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Boston Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Causes, description, treatment and prognosis of coma

When a person in Boston suffers a traumatic brain injury, there are numerous problems that can arise. One in particular is that the injured person falls into a coma. The mere word "coma" can strike fear into family members because its connotation indicates the possibility of extended problems, long-term care and death sooner rather than later. Since coma often happens when a person has been the victim of a head injury, it's important to know details describing it, treating it and what the prognosis over the long and short term might be.

When a person is in a coma, he or she is unconscious, but it is in a deeper state than what it generally considered being unconscious. There could be many reasons for this, and one frequent cause is a head injury. The person may be able to breathe on his or her own, maintain circulation and have other functions remain intact. The eyes might open, and there might be response to certain external stimuli or even emotional reactions. There is no reaction to commands, nor is there speaking.

Anesthesia errors found in death of famed performer

Anesthesia errors can affect patients undergoing procedures in Boston as well as across the entire nation. These mistakes don't discriminate and can even happen to rich, prominent and famous people who are being treated for a variety of issues. When there is an anesthesia error, the aftereffects of the mistake can lead to long-term health issues and, in certain cases, fatalities. Those who have been affected or had a family member hurt or who died need to understand what they must do to have the case investigated and file for litigation.

The investigation into the death of comedian, actress and fashion businesswoman Joan Rivers is revealing shocking mistakes that were made when she had the medical procedure. These mistakes ultimately resulted in her unexpected death. The medical professionals on hand didn't intervene when her vital signs deteriorated. Unauthorized people were allowed in the operating theater while the procedure was being done. A gastroenterologist was supposed to handle the procedure, but an ear, nose and throat specialist was also present and took over. This doctor began performing procedures that had not been scheduled. In addition, the anesthesiologist was found to have made a dosage mistake with Ms. Rivers. The numerous mistakes are believed to have led to her cardiac arrest and eventual death.

Child suffers missed diagnosis of invasive tumor

Nothing is worse than a sick child. In Boston and throughout the country, a child's illness is only made worse when there is delayed treatment because of an incorrect diagnosis. When there is a missed diagnosis, whether it's of cancer or another medical issue, there are numerous problems that can arise and deprive the individual of being treated and possibly cured.

Recently, a young girl was suffering from the symptoms of a cold that continued to worsen. The child was taken to a pediatrician and a doctor specializing in allergies, but her illness continued. The 8-year-old's face looked odd to her parents and the doctor stated that one of her nostrils was blocked. Shortly thereafter, the child's teeth began to take a crooked appearance and she said she was in pain. She was misdiagnosed until her parents were told that she had a tumor. As she prepared for surgery and chemotherapy, her parents were fearful. The day she was supposed to have surgery, a doctor told her parents that a biopsy indicated that he didn't believe she had cancer. She no longer needed chemotherapy, but had surgery to remove the non-cancerous tumor. The child had surgery and is now back on the road to health.

Woman's death attributed to prescription medication errors

Receiving medical care in Boston and throughout the country is meant to assuage fears, solve problems and nurse people back to health. While most doctors, anesthesiologists and pharmacists are conscientious about their work, there are still mistakes that occur and cause injury or death in patients. When being placed under anesthesia, people are often worried about anesthesiologist negligence. When they are given a prescription, they might not consider the possibility of a negligent pharmacist or doctor giving them the wrong drug with prescription medication errors. But these issues do happen and they can have life-changing consequences.

A woman is alleging that her 90-year-old mother died after she was the victim of prescription medication errors. She was being treated for heart arrhythmia and was taking generic diltiazem. The daughter states that the prescription label said that one tablet was to be taken four times per day. The woman was given the medication until she became unresponsive three days later. The daughter then realized that there was a difference between what the label on the bottle said and what the preprinted label. The preprinted label said it was only to be taken once per day. The woman died two weeks later. The autopsy found that the woman had died of diltiazem intoxication and it was because of a pharmacy mistake.

What are the signs of having suffered a traumatic brain injury?

When people in Boston suffer from head trauma, there can be severe problems that can affect their lives in a substantial way. For those who have suffered this kind of injury, they need to understand what they should look for in terms of symptoms to ensure they're not ignored and greater damage is not done due to a lack of timely treatment. Knowing what signs are often present with there is a traumatic brain injury can save a person's life or prevent extensive brain damage.

Depending on the seriousness of the blow to the head, the results will vary. If it is a brain injury that is classified as "moderate," the individual who was hurt might lose consciousness for between 20 minutes and six hours. For a brain injury to be considered "severe," the person will lose consciousness for more than six hours. How such a head injury will impact a person depends on how severe the injury is,how much functionality was diminished, how complete the psychological recovery is,what resources the person has to help him or her recover,how much the lack of function affects the injured person and the areas of function that weren't influenced by traumatic brain injury.

Investigation shows spate of prescription medication errors

Prescription medication errors can affect people and their families in Boston and across the entire country. There are many reasons why a wrong drug can be administered and they can have various consequences ranging from the innocuous to fatal. While most associate the most dangerous and life-threatening mistakes with anesthesia error, prescription medication errors can be as damaging and deadly. There are numerous reasons for this to happen from a negligent pharmacist to a doctor's mistake.

A recent investigation into the number of mistakes made with medication revealed troubling facts. The executive vice president for the Institute for Safe Medication Practices estimates that as many as 20 percent of prescriptions could have some form of mistake. These can be dosage related, medicine given to the wrong patient or the wrong medicine prescribed. One particular incident involved a firefighter who was meant to receive a prescription for shoulder pain. Instead of the anti-inflammatory medicine he was supposed to receive, he was given Adderall. He became symptomatic with jitters, feeling short of breath and having hallucinations. He wound up in the emergency to treat his rapid heartbeat. According to the investigation, in 2012 and 2013 there were as many as 2,500 medication mistakes reported to the FDA's MedWatch program, which tracks incidents such as these.

Pedestrian suffers head injury when hit by car

When there is an accident in Boston, there are numerous consequences that can result from it. It can be a car crash, an accident at work or a simple matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. All can cause severe injury and lead to massive medical expenses and the need for long-term care. This is especially true if the accident involves a head injury.

A 27-year-old driver was recently arrested after he hit a pedestrian with his car. The pedestrian, a 38-year-old man, was airlifted to the hospital with a head injury. Emergency personnel were called at approximately 6:45 p.m. to assist the injured pedestrian. The driver stayed at the scene and when law enforcement investigated, they found that he was under the influence of drugs. He was subsequently arrested. The pedestrian's injuries are considered life-threatening.

Failure to diagnose cancer can lead to serious challenges

When people in Massachusetts and all over the country seek treatment for a medical problem, they are expecting to have the issue diagnosed accurately and resolved properly. However, the failure to diagnose cancer and other diseases is a prevalent problem that is happening more frequently than other medical errors either during surgery or because of drug mix-ups. There are often errors in diagnosing a patient's medical problem leading to delayed treatment, worsened condition and spread of disease. In many instances, these mistakes are fatal.

It is believed that as many as 10 to 20 percent of diseases are misdiagnosed. This is a mistake that happens far more often than surgery on the wrong part of a patient's body or mistakes with medication, which are two other issues that are dangerous to the health and well-being of patients. Studies have examined this phenomenon and discovered startling and worrisome gaps between what is found and what is missed.

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.

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