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New ideas may help treat breast cancer in New York

According to a European study of 6,693 breast cancer patients, it is safe to trust genetic testing when it conflicts with results from traditional testing. In some cases, the genetic test may suggest that there is a low risk of the cancer spreading while other tests say the risk is high. The study indicated that in such scenarios, women were just as likely to survive for five years compared to those who had chemotherapy.

This may be partially because traditional tests look for a variety of general factors such as whether a patient is over the age of 50. It is believed that an increased trust in the results of genetic testing could allow up to 35,000 Americans with early breast cancer to avoid chemotherapy. This may prevent unnecessary emotional trauma and keep costs of treatment to reasonable levels.

Why medical errors occur

When New York residents seek medical care, they put a great deal of trust in their physicians. The expectation is that the doctor is the expert who will make the best decisions possible to preserve the patient's life and health. Unfortunately, some doctors make mistakes that can have a devastating impact on a patient's well-being.

There are several reasons why doctor errors happen. In some cases, a physician may overreach his or her capabilities and fail to consult with a more experienced doctor before offering a diagnosis or prescribing treatment. In other cases, poor logistics in a clinical setting or a breakdown in communications may be the culprit.

Getting treatment for a rare disease

For many New York residents who are suffering from a rare disease, getting treatment can be very difficult. However, advocacy groups are working to get legislation passed that would help those suffering from a rare diseases to seek treatment.

A rare disease is defined as a disease that affects fewer than 200,000 individuals in the U.S. Approximately 30 million people suffer from some rare disease, meaning that 1 in every 10 to 12 persons have a disease that is classified as "rare." There are approximately 6,000 known rare diseases, each of which had a broad range of symptoms that can vary by individual. Because they are often not well known, it can be very difficult for patients to get the correct treatment for their disease if their doctor does not recognize the symptoms.

Diagnosing a commonly misdiagnosed illness

There are some health-related issues that require a closer look in order to achieve a proper diagnosis. New York residents who are prone to various and seemingly unrelated illnesses that have no immediately recognizable cause may actually suffer from a commonly misdiagnosed disorder.

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is an inherited connective tissue condition that affects how the body is able to create and process collagen. The body consists of 30 percent collagen, which makes up parts of bones, skin, cartilage, muscles, tendons, brains and more. Because collagen is a component of so many parts of the body, the symptoms that involves these parts of the body can seem very random.

Wrong patient has kidney removed

New Yorkers might be shocked to learn about a case in Massachusetts in which a doctor reportedly removed a kidney from the wrong patient. The incident reportedly occurred at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester and is being investigated by the Massachusetts Department of Health.

Sources report that the hospital's owner, Tenet Health, said that the incident happened because of a misidentification that happened elsewhere although the company didn't indicate where it happened or how. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, wrong-patient and wrong-site surgeries are never events, meaning that they are ones that should never happen.

Learning more about Ehlers-Danlos syndrome

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a genetic condition that impacts how the body processes collagen. Collagen makes up about 30 percent of the human body, which means symptoms of the syndrome may be felt in multiple places. However, it is often difficult for patients in New York and elsewhere to be diagnosed with the condition because its symptoms may be seen as localized issues. For example, knee pain may be diagnosed as tendinitis while a shoulder issue may be seen as bursitis.

However, in those with EDS, shoulder or knee pain may not heal with time or other treatment. In some cases, physical therapy or other traditional treatment options may make the condition worse. Those who experience long-term pain may have a condition called EDS hypermobility. While data indicates that one in every 2,000 to 5,000 people have EDS hypermobility, researchers believe that it may be more common.

Software helps prevent medication errors

New York residents may know that medication errors are a leading cause of patient harm in the United States, and that they are often fatal. To combat the problem, pharmacists are using special software to help identify these mistakes before they occur.

In 2008, Baxter International introduced DoseEdge Pharmacy Workflow Manager. The software connects with barcode scanners, cameras and gravimetric scales to automate the process of tracking, inspecting, routing and reporting intravenous and oral liquid medications. Pharmacists can use the software to perform preproduction medication checks to identify possible preparation errors. According to Baxter, DoseEdge has processed more than 72 million intravenous and oral liquid doses and found over 3 million potential errors in the years it has been on the market.

New tool for reducing shift-change errors in hospitals

Patients in New York may be less likely to suffer from medical malpractice related to shift changes if more hospitals begin to adopt the technology currently in use at Brigham and Women's Hospital. According to a research letter that appeared in JAMA on Aug. 1, an electronic patient record is a useful tool in reducing errors.

Hospitals have been moving toward shift work for residents because of fear that the 24-hour periods that residents are traditionally required to work might lead to errors. However, more shifts mean more patient handoffs, and that increases the likelihood of errors. Each time a patient is handed off, there is the potential that crucial information will not be communicated.

Who owns New York City's sidewalks?

Have you ever walked down the street in New York City, noticed a significant upheaval in the sidewalk or another danger and thought, "Someone should really fix that before someone gets hurt?" With roughly 12,750 miles of sidewalk in our city, it's bound to happen.

Although you may not realize it at the time, your question actually raises an important issue as well as two additional questions you may have wondered, but never thought to ask: who owns the sidewalks in our city and what happens if that person doesn't maintain them? Let's take a look.

Molecular imaging finds cancers missed by mammograms

According to a new study in the August edition of the American Journal of Roentgenology, molecular breast imaging can locate cancers that mammograms miss. The research could improve breast cancer outcomes for women in New York and nationwide, particularly those who have dense breast tissue.

For the study, researchers conducted a retrospective examination of data from the supplemental cancer screening program at ProMedica Breast Care in Toledo, Ohio, between 2011 and 2014. They found that 1,696 women with dense breast tissue underwent MBI screenings after completing mammogram screenings. The MBI system detected 13 breast malignancies that mammograms missed. The size of the lesions detected ranged from .6 to 2.4 centimeters, with a mean of 1.1 centimeters. Furthermore, 85 percent of the malignancies had not spread to the lymph nodes, meaning the patients had better prognoses.

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Robert H. Wolff Named President
Firm Attorney, Robert H. Wolff is now the president of the New York City Bronx County Bar Association
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