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Tick-borne disease could be deadly without quick diagnosis

Despite its name, people in New York and all over the country are at risk of tick-borne illnesses like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Particularly widespread in the summer months when people camp, hike and engage in outdoor activities, they can be life-threatening for active individuals. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever has been reported all over North and South America. The potentially fatal disease is caused by a bacterium, Rickettsia rickettsia. Physicians report that there has been a slow increase in cases of the disease over the years.

Some people with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever are not diagnosed quickly. While the disease can be very dangerous, the symptoms are often non-specific and include fever, headache, rashes, nausea, vomiting, pain, lack of appetite and pink eye. Diagnostic tests for the disease will not return a positive result for at least seven days after exposure, but treatment is most effective if received in the first five days. Indeed, people can die of the disease in as few as eight days, so a delayed diagnosis could carry severe consequences.

Wrong-site surgery rare but devastating for victims

New York patients who are preparing for surgery naturally have many concerns, and extreme events like wrong-site surgery unfortunately present themselves as possible negative outcomes. A study conducted in 2006 that analyzed almost 3 million procedures revealed a rate of wrong-site surgeries of 1 in every 112,994 cases.

The consequences for victims can lead to lifelong health problems. A jury in Pennsylvania has awarded $870,000 to a man who sued the surgeon who removed the wrong testicle. The man had suffered from testicular pain for 15 years. A previous injury had caused one testicle to wither, and the surgeon decided that removal would provide pain relief. The surgeon instead took out the healthy testicle and could not provide a clear explanation about the cause of the mistake. The patient continues to suffer pain, but removal of the damaged testicle would require that he take testosterone for the rest of his life. His lawyer said that the man is fearful of seeking additional treatment.

Lyme disease misdiagnoses increasing

According to a report released on June 15 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an increasing number of patients in New York and the rest of the United States who have confusing medical symptoms are being diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease. They are also being prescribed dangerous, expensive and ineffective treatments. There have been cases in which patients have died from septic shock after being given the wrong, long-term treatment of intravenous antibiotics. For other patients, the misdiagnosis results in a dangerous delay of the treatment necessary to address the patient's true underlying medical condition.

The inaccurate diagnosing of chronic Lyme disease has been occurring for many years. However, the increasing intensity and scope of some of the treatment during the past few years is concerning to public health clinicians and officials.

Facts about Legionnaires' disease

Legionnaires' disease is a form of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria. It is an infection that can be fatal if not properly treated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, after researchers analyzed cases in New York City and 20 other jurisdictions, the bacterium linked to Legionnaires' disease was found in a number of health care facilities. In fact, of the jurisdictions they studied, they found 16 of them had some cases that came directly from hospitals.

Because the disease resembles less dangerous types of pneumonia, it is important that health care facilities use basic diagnostic tests. However, many do not do so, said a CDC representative. People contract Legionnaires' disease by breathing droplets of contaminated water, which can come from cooling towers, water-therapy baths and spas, shower heads and various medical equipment. Symptoms resemble common forms of pneumonia, including fever, headaches, shortness of breath, coughing and muscle aches. The majority of healthy individuals who become exposed to the disease generally do not develop it. However, it can be deadly for those with secondary health issues, such as a weak immune system.

Higher risk of rare complication with some diabetes drugs

New York residents who have type 2 diabetes may be interested in a study that found that a new class of drugs, SGLT2 inhibitors, could raise the risk of a complication known as ketoacidosis. However, although the condition can be deadly, it is also rare, and experts say this should not deter people from taking the class of drugs. Researchers said only about 1 in 1,000 people using SGLT2 inhibitors would develop the condition.

The study, which was published June 8 in a peer-reviewed medical journal, was conducted by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. It looked at 40,000 people who had diabetes. Patients who were on SGLT2 inhibitors had twice as much chance of developing diabetic ketoacidosis compared to those taking a class of drugs known as DPP4 inhibitors.

Man on bike killed after colliding with charter bus

If you are a cyclist in New York City, chances are good that you may have heard about the Citi Bike ride-sharing program that has been in effect for the past four years.

On Monday, June 12, the program had its first rider fatality. A 36-year-old Brooklyn resident who originally hailed from Israel died on a Manhattan street after a cycling accident with a charter bus.

Mistakes with drug-thinning drugs prevalent in nursing homes

Blood-thinning drugs like Coumadin and Warfarin save lives by reducing the risk of strokes when people could get blood clots. Anticoagulant drugs, however, need to be administered with care, and when dosages are wrong or the drugs react with other medications or even food, people could die of internal bleeding. Some patients in nursing homes in New York and around the country have been the victim of the poorly-monitored use of blood thinners.

In one example, an 89-year-old person died after receiving Coumadin in a nursing home because the drug reacted negatively with the antibiotic that she was taking. No one monitored her blood after she was given the blood thinner, which left her complications undetected for too long.

Facts regarding a collapsed lung

New York residents may be familiar with a condition called pneumothorax, also known as a collapsed lung. This condition happens when air, which usually circulates inside the lungs, leaks and becomes trapped in the pleural space around the lungs. As this air builds up, it puts pressure on the lungs and causes them to collapse. Typically, however, it only causes a part of the lung to collapse.

A collapsed lung can occur because of lung damage, air blisters in the lung or trauma to the chest. It can even happen after vigorous cardiopulmonary resuscitation, endoscopy procedures or a lung biopsy. Some people suffer a collapsed lung because of damage to their lung tissue from infections and diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and lung cancer.

What is the best treatment for a bone fracture?

A bone fracture can be the result of many types of accidents, such as a slip-and-fall or a motor vehicle crash.

If you have any reason to believe you are suffering from this type of injury, it's important to receive immediate medical attention. From there, your doctor can examine the bone and take an X-ray to get a clear idea of what is going on.

Suffering from IBD

Many New York residents who suffer from inflammatory bowel disease identify pain and fatigue as their most difficult symptoms. This is according to a survey of more than 4,000 respondents that was conducted by Health Union in early 2017.

Obtaining an accurate diagnosis is a challenge for many IBD sufferers. Over half of the survey respondents, 57 percent, stated that the first diagnosis they received was incorrect. Thirty-one percent of those misdiagnosed had initially been advised that they were experiencing irritable bowel syndrome. Ten percent of respondents stated they were misdiagnosed as having ulcerative colitis rather instead of Crohn's disease. At least five visits to the doctor were necessary to obtain an accurate diagnosis for 62 percent of the respondents.

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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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