Archive for the ‘Connecticut Medical Malpractice Lawyer’ Category

Study Finds I-PASS System Reduces Medical Errors

April 9th, 2015 at 7:30 am

reduce medical errors, Westport personal injury lawyerA study conducted by researchers from multiple hospitals and led by Boston Children’s Hospital revealed that injuries caused by medical errors could be reduced as much as 30 percent if there were better communications between clinicians during patient hand-offs.

Medical errors are one of the leading causes of death in this country. Almost 80 percent of those errors – which are caused by issues such as diagnostic delays, medication overdoses, and preventable surgical complications – are found to have originated in miscommunications between medical personnel, especially during the times of patient hand-offs.

Details and results of the study were reported in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). Boston Children’s Hospital was the lead site in the study. Brigham and Women’s Hospital, also located in Boston, was in charge of coordinating all the data. The other hospitals involved included:

  • Benioff Children’s Hospital, San Francisco, in conjunction with University of California San Francisco;
  • Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, in conjunction with University of Cincinnati;
  • Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, Portland, OR in conjunction with Oregon Health Sciences University;
  • The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, in conjunction with University of Toronto;
  • Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, Palo Alto, CA in conjunction with Stanford University;
  • Primary Children’s Hospital, Salt Lake City, in conjunction with University of Utah;
  • St. Louis Children’s Hospital, St. Louis, MO, in conjunction with Washington University St. Louis;
  • St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Philadelphia, in conjunction with Drexel University; and
  • Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

The study focused on what benefits using the I-PASS system, which utilizes bundled communication and training tools for hand-off of patient care between providers, would have in reducing medical errors. The acronym stands for Illness severity, Patient summary, Action list, Situational awareness and contingency planning, and Synthesis by receiver. The I-PASS system utilizes:

  • Standardized communication and hand-off training for all medical facilities;
  • Sharing patient information using computerized programs which utilized the I-PASS structure; and
  • Attending physicians overseeing and observing hand-offs of their patients.

The study lasted for 18 months. In the first six months, medical staff was monitored and assessed. For the second six months, medical staff was trained on the I-PASS system and required to use the system. The last six months also involved monitoring and assessing staff.

By using the I-PASS system, the overall rate of medical errors declined from 23 percent. For every 100 admissions, the number of medical errors went from 24.5 to 18.8. Injuries caused by medical errors fell by 30 percent. For every 100 admission, the number of patients injured went from 4.7 to 3.3.

If you have been injured as a result of a medical error, contact an experienced Westport, CT medical malpractice attorney to find out what compensation you may be entitled to for your pain and loss. Call 203-226-6168 for a free consultation with Richard H. Raphael, Attorney at Law.

Study Finds Standard Tonsillectomy Aftercare Could be Fatal to Children

March 4th, 2015 at 12:50 pm

tonsillectomy, Westport medical malpractice attorney, tonsillectomy aftercareTonsillectomies are one of most common children’s surgeries. The procedure is often combined with the removal of the adenoids. A common cause for the surgery is sleep apnea or chronic infections of the tonsils.

Every year there are approximately 530,000 tonsillectomies performed in the U.S. on children who are under the age of 15-years-old. Compared to the number of procedures performed three decades ago, when the average annual number of procedures hit 1.5 million, this number has dropped substantially.

Today, other methods are now employed, and tonsil removal is done as a last resort. In fact, 80 percent of tonsillectomies are for treatment of sleep apnea in children.

However, a new study reveals that the standard medical aftercare these children receive may be dangerous, and under certain cases, fatal. Ninety-one children, between one and 10-years-old, participated in the study.

The study was conducted by researchers from McMaster University who worked with a group of children who suffered from sleep apnea and were having tonsillectomies performed as a way to cure the condition. Sleep apnea occurs when there is an obstruction blocking a person’s airway. This can happen for a number of reasons, including swollen tonsils and/or adenoids.

The research team divided the children into two groups. The first group was given the standard painkiller combination that most doctors prescribed to children upon discharge after this surgery—oral morphine and acetaminophen medication taken every four hours. The second group was given oral ibuprofen every six hours and acetaminophen every four hours. Doses for medication in both groups were based on each child’s weight.

In measuring children’s pain, the team discovered that pain control was the same in both groups. The ibuprofen was just as effective as the morphine in controlling children’s pain. Yet, the oxygen levels in each group were significantly different.

On the first night after the surgery, 68 percent of the children in the second group had improvement in their oxygen levels compared to only 14 percent in the first group. However, what was most concerning to the study team was the number of “oxygen desaturation events” which occurred. These events happen when there is a drop in the oxygen concentration of the blood. The first group had over a dozen more of these events every hour than the second group did. This alarmed the research team so much that they immediately halted the study.

In a press release, one of the study’s authors, Dr. Gideon Koren, said, “The evidence here clearly suggests children with obstructive sleep apnea should not be given morphine for postoperative pain.”

If you or someone in your family has become injured or ill from incorrect or improperly prescribed medication, please contact an experienced Westport medical malpractice attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have against the physician and/or medical facility.

Jaundice in Newborns Can Lead to Catastrophic Brain Injury

January 19th, 2015 at 7:00 am

catastrophic injuries, Connecticut malpractice lawyer, Connecticut medical lawyer, Connecticut medical malpractice attorney, hospital negligence, medical malpractice lawyer, negligence, permanent disabilities, severe brain damage, jaundice in newbornsThe most catastrophic injuries in hospitals are not always the ones seen in an emergency room. In 2010, misdiagnosis, failure to diagnosis, and medical error—generally described as “bad hospital care” by the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services—contributed to the deaths of 180,000 patients in Medicare. Additionally, in 2013, a study published in the Journal of Patient Safety stated that those numbers are much higher—between 210,000 and 440,000 patients annually. 

Brain Injury and Jaundice in Newborns

Kernicterus, a relatively rare yet severe form of jaundice, can cause brain damage in babies if left undiagnosed and untreated. Surprisingly, 60 percent of newborns are diagnosed with jaundice, which is the result of a baby’s liver not adequately removing excess bilirubin.

Bilirubin is a naturally occurring substance in the blood, which is removed by the liver. A low-level build-up of bilirubin is normal in newborns, and can often cause mild jaundice in babies. Additionally, it can sometimes take a few days for a newborn’s liver to function properly to remove the excess bilirubin, which is why mild jaundice is normal. However, if a newborn has jaundice and it is not properly monitored by doctors and hospital staff, it can become a serious problem and lead to severe brain damage for which the hospital would be liable.

Treatment for severe jaundice can include phototherapy, which alters the bilirubin in a baby’s blood from toxic to non-toxic. But in some severe cases, such as those that lead to kernicterus, a more extreme treatment such as a blood exchange transfusion may need to be employed to ensure the safety of the child. Hence, diligent monitoring is essential to help prevent the extreme from occurring.

Contact a Compassionate Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you or someone you know had a newborn suffer from misdiagnosed jaundice or kernicterus, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact a compassionate Connecticut medical malpractice attorney today to discuss your case and your options.

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