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Boston Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Study shows frequency of medication errors with children

In Boston and across the nation, patients who visit medical professionals seeking help with an illness are placing their trust in their doctors. That trust is sometimes violated by a negligent physician making a mistake. These mistakes are especially serious when they involve children. A new study shows that medication errors involving children occur approximately every eight minutes. Some of these result in no injury. Some, however, make the child sick or even result in death.

The study focused on an 11-year span between 2002 and 2012 and found that more than 200,000 mistakes occur annually. A large number of them, 30 percent, are with children under the age of six. The vast majority of the mistakes were involving liquid medication. The rate of errors decreased as children got older, but that is of little consolation to parents whose children were put in danger or actually harmed because of medication errors like administering an incorrect drug.

Teenager given wrong drug in pharmacy mix-up

In Boston and across the country, patients put their trust in medical professionals every day. There are many ways in which that trust can be violated. One type of mistake that frequently happens is if an anesthesiologist makes an anesthesia error. Another kind of error that is unexpected and often inexplicable is a negligent pharmacist making prescription medication errors. While these are not often referenced as a reason people get ill or die, they happen just like other forms of medical mistakes.

A 14-year-old boy who was supposed to be taking medication for ADHD was mistakenly given an asthma medication and took it for a month before anyone realized the wrong drug had been provided. The boy had gone to his local pharmacy to get his medicine and didn't realize that anything was amiss until it was time to refill the prescription. According to his parents, the child had begun acting differently and moody. His schoolwork had declined. Just before they realized he'd been given the wrong medication, they were preparing to contact his doctor to see if he might need a different dosage. They are currently disputing with the pharmacy about paying for the new medication.

Breast cancer survivor also received liver cancer misdiagnosis

When a patient in Boston is having a health issue or simply goes for a standard checkup, one of the worst things they can hear is that they have cancer. However, it can be even worse if the patient is having symptoms or undergoes tests and a negligent physician makes a mistake and there is a failure to diagnose cancer. Whether it's a cancer misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose, the results can be worsened condition or even death. Those who have been harmed by this type of error need to know what to do next.

A 42-year-old woman was diagnosed as having terminal breast cancer in August 2013. The basis of this diagnosis was a lump that was discovered on her liver. Doctors believed that the cancer had spread to her breast. According to her doctor, she was stage IV, meaning that there was little they could do to cure her disease and their best chance was to extend her life as long as possible.

How common is failure to diagnose in the U.S.?

For people in Boston and across the nation, a medical issue that is enough of a concern to visit a doctor is bad enough without having to think about the possibility of a failure to diagnose what's really wrong. But this is a growing problem in the U.S. that is affecting scores of people and families. The relief that a person feels when the diagnosis given is such that it's not as serious as the worst case scenario can be rapidly punctured when the symptoms don't subside and it's discovered that there was a failure to diagnose a serious illness. This can lead to delayed treatment, a worsened condition and even death.

A study has shown that at least 12 million Americans are subject to misdiagnosis each year. To put that into context, out of 20 people who seek treatment for various ailments, one will be misdiagnosed. These errors can be for a variety of reasons from a negligent physician to misreading the records to a simple mistake. The consequences can be minor or catastrophic.

Study examines anesthesia errors and their aftereffects

When a person in Boston needs to be given anesthetic for a procedure large or small, it's unavoidable that there will be a certain amount of trepidation as to what can happen. While most doctors and anesthesiologists are conscientious and pay close attention to what they're doing, an anesthesia error can happen at any time and cause serious injury and even death. Although there are improvements being made at caring for patients who are under anesthesia, one negligent physician or staffer can make a mistake leading to severe damage.

According to new research, the number of complications from anesthesia has been dropping steadily. From the years 2010 to 2013, in which there were more than 3.2 million people who were placed under anesthesia, the percentage of complications reduced by 7 percentage points from 11.8 to 4.8. Thirty-six percent had a minor complication such as nausea. Twelve percent were affected by anesthesia errors. Although the complication rate has declined, the number of deaths remained the same with three people dying for every 10,000 instances in which anesthesia was used.

Knowing how to handle anesthesia errors

When a person in Boston has a surgical procedure and needs to be placed under an anesthetic, there are obvious concerns for that person and his or her family. Combined with the fears of surgery - no matter how minor - the idea of being put under anesthetic can elicit the terror of never waking up again. In most instances, the anesthesiologist is conscientious and makes certain that there are no mistakes that could hurt someone or cost a life. These incidents do happen, though. When they do, it's important that the injured party or the family left behind due to an untimely death knows how to move forward with litigation.

When anesthesia is administered, it must be given in the correct amount. A dosage mistake can be disastrous. There are various types of anesthesia negligence and it's important that the victims know how to recognize it. For example, spinal anesthesia is given in a delicate area to the patient's body. If there is any form of anesthesia negligence on the part of the anesthesiologist or any member of the surgical team, it can result in paralysis.

Man's symptoms ignored by negligent physician at VA

When a veteran serves his or her country, the one thing they should be able to expect is to receive quality medical treatment from the Veterans Administration hospital in their area when they return home. This is something that can affect everyone who served and begins to feel ill or suffers from the aftereffects of having been in combat. Whether the person is from Boston or anywhere else in the United States, a negligent physician can do a tremendous amount of damage with a misdiagnosis. This can lead to delayed treatment, worsened condition and even death.

A 29-year-old veteran and his family allege that poor care from the VA delayed treatment for an issue with his leg that involves swelling, blood clots and masses. After visiting the doctor complaining of groin pain, it was dismissed as a muscle problem. No tests were done to see if there was anything more serious. The man continued to struggle and visited the emergency room. Still, nothing was done. He was sent to a VA hospital in another state where the doctors suspect that he may have cancer. The claims on the part of the man and his family are currently being investigated.

Girl crossing street hit by pickup, suffers head injury

When there is an accident in Boston, one of the worst injuries that can be suffered short of a fatal one involves a head injury. An injury involving the head can lead to traumatic brain injury and all the potential problems resulting from it. These kinds of accidents can occur at work, while driving or as a pedestrian. Those who are hurt will have many concerns as they try to recover from brain trauma. These incidents are even worse when they involve children.

Two young girls ages 13 and 11 were hurt when they were walking across the street and got hit by a pickup truck. They were walking to the bus stop in the morning to go to school. According to the accident investigation, the 65-year-old truck driver might have had his view affected by the sun. The 13-year-old suffered a broken leg and is hospitalized. The 11-year-old is also hospitalized and is in critical condition with a head injury.

Cognitive bias is referenced as a cause of fatal surgical error

For people in Boston who require a surgical procedure, there is an incalculable amount of trust placed in the surgical team and medical professionals in whose hands the patient's life will rest. For the most part, that trust is rewarded as doctors and hospital staff act professionally and complete the procedures without a hitch. However, there are instances in which mistakes are made. Some mistakes are of the egregious variety and end up causing long-term injury and even death.

One such incident sparked significant changes at Tufts Medical Center. After a 74-year-old woman had the wrong dye injected into her during a minor surgical procedure on her back. Sadly, this caused her to become ill and she died. The dye in particular specifically says that it is not to be used on the spine. Doctors admitted to the woman's sons that they had given her the incorrect dye in error. The issue is believed to have stemmed from the neurosurgeon not bothering to read the label because he anticipated what it would say and felt there wouldn't be an issue injecting the dye into the woman.

The importance of legal help after brain trauma

The brain is such a delicate part of the body that any head injury has the potential to cause long-term damage. People in Boston who are injured in any kind of accident need to understand that they need to be vigilant if they were hit on the head and suffered an injury. There is always the chance that there will be a traumatic brain injury and there could be long-term consequences because of it.

With brain trauma, the symptoms are frequently ignored until it's too late. A victim may fail to see the connection between the head injury and the nausea, dizziness, irritability, trouble sleeping, memory loss and many other symptoms that arise when suffering from a traumatic brain injury. If the person waits too long to seek medical treatment, the prognosis could be much worse than it would be if he or she went to a doctor immediately.

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