Archive for the ‘medical errors’ tag

Eighty Percent of MS Patients Given Incorrect Initial Diagnosis

December 1st, 2015 at 10:56 am

ms patients, misdiagnosis, Westport Medical Malpractice AttorneyMultiple sclerosis (MS) is classified as an autoimmune disease—one’s immune system attacks the central nervous system. Basically, when a person has MS, it is difficult for the individual’s brain to transmit messages to the rest of his or her body.

The disease typically appears for the first time in young adults between the ages of 15 and 45. The effects of the disease can be mild, with victims suffering from weakness or numbness in limbs, to severe, leaving victims paralyzed and/or blind. Although there are theories on what causes MS, there are currently no known causes or cures.

According to current statistics, there are more than 400,000 people in the U.S. who suffer with MS. Worldwide, that number is 2.5 million people. Each week, at least 200 people are diagnosed with the disease, just in the United States.

However, a recent study concluded that more than 80 percent of MS victims are initially diagnosed incorrectly. And for 40 percent of misdiagnosed victims, it typically takes more than a year before they are finally diagnosed correctly.

The study was conducted by the Multiple Sclerosis Society. The organization surveyed 1,515 sufferers of MS. Forty-three percent of those questioned initially presented with altered sensations and numbness in different parts of their bodies, 47 percent presented with vision difficulties, and 41 percent had difficulty walking.

Almost 30 percent of those incorrectly diagnosed are told they are only suffering from a pinched nerve. Another 15 percent are told they are suffering from anxiety, depression or stress. Ten percent are told their symptoms are a result of a stroke.

Twenty-five percent of patients made an average of four visits to their primary care physician complaining of symptoms before they were finally referred to a neurologist in order to investigate these symptoms further.

Typical early symptoms include fatigue, lack of co-ordination, limb weakness, loss of sight, numbness and tingling. Early diagnosis can be crucial in order to implement medical treatment and other lifestyle changes which can help hold off the sometimes devastating effect the disease can have on its victims.

If you were given a delayed diagnosis of MS, or other chronic disease, please contact an experienced Westport medical malpractice attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have for your pain and loss.


Overlapping Surgeries and Medical Malpractice Risk

November 11th, 2015 at 7:00 am

overlapping surgeries, Westport Medical Malpractice AttorneyFor most people who are facing surgery, we put our trust in the surgeon that will be performing the operation. We trust that he or she, as well as the rest of the medical staff, will put all of their focus on us—the patient—as we lay unconscious on the operating table, and do what it is they are supposed to do. We expect our surgeon to be present during the procedure. We do not expect that at the same time they are supposed to be operating on us, they are also operating on another patient in another operating room. Another patient who most likely has the same expectations we do. Yet, that is exactly what is happening in some of the most renowned medical centers in the country.

According to a recent Boston Globe Spotlight investigation, there are sometimes concurrent surgeries taking place at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). This means that while a surgeon has a patient booked in one operating room, he or she has an overlapping procedure booked, with another patient in another operating room, at the same time.

The hospital claims that when this happens, the surgeon is present during the “most important aspects” of the surgery and the patient is never at risk. Hospital administrators say that this is sometimes necessary in order to allow more patients access to surgeons who are in high demand. They also say that it gives in-training surgeons “hands-on” experience.

There is much debate on whether or not the hospital claims are valid, and there have been malpractice suits filed by patients who say they were injured because of overlapping surgeries. However, what may be even more disturbing is that the hospitals are not required to inform a patient that while his or her surgeon is supposed to operating on them, their surgeon may actually be in the room next door operating on another patient.

For example, at MGH, the only notification a patient is required to receive is contained in the consent form he or she signs, which states, “other medical professionals may perform some aspects” of the operation or procedure they are undergoing. Patient advocates say that the warning is not nearly enough and patients have a right to be informed of the overlapping scheduling.

If you have suffered an injury or illness from a medical procedure, please contact an experienced Westport medical malpractice attorney today to find out what legal recourse you may have against the physician and/or medical facility for your pain and loss.


Medical Malpractice and a Lack of Coordinated Patient Care

June 4th, 2015 at 12:47 pm

lack of coordinated patient care, Westport Medical Malpractice AttorneyThe American health care system is extraordinarily complex, therefore making it possible for medical malpractice and errors to occur throughout the entire patient process. However, nurses and other safety advocates claim that at least a quarter of these errors can be prevented with better coordination of the client care process. 

Digital Record Access

In a study recently conducted by the Gary and Mary West Health Institute, nurses claim that streamlining technology and creating automated, coordinated data records will improve patient safety and prevent medical errors that result from misinformation. In fact, almost half of the nurses surveyed for the study “estimated that 25 percent of medical errors and adverse events might be prevented if devices could share information seamlessly.” Being able to access a patient’s records digitally, as well as monitor and update a patient’s treatment and progress, can greatly reduce instances of medical malpractice. 

What Can You do to Ensure a Safe Hospital Stay?

When it comes to scheduling surgeries, reports suggest that the best time to schedule is in the morning and in the middle of the week. This better guarantees that a hospital’s staff will be fully rested and not overly taxed.

Patients are also encouraged to bring their list of current medications to doctors’ offices and hospitals. When checking in for surgery or care, a copy of one’s medication list should be added to a patient’s personal chart. Documentation will help to minimize medication and dosing errors.

Additionally, patients should immediately check their hospital wristbands for errors. Moreover, it is important for patients to request that all health care providers check their wristbands before moving forward with any procedure.

Finally, patients should have an onsite hospital advocate accompany them to help assess situations, ask important questions, and intervene if there are problems.

Consult with a Westport Medical Malpractice Attorney

Medical malpractice takes place at an alarming rate, but many medical errors can be prevented. If you or a loved one has suffered injury due to physician or hospital negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Please contact an experienced Westport medical malpractice attorney to discuss your case today. Richard H. Raphael, Attorney at Law, is proud to protect the rights of patients by holding the health care industry accountable for providing the safest and best standards of care possible. Call 203-226-6168 today to schedule your appointment.

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