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Queens NY Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Causes of cerebral palsy before and during birth

Some New York infants may be born with cerebral palsy. The damage that causes it and leads to abnormal brain development results in a lack of muscle control. In some cases, CP develops because of abnormal development that does not have a clear cause.

Most cases of CP occur during or before birth. These cases, also known as congenital CP, have a number of risk factors. These include low birth rate, multiple births, premature births or the use of assisted reproductive technology. Congenital CP can also be caused by birth complications, medical complications the mother has or infections in pregnancy. Jaundice in a newborn that develops into a condition called kernicterus may also result in CP.

Improving PCOS diagnoses for teenage girls

Teenage girls in New York with polycystic ovary syndrome may have access to better diagnoses based on the results of a study that found high levels of testosterone and the hormone irisin in girls suffering with the disease. PCOS has no known cause or cure, but an earlier diagnosis could mean a decease in risks that accompany the disease such as fertility problems and Type 2 diabetes.

The study, which was published online and presented at the European Society for Pediatric Endocrinology, examined 23 patients with PCOS alongside a control group. PCOS occurs in around 12 percent of women. While one of its symptoms may be missed menstruation, this is often mistaken for normal changes in puberty and so it often goes undiagnosed and untreated in teenagers. Furthermore, physicians may be reluctant to treat it unless they have a definite diagnosis.

Autonomous cars and older New York drivers

The first members of the baby boom generation are turning 70 in 2016, and government data indicates that there will likely be more than 50 million at or over that age around the country by 2050. Older road users are less able to recover from serious car accident injuries, and their chances of being killed in a crash increase as they age. Road safety experts and legislators across the country hope that emerging auto safety technology may drastically cut collision rates in the decades ahead and prevent a sharp increase in the number of elderly car accident victims.

Modern automobiles already boast an impressive array of safety equipment ranging from dual-stage airbags to sophisticated anti-lock braking systems, but it is more recent autonomous vehicle technology that most impresses safety experts. Reaction times are far slower among senior citizen drivers, but many of the latest safety systems take over the driving duties automatically in emergency situations and apply the brakes or steer around obstacles to avoid a crash.

Procedure recommended to prevent wrong-sided blocks

Patients who are scheduled for surgical procedures in New York hospitals may be dismayed to learn that wrong-sided anesthetic blocks still occur and even often go unreported. Even though these medical mistakes are not as severe as other surgical errors, they still can cause complications, and thus preventing them should be a focus.

At a North Carolina hospital, a 59-year-old woman was scheduled to have a total knee arthroplasty in her right knee. She was to have an anesthetic block in her sciatic nerve and in her spine. Prior to be given the block, the surgeon, following proper procedure, initialed the spot on the inside of the knee where the block was supposed to go. When the anesthesiologist came in to give the block, it was found that the initials had transferred to the other knee as the patient was being moved and her knees rubbed together.

Misdiagnosing multiple sclerosis

Not all health conditions are easily diagnosed. The difficulty is caused by several factors, including a lack of biomarkers that doctors can test for, as well as symptoms that can mimic other conditions. Unfortunately, a failure to diagnose serious conditions can result in incredible suffering for a New York patient. It can also seriously compromise the integrity and efficacy of a patient's treatment plan.

One example of a condition that is often misdiagnosed is multiple sclerosis. Because there is no definitive test that a physician can use to diagnose the condition, many individuals suffer a worsened condition as a result of delayed treatment. In addition, a study published in a peer-reviewed medical journal in August 2016 showed that 72 percent of participants were given medication for an entirely different disease.

Genetic and traditional cancer test results may differ

Many New York cancer patients are getting genetic tests to determine whether cancer is likely to spread in their bodies after surgery. If a DNA test shows a low risk of cancer growth, a patient may decide to skip chemotherapy treatments after surgery. By avoiding unnecessary chemotherapy, some cancer patients may be spared from the toxicity and expense of the treatment.

Though genetic tests might make some cancer patients optimistic about their chances of recovery without chemotherapy, other patients might be concerned that the genetic test results differ from the traditional test results. In many cases, cancer patients who show positive signs in a genetic test tests poorly when they are given a traditional test. A traditional test takes factors like age and lifestyle into account along with evidence of fast-dividing cells and cancer in the lymph nodes.

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.

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