Archive for the ‘permanent disabilities’ tag

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.

How Safe Are Electronic Medical Records?

November 6th, 2014 at 7:00 am

electronic medical records, Westport medical malpractice attorney, medical mistakes, preventable errors, medication errors, incorrect billing, permanent disabilities, diagnostic errorGone are the days when you would go to the doctors and medical personal would write notes into your chart, which was usually a large manila folder with pages and pages of notes and test results. Today when you visit your doctor, there is typically a laptop or some kind of computer in the examining room where a nurse or doctor will enter in the same information that used to be written by hand. This system is supposed to be safer and more efficient. However, many in the medical field are beginning to question the safety of this system.

Electronic medical records (EMR) are supposed to provide a centralized location for all of a patient’s information and medical history, enabling all of the medical professionals who may be treating the patient to access the information quickly and easily. However, several recent studies have concluded that these records may be causing more harm to the patient than good.

One of the biggest issues uncovered is that doctors are spending so much time filling out the required areas of the online forms and studying the information that the quality and quantity of time actually spent on the patient is suffering. One study determined that doctors are now spending one-third of the time looking at the computer screen and reading the information online. Previously, doctors used to spend about 9 percent of their time with a patient and reading his or her medical chart, with the rest of the time engaging with the patient.

Another study revealed that the average time a doctor now spends talking to a patient is only eight minutes, because they are spending the rest of the time with the patient filling out the online forms. This is also causing physicians to “cut corners” and rushing through patient interviews, often omitting important questions.

Other studies have found that EMRs may lead to preventable errors, such as medication errors, as well as a decrease in the efficiency of the medical staff and facility. There is also a higher risk of incorrect billing to insurance companies, which can drive up healthcare cost.

If you have suffered permanent disabilities or illness due to a diagnostic error, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an experienced Westport medical malpractice attorney to discuss your legal options.

Diagnostic Error: Number One Reason for Medical Malpractice Claims

October 20th, 2014 at 7:00 am

diagnostic error, misdiagnosis, permanent disabilities, Westport medical malpractice attorney, malpractice claimsA study conducted by researchers at John Hopkins University School of Medicine reveals that the most dangerous and costly mistakes made by doctors are diagnostic errors. According to the study, more than 160,000 people die in the United States each year because of physician misdiagnosis.

A diagnostic error can hamper the treatment of a patient’s condition and can cause serious injury or even death.

The research team examined more than 350,000 paid-out malpractice claims which had occurred between 1986 through 2010. They obtained the information from the National Practitioner Data Bank. The majority of the claims paid outX—28.6 percent—were due to misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose on the part of physicians. These claims typically resulted in extreme harm to the patient.

These claims were also the highest paid out claims and accounted for 35 percent of the total amount of medical malpractice claims paid. The payout of diagnostic error claims totaled almost $40 billion.

There were 69 percent of outpatient diagnostic error claims and 31 inpatient claims. There were more deaths that occurred for the inpatient claims.

The majority of diagnostic errors analyzed in the study were classified as failed diagnosis, with misdiagnosis errors coming in second. Errors involving neurological diagnosis were the most common.

The head of the research team, Dr. David E. Newman-Toker, an associate professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University, estimates that diagnostic errors occur in almost 15 percent of patients on their initial visit to a doctor for a new medical issue.

Dr. Newman-Toker said of his team’s findings, “Overall, diagnostic errors have been under appreciated and under-recognized because they’re difficult to measure and keep track of owing to the frequent gap between the time the error occurs and when it’s detected. These are frequent problems that have played second fiddle to medical and surgical errors, which are evident more immediately.”

If you have suffered permanent disabilities or illness due to a diagnostic error, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an experienced Westport medical malpractice attorney to discuss your legal options.

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