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Ohio Medical Malpractice Blog

Nursing homes getting 'relief' from fines for violations

The Trump administration has placed a priority on cutting federal regulations in a number of industries. The president and his supporters argue that they want to minimize bureaucracy and government intervention in the way business owners run their companies.

Some guidelines put in place by the administration, however, are causing widespread concern because they involve some of the most vulnerable people in our country -- nursing home residents.

Is failure to recommend genetic testing malpractice?

Genetic testing has brought significant advancements in the fight against breast and other types of cancer. This testing helps doctors determine whether a person has a higher-than-average risk of developing cancer based on his or her genetic make-up.

One thing that genetic testing can spot is mutations in the BRCA genes. People with a mutation have an 85 percent chance of developing breast cancer at some point in their lives, and a 50 percent chance of getting it by the time they turn 50.

Are women's brains impacted differently by injury than men's?

Research into the permanent effects of concussions on athlete's brains has resulted in important breakthroughs. That's in no small part due to professional football players who have donated their brains to be studied after their deaths so researchers can better understand the effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Research on CTE and concussions in general, however, has been focused on males, even though females suffer a higher rate of concussions than males. Do concussions and other brain injuries impact the female brain differently?

Medical errors could lead to serious drug interactions

Patients tend to put a huge amount of trust in their doctors. They typically assume that any decision made by their doctor is above reproach and made with full understanding of the potential results and the best interests of the patient at heart. Sadly, in many facilities, modern medicine has become more focused on volume and profit than personal relationships and quality of care.

Chances are good that your doctor sees several patients every hour in an office-based practice. Those working in hospitals could experience even more irregular and demanding schedules. In addition to having information about multiple people in mind at any given moment, doctors are just as prone as everyone else to lapses in memory or judgment.

Holding physicians responsible for inadequate pain relief

Responsible doctors face a dilemma when they have a patient suffering from serious pain following surgery or due to a serious injury or illness. They have an obligation to minimize the pain. In fact, two decades ago, the American Pain Society declared pain control one of the basic rights that patients have.

However, the overprescription of painkillers can lead to addiction and other potentially fatal complications. We're facing an unprecedented epidemic of opioid addiction in this country. The number of prescriptions written for opioids increased four-fold between 1999 and 2014. There's more pressure on doctors and hospitals than ever to take care when prescribing these powerful medications.

How can you help prevent errors when a loved one is hospitalized?

The third most common cause of death for Americans is medical error -- surpassed only by cancer and heart disease. That's a frightening statistic, since we rely on medical professionals to correctly diagnose and treat medical conditions and help us heal our injuries. Many of these errors are preventable.

Post-surgical infections can be fatal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that, on average, one out of every 25 patients who are hospitalized develop a hospital-acquired infection. These can be particularly dangerous for elderly people.

Medical device sales reps in surgery -- good or bad idea?

Medical devices are more sophisticated and intricate than ever before. What many patients and their families may not realize is that when they undergo surgery to have a medical device implanted, a sales representative who works for the device's manufacturer may be in the operating room observing, providing technical support to the surgeon and perhaps doing more than that.

Both surgeons and sales reps need to have clear boundaries when the reps are present during surgery. Even though the reps usually are more knowledgeable about the device than the surgeon, only the doctor should be making decisions in the operating room. The rep is not to touch the patient.

Ohio-trained plastic surgeon faces suspension, probation

A plastic surgeon who studied medicine in Ohio has been suspended from practicing for a month incompetence and gross negligence involving four women, two of whom died, between 2013 and 2015. He received his medical license from Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine 1981 and was licensed in California in 1983.

The doctor, who practices in Visalia, California, reached a settlement with the Medical Board of California that includes a five-year probation in addition to the suspension. That suspension from practicing ends in mid-December.

Malnutrition can be a serious problem for hospital patients

Many hospitalized patients don't have much of an appetite because they aren't feeling well or they're in pain from an injury or surgery. They're not moving much, so they aren't working up an appetite. Those factors, coupled with less-than-appealing hospital food, can cause them not to eat enough.

However, doctors and other hospital staff have a responsibility to ensure that their patients get the nourishment they need one way or another. Patients who aren't properly nourished take longer to get well and can suffer more serious consequences. As one nutritional expert says, "Ensuring that patients receive adequate nutrition should…be part of a holistic treatment plan."

Do you understand the many types of nursing home abuse?

The thought of putting a loved one in a nursing home may not be something you want to think about. Unfortunately, there could come a point when you have no choice but to look into this. You know that your loved one needs round-the-clock care, and this is the best way for them to get it.

While most nursing homes do whatever it takes to provide a high level of care, there's something you need to remember: abuse and neglect do come into play every now and again.

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