Archive for the ‘Hospital Safety’ Category

Serious Infections: Just a Surgical Risk or Medical Malpractice?

December 23rd, 2015 at 7:00 am

serious infections, medical malpractice, Westport Medical Malpractice LawyerOne of the most common complications to a surgery or other medical treatment is an infection. The news frequently broadcasts stories about new kinds of antibiotic resistant bacteria that pose a danger to patients.

If you have suffered a serious infection after being in the hospital or after a medical procedure, you need to understand your rights.

When an Infection May be More Than Just a Risk of a Procedure

Part of the standard “talk” doctors give their patients before performing a procedure or recommending surgery is a discussion of the risks involved. Every surgery and procedure carries different risks. However, one aspect that every surgery has in common, no matter how major or minor, is a risk of infection.

Generally, the law does not allow people to recover damages for injuries they received when they voluntarily accepted the risks. But, not every case of infection is just one of the risks of having surgery. Sometimes doctors or other medical professionals make mistakes and those mistakes may lead to infections.

Hospital Acquired Infections

Hospitals are increasingly the home to dangerous microbes, such as MRSA. These bacteria are tough to treat and can be devastating to patients trying to recover from a serious illness or surgery. These so-called superbugs are examples of hospital acquired infections and are infections you get because you were in the hospital.

Hospitals, clinics, and the medical professionals who work there have a duty to follow sterilization protocols and to protect patients from getting exposed unnecessarily to bacteria.

Time Limits and Having Your Case Evaluated

If you suffered from an infection, like MRSA, after a surgical or other medical procedure, you may have been the victim of medical malpractice. You will need to have your case carefully reviewed by a lawyer knowledgeable in medical malpractice. Your own medical records may have clues about why you were infected. Under Connecticut law, you may only have two years to bring a medical malpractice claim. Because these cases are complicated and take a lot of investigation and preparation, time is of the essence.

If you or your loved one has suffered a serious post-procedure infection, you need to speak with an experienced Westport medical malpractice lawyer right away. Call Richard H. Raphael, Attorney at Law, at 203-226-6168 to schedule a consultation today. You may only have a short period of time to protect your rights.


Study Confirms: Do Not Get Sick in July

May 19th, 2015 at 7:00 am

sick in july, Westport Medical Malpractice AttorneyThe “July effect” is a well-known term among medical professionals that most non-medical people have never heard. The July effect, also called the July phenomenon, gets its name because it is in the month of July when just-graduated medical students enter their internships in teaching hospitals across the country. It is this influx of new, inexperienced “physicians” which causes a real and documented increase in the danger to patients, particularly high-risk patients.

A study conducted by researchers from Harvard Medical School, Stanford University Hospitals, University of Southern California, and the RAND Corporation concluded that the July effect does pose a serious threat to patients with medical conditions where even the slightest delay in treatment can mean a matter of life or death.

The researchers used data collected from the U.S. Nationwide Inpatient Sample. They analyzed cases from more than 1,400 hospitals across the country where patients arrived at the hospital suffering from heart attacks. Cases were divided into low-risk and high-risk groups, and came from both teaching and non-teaching hospitals.

The study found that in general, patients who were treated at teaching hospitals actually had a lower risk of mortality than patients who were treated at non-teaching hospitals—except during the month of July. In July, the risk of dying from a heart attack jumped from 20 percent to 25 percent at teaching hospitals. In teaching hospitals, the month of May had the lowest rate of mortality as interns conclude their training during this month and are much more experienced.

Moreover, the lead researcher of the study pointed out that, according to their findings, “For every 100 people hospitalized with a severe heart attack, five more people will die in July than in May.” Hence, an intern who struggled with inserting a stent to open up a patient’s clogged artery in July, and caused what could have been a fatal delay, is quite adept and experienced with that same procedure 10 months later.

If you or a love one has been injured or became ill due to incorrect or delayed medical treatment, please contact an experienced Westport medical malpractice attorney to discuss what legal recourse you may have against the physician and/or medical facility that caused your injury. Call Richard H. Raphael, Attorney at Law, at 203-226-6168 today to schedule your free consultation.

Medical Helicopter Crashes on the Rise

January 29th, 2015 at 7:00 am

medical helicopters, Westport wrongful death attorney, medical helicopter transports, aircraft crash, medical helicopter crashesWhen a major accident occurs and severe injuries are sustained, victims may be airlifted to a medical facility for treatment. Typically, the mode of transportation used as an air ambulance is a helicopter. However, there have been major concerns raised over how safe these air ambulances really are, especially in light of the number of crashes that occur every year.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), there have been 185 medical helicopter crashes since 1998—the latest occurring just this past October in Wichita Falls, Texas. Three people were killed in a crash, bringing the total number of victims killed in medical helicopter crashes to 174. This total includes both crew members and patients being transported to medical facilities.

One of the reasons cited for this increase in crashes is the incredible growth the air ambulance industry has seen over the past two decades. Up until 2002, the only air ambulances in operation were owned solely by hospitals. These ambulances were typically twin-engine aircrafts and the medical staff who flew with patients was comprised of emergency room physicians and critical care nurses. The hospitals usually lost money in these transfers, and, after much lobbying, Medicare agreed in 2002 to reimburse hospitals for the actual costs of these patient transports.

However, instead of using the increased funds from Medicare to ensure equipment and staff was of the utmost in safety, companies instead downgraded. They began using single-engine helicopters to transport patients and hired crews with limited experience. The number of air ambulance companies in operation exploded, from 545 medical helicopters flying in 2003 to 1,020 medical helicopters in operation as of 2014.

Most air safety analysts agree that it is the for-profit companies who are responsible for the dramatic number of crashes and fatalities. Even though for-profit air ambulance companies only make up 40 percent of the number of businesses in operation, it is their aircrafts that account for 80 percent of helicopter crashes.

The NTSB also points out that one popular model of air ambulance—the Bell 206—are well-known for problems which cause the aircraft to spin uncontrollably. This is what happened in the Texas crash. Also contributing to safety issues is the shortage of available pilots. This has caused many companies to lower their flight hour requirements when hiring people to fly air ambulances.

Tragically, it appears that the profits companies are making on these medical helicopter transports have taken priority over the safety and welfare of both patients and medical and flight crews. If you have lost a loved one in an aircraft crash, please contact an experienced Westport wrongful death attorney to find out what compensation you may be entitled to for your pain and loss.

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