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New York City Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Risk of medication error is highest at times of transition

While the health care industry in New York has taken great strides toward eliminating prescription medication errors, there are still instances that lead to higher levels of mistakes. This is dangerous given that medication errors can lead to adverse and sometimes even fatal reactions between different medications.

The risk of a patient receiving a dangerous combination of prescriptions is highest during a time of transition. A 2017 survey of 153 physicians concluded that the possibility of medication errors is much higher at a time when a patient is being transferred from one nurse to another. The systems in place to prevent medication error are not always effective given the hectic nature of nurse shift changes and can lead to a higher level of human error and miscommunication.

CDC: Failure to diagnose sepsis quickly could result in death

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning residents of New York and other states that sepsis can be a fatal condition. Sepsis occurs when the body's natural defenses against infection cause an extreme inflammatory response.

Doctor misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis may allow sepsis to turn into septic shock, which could be an acutely life-threatening combination of tissue damage and organ failure. Delayed treatment may result from a doctor's failure to diagnose or take appropriate notice of a worsened condition.

Medication errors leading cause of injury for hospital patients

When patients visit emergency rooms in New York, medical personnel face challenges in collecting accurate information about medications. Electronic medical records might contain previous errors about medications, or physicians and nurses might lack the time and expertise to fully investigate patients' medication histories. A study that appeared in BMJ Quality & Safety examined these problems and concluded that medication errors represented the most common reason that inpatients experienced injuries in hospitals.

The authors of the study explored the possibility that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians could improve results. When people in these positions collected medication information from patients seeking emergency room care, drug mistakes fell by over 80 percent. The researchers suggested that emergency departments should assign pharmacy personnel to investigating medications for incoming patients who are high risk, such as elderly people taking 10 or more medications.

Biopsy robot could improve accuracy of breast cancer detection

What's being called the world's smallest 3D-printed biopsy robot could improve the accuracy of biopsies needed to take a tissue sample to confirm a diagnosis of breast cancer, which is the most common cancer in women. This technology could also make the process of getting a biopsy less time-consuming for women in New York while also minimizing the potential for human error. Nearly 2 million women have the procedure each year to examine a suspicious lump or an imaging abnormality.

Due to the MRI-guided robotic biopsy system's precision, it may be a way to reduce the possibility of doctor misdiagnosis, which sometimes results in a delay in treatment. The main benefit of the system is that it increases the accuracy of the placement of the needle. The device is also designed to remain inside of the MRI scanner, allowing for near real-time image guidance.

Worker alleges malpractice after nude photos during surgery

Worries about being mistreated while under anesthesia are some of the most pervasive fears New York patients have when entering the hospital for surgery. One lawsuit reflects these fears coming to life for a hospital worker who was photographed nude while on the operating table.

The hospital worker was undergoing surgery and was photographed while on the operating table. She is suing the hospital, the hospital's CEO and the surgeon who performed the operation, alleging medical malpractice and invasion of her privacy. She worked at the hospital in question for 15 years before requiring the hernia surgery.

Misdiagnosed diseases

New York residents that suffer from certain medical conditions may be at a higher risk than others of being misdiagnosed. According to research, a misdiagnosis is the end result for millions of visits to the doctor each year. Medical conditions that are misdiagnosed or missed have the potential to worsen or become fatal.

A pulmonary embolism, a condition in which a blood clot occurs in one or both lungs, requires immediate medical assistance. Typical indicators may include chest pain, coughing and shortness of breath. Fever, dizziness and leg pain can indicate that the condition has become life-threatening.

Common medical mistakes

While most people hope for the best during any routine medical procedure, many people in New York and around the country have been affected by a doctor's mistake. One serious mistake doctors have made is operating on the wrong patient.

According to a New York Times article, a case occurred where doctors mixed up two patients who had similar names. The mistake was not discovered until the surgery had already begun, though the woman who was mistakenly operated on was able to make a complete recovery. Another medical error doctors make is not washing their hands when they are wearing latex gloves. One study found that medical providers who routinely wear gloves are less likely to wash their hands. This can increase the risk of deadly infection since germs are able to spread through latex.

McDonald criteria revised by international panel

Multiple sclerosis affects many New York residents. This condition is often misdiagnosed, leading people to receive unnecessary or incorrect treatment. Now, the McDonald criteria, which are used to diagnose MS, have been revised to help to improve the accuracy of diagnoses of the disease.

A panel of 30 MS experts from around the world met to revise the criteria. Led by experts from the Cleveland Clinic and the University College London, the panel revised the criteria in such a way that the correct diagnosis of MS might be faster. Experts say that diagnosing MS early is important because prompt treatment can help to prevent further damage to the nervous system.

Lavern's Law could change statute of limitations for malpractice

On Dec. 14, it was reported that a bill that could make it easier for cancer patients to file medical malpractice claims was sitting unsigned on the governor's desk. Called Lavern's Law, this bill would extend the window of time that patients in New York and elsewhere around the country could initiate medical malpractice cases concerning cancer to when they discover the error. As the bill stands, the two-and-a-half-year time limit starts when the mistake actually happened.

The bill was named after a single Brooklyn mother with two children who, in 2010, went to Kings County Hospital for pain in her chest. Her X-ray showed that she had an unidentified mass in her chest, but the radiologist didn't advise her to seek additional information about her condition. She ended up getting diagnosed with lung cancer after returning to the same hospital in 2012. By this time, the cancer had spread, eventually killing her. If she had been diagnosed during her original visit in 2010, she could have potentially survived. Her family could not file a medical malpractice claim as the statute of limitations had expired by the time they learned of the error.

Incomplete history leads to misdiagnosis of optic neuritis

According to a recent study, more than one-half of patients diagnosed with optic neuritis may have another condition affecting their eyesight. The study also suggests that the misdiagnosis is usually due to a limited patient history. Individuals in New York receiving this diagnosis may consider a second opinion.

Optic neuritis is known as an inflamed optic nerve. The optic nerve system operates eye function. It sends visual data to the brain. It can be characterized by blurry vision in one eye, loss of peripheral vision, pain in the eye sockets and at times, loss of color vision. The condition is usually temporary.

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Case of the month

$7,750,000 Recovery Due to Negligent Care in NYC Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

Our client, a 5 year-old patient receives almost $8 million in compensation from an NYC hospital in a medical malpractice claim won by Rosenberg, Minc,Falkoff & Wolf. Daniel Minc, representing the injured child with his team of legal and medical experts said "it was great day for the family".

The case involved negligent care on the part of the hospital pediatric intensive care unit for failing to observe bleeding from a simple biopsy wound which caused Neurological damage.

Medical Malpractice Blog

$25 million verdict against New York Methodist Hospital
When a child is born, parents expect the doctor, nurses and other staff to provide care that is up to the...
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