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Articles Tagged with medical malpractice

pregnant-woman-200x300This week, a father of two filed a lawsuit against the hospital where his wife died shortly after giving birth to their new son. In the lawsuit, the father alleges that after what was supposed to be a joyous occasion, he saw his wife’s catheter turning pink with blood and asked a hospital employee for help. Her response: “Sir, your wife just isn’t a priority right now.” After being allowed to bleed internally for almost 10 hours, the hospital finally took the mother back to surgery, where she died from complications from her cesarean section.

Sadly, this mom is not alone. Tragedies like this are far too common in the United States, which has the highest rate of maternal deaths in the entire developed world. Every year, more than 50,000 women are severely injured during childbirth, and about 700 mothers per year die due to complications from childbirth. Worse, the U.S. is the only country in the developed world that has a rising maternal death rate due to pregnancy-related complications. Even more alarming is the fact that African American, Native American, and Alaskan Native women are about three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related issues than white women.

The troublingly high rate of mothers dying due to pregnancy complications has led to what some are calling the Maternal Mortality Crisis. The crisis has parents (and soon-to-be parents) across the country asking: why is this happening?

surgery-1807541_1920-1024x676The stress of a serious injury or illness can be heightened by not knowing which hospital is the best choice for your care. To make that process a little easier for people, the Leapfrog Group–in conjunction withThe Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety–publishes Hospital Safety Grades twice each year for thousands of hospitals across the country. These hospital ratings are the only ones that focus exclusively on patient safety, scoring hospitals on how safe they keep their patients from injuries, infections, accidents, and errors. The Hospital Safety Grades are a valuable tool that you can use to make sure you or a loved one is getting the safest care available when confronted with health issues.

The grades, which are peer-reviewed and published, rely on a panel of safety experts, national performance measures, and surveys to assign a grade to each hospital. The letter grades represent the hospital’s overall performance and ability to keep patients safe from preventable injuries and medical errors. The A, B, C, D, or F grades give consumers a quick way to choose the best hospital for their medical care.

Why is this so important? Because preventable hospital errors are a huge cause of death in the US. Depending on which study you look at, between 160,000 and 400,000 people die each year from preventable hospital mistakes. And patients at D and F hospitals face a 92% greater risk of dying from safety problems than patients at an A-rated hospital. While most hospitals do have a safety grade, they are not required to have one. If a hospital does not have enough safety data to supply Leapfrog with, they will not be given a grade. To find out how your safe your hospital is, see the list below.

surgery-1807541_1920-1024x676About one in every twenty patients is harmed by a medical mistake that could have been prevented. That is the finding of a recent report published in the medical journal, The BMJ.

Understand, we are not talking about medical mistakes that sometimes just happen during medical care. We are talking about medical mistakes that should not have happened. Worse still, 12% of these preventable errors lead to permanent disability or death.

And this is not new information. The medical community has known for twenty years that medical errors cause the deaths of as many as 98,000 Americans every year. Yet, twenty years later, the rate of preventable medical mistakes continues to be unacceptably high.

The FDA announced recently that they plan to surgery-1822458_1920-300x200review and address the safety of surgical staplers.

Surgical staplers are specialized devices used in surgery to close wounds or connect tissue, instead of using traditional sutures.

The FDA‘s decision comes after a recent Kaiser News Health Report revealed that thousands of malfunctions and injuries related to staplers were hidden from the public in private internal FDA databases. In fact, in 2016 alone, while the FDA’s public database received less than 100 stapler malfunction reports, their hidden database received about 10,000 reports.

Going to the hospital can save your life. If you arecare-928653_1920-300x200 a patient at a hospital with a poor safety ranking, however, it could cost you your life.

That’s the conclusion of a recent report by the nonprofit group Leapfrog, which also gives 2600 hospitals a Hospital Safety Grade twice a year based on 28 measures of safety.

The report, prepared for the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, found that an estimated 160,000 lives are lost annually from avoidable medical errors, and hospitals with a poor safety grade have twice the mortality rate of hospitals with a good grade.

If a doctor had lost multiple medical malpractice doctor-563428_1920-300x200lawsuits, you would think that he or she would stop practicing or, at the very least, move to a new town to flee their reputation for harming patients. According to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine, that is not happening.

Doctors with more than four successful malpractice claims against them are, for the most part, continuing to see patients in their home community. In fact, the study’s lead researcher, David Studdert, a professor of medicine and law at Stanford University, found that more than 90 percent of doctors who have lost 5 or more malpractice claims against them, continue to see patients as if nothing happened. That is not a comforting thought for patients who need medical care.

Now, before you say that every doctor gets sued for malpractice so this doesn’t mean much, the study did not look at physicians who had malpractice claims filed against them; it only looked at physicians who lost malpractice claims. In those cases, either the malpractice was so egregious that the insurance company settled the case, or a court of law concluded, based on solid evidence, that the doctor did commit malpractice and injured his patient as a result. This is even more significant when you understand that only about 27% of medical malpractice plaintiffs win their court case.

The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 30% of birth injuries are preventable. Sadly, medical negligence is one of the leading causes of birth injuries in the United States. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), determined the following to be the most common types of birth injuries due to medical negligence:

Brachial Palsy Injuriesnewborn-2553566_1920.jpg

Brachial palsy injuries involve damage to the bundle of nerves responsible for moving the arms and hands (brachial plexus). The result of this damage can be mild and temporary, or severe and permanent (in about 10% of cases the damage is permanent). The most serious injuries can even cause complete paralysis. A common cause of brachial plexus injuries is shoulder dystocia, which occurs when a baby’s shoulders are trapped in the mother’s pelvic bone during delivery. If a doctor pulls too hard while attempting to deliver a baby who is stuck, the brachial plexus can be damaged. Brachial palsy injuries include Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for headache-1540220_1920.jpgPatients undergoing major surgery or those dealing with chronic pain are often prescribed opioid medications. These opioids have given rise to a crisis of massive proportions. Opioid addiction and overdose deaths are increasing dramatically. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of all fatal opioid overdoses involve a prescription. Furthermore, for every one of these opioid overdose death, experts estimate nearly 130 people abuse or have a dependency on these drugs.

In Illinois, opioid use is rampant. According to Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) data, there were 1,826 opioid-related deaths in the state in 2016. This represents an increase of over 70 percent from the number of opioid-related deaths reported in 2013 and a 32.1 percent increase over the 1,382 opioid-related deaths reported by IDPH in 2015.

Once people begin taking opioids, many of them become hooked on these highly addictive drugs. Often it is the result of patients obtaining prescriptions from “pill mills”, where doctors perfunctorily write opioid prescriptions without first examining the patient.

Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that results from damage to the brain. CP can lead to problems with movement, posture and muscle coordination. Additionally, CP can shorten the lifespan of a child and require that the child have around the clock care.

Thumbnail image for little-girl-1381471_1920.jpgCerebral palsy is often caused by insufficient oxygen to the brain, also known as hypoxia, or insufficient oxygen to the body, known as asphyxia. Premature delivery or trauma during birth have also been known to cause CP. This life-altering condition can be caused by medical malpractice. If a doctor, nurse or hospital fails to properly monitor or treat a mother and her fetus, significant damage can occur.

However, just because a baby is born with cerebral palsy, it doesn’t always mean that medical mistakes have been made. There are times when doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals act with the greatest care while attending to mother and baby, and there are still negative outcomes.

surgery-880584_1280.jpgAbout 80 times each week, patients undergoing surgery experience mistakes that safety advocates say never should happen. They’re called “Never Events,” but these events are happening far too often and costing patients significant pain and suffering. The types of surgery errors being made include:

· surgical instruments such as sponges or needles are unintentionally left behind in the patient;

· the wrong procedure is performed;

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