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Queens NY Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Diagnosing and treating rare diseases

New York residents may be interested to learn that approximately 30 million people in the U.S. are living with a rare disease. That adds up to about one in every 10 to 12 Americans. The "rare" distinction is defined as a condition that affects fewer than 200,000 individuals.

Because rare diseases are extremely uncommon, they are more likely to be misdiagnosed by a doctor. Additionally, once a rare disease is diagnosed, there are often very few treatment options available. Occasionally there are orphan drugs, or drugs that are not commercially developed, that may treat certain rare diseases. Since the Orphan Drug Act of 1983, more than 500 drugs that treat rare diseases have been developed.

Medical errors are one of the leading causes of death

New York residents who are injured or sick go to hospitals to get better, but they often experience adverse events during their stays. Some of the most common medical errors that affect patients in the U.S. include adverse drug events and infections. Many of these errors have fatal consequences for patients, and some studies have shown that medical errors are the third leading cause of death.

A study by Johns Hopkins University researchers found that out of 35 million hospital stays there are nearly 200,000 deaths from medical errors each year. Another study by the Department of Health and Human Services showed that about 29 percent of people with Medicare benefits have been temporarily or permanently harmed or killed by an adverse medical event.

Drowsy driving is now considered impaired driving

Drowsy drivers in New York may pose a danger that is on par with distracted, drunk and drugged drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA has added drowsy driving to its definition of impaired driving. Studies have shown that extremely tired drivers mimic drunk drivers in their driving abilities, and around 5,000 people die each year around the country from drowsy driving-related crashes.

In a report called 'Wake Up Call! Understanding Drowsy Driving and What States Can Do," the Governors Highway Safety Association discussed the dangers of drowsy driving and pointed out that the extent of the problem is largely unknown. Though there are drowsy driving statistics available, the numbers may be under-reported. Drivers who are involved in accidents are reluctant to admit how little sleep they have had, and there are no protocols to help law enforcement identify drowsiness.

Social media and Pokemon Go emerge as distraction dangers

Distracted driving is a big problem in New York and throughout the country. While most people think of texting and driving when they think about distracted driving, other activities people engage in while driving are equally as problematic.

The easy availability of smartphones and the Internet has resulted in drivers doing such things as checking Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Maps while they are driving. With the advent of the Pokémon Go game, news stories around the country are starting to appear about drivers having accidents while playing the game. In Baltimore, Maryland, a man who was playing Pokémon Go rammed into a parked police vehicle. In another case in Napa, California, a girl is believed to have been playing the game when she ran off of the road and slammed into a pole.

Alzheimer's disease often not correctly diagnosed

Unfortunately, many New Yorkers suffer from Alzheimer's disease. Some people are misdiagnosed each year, with some patients wrongly being told that they have the condition when they do not and others being told they do not have Alzheimer's when they do. These diagnostic failures may cause unnecessary stress and potential harm.

There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease, but its progression can be delayed if people are diagnosed properly and given certain medications that slow it. Getting diagnosed early can help people who suffer from the condition to enjoy a better quality of life and to get their affairs in order. Getting diagnosed early may also allow patients to participate in clinical studies with experimental drugs that could potentially help them.

Supplementary testing may catch breast cancer

New York women might want to learn about a study that shows that traditional mammography doesn't always catch breast cancers that are present. The study involved using an additional test called molecular breast imaging, or MBI, in addition to regular mammograms.

The study, which was published in the American Journal of Roentgenology, reviewed data collected from 1,696 women who had dense breasts and who participated in a screening program at ProMedica Breast Care in Ohio between the years of 2011 and 2014. Women who participated in the supplementary program first had mammograms and then also had an MBI screening performed. The supplementary screening detected that 13 of the women whose mammograms were negative actually did have cancer.

New York endometriosis diagnostics and medical errors

New Yorkers who suffer from endometriosis may benefit from the increased attention and understanding the condition is receiving in the medical community. As many as 10 percent of all women of reproductive age suffer from endometriosis. This painful condition results in debilitating menstrual cramps and other symptoms such as scarring, internal bleeding and infertility. The Endometriosis Foundation of America has announced a collaboration with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists with the objective of improving women's health.

The collaborative effort will focus on expanding across all states in the program to introduce stronger efforts to improve endometriosis diagnostics and care. There is currently a delay in diagnosis, especially within the field of adolescent gynecology. Efforts would include improving surgical training standards for procedures associated with endometriosis, such as removing lesions. The new guidelines would improve minimally invasive surgery techniques.

Why New York patients are entitled to full disclosure

If something goes wrong during a surgery, the patient is should be informed about the error and why it happened. A research study released by JAMA Surgery showed that patients do not always get the full apology that they are entitled to. Of the eight recommended procedures surgeons should follow after a surgical error, a survey of 60 surgeons revealed that only five are generally observed.

Those five include notifying the patient within 24 hours, expressing regret that it happened and showing concern for the well-being of the patient. Furthermore, surgeons typically explained either to the patient or his or her family why the error occurred and worked to treat any further complications. However, researchers from Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research, Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System said that only 55 percent of respondents said that they offered an apology.

Going to college this fall? Apply for our scholarship.

The law firm of Chiariello & Chiariello in New York is offering a $500 scholarship to a student entering college this fall. This scholarship can help one student who graduated from high school in 2016 and is heading to college this fall. The money must be used to help with educational costs such as books, supplies and other expenses related to their education.

To apply, visit our website and submit:

Disturbing medical malpractice cases

Most New Yorkers depend on doctors and other healthcare professionals to treat their injuries and illnesses. While many people implicitly trust their doctors, medical professionals unfortunately often make mistakes that can lead to serious injury or even death. Some of the most disturbing medical malpractice cases demonstrate the types of serious problems that can happen.

In one case, a New York couple used the services of a fertility clinic in order to help the woman get pregnant. The clinic impregnated the woman and she did give birth. However, the clinic had used the wrong man's sperm, and the infant was of a different race than the parents.

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