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Boston Medical Malpractice and Workers' Compensation Blog

When nurses and doctors fail to communicate about patient care

One of the scariest things about being in a hospital is that you have a lot of different people handling your care -- while that sounds like it might be comforting, it can end up being a recipe for confusion.

In particular, when nurses and physicians fail to communicate properly about a patient's care or needs, the results can be tragic.

Be informed about repetitive stress injuries

Residents of Boston, Massachusetts, work in an array of professional positions. Some of those residents wind up with physical problems that can be directly tracked to the work that they do. If those problems aren't in any measure the fault of a person's employer, the person should file a workers' compensation claim.

One kind of physical problem that can happen due to work is called repetitive stress injury (RSI). This type of injury tends to be in the hands, and can be painful to the point of being debilitating. Forms of RSI include tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and bursitis.

There's no excuse for a surgical sponge left behind in a patient

There are some surgical errors that are called "never events" -- meaning they are mistakes that should never happen because they are 100 percent preventable.

Leaving a sponge inside a patient is one of those "never events." Yet, experts say that medical sponges -- which are no more than 3-inch squares of sterile cotton -- get left behind inside patients around 11 times every day during surgeries.

Put safety first on the job

Throughout Boston, Massachusetts, there are thousands of workers who deal with dangerous equipment. Some of the danger is from the heat generated by equipment. If something goes wrong with it, severe injuries and death can result, along with costly workers' compensation cases for employers. For that reason, workers wanting to avoid severe injuries and death and employers wanting to avoid workers' compensation cases should be aware of the dangers presented by heat-generating equipment.

Of course, a primary danger is getting burned, which can happen due to explosions, fires and simply making unprotected contact with hot surfaces. To avoid risk of explosions and fires, always check the work area to make sure that there is nothing explosive or flammable in it. In addition to checking personally, make sure that a supervisor knows about any heat-generating equipment that you plan to use in the area so that they can advise of any dangers.

Get legal help if your child is injured during birth

There's something particularly tragic about a child who is injured during delivery. Partially, it's the recognition that the infant was robbed of so much potential -- right at the moment when all that potential should have begun. Partially, it's the recognition that the parents have nurtured a healthy infant for 40 long weeks -- only to have that infant's health destroyed by a careless mistake at the last moment.

Perhaps that's why a judge handed down such a severe verdict in a case involving a Florida mother and a doctor who treated the delivery of a newborn like an inconvenience.

Distracted doctors may place you in danger

Few people approach the prospect of surgery without some concerns. After all, there are not many situations in which you are so vulnerable as when you are unconscious on the operating table. Obviously, it takes a great deal of trust to submit to surgery, even one that may save your life.

You may have in mind the images of TV surgeons bent over their tasks, focused on the patient. Their hands are sterile, and they may even shout at someone who enters the room without a mask. Some TV doctors prefer silence while others concentrate better with certain music playing in the background. In reality, however, it seems that more doctors are operating with their cellphones in hand.

Treatment center under investigation after 2 deaths this year

There are many care facilities in Boston, Massachusetts, including high-quality ones providing world-class care to their fortunate patients. At other care facilities, however, the patients are not so fortunate, and things go so awry that they wind up pursuing legal cases that allege hospital negligence. Sometimes, when care facilities become a matter of concern, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) gets involved.

That happened recently, when the MDPH ordered the suspension of all new admissions to an addiction treatment center. The suspension happened after two patients died there, with a spokesperson for the MDPH saying that patient care and safety concerns are the subject of an ongoing investigation. Because the investigation is ongoing, the MDPH is refraining from further comment until they have findings in the case that they are ready to release to the public. It is known, however, that the first death happened in February, and the second death happened in August.

Administrative workers may be at a high risk of suffering MSDs

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, preventing musculoskeletal disorders is possible by simply fitting jobs to workers rather than the other way round. This is called ergonomics, which can improve any workplace -- from factory floors to offices. After examining a numerous variety of jobs in industries in which the prevalence of MSDs is high, ergonomists have been able to determine the risk factors.

Another name for the injuries resulting from bad ergonomics is repetitive strain injuries because repetitive motions typically cause musculoskeletal disorders. The disorders include tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, lower back muscle injuries and other muscle strains.

Where do you turn when you suspect nursing abuse?

The feeling that something is wrong and there's nothing you can do to stop it from getting worse is awful -- and that's exactly what the relatives of the victims of nursing abuse often experience every day.

They're often unsure of whether the abuse is happening, what they should do and what happens afterward.

Care facility allegedly left staff members open to assault

Boston, Massachusetts, has a wide array of care facilities. Those include facilities for both physical and psychiatric care. The management of each facility is responsible for the safety of both their patients and their staff. If they fail to ensure the safety of their staff, they may face workers' compensation claims or penalties from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the federal agency that oversees workplace safety.

That is the case for a local psychiatric hospital in Lowell. OSHA, according to a recent press release, is proposing $207,690 in penalties for the hospital. This was based on their belief that employees of the hospital were endangered by the patients, to the extent of facing "death or serious physical harm".