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Medical malpractice study reveals troubling implications

Massachusetts residents may be interested to hear that a recent study found that many established medical practices are ineffective or, worse, damaging. The study found that while many practices are found to be effective, many practices have not held up to further study. These outdated practices are often hard to eradicate from medical practice, even after they are disproven.

According to the study, various articles in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrate instances of malpractice. For instance, 40.2 percent of articles about current medical practices demonstrated that those practices were ineffectual, and another 21.8 percent of articles testing current medical practices failed to show that those practices are successful one way or another. In addition, only 27 percent of the overall articles tested current medical practices; the majority emphasized new or experimental techniques that the study's author feels are less important than understanding whether current practice is successful or not.

While surgical errors are one of the most feared forms of medical malpractice, they are not the only thing potential patients should be wary of. Malpractice comes in many shapes and sizes, and not all of them are readily discernible. Negligent operating room staff and improper use of surgical equipment can both lead to a worsened condition, but it can be hard to prove after-the-fact that either one of these events have taken place.

An experienced malpractice lawyer may have an understanding of state and federal regulations regarding proper medical procedure, and he or she can investigate the practices of the operating room staff to ensure compliance with those regulations. Similarly, an attorney may seek to review a patient's before-and-after medical condition to determine whether malpractice can be identified. If a patient suspects that they've been damaged by malpractice in some way, an attorney may be able to initiate a lawsuit on their behalf to help ensure the victim receives any compensation to which they're entitled.

Source: Medical Daily, "Medical Errors: How Common Are They Really?", Susan Scutti, July 22, 2013

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