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Portland Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Diagnostic errors put patients' lives at risk

Diagnostic errors can result in a person getting treatments he or she doesn't need or not receiving the treatment that's required to prevent the spread of disease. As a patient who has suffered because of diagnostic errors, you know the importance of medical providers doing everything they can to give you the correct diagnosis. Not doing so can result in terminal illnesses or other complications.

The number of people suffering from misdiagnoses in the United States is estimated to be between 80,000 and 160,000. These individuals suffer from delayed treatments, receiving the wrong treatments or being treated for something they don't have. Some never receive treatment and suffer with an undiagnosed illness.

Hospital errors are inexcusable in the United States

There are over 200,000 preventable deaths that happen yearly in the United States as a result of medical errors. Twenty times more people suffer from injuries that they don't die from, making medical errors a serious cause for concern.

As someone who has suffered an injury at the hands of a medical provider, it can be difficult to put your trust into someone new. Fortunately, you can take steps to make sure injuries like those you suffered never take place again. How? Try these three tips.

  • Check your prescriptions

What is spinal stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal. Over time, this can place pressure on the spinal cord, which can result in significant pain, numbness and other concerns. Usually, spinal stenosis is part of the aging process, but injuries can impact it. Whenever the discs and spaces between them degenerate, it's dangerous for the body.

In most cases, spinal stenosis doesn't require surgery. Instead, patients receive treatments for the symptoms. Activity moderation and self-care is generally all that is required to lower the pain and side effects of stenosis.

Nurses have an important role in helping surgical patients

Nurses are some of the most underappreciated staff at hospitals and in other care facilities. These individuals do much of the heavy lifting, and they help prepare surgeons for the operating room. Nurses provide a service that is unmatched by others in the field, but that means they have to be held responsible if they make errors.

Nurses matter because they are there for patients. They're often the first faces patients see and the last. The way a nurse treats a patient sets a standard. The nurse listens to patient complaints and concerns and is meant to relay those to the surgeon, who often does not have time to spend his or her rounds with patients for any length of time.

Anesthesia mistakes can cost you your life

Anesthesia is one of the great medical discoveries in the world. It makes long, painful surgeries possible, saving lives every day. With around 40 million anesthesia procedures performed yearly, it's clear how important anesthesia is to the medical field.

There are serious risks associated with anesthesia, though. As many as 251,000 people die in the USA each year because of medical errors, and anesthesia errors are part of that number. As a patient, that may worry you, but understanding the risks can help you relax if you're going into surgery.

Medical errors: Prevalent and with a potential to kill

People die from medical mistakes often enough that it's a problem in the medical system that has to be addressed. Since a report in 1999, the medical community has agreed that somewhere around 98,000 people die because of medical mistakes in hospitals every year. In 2010, the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services raised that number and indicated that poor care at hospitals contributed to the deaths of around 180,000 patients on Medicare yearly.

A 2013 report suggests that the number of patients who are killed is much higher, potentially falling between 210,000 and 440,000 patients. Those numbers would mean that medical errors are a third-leading cause of death in the country, falling just short of cancer and heart disease.

What are some common surgical errors?

Although most surgeons are extremely careful not to cause injuries to their patients, there are some who make mistakes. To err is human, but it's still the responsibility of those providing care to take as many precautions as possible. In the case that you are injured, that party should be held responsible.

There are many different kinds of surgical errors, some of which you can help prevent. For example, if you are allergic to certain medications, you need to tell the provider ahead of time. If you confirm those allergies shortly before the surgery, you can be more confident that the surgical team has everything correct in your charts.

Ovarian cysts: A correct diagnosis is necessary for treatment

Ovarian cysts are common among women. They are often misdiagnosed, which results in delayed treatment, because symptoms vary and mimic other problems. Some women won't know they have ovarian cysts because they have no symptoms. Others have mild symptoms like a dull ache in the stomach or a slight fever.

Why is it important to correctly diagnose an ovarian cyst?

Convicted ex-nursing assistance acquitted of new charges

Medical malpractice is a serious threat to patients, especially patients who cannot speak for themselves or who have trouble asserting themselves. When a nurse or doctor takes advantage of a patient, it is horrifying for family members and can leave patients with mental and physical injuries.

This case is interesting, because although the man did admit to abusing two elderly patients, he denied allegations that he was involved in the abuse of five others. The man was found not-guilty on the five additional charges of sexual abuse against five women who were in his care at Providence St. Vincent Hospital.

What are the most common surgical errors?

Surgical errors have the potential to be life-changing, and they can also end up leading to lawsuits. When you go into surgery, you do so to feel better, not to wake up feeling worse or fighting for your life.

Many things can go wrong in the operating room, some of which no one can predict. For example, if you have no history of an allergy and have an allergic reaction to a medication, that may not be a medical provider's fault. However, many surgical errors are preventable with the right safety protocols.

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