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Boston Medical Malpractice Law Blog

New smart needles make epidural injections safer for patients

You may know the dangers of getting an epidural injection if you've suffered the side effects. A needle that goes in too far puts you at risk for spinal cord damage, and a needle that doesn't go in far enough won't deliver the medications you need accurately. If you've been hurt this way, a medical malpractice lawsuit might be one solution, but another is to work on prevention.

Smart needles are a new invention that can make injections safer for anyone using them. The needle, which is embedded with an optical sensor, makes medical procedures safer.

The airline industry protocol might help reduce medical errors

Medical errors can occur at almost every step of a procedure, visit, or admission. It is crucial that the medical industry take steps to reduce the number of errors that occur because fewer errors mean fewer patients that suffer harm at the hands of the doctors who should be helping them.

One medical center has turned to protocol used in the airline industry to try to reduce the number of errors that occur at the facility. The program was dubbed LifeWings and seeks to improve communication from all members of the patient care team.

Preventing stillbirths: What you can do to help

A stillbirth is a traumatizing event for families; many happen without warning and are natural, but some are preventable with the right care. When a woman has diabetes or high blood pressure, it's imperative that she's monitored and has her baby's health checked often as the pregnancy progresses. If the child has any signs of distress, the medical team working with the mother needs to take action to help and prevent death in the womb.

Sometimes, babies in distress require an emergency C-section, even when they're not at full term. A doctor must weigh the benefits of an early delivery against the risk of leaving a child inside the mother. In some cases, the chances of survival outweigh the risks, even with an early birth.

You can fight for compensation after a misdiagnosis

When a misdiagnosis is at play, patients have to be more vigilant than ever. It's easy to want to take the advice of a doctor and to assume what he or she says is the actual diagnosis, but if you see that symptoms aren't resolving or that you're getting worse, asking for a second opinion is a wise step. If you then find that your diagnosis was wrong or simply missed, you can often seek a claim if the lack of a diagnosis or wrong diagnosis led to further injury.

Not every doctor has every answer. There are hundreds of different potential diagnoses for patients in a number of different medical fields. Around 40,000 to 80,000 people die in the United States because of missed, delayed or inaccurate diagnoses, too. Keeping this in mind, it's a surprise more patients don't seek second opinions when something isn't quite right.

Patients suffer when doctors suffer from burnout

You count on your doctor for care in a variety of situations. In order to provide you with that care, your doctor has to care for himself or herself. Burnout in the medical field is common, and you could suffer if your doctor is suffering from burnout.

A study that was done by a physician at the Mayo Clinic looked at 7,000 workers, some of whom were doctors. The results showed that 49 percent of doctors met the points necessary for burnout. That is a huge increase from the 28 percent of other workers who fit the definition.

Cognition is affected by traumatic brain injuries

Cognition is one aspect of your brain activity that can be affected if you suffer a traumatic brain injury. Recovering from cognitive challenges takes time and hard work; it can be expensive, which is why any settlement you consider should take into consideration your ongoing medical care needs.

Cognition, or the act of thinking, includes things like your memory, communication techniques, the way you plan or organize thoughts or actions, impulse control and attention and concentration. After a traumatic brain injury, it can be a common side effect that you struggle with concentration, speech, language, problem-solving and other cognitive behaviors.

Medication errors can occur for a host of reasons

Doctors and pharmacists have a duty to ensure that they don't provide patients with medications that will interact with one another in a way that leads to patient harm. They also have to make sure that they are prescribing medications to patients that will help the patient with their current medical issues. When doctors or pharmacists fail, patients can suffer.

It is important to note that patients also have a measure of responsibility here. The patient has to let the doctor know all of the medications they are taking. This includes other prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and natural supplements since all of these might interact with others.

Prescription drug overdoses: A growing epidemic among white women

When considering what segment of the population suffers from the most drug overdoses, middle-aged white women aren't the first to come to mind. Yet recent research has shed light on just how serious this often-overlooked problem has become.

The two main culprits

According to an eye-opening article in the Washington Post, white women across America are increasingly falling victim to dangerous prescription drug combinations. Two categories of drugs are the worst culprits:

Does general anesthesia have long-lasting consequences?

One of the things that isn't often discussed is the likelihood of having side effects from anesthesia. Patients are usually asked to sign waivers for anesthesia before operations, but that doesn't mean they're receiving a full disclosure about the potential injuries they could suffer. These patients are then left with injuries they didn't expect and may feel filing a lawsuit is the only option.

One side effect of anesthesia is called postoperative delirium. It's a state of mental confusion and memory loss that can take place as the anesthesia wears off. Hallucinations are possible, and patients may seem unable to put together coherent sentences. Most of the time, patients have these side effects resolve within a few days, but the damage to memory and attention span can last for months or years.

Roofers face a high risk of deadly falls

For workers in the roofing industry, each day on the job comes with risks and difficulties. Roofers face exhausting work over long hours under the hot sun. On top of the demanding physical labor and harsh weather conditions, there's also one constant danger that outstrips all others: falls.

Managing the dangers

It's unavoidable that roof work involves heights. Steep pitches are another common hazard. Recognizing these risks, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) establishes detailed safety requirements for workers and their supervisors. Employers must ensure that their workers are well-trained on how to stay safe on the job. They must also provide safety measures such as:

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