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June 2013 Archives

When Patients Shouldn't Have Surgery

Massachusetts residents in need of surgery might want to take note of a research study by Johns Hopkins that showed that there was both a higher rate of complications and a higher rate of mortality in July. Some people believe that July is one of the worst times to get surgery because it is when new medical students enter each hospital to begin their residency, and this can contribute to surgical errors. However, other studies have shown that there is no increase in issues, possibly due to other doctors being more conscientious about their work.

Unnecessary surgeries more common than one might think

Tens of thousands of patients in Massachusetts and around the country face unnecessary surgeries annually, according to a USA TODAY report. Misdiagnosis occurs due to a doctor's incompetency, working long hours or other stress factors. Wrong medications could be prescribed, worsening the patient's health and often resulting in unnecessary surgeries. Government records show that many medical practitioners bill insurance companies for unnecessary surgical treatments that might have been avoided had they helped the patients using alternate methods of treatment instead.

Hospital hopes to reduce medical errors with new sponges

Patients from Massachusetts may be interested to learn that surgeons at St. John Medical Center in Washington are required to use bar-coded medical sponges when operating on patients. These sponges are scanned both before and after surgery to ensure that no sponge is accidentally left inside a patient. This step represents the hospital's effort to reduce the number of surgical errors by hospital staff.

Patient sues after undergoing 24 nose surgeries

Massachusetts residents undergo nose surgeries to enhance or change their appearance, but not many can say they've undergone 24 nose surgeries. An Oklahoma City man didn't need a nose job but wanted to do something for himself. He said it was supposed to be a minor tweak to his slightly asymmetric nostrils. However, seven years and over 20 surgeries later, he has had to address complications like cartilage problems and misplaced skin. The 35-year-old man's nostrils are completely gone. Instead, they've been replaced by a straw that holds open a collapsing tunnel.

Missed cancer diagnosis causes man to lose voice box

Patients who live in Massachusetts may be interested in a case involving a misdiagnosis in another state. One man was told on multiple occasions that the pain in his throat was not due to cancer but was caused by acid reflux. Seven months later, a resident tried a simple procedure that led him to discover that the man had a tumor the size of a peach pit. The man was required to undergo surgery to have the tumor removed and now cannot speak at conversational levels. Had the misdiagnosis not occurred, it may have been possible save the man's voice.

Massachusetts doctors' mistakes can have grave legal consequences

Medical errors can cost providers big bucks, but the real caveat when being checked in to a hospital is how those errors can affect patients. Whether it's Boston General or any of Massachusetts' other major hospitals, an error in medical procedures can result in complications, secondary health problems or even death. A recent study by the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority states that a mistake can cost between $17 billion to more than $1 trillion. The article discusses reasons why these mistakes can happen.

Addressing near misses to improve patient care

In the medical field, a 'near miss" means that an error made by someone worked out in the end. In other words, the patient didn't suffer long-term injury or loss of life because someone made a mistake. While hospitals and medical professionals in Massachusetts and states across the nation do all they can to properly care for patients, the fact remains that mistakes happen. Whether that error is a misdiagnosis or a surgery on the wrong part of the body, the fact remains that medical professionals are human, and sometimes humans make negligent mistakes.

Collaborating With Your Physician Will Prevent Misdiagnosis

In the state of Massachusetts, misdiagnosis can be grounds for a medical malpractice suit if the failure to diagnose violated standards of reasonable care under the circumstances and resulted in demonstrable injury to the patient. Misdiagnosis is not a Massachusetts issue alone, of course. A new report notes that 39 percent of all malpractice payments at the national level are compensations for incorrect, delayed or absent diagnoses.

Family sues robotic surgery manufacturer

Intuitive, the maker of robotic surgery systems, is accused of behaving like a 'car dealership," according to testimony in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The estate of a man who died as the result of surgical errorsis now suing the group for more than $8 million. The company that makes the da Vinci robotic surgical system is now facing at least 26 lawsuits alleging that the company failed to properly train physicians in the use of its robotic surgical machinery. Robotic surgery is currently used in many Boston hospitals and other locations throughout the country.