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Queens NY Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Preventive strategies for wrong-site surgeries

A patient in a New York hospital who faces surgery may want to be aware of issues such as wrong-site surgeries and preventive strategies to limit the risk of a surgical error. The consequences of such an error can be devastating, resulting in a negative outcome. The consequences for a physician may be a significant deterrent to errors as licensing boards and insurance providers develop standards for penalizing those at fault.

The possible causes of wrong-site surgical errors can vary, attributable to the system governing the medical activity or to the process used in preparing for a surgery. Verification of the surgery site may be inadequate due to a lack of institutional controls. A checklist is important for verification, and exclusion of some surgery team members from the verification process could increase the risk of a wrong-site incident. Time constraints or medical emergencies could result in errors. Insufficient patient assessment and care planning could lead to errors. Communication issues between the medical team and the patient could also create problems. A more complicated surgery involving multiple procedures or surgeons could also result in mistakes.

Pedestrian killed in New York car accident

The 20-year-old driver of a vehicle traveling down State Route 9N in Corinth struck a pedestrian near the intersection of Antone Mountain Road at around 3:13 AM on Friday, Sept. 5. Investigators allegedly discovered that the driver of the vehicle was intoxicated at the time of the accident, and she was arrested and charged with DWI, Aggravated DWI and DWI with a BAC greater than .08 percent.

The 35-year-old pedestrian was transported to Saratoga Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Officers say that they do not know why the man was walking that late at night, but he did live in the area. The sheriff's office stated that they will be seeking additional charges against the driver, including vehicular manslaughter.

Woman killed by taxi

A woman was struck and killed by a taxi in New York's Upper East Side at about 2 p.m. on Aug. 29. The cab, which was a Nissan NV2000 "Taxi of Tomorrow," began making a left turn onto 79th street when it hit a woman who was crossing the street. The woman, who was 58, was trapped beneath the taxi and was dragged for several feet. When the taxi came to a stop, the woman was still trapped beneath it.

Several pedestrian witnesses in the area turned the taxi on its side in an effort to save the woman, and the collective effort was led by a construction worker in the area. The cab also carried a passenger, a 32-year-old woman, who was treated for minor injuries. The woman who was trapped beneath the taxi was killed.

New black box could reduce surgeons' errors

New York residents may not have heard of a new invention that could make surgery safer. However, the very device that is designed to reduce the frequency of medical mistakes could face hurdles to being placed in operating rooms due to the fear of its potential use in medical malpractice lawsuits.

Researchers in Canada are developing what they call a black box, which they hope will reduce surgical errors by monitoring surgeries as they are happening and informing the surgeons when any errors occur. However, the use of the box also raises the possibility that errors will be recorded and used against physicians in medical malpractice lawsuits. Researchers say that the box still needs more work to ensure that it is primarily an educational tool.

New York head-on collision leaves 1 dead, 4 injured

Local law enforcement officials report that a two-vehicle head-on collision in Colchester at around 10 a.m. left one person dead and four others with serious injuries on Aug. 21. An ambulance transported all of the injured parties to Harris Hospital in Liberty. They were later transferred to Westchester Medical Center.

According to New York authorities, the accident occurred on Route 7 when a 30-year-old Bronx woman driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee allegedly drove the wrong way in the southbound lane. She then crashed head-on into a 48-year-old Nineveh man driving an Isuzu Amigo southbound. The New York State Police Troop C Collision Reconstruction Unit completed a reconstruction of the accident, and the police investigation is ongoing. No charges have been filed as of yet.

2 killed in fiery head-on crash

A local sheriff's department in New York reported that two individuals were killed in a head-on collision on Route 25 in Granville. According to a witness, the crash occurred around 5:15 a.m. on Aug. 15. The two vehicles, a gray Dodge Intrepid and a red Chevy Camaro, were in flames when police arrived to the accident. Both drivers were dead at the scene and could not be immediately identified. Both vehicles had Vermont license plates. The drivers were taken in for autopsy that may provide clues as to their identities.

According to the witness, the Intrepid attempted an illegal pass of her vehicle on a hill with a double yellow line. The Camaro, coming in the opposite direction, collided with the Intrepid while it was still in the process of passing. The force of the impact spun the Camaro and forced the Intrepid off the road. The vehicles apparently caught fire after the crash.

Report: Common misdiagnoses in decline but still too prevalent

As many New York patients may know, a misdiagnosis is considered to be any diagnosis that was not correct or a correct diagnosis that came too late to help the patient. One may occur because symptoms may have been overlooked or were not present when a patient was first diagnosed. In some cases, the same group of symptoms may be present for a variety of different illnesses or diseases. A recent report indicates that while the overall number of diagnoses has fallen, certain common ones are still too often missed, based on autopsy studies.

Lung cancer and colorectal cancer were two of the top five conditions misdiagnosed according to a study from a 2009 study from a physician at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. The other three most commonly misdiagnosed conditions were pulmonary embolism, acute coronary syndrome and reactions or overdoses to drugs. The results were gathered by analyzing 583 reports of doctor errors from hospitals across the nation.

Some hospital errors no longer disclosed to public

New York patients may be interested to learn that the federal government has stopped reporting when hospitals make major medical mistakes that are potentially life-threatening. According to the report, this is despite the fact that the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services stated that they were not making these changes in 2013.

The CMS has reportedly removed the data available on eight hospital-acquired conditions. Prior to this removal of data, those who needed to have surgeries or procedures performed could check a public spreadsheet to determine which hospitals had the lowest rates. However, the website will still report the occurrence of 13 HACs such as post-surgery sepsis.

Things patients need to know about healthcare

Many New York residents probably assume that doctors have all of the answers when it comes to their health. As a result, there are many things that a patient may not know when it comes to diagnosing medical problems. Here are several things that patients should know.

Several things that a doctor may not discuss with their patient includes fatality and complications rates that are affected by when a surgery is performed. For example, patients who are having an elective surgery are more likely to suffer potentially life-threatening complications if that surgery is done later in the afternoon or on Friday. This is because the post-op recovery occurs during the night or the weekend with different staff members who may not know the patient as well. Likewise, medication error rates are likely to spike during July as this when new medical residents start their rotations.

New York nursing home's 2nd death investigated

Medford Multicare Center is under investigation following the second death in its 40-bed ventilator unit. Both women were in their 70s, and both were on ventilators. The state attorney general's office is involved in the investigation.

In October 2012, a 72-year-old resident of the home died, and, according to prosecutors, this happened because the woman was not connected to her ventilator. In June, nine employees of the center were charged in relation to the woman's death. They were charged with abuse and neglect as well as falsifying documents concerning the woman's death. All nine defendants have pleaded not guilty.

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