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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

Studies demonstrate ways to reduce birth injuries at hospitals

According to the Director of Obstetric Services at the University of Pennsylvania, there are steps that can be taken by hospitals that would prevent birth injuries from occurring. In part, this involves employing staff members that can help in the coverage of obstetrics and various birth issues. Hospitals that employed such individuals saw as much as a 15 percent decrease in preterm deliveries or circumstances that led to the inducing of labor.

Other studies have also supported the idea of hiring on individuals that specialize in this area of medicine. Having these so-called laborists on staff saw reductions in cesarean deliveries.

Three symptoms often overlooked at the doctor's office

Medication side effects, pneumonia and high blood pressure are common symptoms that are all too frequently misdiagnosed by doctors. These types of symptoms should be picked up when a patient is visiting his doctor, but close to two-thirds of diagnosis errors occur while someone is actually at the doctor's office.

Generally, these sorts of errors occur because some sort of miscommunication took place between doctor and patient. Though such a mistake may at first seem understandable, over 30 percent of these errors can result in permanent injury or death.

Do computerized records result in less prescription errors?

We recently wrote concerning skepticism about the wide use of electronic records as a part of medical care. The skeptics felt these records were often the blame for certain medical errors. However, other studies have suggested that, if used correctly, these electronic records can reduce certain types of medication and prescription errors.

A paper prepared in part by a University of Pennsylvania Emeritus Professor suggests that the use of a computerized system for the ordering of prescription drugs has actually reduced medication errors by as much as 12.5 percent. This would mean that there was over 17 million less medication errors across the country in just one year.

Tight schedules for doctors can lead to medical malpractice

A new study appears to demonstrate that many medical misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose type mistakes come about because physicians are expected to do too much in the short time that they spend with their patients. Schedules for doctors in Pittsburgh and across the country are becoming increasingly tighter, and the timeframe for communicating with patients have often been shortened.

It was suggested in the study that close to 80 percent of diagnosis errors came about because of information that could have been gleaned during a physical exam or during the conducting of a medical history. A significant percentage of errors also come about because a follow-up test on a test was not administered properly.

Surgical procedure apparently led to brain injury

Many brain injury cases that are a result of errors occurring during surgical procedures. One such case has now led to a $1.9 million verdict for the widow of a man that died three days after surgery - presumably due to brain damage suffered as a result of errors that occurred during the procedure.

During an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) procedure, the patient began to retch and to bleed into his lungs. As no intubation (the insertion of a tube to open the airway) had been conducted prior to the actual surgery taking place, it took almost 7 minutes for an intubation to take place after the patient had begun experiencing these problems. Then, shortly after the procedure, the patient's heart stopped and he developed brain damage due to a lack of oxygen.

Missed meningitis diagnosis led to brain damage?

A mother is claiming that the failure to diagnose her daughter's viral meningitis has now led to the girl being brain damaged. By bringing a lawsuit against the doctor, the woman says she hopes there will be more awareness concerning meningitis, and that doctors will be urged to perform more spinal taps if a patient exhibits symptoms of the disease.

The mother brought her daughter to the doctor due to the symptoms that she was suffering. Instead of performing more extensive tests, the doctor allegedly told the mother that the daughter was likely suffering from allergies.

Missed diagnosis all too common medical error

A study was conducted concerning medical mistakes made by physicians. When examining electronic medical records, one of the greatest surprises for researchers was to find the number of instances involving delayed or missed diagnosis.

The most common ailments left undiagnosed included pneumonia, congestive heart failure, renal failure, cancers and urinary tract infections. One doctor estimated that 150,000 people each year either died or suffered severe disabilities due to misdiagnosis by their doctors across the United States.

Despite jury verdict, doctor continues fighting birth injury case

Wherever birth injury cases are held involving the accusation of medical mistake, it will likely be sometime before the matter is finally resolved. In a neighboring state of Pennsylvania, a verdict of $13.9 million dollars was returned, the verdict was later reduced to $9.7 million by the court, and the attorney for the doctor expected to pay the verdict is now attempting to have the judge replaced from the case as pertains to a variety of post-verdict issues that still require sorting out.

The case involves an 11-year old girl still suffering from medical problems due to her birth. It has been claimed by the family that a failure to perform a Cesarean section caused the child to be deprived of oxygen, and this led to brain injury and cerebral palsy.

Electronic records blamed for medication errors

An authority from Pennsylvania and experts from many other different states have expressed skepticism concerning the widespread use of electronic records for medical care. These records in turn have been blamed for a number of medical mistakes, injuries and even deaths due to incorrect information being input into patients' charts.

Incorrect data placed in one particular chart has been blamed for causing the death of a young child. There have also been a number of prescription errors that have come about because of incorrect information. One such mistake involved thousands of patients where the medication prescribed was of too weak of a dosage for the pertinent medical condition.

Type 1 diabetes in children

A study from the University of Pennsylvania has noted that Type 1 diabetes is on the rise among children. For children under the age of five, the increase in Type 1 cases has been as much as 70 percent over the last 35 years.

Apparently, Type 1 diabetes can be difficult to diagnose due to young children being unable to communicate to parents and doctors how they are feeling. However, some symptoms are apparent with this illness including thirst and frequent urination. If signs of these symptoms do occur, it is recommended to pediatricians that they should then test the children for diabetes.

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