Articles Tagged with Medical Malpractice

If you’ve read a lot of our blog posts, then you probably look at news stories very differently than you used to. You may look at a story now and recognize situations where it may be necessary for victims to obtain a lawyer or when a case might lead to litigation. The latest case of two superbug-related deaths on the other side of the country may be no different as it sparks questions about liability and the possibility of personal injury lawsuits down the road.

Many people here in South Carolina may have heard about the deaths of two patients at a UCLA medical center. According to reports, the patients died after becoming infected with the superbug CRE, which is short for carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae. The infection was linked to a particular endoscope that the Food and Drug Administration is now saying had not been approved by the agency for use on patients.

Although the makers of the medical device have since applied for FDA approval, the damage has already been done, which could leave many across the nation wondering if and how the victims will be compensated.

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Despite our highest hopes and the best efforts of hospitals across the nation, medical mistakes continue to occur. Although one of the reasons is because of negligence — both at the hospital level and the staff level — the other reason is that technology and procedural guidelines are simply not up to the standards yet that we expect to find.

That having been said, our readers are probably wondering what technology could put patients in danger in 2015. With the help of a top ten list provided by the ECRI Institute, we hope to answer this question and give a heads up about possible hazards in 2015.

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No one who goes on a cruise really expects that they will get sick or injured on the journey. Still, it is nice to know that cruise ships have doctors and nurses on board who can treat illnesses or injuries that do occur. Until recently, those doctors and nurses effectively operated independently because of a ruling almost 30 years ago that gave immunity to the cruise lines in the event of medical malpractice aboard a ship.

In a ruling that came from the United States 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, that immunity has been reversed. In that ruling, the court said that the 1988 decision was outdated, partly because of the considerable updates and advances in technology. The judge who made the recent ruling noted that the medical facilities on cruise ships are for-profit operations. These facilities on the ship are usually the only option that passengers have when they need medical care.

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If you found out that your doctor was using a common medical device that could spread an undetected disease within your body, would you want them to continue using it? If you’re like a majority of our readers here in South Carolina, the answer to this question is a simple and resounding one: no.

Unfortunately, for months now, doctors across the nation have continued to use a gynecological tool that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration believes spreads undetected cancer cells in female patients. Despite the agency’s concern for patient safety, many doctors believe that the warning to stop using the device is unwarranted and that the government “shouldn’t [be allowed to] interfere with patient treatment.”

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Most people have very high standards when it comes to the care they receive at a hospital. There is an expectation that all medical professionals will provide the best possible care they can and that the hospital is abiding by all industry best practices.

But it’s these same expectations that can lead to shock and concern, especially following a medical mistake. After witnessing such negligence, most people find that their trust in the hospital and its staff has been broken, which leaves victims with a number of questions such as “how is this mistake going to be remedied?” and “am I able to seek compensation?”

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South Carolina residents may be interested in hearing about recent events that have followed the 2012 death of Russell Means, a prominent American Indian activist. The widow of the activist, who died of cancer at the age of 72, is suing a New Mexico hospital for medical malpractice and wrongful death, saying that the hospital failed to diagnose her husband’s esophageal cancer until it had already spread throughout his body.

According to the widow’s complaint, the hospital suggested that the symptoms that Means was experiencing, including difficulty swallowing and spitting up blood, were possibly caused by an enlarged tonsil when the man went into the hospital in 2011. However, Means had undergone a tonsillectomy as a child. The former leader of the American Indian Movement and member of the Oglala Lakota tribe had been an activist since the 1960s when he began protesting the use of American Indian images as sports mascots. In 1973, the activist protested the federal government’s mistreatment of American Indians by occupying a village at Wounded Knee in South Dakota for 72 days at the site of an 1890 massacre of Lakotas by U.S. troops.

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These days, to maintain your health, you have to be proactive. If you can manage it, exercising is a good idea, and getting regular medical checkups could be crucial to preventing or properly treating an illness. However, even when patients do try to cover their bases and seek preventative care, sometimes medical professionals fail in their duties and misdiagnose an illness.

That was the case for one woman who in 2007 underwent her first mammogram. She thought she was being proactive about her health, but she undoubtedly came away from the experience worried. A calcification about the size of a nickel was revealed in her right breast.

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A group of researchers has finished a study that comes to an unsettling conclusion about outpatient medical care: misdiagnosis is widely underreported and surprisingly common.

Much is said about diagnostic errors in hospitals, that is, in facilities that provide inpatient care. However, there is a great dearth of information about misdiagnoses by small-practice doctors and clinics. Looking at three previous studies, researchers at Baylor College of Medicine found that one in 20 — or 12 million U.S. adults — are misdiagnosed at medical clinics and doctors’ offices each year.

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Since 1999, hospitals throughout the United States have made well-intentioned efforts to adopt systems meant to prevent hospital errors. However, studies have shown that the widespread use of systematized medicine, by which hospitals use checklists to follow established protocol, has not significantly reduced the number of preventable hospital deaths. In fact, it is estimated that at least 100,000 patients die each year as a result of medical errors.

So what can doctors, nurses and hospitals do to better protect the safety of patients?

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It’s just about every person’s fear that something will go wrong when they go in for surgery. That’s because, despite the insistence of hospital staff that patients are well taken care of, residents here in South Carolina know that medical mistakes can happen anywhere and often have life-changing consequences as well.

Our readers here in Spartanburg can see this exemplified by a case of medical malpractice in which a woman was diagnosed with ovarian cancer only to realize that this was a misdiagnosis when a non-latex glove was discovered in her abdomen from a surgery two years previously.  Much like anyone here would do in her situation, the woman is now suing the hospital for its negligence and is seeking compensation for the problems this mistake has caused her.

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