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Boston Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Important facts about MA prescription medication errors

With the increased use of medications in Massachusetts to treat various illnesses and ailments, people in Boston need to be cognizant of the possibility that prescription medication errors might be made. While it might be due to a negligent pharmacist, an illegible handwriting on the part of the doctor or a simple and unintended mistake, that does not diminish the amount of damage that can be done when there is any kind of wrong drug administered or improper amount dispensed. Those who are concerned must keep certain factors in mind when being given any kind of medication.

While they are often not considered to be a major problem, medical mistakes are a top ten reason for people to die. In fact, the number of people who died because of this in recent years has been higher than those dying of breast cancer, car accidents and other issues or incidents. Mistakes made at the pharmacy are a significant reason for the fatalities. Sometimes, the right medication is given, but in the wrong dosage. Other times, the wrong medication is given entirely.

Surgical equipment left inside a patient a prevalent problem

When a surgery is necessary in Boston there's an inherent trust between doctor and patient. Part of that is believing that the doctor and medical staff will pay strict attention to what they're doing during the procedure and won't make egregious mistakes. Complications are, in certain instances, understandable. But if they happen because of a careless surgeon or negligent operating room staff, it's particularly disturbing. This happens all too frequently as a news report shows.

Since 2005, at least 800 people found themselves victimized by surgical equipment left inside a patient. The items have ranged from small to large sponges, needles and various instruments having been left behind. This can lead to health problems in the aftermath and even death. Sixteen people died in these incidents between 2005 and 2012. 95 percent of the people required longer hospital stays as a result of these mistakes. The mistakes were nine times more frequent when the surgical procedure was done in the event of an emergency.

Woman undergoes unnecessary surgery after misdiagnosed cancer

When a person in Boston is diagnosed with cancer, there are many issues going through their minds and fears they have to deal with. In some ways, receiving the diagnosis can be a positive as it will allow the patient to receive treatment and possibly beat the disease. There are times, however, when there is a cancer misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose because of a negligent physician.

A 68-year-old woman has filed a lawsuit alleging that she was diagnosed with cancer and had half her rectum removed because doctors were looking at the test results of another patient. Doctors had told her she was suffering from cancer of the rectum and she was under the impression that she was dying. The results emanated from a colonoscopy of a man who was suffering from the disease. The woman had been in good health and was not taking any medicine prior to the diagnosis. The woman claims that she believed there to be a mistake and sought a second opinion. The biopsies came back negative, but doctors went through with the procedure anyway. A few months later, she was told that she had never had cancer to begin with.

What errors during delivery can lead to birth injuries?

For people in Boston, one of the most thrilling moments of their lives is to have a child. The excitement that accompanies a birth tends to shunt any trepidations off to the side whether it's concerns about what kind of parents they're going to be to possible mistakes that might be made during the delivery process. However, it is not an infrequent occurrence that neonatal birth injuries happen. Sometimes they're due to unavoidable circumstances. Other times, they happen because a doctor or medical professional made a mistake.

Errors that can happen to an infant during delivery can be lifelong problems. While an abnormally large child, an obese mother and abnormal fetal position at birth all can factor in, doctor's errors also lead to a wide range of maladies. If the doctor is forced to use an operative delivery, these could also lead to birth injuries.

Understanding causes and effects of traumatic brain injury

For people in Boston, being in an accident is a frightening thing. Injuries suffered in that accident only make things worse. When there is a head injury, an ongoing concern is how it will affect the brain. Having a handle on the facts and statistics regarding these injuries can help a person or family through the ordeal.

Traumatic brain injury contributes to approximately 30 percent of deaths due to injury in the United States. While these injuries don't always result in a fatality, they can have long-lasting effects on the life of the injured person and his or her family. Medical expenses to treat a person with a traumatic brain injury, rehabilitation and aftercare can be massive costs. Families might have to alter their entire lives to care for a person who has suffered this level of injury and is not able to fully recover from its aftereffects.

Understanding the cause and effect of medication errors

For a person in Boston who is given medication to treat an illness or ailment, the obvious intention is for their condition to improve or for them to completely recover. There is an inherent trust placed in a physician and a pharmacist that the proper medication in its correct dosage will be administered. However, there are times when medication errors are made. These errors can be due to giving the patient the wrong drug entirely or a mistake with the dosage. It cannot be denied that serious injury can result from mistakes in medication.

Mistakes with medication affect at least 1.5 million people each year. The costs associated with treatment after the fact is as much as $3.5 billion annually. That's not counting the people who lose time at work and must pay more for health care. Medication errors are considered preventable mistakes that can lead to a patient using the wrong medicine or the wrong amount of the medication - but what causes these errors?

Pursuing litigation for birth injuries due to medical mistakes

For people in Boston who are preparing to have a baby, it can be one of the most exciting times in their lives. The last thing on their minds is the possibility that birth injuries can occur and turn the blessed event into a lifelong series of challenges. In some instances, premature birth and other health issues for the mother and child are unavoidable. At other times, however, there are clear mistakes that are made by those who were entrusted with the health of the baby.

For example, as a pregnancy moves forward, monitoring the fetus is a key to knowing when there is a problem or when everything is going according to plan. If an issue is spotted early, it can mean that the mother and child will receive treatment that will ensure the best possible odds of having a healthy baby. On the other hand, if the medical staff's lack of information to provide treatment, the birth injuries that result could affect the child's health for a lifetime.

Surgeons fined for performing wrong-site surgery

When patients in Boston go for a surgical procedure, they're putting their complete trust in the doctor's hands. Even the most mundane kinds of surgery that are expected to be routine can be dangerous, and it's imperative that doctors can be relied upon. Unfortunately, doctors occasionally make mistakes in surgery that can lead to a worsened condition and even a death. When surgeon malpractice occurs, those who have been hurt and their families need to understand how to go about seeking compensation for what happened.

Two doctors who admitted to performing wrong-site surgery were fined for their mistakes. The doctors, ages 49 and 48, had made their errors when performing surgical procedures that were not considered serious. That, however, doesn't diminish how dangerous it can be when a doctor makes so egregious a mistake. In one incident, the 49-year-old doctor had performed surgery on the left ankle of a patient when the surgery was meant to be performed on the right ankle. After performing the surgery, he realized that he had made a mistake. The patient agreed to have surgery on the other ankle. In the other incident, the 48-year-old doctor had operated on the ring finger of a patient when he was supposed to operate on the middle finger. That patient also agreed to have the surgery on the correct finger after being informed of the mistake.

Boy riding bicycle suffers head injury in crash with truck

When there is an accident in Boston, the worst case scenario is if there is a fatality. However, another terrible result from an accident is a head injury. With this type of injury, the potential ramifications are extensive. It can lead to the need for a long hospital stay, rehabilitation and the possibility that the victim will never return to normal due to brain damage. No matter the cause, it's important victims and their families know what to do in the aftermath of such an injury.

A 14-year-old boy was airlifted to the hospital after suffering a head injury in a crash with a Verizon truck. The accident happened at approximately 11:45 a.m. as the boy was riding through the intersection. According to the initial investigation, the boy was wearing a helmet and it's believed that it saved his life. The driver of the truck was uninjured, and the investigation into the crash is ongoing.

When misdiagnosed cancer leads to illness or death

When an individual or a family member in Boston is feeling under the weather, the symptoms and amount of time the problem lasts will determine how they respond. In many situations, the likelihood is that it's nothing to worry about and it will run its course after a few days to a week. With more concerning symptoms such as a persistent cough, constant pain and anomalies like lumps, the fear grows more pronounced that it's something severe.

Visiting a doctor is meant to assuage fears and secure treatment options. There are times, however, that a doctor misses the signs of a more dangerous problem. If, for example, a person is told that he or she is fine and the problem gets worse, a deeper examination or another opinion can find that there is cancer present.

The failure to diagnose cancer or misdiagnosed cancer can lead to the spread of disease, a delay in treating it and the worsening of the condition. It can even cause death. In instances such as this, the person who has been subject to a doctor's error will be within his or her rights to consider legal options. In the event that a mistake made by a negligent physician results in death, the doctor should be held responsible for what has happened.

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