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Portland Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Can a checklist prevent surgical errors?

One of the things medical providers should be doing each time they work with a patient is inputting information into patient charts and using checklists to make sure they have covered every part of a treatment or conversation.

For surgeons, a surgical checklist could be the key to keeping patients safe. This list could be something as simple as identifying how many objects went in and out of the patient during the surgery or keeping a record of vital signs and medications.

What do you need for a successful medical malpractice claim?

Many patients who fall ill while in a hospital's care may hope that they can pursue a medical malpractice claim, but how easy is it really? The reality is that many people attempt and fail to bring lawsuits against hospitals, but every case is different. Where your case may have merit, others may not have enough evidence to pursue a case.

This is why your attorney will speak with you about the specific facts of your case such as how you suffered the injury, if you were informed about the potential for serious side effects or complications before a treatment and other factors that played a role in your illness following your visit to the hospital.

Criticism and a second opinion could help your malpractice case

Carelessness is a serious risk in any surgical or medical setting, but what about talking to patients about another provider's carelessness? It's not always a good idea for medical professionals to speak ill of one another, but for a patient looking to make a case, this can be a massive help.

Surgeons in high demand are likely well-trained and extremely cautious when performing operations. These individuals may stay up-to-date on the latest in the medical field, providing patients with the newest and best care.

Protecting yourself against a missed pulmonary embolism diagnosis

Pulmonary embolisms are potentially life-endangering conditions. This condition occurs when a blockage forms in one of the arteries spanning into the lungs. In most cases, the blockage is caused by blood clots. Most come from the legs.

Pulmonary embolisms are dangerous because the blood flow to the lungs is hindered. The good news is that getting treatment right away does greatly increase your chance of survival and protect you against future embolisms.

What do surgical errors cost?

When surgeons leave items behind inside patients, there is a high risk that patients can get ill or even die. Sponges and surgical tools can't be left behind; doctors have to take steps to avoid this and protect their patients. Sadly, that doesn't always happen.

One patient described her story in which a provider performed a cesarean-section and left a sponge behind. The sponge was left in the abdominal cavity, causing infection and leading to three weeks in the hospital. The sad truth about this case is that leaving a sponge behind shouldn't have happened, but it is a common occurrence among patients. It's one of the most common surgical errors.

Prescription errors: The risk to patients

Prescription mistakes can put patients' lives in danger, which is why it's so important for doctors to get their patients' prescriptions right the first time. Even if a doctor gets the prescription right, a pharmacist could make a mistake. For this reason, it's wise for patients to have a full discussion with the medical provider about what the medication is and what to expect.

Pharmacists fill up to 25 prescriptions an hour, and at that rate, there is a risk of error. A label could be printed incorrectly, the wrong medication could given to the wrong patient, or worst of all, similar medications could get mixed up, leading to the wrong prescription being given to a patient but with the correct prescription information.

Artificial intelligence could help eliminate missed diagnoses

So many things are changing in the world of technology that it's no surprise that medicine is benefiting. Artificial intelligence (AI) can help provide accurate diagnoses and reduce the number of mistakes made in the medical setting.

Researchers recently discovered that AI is better at identifying skin cancer than dermatologists are, for example. An AI tool was compared against 58 international dermatologists to test its accuracy. Overall, the dermatologists identified around 86.6 percent of melanomas, but the AI tool identified around 95 percent.

Protecting yourself against surgical errors

Surgical errors can happen at almost any time, but there are a few good ways that you, as a patient, can protect yourself. Surgical errors, which can range from getting your name wrong when moving you into a surgical ward to leaving a sponge inside you after surgery, have the potential to lead to injuries.

The good news is that it's easy to prevent these incidents. The majority of errors never should have occurred because of the significance of the mistake. For instance, operating on the wrong patient or making anesthesia errors are unacceptable but yet occur fairly often.

Have you been diagnosed with asthma? It might not be

It may be a shock to be diagnosed with a chronic breathing condition like asthma. Asthma has long-term implications; it's not something you can recover from. Yes, it's controllable for most people, but it's still a condition with the potential to cause life-threatening conditions in minutes.

The interesting thing about asthma is how often it is diagnosed incorrectly. In fact, it's believed that around one in three adults who believe they have asthma actually suffer from other conditions. Getting a diagnosis is important, but using the right tools is vital.

A misdiagnosis: More common than you may believe

When you first felt you were ill, you went to the doctor immediately. It was weeks of the same symptoms with no relief, but the doctor didn't suspect anything unusual.

Three or four weeks later, you decided to go to someone new. That doctor immediately diagnosed you with a life-altering condition, and it is in an advanced stage. The delay could end up costing you your life.

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