Are Patients Aware When Medical Malpractice Occurs?

Medical mistakes are responsible for an estimated 250,000 to 440,000 deaths in the US each year. Some medical mistakes are caused by medical malpractice. However, patients and their families are not always aware of this fact. Physicians and hospitals may not admit to mistakes that harm patients. According to a survey conducted by Medscape, 7 percent of physicians say it is acceptable to cover up medical errors. Another 14 percent say that it depends on the circumstances. More than 70 percent of physicians who participated in a survey published in British Medical Journal Quality & Safety said they would provide…

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Can Medical Mistakes Lead to a Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer?

Diagnostic errors are one of the most common types of medical mistakes in the US. Depending on the type of illness that is misdiagnosed, you could die or suffer a severe injury. We recently wrote a blog discussing what could happen after a diagnostic mistake involving bacterial meningitis. Diagnostic errors involving cancer can also be deadly. There are several reasons why health care providers could get a cancer diagnosis wrong. Possible reasons include, but are not limited to: Your doctor could miss the early symptoms of cancer. They could mistake the symptoms with a less serious condition. As a result,…

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How Clean (or Dirty) Is Your Hospital?

Have you ever seen a picture or video of a medical facility in some third-world country and thought, “How dirty that looks; I’m so glad I live in America where the hospitals are clean!”? While sanitation does remain one of the biggest concerns in healthcare facilities worldwide, we tend to believe our own hospitals are the exception to the rule. But are they, really? According to the CDC, over 721,000 patients were reported to have gotten serious infections while being treated in health facilities in 2011. Many of these infections could have been prevented by cleaner conditions within the facility…

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Risks and Dangers of Medical Test “False Negatives”

We’ve talked about false positives on medical tests and how they can prompt patients to receive treatments or procedures they don’t really need. However, perhaps even more dangerous is the “false negative”—the test that says you don’t have a disease or condition you actually have. We most often hear about false negatives in the context of home pregnancy tests, which are more prone to giving false negatives than false positives. However, when it comes to screening for more serious conditions like HIV or cancer, a false negative can have dire repercussions. Why Does It Happen? False negatives happen for many…

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What Causes Surgical Fires?

More than 250,000 people in the US are killed by medical mistakes each year. Countless others suffer injuries, some of which may be life-altering. Surgical fires, which occur around patients who are undergoing surgical procedures, are a type of medical mistake that is likely to cause catastrophic injuries. According to the ECRI Institute (formerly the Emergency Care Research Institute), there are an estimated 500 to 600 surgical fires each year. Surgical fires can occur when a procedure utilizes flammable materials, ignition sources and oxidizers. Flammable materials may include surgical drapes, alcohol-based skin preparation agents and even the patient. Ignition sources…

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Popular Britax Jogging Strollers Linked to Injuries

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has filed a lawsuit to force Britax to stop selling jogging strollers that are linked to more than 100 injuries. Britax, the manufacturer of three-wheeled B.O.B strollers, is also being asked to offer repairs or replacements to consumers. The B.O.B models under scrutiny include Iron Man Revolution and Sport Utility Strollers. The CPSC has received more than 200 complaints about B.O.B strollers. According to the complaints, the front wheels on the strollers can detach without warning. As a result, the front fork of the strollers can dig into the ground and cause an…

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Medical Implant Devices and the FDA: User Beware? (part 2)

We previously discussed an ongoing public health concern where the FDA’s approval process for medical devices appears to be dangerously lacking—to the point that many devices get released to market without a clinical trial. What does this truth mean for you or your loved ones who might need an implanted medical device? What steps can you take to stay safe? Do Your Own Research If your doctor recommends a certain medical device, you don’t have to assume it’s safe because your doctor says so. Find out about the device—not just what it is and what it does, but who makes…

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Why Lawsuits Over Electronic Cigarettes Are Increasing

Electronic cigarettes have become a very popular alternative to traditional nicotine products. Millions of people in the US have given up cigarettes in favor of these pocket-sized devices. However, some people have suffered serious injuries after the batteries in their electronic cigarettes exploded without warning. Electronic cigarette explosion injuries have included: Second and third-degree burns Blast injuries (including the loss of multiple teeth or limbs) Facial injuries Loss of function (of the limbs or sexual function) In one case that occurred in 2015, a Colorado Springs man suffered a broken neck and severe facial injuries. According to the man’s family,…

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Can Medical Malpractice Cause a Slip and Fall Accident in a Hospital?

Inpatient slip and fall accidents in hospitals can cause catastrophic injuries. The possible outcomes of a slip and fall accident include broken bones, spinal cord injuries and brain injuries. However, these incidents are often preventable. There are multiple reasons why these accidents may occur in hospitals. The causes of hospital slip and fall accidents may include: Medication errors. Certain medications or combinations of medications can put patients at risk of being hurt. For example, some medications may cause excessive drowsiness or dizziness. Benzodiazepines and certain antipsychotic medications are good examples. Hospital staff must take precautionary measures to protect these “high-risk”…

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Medical Implant Devices and the FDA: User Beware? (part 1)

When the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approves a medical device designed to improve your health, can you assume the device is safe? Not so fast, according to some critics. Modern medicine relies more and more on implantable medical devices to help certain patients—from artificial hips and knees to coronary stents and pacemakers, from cataract lenses to breast implants. Yet remarkably, as author/reporter Jeanne Lenzer points out in a recent interview, less than 1 percent of FDA-approved medical devices even undergo clinical trials. (By comparison, drugs must go through at least two trials prior to approval.) Even devices considered…

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