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Boston Medical Malpractice and Workers' Compensation Blog

Dog detects cancer that emergency room doc misdiagnosed

One woman in another state proved that dogs can be women's best friends, too. Her Siberian husky's odd reactions to her led the woman to seek treatment for abdominal pain. However, the doctor at the Emergency Room only prescribed a narcotic painkiller after diagnosing her condition as an ovarian cyst.

Spooked by her dog's response to her — extended sniffing of her lower abdomen followed by the dog recoiling and retreating in fear — led to the woman insisting her gynecologist do lab tests and give her a pelvic ultrasound.

Impaired health care professionals pose risks to patients

Patients have to have a certain level of trust in their doctors, nurses and other health care providers. Otherwise, they would never be able to place their lives in these medical professionals' hands.

But in some cases, that trust may not be warranted. Intoxicated and impaired health care professionals often cause their patients irreparable harm. They may fail to diagnose ailments, prescribe the wrong treatment course or medication or even operate on the wrong limb or organ. The havoc they wreak can be devastating to the patients, their families and their survivors when the worst occurs.

Nurses place you in danger with negligent charting

During your stay at a Massachusetts hospital, you probably encountered numerous medical professionals and staff members who came in and out of your room for one reason or another. However, those with whom you had the most contact, day and night, were nurses.

You recognized that there were some nurses who loved their jobs and others who were tired, some who seemed to have a handle on the situation and others who were less confident. Unfortunately, one or several of your nurses did not chart well, and this placed your health and recovery at serious risk.

Could tracking training errors turn out better surgeons?

When an orthopedic surgeon makes an error on a patient, that patient's life can be turned upside down. Catastrophic injuries can result from the slip of a scalpel -- or a misdiagnosis.

It's always better to prevent medical errors than to attempt to mitigate the resulting damage. To that end, researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's attempted to assess the skill levels of potential orthopedic surgeons as they progressed through their training.

Executive's apology may avert negligence lawsuit

In 2016, a woman suffering a severe asthma attack collapsed only feet away from a locked door leading to a Massachusetts emergency room. She later died of what would normally be an easily treatable condition.

This week, the woman's widow received an in-person apology for the hospital's lapse from the facility's parent company's chief executive officer. The Cambridge Health Alliance CEO met with the man at The Boston Globe's headquarters for two hours. He expressed that he was "very sorry" for what took place in the early morning hours of on Sept. 16, 2016.

Childbirth can be a death sentence for Black mothers

If you are a pregnant African-American woman in Boston, you probably have no idea that you have three times the likelihood of dying during your pregnancy than your Caucasian counterpart. But according to a USA Today investigation, the United States is considered to be "the most dangerous place" for childbirth in the developed world.

In 2015, the Global Burden of Disease Study issued its report stating that there are 26 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births in America. Those results pale in comparison to the nine deaths of mothers in the United Kingdom, the seven in Canada and the four that occur in Denmark, Sweden and Italy.

What happens when your doctor doesn't know best?

Patients put their faith — and their lives — in their doctors' hands every day. We trust that their skills and accumulated knowledge will be sufficient to diagnose and treat what ails us.

But what happens when the doctors are wrong? Diagnostic errors can kill patients by hastening their deaths from often-treatable conditions. The errors also prolong suffering and cause unnecessary anxiety and fear in patients and also their loved ones.

Attorney's widow files wrongful death lawsuit

A Hyannis doctor, his nurse practitioner (NP) and their physicians group are being sued by the widow of a deceased patient.

The decedent, who was a political activist and attorney, died last year after being diagnosed with gastric cancer. The defendants are accused of the man's wrongful death and medical malpractice because they allegedly failed to diagnose the cancerous tumor between the man's small intestine and stomach. The patient passed away on Jan. 4, 2017 at the age of 58.

Cause of September gas explosions determined

According to federal investigators, the trigger for the series of deadly gas explosions in and around Lawrence last month was Columbia Gas of Massachusetts' failure to move from an abandoned pipe an underground pressure sensor while construction work was taking place in Lawrence.

As a result, the gas flowed into the local network. Explosions and fires rocked towns all over the Merrimack Valley. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined the utility didn't inform the construction crew about the need to either move or detach the pressure sensor. As a result, the sensor detected decreased pressure in the abandoned line. It sent a signal to the control station to flood the system with dangerously high levels of gas.

Patient's death results in jury verdict, awareness campaign

It happens all too often. A patient enters the hospital for a routine surgery but doesn't leave alive. The reasons can be complex but sometimes are deceptively simple. In fact, a study conducted at John Hopkins University found that more than 250,000 patients die annually in America because of preventable medical errors.

Some patients should never have been cleared for a surgical procedure in the first place. Maybe they weighed too much or had already experienced problems with anesthesia during a prior surgery.