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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

DON'T SKIMP ON AUTO INSURANCE!

Sadly, we have seen this story over and over again. A car owner is out "shopping around" for automobile insurance and gets quotes from different companies. The insurance agent wants to make a sale so he offers "stripped down" coverage in order to offer a very low premium. The price sounds great to the car owner, so they purchase the "stripped down" insurance. Not long afterwards, the person is in a serious car accident and they discover that their insurance coverage is not very good.

DON'T SKIMP ON AUTO INSURANCE!

Sadly, we have seen this story over and over again. A car owner is out "shopping around" for automobile insurance and gets quotes from different companies. The insurance agent wants to make a sale so he offers "stripped down" coverage in order to offer a very low premium. The price sounds great to the car owner, so they purchase the "stripped down" insurance. Not long afterwards, the person is in a serious car accident and they discover that their insurance coverage is not very good.

Pittsburgh hospital implicated in hepatitis scare

The story of the former medical technician accused of stealing narcotics and possibly being responsible for an outbreak of hepatitis C apparently at one time worked for a Pittsburgh hospital. That hospital is now being sued for medical malpractice and negligence by a woman who allegedly contracted hepatitis C.

The medical technician had worked for a number of different hospitals throughout the United States. He has been charged with stealing drugs and tampering with needles that may have led to a variety of medication errors. This case raises the question as to what specifically the Pittsburgh hospital could have done to prevent the worker from spreading such a disease as it may be possible the hospital did not know the medical technician was being treated for the disease.

Medical providers need to take steps to avoid medication errors

According to the ECRI Institute for the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority (PPSA), doctors often prescribe medications before being aware that the patient is also taking another medication that may result in an adverse reaction. Unfortunately, it was also reported that such medication errors involved controlled substances that could lead to more severe consequences.

The PPSA has proposed 11 strategies that healthcare providers could implement to prevent such medication errors from occurring. Most of these strategies involve establishment of procedures and protocol, and putting into place a tracking system to provide a history of medications taken by the particular patient.

False positives and ovarian cancer screenings

A problem with a misdiagnosis is that it can ultimately lead to a number of unnecessary medical procedures. It has recently been found that screenings for ovarian cancer often lead to what are called false-positives - leading doctors to believe a patient has ovarian cancer when they do not.

An unnecessary surgical procedure can be almost as devastating for a patient as a failure to have a disease treated when such a disease was still manageable. In either case, a failure to diagnose or a misdiagnosis may ultimately cause harm for a patient that could altogether have been avoided.

Birth injuries and high blood pressure medications

There is a concern that pregnant women may be prescribed antihypertensive drugs without doctors taking into account possible consequences. Though such medications obviously can prevent hypertension in pregnant women, the risks of birth injuries and pregnancy complications such as placental abruption, fetal demise, superimposed preeclampsia, preterm birth or maternal morbidity by taking such medications have not been studied.

This should be a concern for Pittsburgh women preparing to give birth to a child as high blood pressure affects close to 8 percent of all women that are pregnant. And though research is lacking, this does not seem to prevent doctors from going ahead and prescribing medications that may prove to be injurious.

Sports physicians approving players to play with concussions

A recent lawsuit suggests that the problem of concussions suffered by professional athletes may involve more than the way the sport is played or the equipment that athletes are wearing. It may also involve physicians that do not appreciate the severity of brain injury that can be suffered by athletes, and who release players to play again following a concussion without considering the long term ramifications.

A soccer player has filed a $12 million medical malpractice lawsuit against a team after the team reportedly failed to properly evaluate his injury. This follows a number of other lawsuits where players sued physicians and hospital chains for being cleared to play again after suffering concussions.

Diagnosing of Ataxia

A man who works in Pennsylvania suffers from Ataxia, and he is co-chairman of a support group for individuals afflicted with this syndrome. Unfortunately, Ataxia is not always easy to diagnose, and doctors often are guilty of misdiagnosis by telling such patients that they have multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease instead.

Ataxia can affect various movements of the joints, can create problems with balance, can affect speech and swallowing, and may eventually immobilize the patient and leave them confined to a wheelchair. Ataxia affects many different age groups, and the onset can begin in childhood or into late middle age.

Overuse of medical radiation

Pittsburgh patients should be made aware that radiation used for medical purposes may simply be overused. Though use of radiation can often reveal a number of medical problems, it can damage DNA and create risks of cancer sometimes in the future.

This problem has been exasperated in the last few years due to the frequent prescribing of CT scans. One CT scan can deliver as much as 500 times more radiation than the ordinary X-ray. Such CT scans are now believed to account for a small (but significant) percentage of cancers.

About 1 in 10 patients suffers postoperative complications

According to the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, approximately ten percent of patients develop postoperative complications following surgery. The study showed that as many as 11.3 percent of surgical patients were admitted back to the hospital within 30 days after surgery.

Though there are a number of factors into why patients would be readmitted besides surgical errors, postoperative complications such as surgical infections or malnutrition due to the surgery turned out to be the major cause for readmission. Patients that received surgical procedures such as a pancreatectomy, colectomy and liver resection were some of the most common individual to be readmitted.

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