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Boston Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Dangerous turf leads to career-ending injury for NFL linebacker, lawsuit claims

Employees have a right to reasonably safe working conditions. But what exactly amounts to unsafe conditions? For professional football players, one answer may center on the playing field itself.

A former star linebacker for the Houston Texans recently filed a lawsuit claiming that unsafe turf contributed to an injury that ended his career in 2014. DeMeco Ryans was playing for the Eagles against his former team at NRG Stadium in Houston when he tore his Achilles tendon. His lawsuit seeks to hold the stadium, the Texans team and the turf manufacturer accountable for roughly $10 million in lost income.

Birth injury causes and effects vary greatly

Birth injuries can range from very minor to life-threatening. For minor injuries, there is a good chance that the baby won't be affected all of its life and that the parents won't have to deal with many consequences of the injury once the child leaves the hospital.

Some examples of very minor birth injuries include slight bruising that is common during delivery. This is sometimes the case if forceps or a vacuum have to be used to deliver the infant. This bruising will usually go away within a few days or weeks after delivery.

Patient has healthy kidney removed due to medical error

Following the right patient identification procedures is necessary to make sure patients aren't injured as a result of receiving the wrong treatment. If identification procedures aren't followed, it can result in a patient going into a surgery that was meant for someone else or receiving the wrong medications. In this case, the staff at St. Vincent Hospital didn't use the right procedures, and that led to a surgery being performed on a healthy patient. The patient had a healthy kidney removed, and the news didn't say if the patient has been able to receive a new kidney as a replacement.

According to a report about the accident, which took place in July 2016, the patient was at St. Vincent Hospital because of a large tumor. However, it was found that the patient didn't have a tumor on the kidney once the surgery was underway. It was found that the patient admission forms and the plans for surgery had been designed based on the computerized tomography scan that actually belonged to a different patient. An internal investigation that was performed at the hospital showed that the medical records of the patient being operated on didn't even have a CT scan included.

Mild brain injuries can affect people in the long term

A mild brain injury can have a long-term effect on children that lasts into adulthood. A study performed in Sweden showed that those who suffered at least one brain injury before the age of 25 were more likely to die early and to have problems functioning as adults.

The impact of a brain injury can be correlated with the age of the person and the severity of the injury. Those who were older at the time of injury and hurt severely were more likely to have lasting complications, whereas younger children seemed to have a better outcome overall. Even repeated minor injuries could be linked to increased problems as an adult.

Undiagnosed and misdiagnosed cancer can lead to misery

A person who is diagnosed with any form of cancer is likely ready to start getting treatments for the illness. But, what if you weren't properly diagnosed? There is a chance that you could be missing out on treatments that could save or improve your life. That isn't something that people want to think about, but it is a reality for some people.

We know that it is difficult to have to come to the realization that your cancer was misdiagnosed or went undiagnosed. This is most common with lymphoma, breast cancer, melanoma and sarcomas, as well as with cancers with an unknown point of origin. While those are the most common cancers associated with diagnostic errors, the patients who suffer from an incorrect diagnosis don't have to stand by and just deal with the effects.

Smart infusion pumps may not be infallible

Smart infusion pumps are used in health care settings to deliver medications, nutrients, fluids and other substances into a patient's body mechanically. The pumps are sophisticated, and they're designed to reduce the number of accidents or injuries as a result of mistakes. Error-reduction software is in place to help health care providers program and calculate the doses given to patients. On the whole, using these pumps helps prevent IV errors, so fewer patients are hurt.

Pumps aren't infallible, so there's always a risk of error. Clinicians still need to monitor patients vigilantly and practice the five rights. These rights including having the right drug, the right patient, the right route of delivery, the right time between doses and the right dosage.

Surgeons who specialized might have better results

Choosing a surgeon is something that should be taken very seriously if the need for the surgery isn't an emergency. You probably have a list of things that you want to consider when you are going through possible surgeons. While it might be tempting to consider only the number of surgeries that the surgeon has performed, you must also consider the types of surgeries that are included in that number.

A study that was done on complex surgeries performed by 25,000 surgeons from 2008 and 2013 showed that oftentimes, the best surgeon for a patient is one who specializes only in the type of surgery the patient will need. People who had the surgery done by a specialist had a greatly reduced rate of death.

Brachial plexus injuries can lead to lasting effects

Childbirth is a difficult process that puts the mother and baby in danger sometimes. For some babies, the risk of a brachial plexus injury is the issue that they will face during delivery. This is an injury to the network of nerves in the shoulder that can lead to difficulties using the hands and arms.

When there is an injury to the brachial plexus during birth, it can cause two different conditions -- Klumpke's palsy or Erb's palsy. The location of the injury in the brachial plexus determines the condition.

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.

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