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Queens NY Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Modern maternal mortality rates in the U.S.

New York mothers may be interested in learning more about the recent statistics concerning maternal mortality rates in the U.S. The steep decline in pregnancy-related deaths since the 1930s has been described as one of the greatest achievements in the public health sector during the modern era. Before then, approximately one out of every 100 women died after giving birth. During the late 1980s, less than eight out of every 100,000 women in the U.S died as a result of childbirth.

However, since that time, the maternal mortality rate in the U.S. has risen. As of 2013, 18.5 women died for every 100,000 live births. This trend is in contrast with most developed countries, including Japan and Germany, where the maternal mortality rate has been declining steadily since 1990. The U.S, South Sudan and Afghanistan are three of just eight countries that had their maternal mortality rate increase between 2003 and 2013.

Frequent misdiagnosis of Lyme disease

Some patients in New York may be suffering from Lyme disease without even knowing it. According to the results of a survey published by LymeDisease.org, 61 percent of people with the disease do not receive a correct diagnosis for at least two years. In many cases, the symptoms of Lyme disease are mistaken for mood disorders, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

The study, which was released in May, surveyed 6,104 people with Lyme disease. Nearly half of those surveyed said that they were not tested for Lyme disease right away due to false assumptions that the condition could not be contracted in their area. In reality, Lyme disease exists and can be contracted in every state.

Common doctor errors in New York

Despite advances in modern medicine, including sophisticated diagnostic machines and instruments, doctors in New York and around the country still make errors because they are human. Unfortunately, when a mistake is made, a patient may suffer significant harm or even die as a result.

The most common type of error is a misdiagnosis, and an estimated 15 percent of all cases are misdiagnosed. Approximately 160,000 hospitalized patients are seriously injured or die due to being misdiagnosed or diagnosed late every year.

Addressing and preventing elder abuse

New York music fans may be aware of the high-profile elder abuse case involving the survivors of Casey Kasem, who was known for his role as the DJ host of American Top 40. His children alleged that neglect by his wife hastened his death as she moved him from a California convalescent facility to other states. However, officials determined that there was not sufficient evidence to file charges. For those concerned about potential neglect or abuse of elderly family members, familiarity with a caregiver's background and vigilance over time could be important for protecting a loved one. However, dealing with abuse by a family member can be challenging.

Statistics indicate that the elderly population of the United States will increase dramatically in coming years. At present, at least 44 million individuals fill the role of caregiver for someone over the age of 50, and many of those providing care are family members. Unfortunately, only one of 14 cases of elder abuse is believed to be reported due to the fact that caregivers are often the sources of abuse or neglect. Abusive conduct can also be more likely to occur when an agency that lacks proper liability coverage and background monitoring is used for elder care needs.

COPD guidelines and New York patient misdiagnosis

New York residents may be interested in a University of Birmingham study that highlights the risk of misdiagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. COPD is a commonly occurring lung disease, ranking as the third leading cause of disease-related death in America. COPD is progressive and leads to the development of numerous breathing problems, including obstruction, shortness of breath and cough. Approximately 210 million individuals suffer from COPD around the world, with 27 million sufferers located in the United States alone.

Smoking is the primary cause of COPD, and it is more treatable in its early stages. Nonetheless, COPD commonly goes undiagnosed among certain patient groups. COPD diagnosis requires spirometric evidence and takes into account the patient's sex, age, height and ethnicity. A 2001 initiative by the Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease implemented new diagnostic standards that did not account for sex, age or similar factors in hopes of creating a more easily implemented test for COPD.

The prevalence of crashes among young drivers

Parents in New York might be concerned after learning that traffic crashes are the primary of cause of teen deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It could be helpful to know the factors involved in the crashes to help young drivers prevent them.

About 292,000 young drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 were treated for car accident injuries in 2011. The same year, about 2,650 died in crashes, which means that seven young drivers died in crashes every day. Drivers between 15 and 24 account for just 14 percent of the national population but represent 30 percent of total expenses for male crash injuries and 28 percent of total expenses for female crash injuries.

Man ridiculed by anesthesiologist during procedure wins lawsuit

Patients in New York and across the nation place their trust in an anesthesiologist when they are undergoing a medical procedure. Part of that trust implies that they will be treated with dignity and respect. One patient who was receiving a colonoscopy was not accorded that professionalism as the anesthesiologist was recorded on the man's cellphone having ridiculed him during the procedure.

The man inadvertently made the recording by leaving his phone on when he had his colonoscopy in April of 2013. When he was on his way home, he listened to it and found that the doctors were ridiculing him the entire time. The anesthesiologist made statements about the patient having tuberculosis in his penis and warned another medical worker that touching a genital rash the man had might result in a sexually transmitted disease.

Nursing homes must care properly for dementia residents

Nursing homes have a duty to properly care for its residents. Every resident's condition requires a unique set of care standards. Patients who have dementia or Alzheimer's disease often require very specific care that changes as the disease progresses. New York residents might be interested in learning more about these mental health conditions and how they should be cared for.

In the case of patients with Alzheimer's disease or dementia, the degrading mental status often means that the person's behavior and cognitive abilities will change. This can lead to the resident having trouble with self-care. In some cases, it can cause confusion, memory loss, lack of restraint, irritability and disorientation.

Research associates drowsy driving with 6 percent of accidents

New York residents may be surprised to learn that government statistics concerning drowsy driving may not accurately reflect the true scale of the problem. According to official figures, drowsy driving plays a role in about 3 percent of road traffic accidents, but research conducted by the AAA Foundation suggests that the true number may be as high as 6 percent. AAA researchers looked into more than 21,000 crashes that occurred between 2009 and 2013, and they used methods designed to identify drowsy driving that had been overlooked by accident investigators and law enforcement officers.

Drowsy driving does not leave investigators with much in the way of physical evidence, and motorists are often reluctant to admit that they fell asleep at the wheel. To overcome these challenges, researchers used a method known as multiple imputation. The data used included police and accident reports, interviews with vehicle occupants and the severity of the injuries suffered by car accident victims.

Research into surgical errors shows the frequency and dangers

A concern for many New York residents who are set to undergo surgery is the possibility of surgical errors. Mistakes such as wrong-site surgery, improper use of medical equipment and surgical equipment left inside a patient might sound unusual, but they do happen and can result in serious injury or death.

According to recent research, these kinds of mistakes are infrequent. For approximately every 100,000 surgical procedures, doctors will operate on the wrong site once. This could mean operating on the right side of the body when the procedure was supposed to be on the left. Out of 10,000 surgeries, it is estimated that one will result in something like a surgical sponge being left inside the patient.

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