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What Happens When Paramedics are Negligent?

Published on Jun 29, 2018 at 5:57 pm in Medical Malpractice.

Emergency medical technicians are responsible for responding to emergency injuries. They provide critical treatment and transportation to patients who experience a health crisis or injury. These first responders have tough jobs and do amazing work.

But what happens when a paramedic makes a mistake or acts negligently while treating or transporting patients? Unfortunately, not all EMTs live up to the standard of providing excellent care.

First Responder Responsibilities

The core duties of paramedics include:

  • Evaluating patients for injuries and life-threatening conditions
  • Preparing patients for transportation
  • Providing prompt and safe transportation to a nearby hospital or another medical facility
  • Giving necessary care to patients until they arrive at the hospital

Fame doesn’t make a doctor immune to medical malpractice

Published on Apr 4, 2018 at 1:36 pm in Medical Malpractice.

Maryland fans of reality television may be familiar with a show entitled, “My 600-lb Life” that profiles morbidly obese people as they go through their weight loss journeys. As part of the show, their care is overseen by Dr. Nowzaradan, referred to on the show as Dr. Now, who also performs weight-loss procedures on his patients as part of their care. Patients are painfully aware of the possible risks involved in the surgery, but many of them probably did not realize the danger could come from Dr. Now who is currently facing a medical malpractice claim from one of his patients.

Both the doctor and the clinic out of which he works are named in the suit, which was filed in Sept. 2017. The former patient alleges that Dr. Now failed to remove tubing and a stainless steel connector inside the patient following surgery to repair a hiatal hernia and remove a gastric band system two years prior to that date. Just days thereafter, the patient began experiencing excruciating abdominal pressure and pain.

Did medical malpractice cause Bill Paxton’s death?

Published on Mar 7, 2018 at 1:28 pm in Medical Malpractice.

Maryland moviegoers may remember that Bill Paxton starred in big box office blockbusters such as “Twister,” “Titanic” and “Aliens” throughout his career. He also graced the small screen in television shows such as “Big Love,” which aired on HBO. He died on Feb. 25, 2017, just days after undergoing a surgical procedure on his heart at the age of 61. Now, his family has filed a lawsuit claiming that medical malpractice took his life.

The family alleges that the surgeon failed to disclose all of the potential risks involved in the operation to them or Paxton. Moreover, they claim that the surgeon was not qualified to perform the unconventional and highly risky procedure. Even though his official cause of death is listed as a stroke after heart surgery, the family believes that his death could have been prevented.

Allegedly, the surgeon’s lack of experience reportedly led to post-surgical complications that led to the stroke. The lawsuit not only involves the surgeon, but also the hospital where the operation took place, Cedars-Sinai. The family says that the trust they and Paxton placed in the hospital staff and the surgeon was betrayed. However, it may be up to the courts to determine whether Paxton’s medical care fell below the accepted standards of care.

Paxton’s family could have a long road ahead of them since medical malpractice lawsuits are notoriously challenging. The level of medical expertise required in many cases alone can make these cases problematic. This is due, at least in part, to the need to differentiate between unfortunate circumstances and medical error. Anyone in Maryland believing that a medical mistake took the life of a loved one may find it comforting to know that they do not have to go through this process alone.

Source: CNN, “Bill Paxton’s family files wrongful death suit“, Sandra Gonzalez, Accessed on March 4, 2018

Is perspiration a reliable indicator of surgical readiness?

Published on Jul 26, 2017 at 10:10 pm in Medical Malpractice.

When assessing the readiness of residents to perform surgery, the longstanding process has been for supervising surgeons to assess individual performance in the operating room. While this technique has proven effective for decades, the emergence of more regulatory bodies in surgical education has highlighted a need for a decidedly less subjective performance evaluator.

While a host of studies have been undertaken in an attempt to identify a more objective performance evaluator, including measuring the heart rates and blood flow to the brains of surgical residents, none have actually been deployed during a real life surgery.

That has now changed, however, thanks to the efforts of researchers at the University of Missouri who are currently in the middle of a five-year study measuring whether sweat levels could actually prove to be a reliable barometer of surgical readiness among residents.

Horrific case shows ‘never events’ remain a problem in the OR

Published on Jun 20, 2017 at 9:55 pm in Medical Malpractice.

Anyone who must undergo some manner of operation knows through their conversations with surgeons and their own research or personal experience that there is always some degree of risk involved. Indeed, postoperative complications can arise, infections can develop, and the underlying disease or condition can remain unchanged.

However, there is at least one aspect of surgery about which patients should be able to have complete confidence: avoiding wrong-site, wrong-procedure, wrong-patient errors or simply WSPEs. That’s because these types of surgical errors are typically 100 percent preventable and considered so flagrant that federal health officials have labeled them as “never events,” meaning they should simply never occur.

The unfortunate reality, however, is that even though WSPEs should never occur, they still do — and often with devastating results.

Study: Over 20 percent of patients with serious conditions misdiagnosed

Published on Apr 10, 2017 at 9:19 pm in Medical Malpractice.

Two years ago, the National Academy of Medicine published a groundbreaking report indicating that not only will the majority of people receive an incorrect or delayed diagnosis at least once during their lifetime, but that roughly 12 million people — or close to 5 percent of adults seeking outpatient care — are misdiagnosed every year.

Furthermore, previous research has found that diagnostic errors are behind 6-17 percent of adverse hospital events, 10 percent of hospital deaths, and present in 10-20 percent of all cases.

As enlightening — and frightening — as these numbers are, the study authors cautioned that additional study was needed to identify the scope of the problem.

Was your hospital fall listed as a “never event?”

Published on Mar 28, 2017 at 9:06 pm in Medical Malpractice.

Even though hospitals have signs in strategic locations warning about the possibility of a patient taking a fall, this kind of accident happens on a daily basis. Patients may fall because they felt woozy getting out of bed or because the freshly mopped floor was slippery.

Some patiens survive such falls without harm. But if they suffered a lasting injury it may be classed as a medical error, and they may be entitled to compensation from the medical facility.

Should first-year MDs go back to 24-hour shifts?

Published on Mar 13, 2017 at 9:12 pm in Medical Malpractice.

If you were to ask your longtime physician about their time as a resident, they would more than likely look back with some ambivalence, perhaps describing a 12-month period highlighted by significant learning, but also very long shifts and sleepless nights.

While the life of the first-year doctor-in-training was indeed long characterized by 24-plus hour shifts, this changed back in 2011 when the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, citing concerns about both patient and physician safety, changed the maximum number of hours a resident could work to 16.

Interestingly enough, the ACGME, which establishes work rules for medical school graduates here in the U.S., recently announcedthat it this shift limit would be extended to 24 hours starting July 1.

Common fibromyalgia misdiagnosis

Published on Feb 17, 2017 at 9:00 pm in Medical Malpractice.

Maryland residents should be aware that fibromyalgia is a commonly misdiagnosed medical condition. Fibromyalgia is non-specific and widespread pain that is associated with overactive nerves. Since widespread pain and fatigue can be caused by a wide variety of conditions, fibromyalgia can be difficult to diagnose accurately.

According to a medical expert, a diagnosis of fibromyalgia should only be given after the physician has exhausted other likely causes of the pain and fatigue. Three broad categories of diseases have symptoms very similar to true fibromyalgia. These are non-fibromyalgia medical conditions, musculoskeletal conditions and metabolic disorders. A doctor may need to run a wide variety of tests to rule out these other conditions as the cause of symptoms.

ECRI Institute names top ten tech-related health risks for 2017

Published on Nov 16, 2016 at 8:25 pm in Medical Malpractice.

Every year, the ECRI Institute, the renowned Pennsylvania-based nonprofit committed to “promoting the highest standards of safety, quality, and cost-effectiveness in healthcare,” releases a much-anticipated ranking of the top ten technological hazards in the healthcare sector.

Last year, the top spot on the list went to improper sterilization of reusable medical instruments (i.e., flexible endoscopes) resulting in potential infection. This place atop the list was logical given the number of infection cases reported and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s issuance of a safety warning on this topic in February 2015.

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