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April 2011 Archives

Anesthesia errors reduced despite hospital pushback

Many patients fear "going under" general anesthesia for common operations because of the risk of a serious anesthesia negligence injury. Possible complications from anesthesia include brain damage and death, but these complications have been greatly reduced in the past few decades due to the work of Boston doctors and the Massachusetts Society of Anesthesiologists.

Five simple tips to avoid suffering a hospital injury

In our previous posts we discussed the recent report in Health Affairs which indicates that as many as a third of hospital patients suffer a medical malpractice related injury. We also discussed the program launched by the Department of Health and Human Services to help curve hospital negligence injuries and save 63,000 patients' lives.

HHS responds to hospital error report with new program

In response to last week's report regarding the shocking error rate at U.S. hospitals, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it will launch a new national program targeted at preventing hospital negligence injuries. The Agency expects that the program will save 63,000 patients' lives and $35 billion in health care costs in the next three years, ABC News reports.

New report indicates shocking levels of hospital errors

Hospital errors impact many families in Massachusetts every day. Although some hospital errors are minor, other errors such as medication mistakes can result in the incapacitation or wrongful death of a patient.

Rep. Giffords office pushes for accessible TBI rehab options

In a previous post we discussed the problems that many Boston hospital patients have finding proper medical treatment for their traumatic brain injuries. Brain injuries are often very serious and but hard to detect. A small bruise or tear of the brain may be overlooked by a negligent physician and have many long term effects on a patient.

Second medical opinions may help prevent malpractice incidents

We discussed the medical care issues of major league baseball players in a previous post. Along with the conflict of interest issues that team physicians face, there is also a risk that team physicals will fail to diagnose and properly treat a player's injuries.

Caps on Medical Malpractice...fair?

State legislatures are pushing to cap awards  for non-economic damages (pain and suffering).  So, if the CEO of a major firm is injured by medical negligence and the cap is $250,000 for pain and suffering, he still can receive his lost wages.  If he made a million dollars a year and is now disabled but would have worked another twenty years, he can receive twenty million plus $250K.  A newborn injured by a negligent obstetrician has no lost income.  That child will get $250K for the pain and suffering he will have for the rest of his life.

Conflict of interest issues surface for baseball team physicians

Although professional baseball teams such as the Boston Red Sox employ physicians to care for injured players, many players are suspicious of the quality of medical care they receive. Many of these players now routinely seek second opinions from independent physicians.

All Bleeding is not from Hemorrhoids

Colon cancer screening should be started at age 50, assuming there is no family history of colon cancer which may indicate a necessity to begin screening earlier, and assuming there are no symptoms such as rectal bleeding.  Although hemorrhoids may occasionally bleed, unless the physician on examination can actually see the site of the bleeding, no assumption should ever be made that the bleeding is only from hemorrhoids.  Hemorrhoids are so common that it is possible for the bleeding to be coming from colon cancer or a polyp that may eventually may become cancerous.  Colonoscopy is the gold standard test to tell if there is a polyp or cancer in the colon.  Early diagnosis and treatment is necessary for cure of the cancer, or to allow removal of the polyp to prevent cancer.

Prisons, healthcare providers respond to malpractice allegations

In our previous post, we covered the growing criticism of the Massachusetts Department of Correction for providing low-cost care to inmates which has spawned multiple medical malpractice lawsuits and unexpected costs to taxpayers.

Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Tribunal

After filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, your attorney must present your case to a panel consisting of a judge, a lawyer and a doctor, usually in the same field of medicine as the doctor you are suing.  Your attorney needs to have a report from a medical expert that contains the basis of his or her opinions regarding negligence.  If the report is lacking in any of the items the tribunal is looking for, and your attorney fails to convince this panel, your lawsuit will be dismissed unless a six-thousand dollar bond is posted, or you appeal the tribunal findings.  If you fail the appeal, your case will be dismissed and you then cannot post a bond.  Case closed.