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Boston Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Massachusetts surgical errors in children

When a child in Newton is set to undergo surgery, the parents are unavoidably worried about what is going to happen. While the majority of doctors and medical professionals who are involved in the procedure take great care with any surgery, they are extra careful when children are involved. However, all the caution in the world does not avoid inevitable mistakes that can happen. Surgical errors may not happen particularly often, but they are still exceedingly dangerous. One such mistake is surgical equipment left inside a patient.

The surgeon's mistake of leaving a piece of equipment in a patient is even more egregious when it happens to a child. Studies in recent years have shown that items, like sponges and other smaller instruments, can be left in a child after surgery. This is not a frequent mistake, but it can lead to extra costs of an average of up to $36,000 in extra treatment because of it. A study assessed over 1.9 million surgical records compiled over the course of 17 years looked at children who were operated on across the United States. In the study, 413 instances of surgical equipment left inside a patient were recorded. That is 0.02 percent.

Wrong drug in saline solution apparently given to patients

In Newton and across the nation, medical treatment that involves being given medication, placed under anesthesia and undergoing surgery is always a danger to the patient. There's a vast amount of trust placed in medical professionals when there is any kind of treatment being given. This is why a wrong drug, anesthesia error or a fatal medication error is not just an egregious mistake, it can be seen as a betrayal of everything a medical professional is supposed to be. These mistakes can lead to long-term injuries and death.

One problem with medical professionals is that their training can sometimes interfere with actual care. A company that provides saline solution and distilled water issued a recall of their product after people began getting sick from its use. At the latest report, 17 people had grown sick and one died after the solution was dispensed. It is yet to be known whether this was the cause. The problem has reached seven different states; the solution was meant for "clinical simulation." It was shipped in 2014.

Misdiagnosed cancer can lead to severe issues for the patient

Patients in Newton and throughout Massachusetts who face the fear of being diagnosed with cancer are relieved when they're told they're in the clear or prepare for treatment when they're told they're facing the dreaded disease. However, the number of mistakes that are made with a failure to diagnose cancer or diagnosing the disease when the patient is not suffering from it can cause a vast amount of damage to the patient and his or her family. Some suffer a worsened condition if the diagnosis is missed. Others receive or come close to receiving treatment they don't need when there has been misdiagnosed cancer.

For example, one 48-year-old man received a prostate cancer diagnosis. He was preparing to have the prostate removed as a means of treatment when, moments before the surgery, a check of his biopsy revealed that an error had been made and there was no cancer. While the man was relieved, he was also close to having an unnecessary surgery because of this mistake. A study of people who received a cancer diagnosis showed that 1.3 million were diagnosed with cancer annually. Often, the diagnosis is made in the laboratory by a pathologist and this pathologist never encounters the patient. Research at Johns Hopkins found that out of 6,000 cancer patients, one of every 71 was a misdiagnosed case. As many as 20 percent were not classified correctly.

Legal help after medication errors

People in Middlesex County who put the health of themselves and their loved ones in the hands of medical professionals expect that the professionals will take the utmost care with prescription medication. However, that doesn't mean that mistakes won't be made. Some of these mistakes may be understandable, but many are simply careless. Some may lead to serious injury.

One type of error that should never happen is prescription errors because of a doctor's handwriting. Yet these errors happen more often than many people might think.

How often do various surgical errors occur and why?

In Newton, and across the country, people who are preparing to undergo surgery must be aware of the possibility that a surgeon's mistake will cause them damage or even kill them. These surgical errors in its various forms are called "never events" because they are mistakes that should never happen. They are surgeries in which the wrong body part is operated on, the wrong procedure is done or the wrong patient is operated on.

Patients who are victimized by wrong-site surgery will not only have to face the fact that the original issue that was meant to be repaired by the surgery wasn't fixed, but they're going to have to have another procedure after the initial error. The perception based on the available numbers is that these mistakes are quite rare. One study examining these errors found that for every 112,000 procedures, only one will have surgical errors. The research, however, only counted surgeries in the operating room. Surgeries that were ambulatory would have raised the number of mistakes substantially. A Veterans Affairs study indicated that half the mistakes happened in venues apart from the operating room.

Misdiagnosis & worsened condition, vast cause of legal filings

People in Boston who are subjected to a misdiagnosis for a health issue are not alone. Studies have shown that a large number of mistakes made when diagnosing health problems have led to major payouts from legal filings. Recent studies showed that almost $39 billion was paid out from 350,000 claims over the previous 25 years. Researchers who looked into this problem studied data from the years 1986 to 2010. 35 percent of the mistakes that were made that resulted in payouts were based on misdiagnosis. The studies focused on cases that wound up with a payment made to claimants.

While most errors made with diagnosis happened to people who were being treated on an outpatient basis, those that happened with people who were hospitalized were more often fatal. According to the study, as many as 160,000 people per year were victims of death or permanent damage because of there errors. Depending on the issue, the aftereffects can have greater significance to the patient's long-term prognosis. For example, to fail to detect cancer will leave a patient vulnerable to the spread of disease and worsened condition.

MA woman files suit after missed diagnosis

A nightmare scenario for people in Boston and across the country who go to a medical professional or emergency room exhibiting symptoms is to be misdiagnosed. When there is a mistake or a missed diagnosis, the patient can be subject to delayed treatment and worsened condition. Many associate this type of incident with various cancers, but the spread of disease is not the only issue that a patient can face. There are other aftereffects if a misdiagnosis is made regardless of the issue the person is suffering from.

A 59-year-old woman has filed a lawsuit after all of her limbs were amputated because doctors failed to diagnose an infection in her uterus. The woman states that she went to the hospital emergency room three times, suffering from severe pain in her pelvis. When she went to the hospital for the third time in March 2012, she was on the verge of being released when she was found unconscious and incoherent on a stretcher. Her skin was cold when touched. The infection was found, but the woman had organ failure and sepsis. Poor blood flow resulted in gangrene in her arms and legs. All were amputated.

What negative consequences can happen due to MA premature birth?

When Massachusetts parents are preparing to have a baby in Boston, they are preparing the baby's room, thinking about how to have everything ready in time and anticipating the celebration. This can all be destroyed if there is an issue that leads to a premature birth. This can have numerous consequences for the child that can be a lifelong issue with the accompanying medical expenses. It is important for parents who have had a child prematurely to understand the consequences and learn of any mistakes on the part of the medical staff at some point that led to it.

If a baby is born at least three weeks before the scheduled due date, it is a premature birth. A baby born early is likely to have health issues and need long-term care. These occurrences are relatively rare, but there is a high rate of death when a baby is born prematurely. The earlier the birth, the more likely the problems. Even babies who are born prematurely and survive are at risk.

The problem of failure to diagnose in Massachusetts

People in Massachusetts and across the country who are having a health problem that necessitates a trip to the doctor harbor a natural expectation that they will receive the care they need. That includes the proper diagnosis being made. However, a medical degree is not a guarantee that the doctors and medical professionals who are handling the case will make the right diagnosis. In some instances, this is innocuous and no damage is done. In others, the failure to diagnose cancer can lead to delayed treatment, worsened condition and even death.

Incidents, such as these, do not just happen to people who have no knowledge of medicine. They even happen to doctors. One case in point involved a pediatric infectious disease specialist who had throat pain and was told that it was acid reflux. Eventually, a resident discovered the tumor in the fellow doctor's throat by using a technique that experienced specialists failed to use. It had grown for seven months and the man needed to have a surgical procedure that removed his voice box. He was not able to speak normally and expressed himself in a whisper. This is not an isolated incident as it is believed that between 10 and 20 percent of cases involve misdiagnosis. The issue surpasses surgery on the wrong body part or wrong patient and drug mistakes.

Understanding the dangers of Massachusetts birth injuries

When people in Boston are preparing for the joyous event of having a baby, their main focus is on the future and pending happiness. The last thing they want to consider is the possibility of birth injuries. Not only can these injuries leave a child in need of care or treatment, it will also affect the parents personally and financially. Some of these injuries can be treated through surgery or other means. Some leave the child in need of extensive long-term care.

One of the ways in which injuries can happen to the baby, as well as the mother during the delivery process is through an extractor injury. It is important that the parents understand the dangers that can arise from the use of an extractor. Mothers can suffer from various issues due to the use of an extractor. There can be pain in the area between the vagina and anus post-delivery. There can be wounds and tears to the lower genital tract. The mother might experience issues with urinating and incontinence. Anemia can occur because of blood loss during the delivery process. The muscles and surrounding ligaments of the pelvic area can prolapse.

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