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February 2013 Archives

Tewksbury man hospitalized with head injury

On the evening of Feb. 5 in Tewksbury, a 67-year-old man was walking on Salem Road when he was struck by a car. The accident occurred near the Wilmington town line. Police report that the driver, a 24-year-old woman, stopped her car approximately 50 yards further down the road. Her speed at the time of the accident was not released.Shortly after the accident, the man was flown to Boston Medical Center via helicopter for treatment of a serious head injury and other injuries. The man's condition is unknown.

Improving medical malpractice suits

While it is essential that there is a system in place for people to file suit against inattentive or negligent doctors who have harmed them due to medical malpractice, the current system has some major issues. According to a study done by the RAND Corporation, the average physician will spend four years of a 40-year career fighting claims of malpractice. The problem is not only do some of these claims have no merit but that many of them take an enormous amount of time to be settled. This causes problems for both doctors and patients. Doctors will have less time to spend with their patients, and they will also often begin to practice defensive medicine. This drives up the costs of health care, and it can lead to patients having to undergo unnecessary tests and procedures to ensure there is no missed diagnosis. Further, patients who file claims may have to wait years to have their cases completed.

Massachusetts among states with lowest physician discipline

A report recently issued by the Wisconsin State Journal condemns the state for its low physician discipline rate and ranks it with four other "low discipline" states, among which is Massachusetts. The implications of these findings in terms of the incident rate of misdiagnosis, delayed treatment and physician negligence are potentially far-reaching for both patients and medical staff in these states. Wisconsin's rate of disciplinary actions taken against physicians is only 1.9 per 1,000 physicians; a watchdog group noted that while this low rate could be attributed to exceptional care on behalf of the doctors, it is more probable that discipline isn't being conducted as often as it should. The report indicates that only 50 percent of doctors who actually were disciplined between 2010 and 2012 received more than a reprimand, and another group criticizes the medical board's insufficient monitoring of physicians, which enables incompetent ones to act with impunity in many cases. The ineffectiveness of the state's medical board has been pinned partially on diminished state funds.

Breast cancer misdiagnoses produce lawsuits against radiologists

The journal "Radiology" recently published findings from a study that should be of great interest to radiologists and mammography patients alike in Massachusetts and elsewhere. According to the study, which culled data from nearly 4800 claims filed against radiologists in 47 states, the most common cause of medical malpractice suits filed against radiologists is breast cancer misdiagnosis rather than failure to recommend follow-up testing or insufficient communication between physicians and their patients; these were also listed as reasons for malpractice lawsuits but in much lower incidence than failure to diagnose breast cancer itself. While the majority of these missed diagnoses were attributed to radiologists' neglecting to spot lesions indicative of breast cancer on mammography scans, the senior author of the study, who is also chair of the Department of Radiology at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, noted that mammography itself as a technique is "limited" due to the density of breast tissue. This does not, however, excuse the lack of vigilance on the part of the radiologist, he also remarked.

Lawsuit brought in connection to alleged wrong-site surgery

It is very important for medical professionals to not commit negligence when it comes to the surgical care of patients. No patient should have to be subjected to surgical negligence. Such negligence can be very harmful to patients.

Jury reaches decision in prescription negligence case

Prescription-related negligence can be a very serious matter. When a pharmacy acts negligently in connection to the filling of an individual's prescription, it can result in prescription errors occurring (such as an individual being given the wrong medication). Such errors can be very harmful. No individual should have to suffer harm because a pharmacy acted negligently.

Wrongful death lawsuit alleges diagnosis-related negligence

It is very important for medical professionals and medical facilities to not act negligently when it comes to the examining, testing and diagnosing of patients. Such negligence can be very harmful to patients. Such negligence can sometimes even lead to a patient's death.