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Queens NY Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Anesthesia risks and prevention

The idea of being placed under general anesthesia is frightening to many New Yorkers who have upcoming scheduled surgeries. While anesthesia errors are relatively uncommon, they can be deadly when they do occur. There are several things people can do to lessen the risks involved with anesthesia when they are preparing for a procedure.

Not all surgical procedures require general anesthesia. Sometimes, people can opt for a local anesthetic or a spinal block, so people might want to ask whether they have some alternatives they could choose. If it is possible to meet with the anesthesiologist, it can be a good way to learn more about what will happen and what the options are. People should ask questions about how their health statuses and age may affect their reaction to general anesthesia.

Brain damage possible with plastic surgery

Individuals might seek plastic surgery services from New York professionals for various reasons, but it is important to understand the serious nature of any surgical procedure. Surgeries involving general anesthesia require careful monitoring of a patient's vital signs, and errors can have life-altering consequences. In some cases, inadequate oxygen can cause brain damage, and in other cases, anesthesia problems during surgery can lead to death.

Anesthesia errors may have contributed to brain damage suffered by a then 18-year-old woman who went through breast augmentation surgery. This was not her first instance of cosmetic surgery, but this ome left her with limited mobility and speech. Reports indicate that the girls's blood pressure and heart rate took a sudden and severe turn for the worse during the procedure, which caused her to go into a coma.

The failure to diagnose dehydration in elders

Research on dehydration among elderly populations may give pause to Queens County physicians and caregivers who work with senior populations. The British study looked at a common method of diagnosis, urinalysis, to determine whether this provided an accurate view of a person's status. Researchers found that many common cues for dehydration, including urinalysis and clinical observation, may be misleading and result in a misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose.

The study compared blood testing for dehydration with the much simpler and less expensive urinalysis. The reason for lab testing is that common outward markers of dehydration are known to not always reliable in senior populations. It was found that urinalysis yielded both false positives and false negatives, the former of which could lead to a worsened condition or fatality in extreme circumstances. Reasons for failure to accurately test for dehydration ranged from use of certain medications to poor kidney function.

Summer heralds rise in number of fatal crashes involving teens

Motorists in New York and elsewhere across the country may be interested in knowing that teen drivers are more likely to be involved in auto accidents during the summer months than they are at times when school is more widely in session. One research and educational group, the American Automobile Association, recognizes Memorial Day as the unofficial start of what industry officials are calling the '100 deadliest days.'

AAA has found that on average, accidents involving teenagers during this summer driving season have killed more than 10 people per day during each of the past five years. This finding is based on data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which indicates that texting and talking on cell phones while driving was reportedly a contributing factor in 58.5% of the crashes.

Diabetes often goes undetected prior to hospital admission

Diabetes is a common disease among residents of New York and across the country. Calculations from the American Diabetes Association indicated that 20 percent of health care dollars go toward treating this single disease. Despite its prevalence, many people might not obtain a diagnosis until they enter a hospital as an inpatient.

The results of a study of medical records showed that among hyperglycemia inpatients with no known history of diabetes who were given a HbA1C test, 77 percent of them had a result that indicated diabetes. The patients had been admitted to a rural Midwestern teaching hospital.

Do doctors purposely misdiagnose patients as brain dead?

In 2015, a California father won a lawsuit against doctors who refused to treat his comatose daughter for a life-threatening infection. The doctors claimed it was unethical to treat the woman because she was brain dead, but the father insisted they purposely misclassified her to justify their lack of proper medical care. Further, the father's lawyer claimed that doctors all across the U.S., including in New York, frequently misdiagnosis comatose patients as brain dead in order to cease treatment on "lost causes."

According to the lawsuit, the 29-year-old patient suffered an anorexia-related seizure in 2007 and fell into a coma. Last year, she developed a serious hip infection that required surgery. However, her doctors declined to perform the operation, claiming she was brain dead and that it was thus unethical to continue treating her. With the help of an attorney, her father obtained a court order barring the hospital from denying her care and brought in two independent neurologists to test her brain function. They determined she was not brain dead, and the hospital performed the life-saving surgery.

Should you call the police after a car accident?

After an accident, emotions can run high, and it can be difficult to know what you should do. You may want to avoid involving the police or the other driver may ask you to not call them.

However, in general, you should call the police after a car accident. While it is not always legally required to call, there are a number of benefits to calling law enforcement after a crash, including:

Robotic surgery raises new malpractice questions

Surgery patients in New York and around the country may soon have their procedures performed with minimal human intervention. Researchers at a District of Columbia children's hospital have demonstrated that robotic surgeons could perform delicate operations with even more efficacy in some cases than their human counterparts. Experts note that robots have already been used to help humans perform critical surgical tasks, but the researchers say this is a push towards having traditional doctors provide care in new ways.

The study, which involved a bowel operation performed on a pig, demonstrated that with supervision, the robot was able to successfully complete surgical maneuvers in soft tissue. The machine, stitched the bowel together in an open surgery. One of the proponents of the work said that the technique might help the medical profession establish better standards and practices as well as eliminate the need to wait for specific surgeons.

The prevalence of medical errors

According to data from researchers at Johns Hopkins, medical errors may be the third-leading cause of death in the United States behind heart disease and cancer. However, it is difficult to determine the exact number of deaths attributable to medical errors because of a lack of official data. When a patient dies in New York or elsewhere in the country, the cause of death must usually correlate with an insurance billing code.

These codes may be inadequate in determining whether a death was caused by doctor or system error as opposed to other reasons. One example involved a patient who had a organ transplant and later returned to the hospital for unknown reasons. During testing, a doctor cut the patient's liver without realizing it. The patient later died, but the official cause of death was not a doctor error. Instead, it listed the official cause of death as a cardiovascular issue.

Computer errors could cause problems for medical providers

Patients in New York and throughout the country could be vulnerable due to computer systems failing or being hacked. At one hospital, a patient's heart surgery was interrupted because the computer began doing a virus scan. Surgeons were unable to access data and had to reboot the system.

In that case, human error was the problem. The virus software had been set to scan every hour even though this went against software guidelines. The Food and Drug Administration stated that the anti-virus software should have only scanned vulnerable files and should not have included patient data. The patient was sedated at the time and was unaffected by the event.

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