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Misdiagnosing cancer in children

September was Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in New York as well as across the country and around the world. The purpose of this annual event is to provide parents and caregivers with information about the different types of cancers that children can contract as well as to raise funds for research and support.

It is estimated that more than 40 U.S. children are diagnosed with one form or another of the disease each day, and that approximately 40,000 children who have received such a diagnosis are treated for it annually. Unfortunately, 12 percent of them do not survive. Research facilities are hard at work trying to find a solution, but many lack sufficient funding to do so.

Does defensive medicine really prevent litigation?

Most people are familiar with the Hippocratic Oath by which all doctors and medical professionals live. But a doctor's duty to make the best judgments possible and to do no harm is often mired by the looming threat that if they fail to meet these expectations, they could face litigation as a result.

As a way to avoid medical malpractice lawsuits, more and more doctors are practicing what is being called defensive medicine. But as a 2013 article for the National Center for Biotechnology Information explains, doctors who perform medical treatments and procedures simply to avoid litigation are not doing patients any favors. In fact, they could be doing more harm than good.

Keeping elderly loved ones safe from nursing home abuse

When aging loved ones in New York require consistent care, it is a common practice for their family members to place them into a long-term care facility, such as a nursing home. While most nursing homes are professionally run, the unfortunate reality is that some facilities have low standards of patient care, or even a history of negligence and abuse. In the past, standard arbitration clauses in facility contracts made it difficult for families to hold a nursing home or negligent nurse accountable for their negative behavior.

Thanks to a rule that has been adopted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, however, individuals may be eligible to sue a nursing home or long-term care facility for alleged neglect of their loved one. Health care professionals believe that the long-overdue rule may change the industry for the better. With the law on their side, families may have more success achieving a settlement, and more media coverage means that the public will become more aware of the frequency of nursing negligence at particular facilities.

In New York, who is at fault for a birth injury?

Every parent hopes that their child will be born happy and healthy. Unfortunately, when mistakes are made in the delivery room or a member of the hospital staff misses a warning sign, children and mothers can suffer serious injuries that can require everything from extensive medical treatment to long-term care.

When a child or mother suffers a birth injury, the first question often asked is: who is at fault for the injury? In order to answer this question, one must look at the facts of the case and ask: 

Dementia in people under 60 often overlooked

Neurologists in New York must consider symptoms and neural imagining in order to accurately diagnose dementia diseases. Alzheimer's disease is often presumed to be present in people exhibiting changes in behavior, language, motor skills and personality, but frontotemporal lobar degeneration and primary progressive aphasias represent two diseases that could also cause these problems.

About 10 percent of dementia cases arise from FTLD, but a chance exists that some people will be misdiagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. FTLD might be a much more likely diagnosis for a person under 60 with emerging neurological difficulties because it tends to strike earlier than Alzheimer's disease. A clinical assistant professor of neurology and neurological sciences said that clinicians might be unaware of FTLD and assume that someone under age 60 would not have dementia. Symptoms for FTLD, however, commonly emerge between the ages of 50 and 60.

Medical errors behind thousands of deaths annually

The BMJ has published a study indicating that medical errors result in between 200,000 and 400,000 deaths annually across the United States. The BMJ estimate took into account diagnostic errors, communications breakdowns, systems failures, inadequate skill and poor judgment. The focus of the study was fatalities that occur secondary to a medical error, and many occurred in New York.

According to the BMJ, fatalities of this kind are for a number of reasons under-reported. The cause of death may be listed as something physiological, such as myocardial infarction, but the documentation may not refer to an emergency room misdiagnosis of chest pain as a case of acid reflux, for example. Patients and their loved ones sometimes lack the knowledge to evaluate accurately the level of care provided, and they are sometimes purposely kept in the dark by hospitals and medical staff.

Study shows different medical errors for men, women

New York patients may be interested in the results of a study that found that men and women encounter different safety issues in medical situations. For example, women are more likely to have adverse reactions to drugs that they have been administered, ranging from rashes to low blood pressure to changes in their mental state. Men are more likely to get abrasions and cuts.

The research was conducted by the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority and examined data from more than 1,200 providers of healthcare statewide. The study used big data analytics to reach its conclusion although it did not pinpoint the reasons for the differences noted.

Ovarian cancer and the signs your doctor could be missing

Women throughout the country are urged by their health care providers to get annual screenings in order to detect possibly deadly diseases and illnesses, such as cancer, before they reach their advanced stages. In addition, women are also encouraged to talk to their doctor about any symptoms they are experiencing that could indicate a serious health problem.

Even though these two very important pieces of health care can lead to the proper diagnosis of many conditions, the same is not true for women suffering from ovarian cancer. For many women, an ovarian cancer diagnosis is a death sentence; but not knowing you have the disease or that it could have been properly treated, is just as worse.

When to seek a second opinion

While New Yorkers likely have trusting relationships with their doctors, there are certain times when they should seek second opinions to make certain that the diagnosis or treatment regimen that has been proposed is appropriate. Health care practitioners sometimes make diagnostic or treatment mistakes, which can cause serious repercussions for patients.

A person who is diagnosed with a serious or terminal condition should get a second opinion to make certain that the diagnosis is correct. A delayed diagnosis or a misdiagnosis can greatly reduce the person's ability to recover and may also cause further harm.

Why are designated bike lanes safer than riding with traffic?

The question of which is safer, to ride with traffic or in a designated bike lane, is one that has been debated for more than a decade. Even a 1999 Federal Highway Administration study was not enough to bring about a consensus on the issue, despite the fact that the study confirmed bike lanes were safer than riding with traffic or on the shoulder.

One of the reasons why this continues to be an issue is because of the fact that many bike lanes across the nation exist on roadways, oftentimes only separated from motor vehicle traffic by a few painted lines. As a result, many people wonder the very question we've posed above: why are designated bike lanes safer than riding with traffic?

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