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Ohio Medical Malpractice Blog

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.

What is 'wrongful birth?'

A particularly tragic type of medical malpractice case involves something called "wrongful birth." This type of lawsuit generally is brought against medical professionals for one of two reasons.

They may have failed to provide potential parents with proper genetic counseling and information about the chances of a baby they conceived having major congenital defects before the woman got pregnant. They may also face a wrongful birth lawsuit for failing to diagnose how severe a fetus's defects were and notifying the parents so that they could make an informed decision about whether to terminate the pregnancy.

Woman says she got unnecessary hysterectomy, mastectomy

The problem of doctors failing to diagnose a medical condition, thereby causing patients months and sometimes years of unnecessary suffering, is a real one. Sometimes, by the time a condition is properly diagnosed, it's too late for effective treatment.

However, another problem, sometimes related, problem involves doctors wrongly diagnosing patients with conditions they don't have. As a result, they may perform unnecessary and invasive procedures that alter their lives forever.

Was your loved one victimized by sexual abuse in nursing homes?

Last month, the inspector general for Health and Human Services issued its "early alert" on initial information involving sexual abuse at nursing homes in 33 states in the nation. Ohio was one of those states.

Researchers are alarmed at the preliminary findings that require immediate corrective action. Over 25 percent of cases involving physical and sexual abuse of residents of the nation's nursing homes did not get reported to local police, the audit found. This is a direct violation of federal laws stating that assaults on Medicare patients must be reported immediately.

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