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Boston Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Birth injuries that could impact your child

There are several kinds of birth injuries that can take place during the birthing process. It's not uncommon for babies to suffer some injuries, because their bodies are compressed and pushed through the tight birth canal in most cases. It's normal to see injuries such as bruises or even some broken bones, although broken bones are less common.

In most cases, when babies suffer birth injuries, those injuries will recover without treatment. However, there are some injuries that are caused by neglect or negligence, and those injuries can be life-threatening or impact the child for the rest of his or her life. When negligence is the cause, that's when families have a right to seek out compensation for their child's care.

Failing to diagnose cancer can allow it to spread

Having any symptoms that are associated with cancer can be frightening. If you experience those types of symptoms, you will likely go to your doctor in an attempt to find out what is going on with you. If you are like most people, you trust your doctor. But, what happens if a physician doesn't make the proper diagnosis?

Any misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a condition can be harmful. However, cancer that is left undiagnosed can get worse and spread because it isn't being treated. The same is true for cancers that aren't being treated properly.

Woman dies after doctors fail to monitor her liver function

A 78-year-old grandmother is dead after taking Nizoral for her discolored toenail. The woman was prescribed the drug, which is known to cause liver toxicity, but her doctor failed to monitor her liver function during the four-and-a-half months she was taking the medication.

The woman's devastating story came to an end after a 3-week hospitalization. At the time of her death, she was 25 pounds heavier than her normal weight because of fluid built up because her body's systems shut down. She was on narcotic medications to help control her pain. Her kidneys and liver stopped working.

Some medications can cause life-threatening side effects

Sometimes, medications can have side effects that you weren't told were possible. These potential adverse events could be life threatening, even if you aren't mixing medications.

For instance, the American Heart Association has stated that there are a number of drugs that could trigger heart failure for those already struggling with heart problems. That means simply taking a drug as prescribed could be dangerous for you; your doctor should make you aware of the potential illnesses you could suffer before you ever touch these medications with your condition.

Gestational diabetes can affect the woman and the baby

Gestational diabetes is a condition that affects around 18 percent of women who are pregnant in this country. In this condition, the woman's body is unable to produce adequate levels of insulin, which allows levels of glucose to go unchecked. In many cases, this condition is diagnosed during a prenatal exam. When that occurs, the doctor and the woman can take the appropriate steps to manage the condition.

Without proper management, gestational diabetes can lead to problems for the unborn child and the woman. Notably, one issue that can occur is that the baby grows larger than a baby whose mother didn't suffer from gestational diabetes. This can lead to difficulties during the labor and delivery process.

Surgical errors: Will your doctor tell you about them?

Would a surgeon inform you if something went wrong when you were in surgery? You might think he or she would, but when protecting their own licenses can be a priority, you may never be told that anything went wrong at all. Of course, national guidelines state that doctors and hospitals should disclose the errors or what went wrong to the patient and the patient's family.

A survey of surgeons in 12 specialties showed that most followed some of the national guidelines, but many didn't go as far as the guidelines would have suggested. For instance, most agreed that they explained to the patient and family what happened, disclosed the error within 24 hours, expressed regret, showed concern for the patient and took steps to treat any resulting problems. However, only 55 percent talked to families about whether or not the error was preventable or apologized.

Surgical errors can change your life; get compensated

Mistakes can happen during a surgery, but many of them should not. Surgeons and the medical team supporting the surgery should be taking steps to prevent wrong-site surgeries, wrong-patient surgeries and other medical errors, either before or after surgery.

To help prevent these mistakes, these are some steps you can take as an advocate for your own health. Keep track of what kind of surgery you're having and ask all questions about the surgery before you agree. Ask your doctor about the medications you should not take before your surgery. Ask if you're allowed to eat or drink before surgery, and ask about removing your nail polish or trimming your nails; this is sometimes required for accurate readings on machinery.

Medical mistakes a leading cause of death nationwide

We would all like to believe that the purpose of the medical industry is to heal patients, not hurt them. Yet few people realize just how frequently medical errors occur. In fact, medical mistakes are one of the leading causes of death nationwide - right up there with heart disease and cancer.

The most common mistakes include:

Pharmacy errors are more common under these circumstances

Medication errors are some very serious errors that can lead to long lasting harm or death. Understanding what factors can lead to these mistakes when they are made by pharmacists might help some patients to avoid being affected by a medication error.

Pharmacists that work in busy pharmacies are more likely to make medication errors, according to one study done on the matter. In fact, when 100 to 200 orders per shift occurred, the error rate was 2.58 per 100. At 201 to 400 orders per shift, the error rate increased to 8.44 per 100 orders. When the number of verified orders was greater than 400 per shift, the error rate was 11.11 per 100 orders.

Feres doctrine: Protecting military hospitals from lawsuits?

Are military hospitals protected against lawsuits from those in the military? Unfortunately, they are protected by the Feres doctrine, which was created as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court decision from 1950. The doctrine prevents military members from suing the government over injuries suffered in combat, training or other military activities. What may not have been expected, though, was the impact it would have on those in military hospitals. Critics of the doctrine say it protects military hospitals from malpractice claims, even though those claims may be legitimate.

Under the Feres doctrine, you can't sue the government, if you're a military member, for any injuries that you suffer incident to service. That doesn't seem like it should apply to those in military hospitals in many cases; for instance, a baby born with birth injuries was not being born as a result of service actions. Illnesses like a ruptured appendix or another illness may not be a result of service, either.

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