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Boston Medical Malpractice Blog

Did your doctor miss the signs of a potential uterine rupture?

A uterine rupture occurs when there's a separation of the uterine wall at the site of a prior cesarean incision. They often occur in women who are attempting a vaginal delivery after having had a prior cesarean (VBAC). If the uterine tear goes deep enough, the consequences for both the baby and the mother can be severe -- immediate surgical intervention is required.

What happens if the necessary surgical intervention isn't received?

Improper end-of-life care is often provided

You may know what you want in terms of end-of-life care, but what are the odds that you'll actually get that care? Studies have found that mistakes are made far too often.

One study audited multiple medical centers, starting out by talking to patients or those in charge of making their medical decisions to find out what life-sustaining treatments they wanted or had rejected. When they knew what the patients wanted, they then checked the medical records to see if the two matched.

Common dangers patients face in hospitals

Medical mistakes are thought to be the third leading cause of death in the United States, just behind heart disease and cancer -- but exact figures are hard to come by because death certificates are designed to list the disease or condition that the deceased was being treated for instead of the complication that led to death.

What are some of the most common dangers you face inside a hospital?

Study claims firefighters have high cancer risk

Firefighters already have a very dangerous job, running into burning buildings to save people and put fires out, when most people are running away. However, one study found that they may also face serious issues with cancer, as they have a high risk of developing the disease.

Essentially, the study just compared the number of deaths from cancer and the number of times firefighters were diagnosed with cancer to the same rates for the general population. In both cases, firefighters outpaced the population, showing their career could put them at greater risk.

Relief is available from work-related stress

Hard work can have great impact on life for many Americans. However, whether that effect is positive or negative is often dictated by the stress level of an individual employee. While America is known as one of the most productive countries in the world, its workers are also among the most likely to experience job-related stress.

Stress can lead to poor performance on the job. Its negative side effects, including fatigue and a weakened immune system, can also creep into other aspects of life outside the workplace, resulting in more sick days and less quality time spent with loved ones. Although work provides a paycheck, money can have little meaning to workers who are unable to spend quality time with family and friends.

Too little information equals a lack of informed consent

All too often, doctors tell patients what treatment they're going to prescribe and treat the patient's role in the decision-making process as almost unimportant. Doctors will tell the patient the positive outcome they expect, and either gloss over the potential risks and alternative choices or skip that part of the discussion altogether.

Then, when something goes wrong, the physician tries to deflect any blame by saying, "But the patient agreed to the treatment!"

This summer, rookie doctors can work 24-hour shifts

In July of this year, rookie doctors -- those in their first year as full-time physicians -- will be allowed to work for 24 hours in a row. This will be true all over the United States.

The reason for the change is that the cap is being eliminated. It had been set at 16 hours of patient care in a row. It's been debated back and forth for some time, and now that extra 8-hour block is being added on.

Overworked and overtired nurses lead to poor patient care

Nurses are on the front line of patient care, and they're the last line of defense against medical errors -- which means they face an enormous amount of responsibility every day. Unfortunately, they may be facing that workload with far too few hands to help, and patients are suffering as a result.

How serious of a problem is it when the nurses you have are understaffed and overworked? According to several different studies, patient care suffers in numerous ways:

Multiple births raise the risks

If you have multiple children at once -- twins or triplets, generally, though rarer cases involve even more children -- there could be a higher risk that the children are injured or do not survive. Experts note that risks of adverse outcomes are statistically higher than they are for children born on their own.

For instance, data from 2015 showed that over 50 percent of twins were born with a low birth weight or born before coming to full term, both of which can increase the risk. For triplets, the amount who were preterm or under the optimal birth weight soared to 90 percent -- or 9 out of every 10.

Five tips for choosing your first doctor

It's a question most people will encounter at some point: How do I choose a doctor?

Ask a friend? Choose the clinic closest to my house? Google indiscriminately and hope for the best? It's not an easy question to answer, especially for young, healthy people who are looking for a primary physician for the first time. It is, however, a critical decision in determining your health care.