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Detroit Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Looking at what recent studies have to say about medication errors

Medication errors are a common occurrence across the United States, and among the most commonly cited bases for medical malpractice litigation. Two recent studies highlight the issue of medication error and why the health care industry needs to ramp up efforts to address the problem.

One of the studies found that more than one-third of calls to poison control centers are related to medication errors. That figure was arrived at by looking at 10 years of data from the National Poison System. The report found that almost 97 percent of poison exposures were unintentional, with over half having been deemed “unintentional.”

Failure to diagnose claims in medical malpractice litigation

In our last post, we mentioned a recent report which found that failure to diagnose is among the most common claims physicians in family practice face. Failure to diagnose generally refers to cases where a physician delays or fails to diagnose a disease or condition, and which results in injury or progression of the disease beyond what would have come after a timely diagnosis.

While failure to diagnose is a common claim, it isn’t the case that every instance in which a physician makes a mistake in this area will give rise to a viable claim. The question of liability is going to depend on what diagnosis or diagnoses a reasonably cautious physician would have made under similar circumstances.

Hospital stops infant heart surgery due to surgical errors

Toward the end of 2011, a hospital in another state began doing heart surgery on infants. By June 2015, no less than nine babies died at the hospital. Michigan readers might be relieved to know that -- finally, in Aug. 2015 -- the program was shut down due to the inordinate amount of surgical errors that led to those deaths.

Several surgeons throughout the country, including one here in Michigan, reported that they have seen infants whose surgeries were performed incorrectly. In some cases, the surgeon operated on the wrong body part. Children might be resilient when it comes to injuries, but some mistakes are too much for their fragile little bodies to overcome.

Medical negligence can be the reason for a stroke

When blood flow to the brain is somehow stopped, a stroke often results. Clots or burst blood vessels can deprive the brain of blood and, subsequently, the oxygen needed by the cells. The health consequences to patients here in Michigan and elsewhere can be devastating, if not lethal. The care given to a patient under these circumstances can make all the difference, and when medical negligence occurs, the patient is the one who suffers.

As is often the case with other medical conditions, the importance of making the correct diagnosis cannot be stressed enough. A correct and swift diagnosis can get a patient the treatment needed in order to prevent -- or at least minimize -- any damage. When a doctor fails to recognize the symptoms as those of a stroke, the wrong course of treatment can delay the proper course of treatment and, consequently, make matters worse.

Report looks at most common reasons for med mal suits against primary car doctors

Medical error comes in a variety of flavors, with respect to both the type and severity of the injuries. Physicians are aware, or at least should be, though, that there are certain types of errors that occur more frequently than others. The types of claims that most commonly occur depends, to a large extent, on the type of practice in which a physician is engaged.

Primary care physicians, for instance, are doctors who serve as the first point of contact patient have with the health care system. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, primary care practitioners have the tasks of “health promotion, disease prevention, health maintenance, counseling, patient education, diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses in a variety of settings.” Given this range of practice objectives, there are naturally going to be unique risks that accompany this type of practice. 

Tip: seek legal guidance before pursuing medical malpractice assistance, P.2

In a previous post, we began speaking about a medical malpractice case filed by a woman who was bitten by a cat and developed serious medical problems due to a failure to provide adequate medical care. One of the points we noted about the case is that the woman is pursuing the litigation on her own, without the assistance of an attorney, at least initially.

Pursuing medical malpractice litigation without the assistance of legal counsel is certainly not recommended. First of all, determining whether it is even worthwhile to pursue medical malpractice litigation, given the significant costs typically involved, isn’t always easy to determine, particularly for somebody who has little or no knowledge of the law and the typical outcome of medical malpractice cases in terms of damages. 

Were you or a loved one the victim of a medication error?

Most Michigan readers are no doubt aware that scientists have created numerous medications to help us live longer and treat ailments for which there was previously no cure or relief. Most of these medications require that they be prescribed, filled and given with care. A medication error by a doctor, nurse or pharmacist could result in serious, permanent or fatal injuries to patients.

The potential for mistakes begins with the doctor. If accurate medical and family histories are not taken, the fact that a patient has an allergy to certain medication or a possible drug interaction might be missed. This could lead to dire health consequences for the patient. The wrong dosage could cause an individual to overdose as well.

Did hospital negligence cause child's cerebral palsy?

Michigan readers might surmise that this is the question that will need to be answered by an out-of-state court in a medical malpractice claim filed by a woman on behalf of herself and her child. She alleges that her child was born with injuries and severe cerebral palsy due to mistakes made in her care prior to the child's birth. Specifically, she alleges that if she had been hospitalized the first time she went in with concerns of vaginal bleeding, her child may not have suffered the trauma that led to the child's current issues.

May 23, 2013 was the first date the lawsuit identifies that the then-pregnant woman went to an emergency room in her area because she was experiencing vaginal bleeding. Such bleeding can be indicative of a larger, more serious problem while a woman is pregnant. A midwife and registered nurse conducted the woman's examination, gave her terbutaline (which is given to pregnant women who present signs of preterm labor) and sent her home.

Tip: seek legal guidance before pursuing medical malpractice assistance

A medical malpractice lawsuit recently filed by a Michigan woman highlights how relatively simple medical care can go seriously wrong. The woman claims that she sought treatment at the emergency room of University Hospital in 2013 after being bit on the hand by her sister-in-law’s cat. The cat, which had recently been purchased on the assumption that it was a spayed female, turned out to be an aggressive, unneutered male. The bite led to an infection which got worse as time went on.

The complaint centers on the University of Michigan Health System’s alleged failure to properly clean the wound from the start. After multiple visits to the hospital and a hand surgeon, she developed serious complications that forced her to check into an emergency room. Those complications, she says, could have killed her. 

Looking at the effects, risk factors of preterm birth, P.2

In our last post, we began speaking about the short-term complications and long-term risks associated with preterm birth, as well as some of the associated risk factors. It is interesting to note that the state of Michigan earned a grade of “C” on the recently released 2015 March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card.

According to the report, a total of four states earned As, 19 states earned Bs, 18 states and the District of Columbia earned Cs, six states earned Ds, and three states earned Fs. With an overall preterm birth rate of 9.8 percent in 2014, Michigan comes in slightly above the national average.