Medical Malpractice Archives

Heart Attacks

Heart Attacks

"I feel like I am having a heart attack!" These words must be taken very seriously by any emergency room staff. Failure to follow proper procedures can result in a patient being sent home only to experience a sudden and fatal event. Too often heart attacks are missed by hospital emergency room staff because it did not present in a classic or usual fashion and the staff fails to follow protocol. I have seen emergency room doctors broom a patient out of their emergency room in less than an hour. The patient goes home and dies.

The move toward electronic medical records; follow the audit trail

The move toward electronic medical records; follow the audit trail

More and more, hospitals, clinics, and doctors' offices are making the move to an all electronic medical record (EMR). The benefits of EMR include a reduction in medication errors caused by doctors' notoriously poor hand writing. The goal of reducing medication errors is laudable; however, what stops a less-than scrupulous health care provider from going in and changing critical information in the EMR to cover up a medical mistake that causes a patient to be injured or worse yet die? The answers may lie in what is called the audit trail. In EMR programs the audit trail keeps track of when charting is done and who does the charting. If a health care provider goes in at a later time and changes the medical records, the audit trail will list when the change was made and who made the change. This information can be critically important when representing a person injured or killed by medical negligence especially when the records are completely inconsistent with what our client or family says happened. For example, when the records says "patient refused diagnostic test" and the patient or family say that the diagnostic test was never even offered.

Shoulder Dystocia

Shoulder Dystocia

Shoulder dystocia is an issue which complicates many deliveries. Once the head has been delivered, the infant's anterior shoulder will sometimes become stuck behind the mother's pubic bone. The obstetrician then has a window of opportunity to deliver the baby without permanent injury to the brain. If improperly handled by the obstetrician, shoulder dystocia can lead to many serious complications including death, brachial plexus palsies (Erb's palsy), clavicular (collar bone) and humeral (upper arm) fractures.

Time for routine screening of all newborns for congenital cytomegalovirus

Time for routine screening of all newborns for congenital cytomegalovirus

A recent study published in the esteemed New England Journal of Medicine should prompt a move toward routine screening of all newborns for congenital cytomegalovirus, a leading cause of congenital hearing loss. The test, which uses a small sample of saliva and costs about $3, was found to be 97% accurate in identifying babies infected with the virus. The screening test is important because only 10% of babies born infected with cytomegalovirus show any symptoms.

Alarm Fatigue

Alarm Fatigue

Modern hospitals are filled with high tech equipment intended to help health care providers identify changes in patient condition and avoid injury or death. Many of these high tech pieces of equipment have audible alarms that sound in an effort to notify health care workers of impending problems such as heart problems, breathing problems, or a patient's attempt to get out of bed without supervision. So why are these alarms being ignored, and in some cases actually turned off, by the very health care providers the alarms are intended to notify?
The answer is a condition known as alarm fatigue-the tendency of health care workers to tune out (or turn off) the alarms in an increasingly noisy alarm-driven health care environment. (Think of your reaction over time to a car alarm that keeps going off.) In some cases health care workers actually turn off the audible alarms not because they do not care about their patients, but because the workers are inundated by false alarms and alarms sounding by multiple pieces of equipment. Alarm fatigue can also contribute to equipment malfunction such as when health care workers ignore alarms which signal that a device needs a new battery or needs to be charged.

Prenatal Exposure to Paxil and Similar Drugs Increase the Risk of Birth Defects

Prenatal Exposure to Paxil and Similar Drugs Increase the Risk of Birth Defects

Paxil is a medication prescribed for various conditions including depression and anxiety in pregnancy. The Food and Drug Administration requires the maker of Paxil to include in its product information that epidemiological studies have shown that infants exposed to this drug in the first trimester of pregnancy have an increased risk of congenital malformations, particularly cardiovascular malformations.

Michigan Lawyers Weekly Publishes Largest Verdicts and Settlements in Michigan

Michigan Lawyers Weekly Publishes Largest Verdicts and Settlements in Michigan

Each year, Michigan Lawyers Weekly publishes a listing of the largest verdicts and settlements in Michigan. This year, attorneys from McKeen & Associates, P.C. secured 11 of those settlements, including the largest medical malpractice settlement reported in the state for 2010. Further, eight of the 10 largest medical malpractice settlements were secured by McKeen & Associates, P.C. In total, 85% of the top malpractice settlements in the list were obtained by attorneys at McKeen & Associates, P.C.

He Who Hesitates, Claim May Be Lost

He Who Hesitates, Claim May Be Lost

One of the many things that frequently comes to my attention when discussing claims with potential clients is that most people are not aware that they only have a limited amount of time to bring a law suit. Some people are aware that a limitation does exist, but believe they have a much longer time in which to file their claim than they actually do. Because no claim can be filed after the period of limitations has run, hesitating to investigate or bring a claim will result in the claim being lost forever.

Issues with High Quality Health Care

Issues with High Quality Health Care

As the "baby boomers", the largest population group in the U.S. ages, the need for high quality health care will increase correspondingly. With this increase, problems with the quality of care provided by an aging population of doctors, may grow as well, which could compromise patient safety.

Overdiagnosis of Cancer Results in Needless, Painful Treatments

Overdiagnosis of Cancer Results in Needless, Painful Treatments

On July 19, 2010, Stephanie Saul, Pulitzer Prize winning reporter for the New York Times wrote on the false diagnosis of ductal carcinoma in situ (D.C.I.S.), a type of breast cancer, and its ramifications. In the article, Ms. Saul documents the experience of a woman from Northern Michigan improperly diagnosed with cancer. The woman has since pursued a claim, represented by McKeen & Associates, P.C. In March of 2007, the client was diagnosed with D.C.I.S. by a Northern Michigan doctor not fully qualified to make such a diagnosis. This doctor, aside from failing his board exam multiple times, did not have the requisite amount of experience to be effective at the diagnosis of D.C.I.S. As a result, Ms. Long had a quadrantectomy, where a quarter of her right breast was removed. She then went through six weeks of radiation.

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