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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

Woman dies of brain damage following surgery

Something as simple as a misplaced tube during surgery resulted in the death of a woman due to brain injury. It appears that an anesthesiologist did not note that the oxygen tube had moved during the surgical procedure and the woman was deprived of oxygen while the anesthesia was administered.

Though this happened in a neighboring state such a medical mistake could occur for patients in Pittsburgh as well. It has been alleged that the woman's blood pressure was dangerously low, but her blood pressure was not monitored by medical staff. This and the fact that medical staff failed to notice that the woman was having difficulty in breathing led a jury to conclude that medical malpractice took place and the jury thus awarded the woman's family $1.23 million.

Doctors and surgical mistakes

To put things in perspective, approximately 100,000 deaths occur every year due to medical mistakes. Such errors occur in Pennsylvania and across the country. What we've discovered is that even the best trained of surgeons can have lapses and make surgical errors. For example, one talented surgeon operated on the wrong side of the brain of a patient because he looked at a CAT scan that was hung backwards.

A major problem in the medical profession is that lessons are only learned after a mistake has been made. Yet because such mistakes can often be so devastating in nature most physicians are reluctant to admit to any mistake to begin with.

Drug shortage can lead to medication errors

Pennsylvania's United States Senator, Bob Casey, has attempted to introduce legislation that would address a perceived drug shortage in the United States as it has felt that the nation is dealing with one of the worst drug shortages in 40-years. Such a shortage can also have unanticipated consequences that have resulted in a number of medication errors throughout the nation.

When doctors are short on particular medications, the temptation is then to prescribe a number of drugs that these doctors are personally not familiar with. When doctors are familiar with a drug such as morphine, they generally know what would and would not be the appropriate dosage. When they are prescribing an unfamiliar drug, the dangers of prescribing too much or too little become very real.

Coal Mine Official Pleads Guilty

One of the main officials of a large West Virginia Coal Company recently pled guilty to fraud charges in connection with an April 2010 coal mine explosion that killed several workers at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia. According to the federal charges, Gary May, the superintendent of the mine, made changes to the mine's ventilation system during federal inspections in order to deceive inspectors.

Coal Mine Official Pleads Guilty

One of the main officials of a large West Virginia Coal Company recently pled guilty to fraud charges in connection with an April 2010 coal mine explosion that killed several workers at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia. According to the federal charges, Gary May, the superintendent of the mine, made changes to the mine's ventilation system during federal inspections in order to deceive inspectors.

Zoloft related to heart defects in newborn children

Zoloft is popular among Pittsburgh doctors in treating depression. However, studies have now shown that the use of Zoloft by pregnant women is now being linked to children being born with serious heart defects. And as well as congenital heart defects, use of this medication has also been connected with other birth injuries as well.

Zoloft taken by the pregnant mother appeared to create problems for the child that did not arise with the taking of other anti-depressants. Mothers that have taken Zoloft during the first trimester were almost twice as likely to deliver a child with ventricular outflow and septal defects related to the heart. Even if taken as late as the third trimester, the risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension was also great.

Do People With Health Insurance Get Better Care?

The United States Supreme Court has been hearing arguments all week on whether it should strike down the new federal healthcare law passed by Congress and supported by the Obama administration. The most controversial aspect of the law, the so-called "private mandate," requires all individuals to purchase health insurance or face a financial penalty. It will be interesting to see what the Supreme Court decides in this landmark case.

Do People With Health Insurance Get Better Care?

The United States Supreme Court has been hearing arguments all week on whether it should strike down the new federal healthcare law passed by Congress and supported by the Obama administration. The most controversial aspect of the law, the so-called "private mandate," requires all individuals to purchase health insurance or face a financial penalty. It will be interesting to see what the Supreme Court decides in this landmark case.

Failure to diagnose diabetes

Attempts are being made in Pennsylvania to increase awareness of the problems in diagnosing of diabetes. Close to a quarter of individuals with diabetes have yet to be diagnosed. One indicator of the disease is when blood sugar is measured to be too high as this can indicate that the pancreas is not producing enough insulin.

Though there are ways from preventing the disease, a failure to diagnose diabetes can result in a number of major medical complications. Such complications can include amputation, blindness, heart and kidney disorders, stroke and possibly death. However, many such complications can be prevented if the diabetes is diagnosed at an early enough stage and steps are taken to prevent the diabetes from worsening.

Anesthesia and brain injury

It has long been known that there are dangers anytime a patient goes under anesthesia. However, the dangers of brain injury to patients in our Pennsylvania hospitals may be even more pronounced that previously imagined.

Past studies have shown a possible connection between undergoing general anesthesia and later facing the risks of Alzheimer's disease. Recent studies have now shown that particular types of anesthesia are more associated with cognitive impairment than others.

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