Practice Areas
Protecting Injured Clients Across Massachusetts
Your Rights Matter

October 2013 Archives

New technique under development for diagnosing brain injuries

Massachusetts residents may be interested in an article detailing an emerging method for diagnosing traumatic brain injuries. This new technique may make it possible for doctors to visualize the injury in the patient's brain, rather than relying on the patient's own description of their symptoms.

Hospital mistake with a $10 Fix

According to the Joint Commission, leaving surgical tools and other objects in a patient's body after surgery is a common error in hospitals in Massachusetts and around the country. This event is known as the "Unintended Retention of Foreign Objects, or URFO. A four-year study at the Mayo Clinic revealed an incidence of this in one in 5,500 surgeries after reviewing 411,526 of them. Other studies have revealed that some hospitals are 10 times more likely to perform this error than other hospitals.

Alarming medical facts

Massachusetts residents who seek medical attention, especially in hospitals, should be aware that there are some major concerns about the way that healthcare is managed. In addition to having to worry about things like anesthesia negligence and wrong site surgeries, there are also issues of wasted resources and doctors making medical choices based on avoiding a lawsuit instead of what is best for the patient.

Foreign objects left behind after surgery is a problem

According to a new report, those in the Boston area who have surgery may leave the procedures with surgical instruments remaining inside them. Since 2005, nearly 800 people in the United States have had materials left in them after surgical procedures, which has put them in danger of serious health risks. The Joint Commission is a non-profit organization that attempts to make sure that hospitals are following the proper protocols as far as safety is concerned.

Surgery with robots is not as safe as advertised

As more and more Massachusetts hospitals are performing delicate surgeries with the use of robotic tools, patients should be aware that this new medical technology is not necessarily foolproof. Even though no studies have proven robotic surgery to be safer or more effective than standard surgery, advocates of the technology have been heavily marketing it in recent years, often making dubious claims as to its superiority to standard procedures. Since 2009, around 70 robotic surgery patients have died due to ruptured arteries, infections and other surgical errors.

Misdiagnosis tops malpractice claims for Massachusetts doctors

A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association lead by a doctor from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston evaluated more than 500 malpractice lawsuits that had been filed against Bay State primary care physicians, or PCPs, from 2005 to 2009. Results of the research indicated that 397 of the suits stemmed from misdiagnosis, while the remainder involved medications, communication, patient rights and other issues.

Tips for Massachusetts residents in hospitals

Due to a number of factors, including the issue of lawsuits and maintaining their reputations, many hospitals have secrets that they keep hidden from patients. While these secrets are not necessarily as severe as wrong site surgery or an anesthesia error, they can have consequences for patients. Some of the most common things hidden from people are medication errors and whether the person attending to them is actually a doctor.

Young girl dies after misdiagnosis

Medical analysts suggest that Massachusetts families who benefit from Medicaid may be at greater risk for the kinds of medical misdiagnoses that led to the death of a 6-year-old girl from New York in 2010. The former New York State Medicaid inspector general said that many medical specialties have difficulty recruiting providers who will agree to be Medicaid-based. The ex-official went on to say that related trends of hiring specialists without board certification may have contributed to the girl's death.

Overuse of cardiac stents can lead to death

Residents of Massachusetts might be startled to hear that the overuse of cardiac stents can lead to death. Cardiac stents are implants that are used to prop open the arteries to allow for better blood flow. Although nobody disputes their benefit when they are used to restore the blood flow in heart attack patients, there have been numerous injury, death and fraud lawsuits filed by the other half of patients who chose to have them implanted.

Medical errors really the third leading cause of death?

Massachusetts residents might be interested to hear that there has been some debate over recent statistics released concerning medical errors. New estimates released by the Journal of Patient Safety seem to suggest that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, following heart disease and cancer. According to the journal, between 400,000 and 425,000 people die each year due to medical errors in the nation.