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Detroit Medical Malpractice Blog

Fremont pharmacy accused of medication mix-up

  • 22
  • October
    2014

In medical care, patients expect that those who give them medical advice, administer treatment, and write prescriptions know what they are talking about and are careful to avoid errors. The same is true for pharmacists—we trust that our pharmacists are doing their job correctly and watching out for potential errors. That is why it can be surprising for patients when careless mistakes do occur.

Here in Michigan, a family from Fremont is reportedly accusing Walgreens of filling a prescription incorrectly, which apparently led to a boy taking the wrong medicine for a month before the mistake was recognized. The bag that held the medicine bottle reportedly had the right name, address and medication label on it when it was picked up, but the family noticed the bottle itself was addressed to another person when they went to fill the prescription a month later. As it turns out, he had been taking a generic asthma medication rather than his ADHD medication. 

Careless prescription of NSAIDs can lead to serious consequences

  • 16
  • October
    2014

Most of our readers are probably familiar with the term NSAID, which stands for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Common examples of NSAIDs include ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen. As pain relievers, NSAIDs can be effective but they carry certain risks, such as stomach bleeding and ulcers, kidney or heart problems, and high blood pressure. Another potential risk, supported by some studies, is venous thromboembolism (VTE),

VTE is a condition which involves clotting in the blood, which can then travel to the lungs in some cases, resulting in deep vein thrombosis. Because of these risks of developing these conditions, it is important for people to be cautious in their use of NSAIDs and for doctors to be judicious in prescribing them.

Overuse of antibiotics increasing incidence of resistant strains

  • 10
  • October
    2014

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 2 million Americans are estimated to fall ill every year because of an antibiotic-resistant infection, with 23,000 of them ultimately succumbing to these illnesses. The problem is a growing one, and concerns all of us, particularly because studies have shown that part of the problem may stem from the unscrupulous use of antibiotics in medical care.

According to a study published in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, hospitals in the United States used antibiotics unnecessarily in 78 percent of the 505 hospitals examined by researchers between 2008 and 2011. Not only is there a financial cost to prescribing unnecessary medications, there is also a public health cost. 

Ebola scare in Texas a reminder of the risk of ER medical errors

  • 10
  • October
    2014

Readers have probably all heard of the current concerns about the spread of Ebola from West Africa to other countries, including the United States. The scare came from the fact that a Texas man had contracted the virus while travelling in West Africa. When he checked himself into a hospital emergency room, he reportedly notified a nurse of his symptoms—consistent with Ebola—and the fact that he had been travelling in West Africa, but she failed to inform other hospital staff, which led to the patient being released with antibiotics and exposing numerous others.

As some commentators have pointed out, it is surprising—on the one hand—that a thing such as this could happen, putting others at risk of contracting such a highly fatal virus. On the other hand, doctors overlook serious medical conditions all the time, which can and does lead to worsening of the condition and sometimes death for patients.

Today is World Cerebral Palsy Day

  • 01
  • October
    2014

Most readers are probably not aware that today is World Cerebral Palsy Day, an effort which occurs on the first Wednesday of every October. The effort is promoted by a group of non-profit organizations and is observed in nearly 50 countries. According to the literature promoting the campaign, there are currently around 17 million people who live with cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy refers to a group of symptoms involving mobility issues, as well as problems with communication, depth perception and sensation. In some cases, cerebral palsy involves cognition errors and epilepsy. Fortunately, the problems presented by cerebral palsy do not get worse over time. Unfortunately, they are permanent. 

Hospitals named in med mal suits in connection with fraud charges

  • 24
  • September
    2014

Investigation continues in a case of health care fraud out of Detroit involving a physician who has pleaded guilty to putting patients through unnecessary treatments in order to be able to submit fraudulent insurance claims. The main doctor targeted thus far has pleaded guilty to 13 counts of health care fraud, as well as other charges. Now, eight other physicians have been implicated in the case.

According to authorities, the eight other physicians knew about the fraudulent activity but failed to report it. For that, the physicians are suspects for conspiracy. Already, multiple civil cases have been filed for medical malpractice in connection with the fraud, including several hospitals.

Early brain injury can lead to autism, study says

  • 17
  • September
    2014

Researchers from Princeton University recently offered a new theory regarding the genesis and onset of autism. The theory has to do with the cerebellum, the area of brain which processes motor control. Researchers suggest that an injury to the cerebellum during the birth process can significantly increase an infant’s likelihood of developing autism, more than almost every other known risk factor.

The connection between deficiencies in the cerebellum and autism have been known for some time, but the study takes a closer look at the issue from a developmental perspective, suggesting that a dysfunction in the cerebellum could affect the development of circuits in the neocortex and lead to cognitive and behavior issues as well as autism.  

Risky sleeping pills may be overprescribed

  • 12
  • September
    2014

Most of our readers have heard of the sleep drug Ambien, as well as the risks associated with it. These risks include dizziness and drowsiness, and in more serious cases depression, suicidal thoughts, aggressive behavior and anxiety. The sedative effect of the drug is increased when the drug is mixed with alcohol and other drugs.                                                       

Ambien is fairly widely used in the United States, enough that its use results in thousands of emergency room visits every year. In fact, the number of ER visits connected to use of Ambien and similar drugs has almost doubled over the past ten years. This is at least partly attributed to strong efforts to advertise the drug directly to consumers, as well as over-prescription of sleeping pills containing zolpidem, the active ingredient in Ambien.

Patients can face challenges pursuing malpractice claims

  • 05
  • September
    2014

One of the challenges with medical malpractice litigation is that it is not always easy for those who are harmed by a health care provider to successfully pursue a case for medical malpractice, even when the merits of their case are strong. Part of the reason for this is that health care providers usually have greater resources at their disposal with which to pursue litigation, whereas patients very often don’t have much in terms of financial resources. Medical malpractice litigation can be expensive, particularly if the provider is not open to settlement and is bent on defending his or her case at all costs.

Another challenge with medical malpractice litigation is the amount of time it takes to see a case through. Cases can take months or years, all the while building up the expenses involved. With the potential cost and time investment of medical malpractice litigation being so high, it doesn’t always pay off in the end to pursue such litigation. Depending on the potential payout in a case, it may be better for an injured patient to forego litigation, or at least push for settlement.  

Developing technology may help surgeons avoid errors, improve technique

  • 28
  • August
    2014

Surgical errors can result in serious harm to patients in some cases, and it goes without saying that patients deserve to have the assurance that their providers and their employers are continually working on ways to reduce the occurrence of errors to make operations more successful. Improvements can come from a variety of approaches, including improved safety practices, better staff communication, and enhanced technology.

In the area of technology, surgical “black boxes” hold some promise of helping improve surgical operation safety. In Canada, there are researchers working on developing devices which record surgeon’s hand movements and which identify errors in the procedure, giving the surgeon immediate feedback on their progress. Not only could these devices help avoid medical errors and save lives, they could help surgeons to better improve their technique by pinpointing when errors occur. 

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