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Portland Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Doctors often miss what should be obvious

When the doctor checks you out and gives you a clean bill of health, do you just accept what they told you, regardless of how you feel? Many people do. We understand that doctors are experts and we are biased. When they say nothing is wrong, we tell ourselves that we have to trust them.

The unfortunate reality, though, is that doctors make mistakes. They miss things. They overlook what should be clear and obvious. You need to listen to your body and understand when something is wrong.

A terrifying surgical mistake: Anesthesia awareness

When you think of surgical mistakes, you probably think of the surgeon making a clear error. Wrong-site surgery is often cited. People worry about having the procedure done on the wrong body part and waking up to find out that their life has been forever altered.

That is an issue that you need to be aware of, and it does happen, but you should also know that some mistakes during surgery happen when the surgeon actually does his or her job perfectly. One of the most frightening is known as anesthesia awareness.

Wrongful death compensation and the unemployed

Much of the time, wrongful death cases revolve around lost wages, lost earnings and lost support for a family.

For instance, a man dies a car accident while making $70,000 per year. His wife doesn't work. He has three small children. They counted on that $70,000. He was the family's main breadwinner. The case may also address issues like medical bills or pain and suffering, but the root of the whole thing will be attempting to gather compensation to replace that income that the family needs just to survive.

A doctor's mistakes can lead to a birth injury

When your child is born, you trust your doctor. You assume they're going to give you world-class care. You believe they are going to do what is best for your child. You hope they are not going to make any mistakes.

Unfortunately, many doctors do make mistakes, and your child's health could be greatly impacted. Some doctors don't have enough training. Some are exhausted on the job. Others get distracted while working. Still others may have a substance abuse problem. Regardless of the reason, mistakes can lead to injuries. Some of the more common injuries that children see during birth include:

  • Bone fractures, especially to the collarbone or clavicle
  • Bruising on the face and head
  • Bleeding around a cranial bone
  • Swelling of the head
  • Injuries to the facial nerves; this often happens when too much pressure is put on the young child's face
  • Injuries to nerve groups that are tied to the hands and arms
  • Blood vessel breakage in the baby's eyes

Misidentification of patients can have serious consequences

They bring you in for surgery. The doctor asks you for your name. You give him your first name and he nods, smiles, and begins getting ready for the surgery.

Then it dawns on you: What if he has another patient with the same name? Could there be a mix-up? What if he carries out the wrong procedure? What if he gives you a medication that you're allergic to?

The fragile first 24 hours of a child's life

Being born is a traumatic experience for children, and the unfortunate reality is that many of them do not make it.

Even among those who do, the next 24 hours are very fragile, and many lives are lost. Some reports put it at 1 million newborns every year when looking at global statistics.

Do you have Parkinson's? Signs to watch out for

Parkinson's is a serious disease that can change your life forever and can be fatal. As with long-term issues like cancer and similar diseases, it's very important to catch Parkinson's as early as possible. You need to know what symptoms to watch out for.

If you think that you may have this progressive nervous system disorder, you should know that the first signs are typically very small. Often, they are tremors. You may just barely catch a little bit of a shake in one hand. Many people think nothing of it in the early stages.

Tips to help you have a successful surgery

If you're going in for surgery, you may worry that the doctors will make a mistake. Perhaps you have been reading news reports about wrong-site surgery, for instance, and cases where doctors carry out the wrong procedures on the wrong patients.

You have a lot of different options to help avoid outcomes like these. Some are fairly basic, such as drawing an X on the body part on which they're supposed to operate -- putting an X on your right knee, for instance, so that they don't operate on the left knee. However, in addition to this, you may also want to:

  • Check and see if the surgeon has been accused of malpractice in the past.
  • Seek a surgeon with a lot of experience performing the procedure.
  • Try to set your surgery up for typical, daytime hours. Even if it's not as convenient for you, this is when many of the best doctors work their standard shifts.
  • Consider the proficiency of the medical staff that will assist the surgeon.
  • Find a surgeon who makes you feel comfortable and confident.
  • Go to other medical centers to learn more and perhaps even get a second opinion.
  • Ask every question you can think of. There are no silly questions. This is your life and your health. Do not be satisfied until you get all of the answers you seek.

Risks hospital patients face

That trip to the hospital could actually put you at serious risk. This is true, to a degree, if you're just visiting. However, experts generally say that the greatest risk for disease, infection and other complications is undoubtedly to people who are patients.

Maybe it starts with a cough, which turns into pneumonia. You go in for treatment and wind up with a serious infection on top of everything else. Now your very life is in danger. How did it happen?

Potential cancer warning signs

Different types of cancer do come with very different symptoms and warning signs, and it's important to keep that in mind if you think you may be suffering from the disease. Do not expect it to always appear exactly the same. Below are a few of the most common signs, but remember that this is not an exhaustive list.

If anything concerns you at all, whether it is on this list or not, the best course of action is usually to go see your primary care doctor. They can help you make a diagnosis or refer you to a specialist.

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