of the risks of pregnancy is the risk of childbirth injury. Such injuries affect thousands of children in the United States every year, including in the state of Rhode Island. Some medical injuries are not preventable, but some others definitely are preventable and occur due to medical negligence. 

In a recent news article, the author provided information from the Birth Injury Guide stating that 28,000 infants suffer from a birth injury annually. These medical ailments are caused by a variety of reasons. Some can be prevented with proper pre-natal healthcare. A physician can usually diagnose infections or deficiencies that can lead to diseases or disabilities for the child. 

Woman awarded $1.2 million from medical malpractice suit

These days, patient safety is a top priority at medical facilities across the country. Doctors in Rhode Island are highly trained, skilled professionals that have access to state of the art equipment to make surgeries and other medical procedures safer than ever before. However, surgeons and doctors are also human and humans will make mistakes. Unfortunately, when mistakes happen during surgery, the patient suffers the consequences. Recently, a woman in another state was awarded over $1 million from a medical malpractice lawsuit she filed after an alleged surgical mistake.

According to the lawsuit, the surgical error occurred while the woman was in high school. She visited an orthopedic surgeon to investigate a benign growth on a bone in her left leg, the lawsuit said. The woman said the surgeon ordered a biopsy, and during the surgical biopsy, the surgeon mistakenly cut a nerve in her left leg.

Woman seeks award for surgical error

A mistake during surgery has left one woman suffering from the effects. The individual suffered a cut to her rectum during a laproscopic surgery to treat her endometriosis. She is seeking awards for her economic and non-economic damages due to the surgical error. Although the incident did not occur in Rhode Island, local individuals may be interested to learn of her story and perhaps compare it to their own experience. 

The surgery occurred in 2015. The woman was diagnosed with endometriosis after complaining to her doctor of pelvic pain. She was scheduled to receive a surgery using a specialized robot and laproscopic techniques. During the surgery, the physician cut into her rectum instead of performing the correct partial vaginectomy. 

Stroke misdiagnosis more common for certain groups

Doctors are continually reviewing their methods in order to improve outcomes for their patients. One recent study took a look at stroke misdiagnosis and identified some statistics and some potential areas for improvement. The study data may be of use to patients and physicians in Rhode Island as they strive for more accurate diagnosis of this neurological issue. 

A lead investigator in the study said in an interview that almost 9 percent of strokes are initially misdiagnosed overall based on available data. Those numbers are greater in certain populations and in certain circumstances. If the symptoms of the stroke are mild, non-specific or transient, there are typically higher rates of misdiagnosis. Additionally, if the patient is younger, a woman or a person of color, there is a greater risk of missing the stroke. 

Negligent pharmaceutical companies charged with opioid issues

The effects of opioid abuse have reached epidemic proportions across the United States. City and county governments are clamoring to aid the addicted, with treatment and emergency care for abandoned and orphaned children, and staff-strained EMS departments. Some locales blame the opioid epidemic, at least partially, on negligent pharmaceutical companies, as revealed in a recent news story. Rhode Island residents may be interested to learn more about the complex issue. 

Since 2014, states, counties and cities have begun to file lawsuits. Chicago led the way in 2014 as the first city to sue. Almost 10 other cities have followed Chicago's lead and filed suit. The lawsuits usually allege that the drug providers either over-prescribed the medications or downplayed the addictive quality of the medicines. 

Erb's palsy can leave lasting disability

A parent wants to protect and nurture her child from the moment the child comes into the world. When the child suffers an injury at birth, the parent can feel distress. An injury such as Erb's palsy, also known as Brachial Plexus Palsy, can leave permanent damage and disability in its wake. In Rhode Island, physicians are duty-bound to take every known precaution to prevent this type of injury, but unfortunately, not every case is prevented. 

Brachial Plexus Palsy awareness week is observed every October. One mother whose child has been affected by the illness is attempting to do her part to raise awareness of the illness by calling for the One Arm Cartwheel Challenge. The one-armed cartwheel challenges people to experience the difficulty of trying to live a normal life using only one hand. 

Surgical malpractice risks include medication, timely referral

In December of 2016, the Food and Drug Administration released a warning on some anesthesia and sedative drugs, stating that their use in children may lead to negative neurological and behavioral effects. The FDA later released an update on the issue, stating that medically necessary surgeries should not be delayed because of anesthesia concerns, but that a delay of potentially elective surgeries should be given consideration. The announcements have some Rhode Island surgeons considering the effects of the new information on risks of surgical malpractice

The issue is complicated, but some people have taken away the concept that physicians must openly and transparently discuss the benefits and risks of surgery to pediatric patients. There is risk associated with delaying surgery, and there is also potential risk with using anesthesia. Another option is to consider regional anesthesia versus general. 

Prevention steps to stop pharmaceutical error

Medicines are powerful and potent chemicals. They have the power to reverse illness, relieve symptoms and the power to cause harm if administered incorrectly. Under-staffing, rushing and technological errors are all contributing factors to pharmaceutical errors. In Rhode Island, a pharmacist is responsible to dispense medications properly so the patient is not harmed. If a pharmaceutical error is a concern for a pharmacist, he or she may wish to utilize some prevention strategies to avoid patient injury. 

Pharmacy mistakes, including prescribing the wrong medicine, giving the wrong dosage, failing to identify drug interactions, failing to advise about harmful side effects and marketing unsafe medications, are caused by several reasons. An understaffed pharmacy that is trying to fill many prescriptions runs the risk of error, so pharmacies should ensure that they have enough staff available to give appropriate time and attention to the workload. Poor communication between pharmacists and doctors is another chance for errors, as well as over-reliance on technology. 

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