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November 2013 Archives

Misdiagnosis of cancer on the rise

Massachusetts readers of the Journal of the American Medical Association may have read in a recent issue that many people who were told they had cancer and were even treated for it never actually had the disease. The cancer misdiagnosis trend was detailed in a National Cancer Institute article published in the journal. It followed a 2012 study showing that regular mammograms led to unneeded treatment for cancer since doctors are reluctant to allow any tumors to go untreated regardless of whether they are benign or malignant.

$2.5 million settlement in swollen toe case

Massachusetts residents might be interested in learning about a medical malpractice suit involving a 33-year-old man who went to an emergency room in Hawaii on Jan. 4, 2011, to receive treatment for swelling between his toes on his left foot. According to the lawsuit, the man was prescribed an antibiotic. When he returned to the hospital on the following day complaining of hip and thigh pains as well as a headache and red eyes with a yellowish crust, the staff gave him painkillers and told him to continue taking the antibiotic.

July effect in hospitals limited

Massachusetts residents who fear the "July Effect" may have misplaced anxiety. The "July Effect" is a phenomenon that leads to lower patient care due to an influx of new doctors with less experience. A new study indicates that there is some cause for concern about mistakes related to care and surgical errors for individuals entering hospitals in July, but only for patients who are considered high-risk due to their age or a serious medical condition. Additionally, it appears that only individuals entering teaching hospitals have anything to worry about.

Newborns in hospital may have been exposed to deadly disease

Parents of babies in Boston, Massachusetts, may have heard about how hundreds of newborns in a New York hospital were possibly exposed to tuberculosis by a maternity ward employee who recently tested positive for the highly contagious, potentially deadly disease. Hospital negligence may be a common cause of health risks in a hospital, especially for newborns. Regarding the TB exposure, New York's St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital alerted parents and notified the Health Department as soon as test results were known.

License suspension for prominent weight-loss surgeon

A Massachusetts doctor, who was once known as the king of obesity surgery in the state, had his license suspended in August 2013. The state board cited a pattern of negligence after a review that lasted several months. The doctor is denying the state's allegations and has filed an appeal. He has also enlisted a team of experts who stated that suitable care was provided for the patients in question. In addition, four prominent doctors from Harvard wrote letters of support to the board.

Medical researcher encourages doctors to confront mistakes

Having discussions with patients may be one way for doctors to address medical errors in Massachusetts. A researcher and professor from the University of Washington is attempting to bring such errors to the forefront in the medical community. The researcher is the lead author of "Talking with Patients about Other Clinicians' Errors," which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. It is meant to assist doctors in understanding how to communicate with patients and colleagues about medical errors.