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Portland Medical Malpractice Law Blog

When should doctors find a birth defect?

Doctors search for birth defects in children because they can often address them right at birth. Many issues are far easier to correct immediately, either through surgery or through other means.

The other side of this coin is that it's potentially very dangerous if doctors miss clear defects and make mistakes. If they wait too long, the issues may become harder or even impossible to correct. Some birth defects can be fatal.

Medical negligence leads to many different problems

Negligence in a medical setting can cost you dearly. After all, you trust doctors and nurses with your life, even when you're not thinking about it.

Perhaps you have a deadly allergy to a certain medication, for instance. They assure you that they read your file and they won't give you that medication. You don't know what all of the pills and fluids are supposed to look like, though. You just take what they give you. If one medical worker makes a careless mistake, you could suffer serious harm as a result.

Avoiding communication issues and medical errors

Medical errors take many lives annually. Experts do disagree at times on exactly how many people pass away, but some studies have said it is at least 5,000 people every year. Other studies have indicated that it may be more like 250,000 people per year.

One thing that they agree on, though, is that one of the biggest problems that the medical community faces is a lack of communication. Or, at least, they have problems with miscommunication and similar errors that lead to very real mistakes. Some of these mistakes can cost lives.

Skin cancer may show up where you don't expect it

Typically, you expect skin cancer to show up on places that often see exposure to sunlight, such as your face, your forehead and your hands. However, if your doctor or dermatologist only looks in those areas, they could miss cancer entirely when it shows up in an unexpected location.

For instance, one woman wound up with cancer on the sole of her foot. It was melanoma. She was perplexed as to how it had grown there, but medical professionals pointed out that it's not just sun exposure that leads to melanoma and other types of cancer. Factors that may play a role include genetic predisposition, heavy drinking, environmental pollutants, immune deficiencies, medical organ transplants that make use of drugs to suppress the immune system, and viral skin and body infections like HPV (human papillomavirus) or HIV.

Is that cancer diagnosis accurate?

You go to the doctor and are diagnosed with cancer. You feel a whole wave of emotions, but it never occurs to you to assume that the doctor could be wrong. You trust them. You came for a professional opinion and now you have it. You've begun thinking about the next steps you'll need to take.

While doctors are often right, it's important to know that a misdiagnosis could have taken place. There are cases where doctors fail to diagnose a different condition because they think it's cancer when it isn't. Some of these cases have gone to fairly extreme lengths.

C-sections and common medical mistakes

As far as surgery goes, it does not get much more routine than a cesarean-section. These surgeries happen every single day. Thousands and thousands of children enter the world in this relatively safe manner. In many cases, having the surgery is far safer for the baby and the mother than trying to have a natural birth.

That said, it's dangerous to assume that a C-section is a routine surgery with no risks. There are still major risks. Mothers and babies suffer life-changing injuries. Some pass away. You have to take this into account.

Most Americans die in the hospital

When you ask people where they would like to pass away, when that day finally comes, the vast majority of them simply pick their homes. They would like to be at home, likely surrounded by their loved ones. That's what about 80 percent of people choose when asked, and you probably fall into that number as well.

However, per the Stanford School of Medicine, most of them do not get their wish. A mere 20 percent of people in the United States actually die at home. Another 20 percent pass away in assisted living centers and nursing homes.

Here are the 10 types of cancer that take the most lives

The word cancer often makes people think of a typically fatal disease that can end your life far before you expected to pass away. However, though any type of cancer can prove deadly, there are certainly some types that pose a far greater risk than others.

That's part of the reason it is so problematic when a medical professional makes a mistake and misdiagnoses this disease. A mistake or a delayed diagnosis can prove fatal. You need treatment, and you need it right away. Anything that hampers that process is problematic, and it may be a serious type of medical malpractice if the doctor was negligent.

Did your doctor ignore cancer symptoms?

Cancer symptoms aren't always obvious. It often seems like something completely unrelated. Is that cough just a persistent cold that you can't shake or are you in the early stages of lung cancer? It can be hard to tell.

While people often ignore symptoms, one thing is for certain: You don't want your doctor to ignore them. That's your doctor's job. That's why you go in for a checkup. If the doctor negligently decides not to do tests or just ignores symptoms outright, it can delay your diagnosis. It can even prove fatal.

Experience causes medical professionals not to question mistakes

When a doctor comes up with the wrong diagnosis or fails to diagnose a clear problem, he or she may not be acting alone. This is often something of a team effort, and other members of the team may be able to catch the mistake.

While testing to see if the way that doctors treat each other made much of a difference when it came to questioning errors, researchers inadvertently stumbled upon a key piece of information: One thing that drastically changes how likely a medical professional is to challenge a mistake is just how much experience that person has.

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