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Slater & Norris, P.L.C. Personal Injury Attorneys Serving Central Iowa
Personal Injury Attorneys Serving Central Iowa

West Des Moines, Iowa Personal Injury Blog

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A pulmonary embolism misdiagnosis doesn’t take long to settle in

You can attribute breathing difficulties to several diseases and conditions. Even if you were to combine it with massive chest pain and excessive coughing, it can be difficult to narrow it down. At this point, people recommend someone that has these symptoms to go to the doctor to determine what they have. They might hear that it could be an asthma attack, bronchitis or maybe a case of pneumonia. The doctor prescribes them to some medications and tells them to rest easy before sending them home.

Unfortunately, that person might find it difficult to heal. In fact, they feel their chest pain is getting worse and it is getting harder to breathe. Several instances like these occur to many Iowans because the doctor misdiagnosed their condition. According to the AARP, pulmonary embolism is one of the most frequently misdiagnosed diseases due to how closely it may resemble other conditions. If the victim is unaware for too long, they heavily risk suffering further from this devastating sickness.

Minor stress increases the chances of an operating room error

Medical mistakes claim hundreds of thousands of lives each year around the country, and many of these errors happen in operating rooms. Surgeons in Iowa work under incredible pressure, and even minor distractions like loud noises or negative thoughts can make a potentially deadly mistake 66 percent more likely. This was the conclusion reached by researchers from Columbia University after observing how a surgeon reacted to stress during operations.

The researchers issued the surgeon with a special shirt that measured electrical impulses and heart rate variations during surgical procedures. The surgeon wore the Hexoskin Smart Shirt under his scrubs as he performed 25 operations on 12 patients at Stanford Medical Center in California. Researchers also installed video recording equipment in the operating room so they could identify mistakes. The timing of the operating room errors were then compared to the surgeon's heart rate to see if they were stress-related.

Seven conditions that migraines are most mistaken for

Migraines are easy for doctors to misdiagnose, and according to one study, only one in 20 patients get the correct headache or migraine diagnosis. Below are seven conditions that migraine sufferers in Iowa may be thought to have. On the other hand, patients may have one of these seven conditions and be misdiagnosed with a migraine.

First, any invisible chronic illness will be misdiagnosed as an anxiety or panic attack. The symptoms, which include nausea, vomiting and head pain, are similar to those of migraines. Migraines are also commonly mistaken for sinus headaches. In fact, most migraine sufferers start out thinking they have this. However, sinus headaches are relatively rare.

Children at risk from medication mistakes

When Iowa parents take their children to the doctor, they may not even consider that their kids could be at risk of a medical mistake. However, like all patients, children's health can be put at risk when medical professionals make errors. The results of these doctor errors can be significant, and they may happen for a number of reasons. While some medical mistakes come down to misdiagnoses or errors in judgment, others can be exacerbated by confusion stemming from the use of electronic health records (EHRs).

A recent study analyzed over 9,000 reports of medical errors related to pediatric patient safety at three different health care facilities between 2012 and 2017. The researchers found that over half of all recorded mistakes were related to medication and the use of EHRs. Researchers said that the user interfaces of these systems can be confusing. In addition, EHR systems often fail to issue any kind of alert if a medication dosage appears to be incorrect. Most of the errors related to incorrect dosages of medication given to children, especially overdoses.

How adverse drug events impact patients and doctors

Adverse drug events (ADEs) are the No. 4 leading cause of death in the world. An Iowa resident could be a victim of an ADE if they receive too much of a drug or have an allergic reaction to it. An ADE can also occur because of a medication error either when a medication is prescribed or if it is used incorrectly. However, many of these events are not reported, and there are many reasons for that.

First, it may be difficult to determine the actual cause of an ADE. This can be especially true if an individual takes more than one medication at a time. Furthermore, some patients aren't aware of the side effects that a drug has or how to report them. While doctors can report adverse events to the FDA, they are not required to do so. However, patients themselves can report adverse events to the FDA.

Program offering Envisia Genomic Classifier IPF test expanded

Iowa readers may be interested to learn that Veracyte recently expanded an early access program that uses the Envisia Genomic Classifier test to screen patients for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF. The test is currently offered in 20 medical centers in 12 states, but it should be available nationwide sometime in 2019.

IPF and other interstitial lung diseases, or ILDs, are difficult and expensive to diagnose. A recent study by the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation discovered that 55 percent of patients with IPF or other ILDs are misdiagnosed one or more times. Further, these misdiagnoses often lead to treatment delays or improper treatments. For instance, around 20 percent of IPF patients have been prescribed systemic cortisol, which can produce harmful side effects in IPF patients.

What you need to prove a doctor's failure to diagnose

Nowadays, there are many proactive measures and screenings doctors perform to catch illnesses, like breast cancer, early. However, even with such advanced technologies, there are still many instances of medical professionals failing to diagnose serious illnesses.

Some failed diagnoses may be the result of medical malpractice. If you believe that your doctor or physician was negligent in your diagnosis, there are some important steps you should consider before filing a medical malpractice claim. 

Iowa short on hospitals with an A grade for patient safety

Iowa only has a few hospitals that got the top grade in a recent set of hospital safety ratings.

The ratings were from Leapfrog. In the ratings, Leapfrog gave hospitals throughout the country, including 33 here in Iowa, letter grades for hospital safety.

Is your child exhibiting cerebral palsy symptoms?

When asked what they want most for their baby, most expectant parents will say "I just hope they're healthy." It's a common refrain as we prepare for a little one's arrival.

While most parents get exactly what they wish for, some births take an unexpected turn and lead to lifelong complications for the baby. One of the most common birth injuries a newborn can experience is cerebral palsy.

When to Contact a Birth Injury Lawyer

Though the birth of a baby should be one of the happiest times in the life of a parent, the experience is at times tainted by untoward complications experienced in the perinatal period-that time frame immediately before, during and after the birth of the baby. Sometimes, complications and conditions that are thought to be transient and disappear, often manifest themselves later when the child fails to reach certain developmental milestones on time, such as rolling over, crawling, standing up or walking. The child may lack certain gross and fine motor skills and may have difficulty learning. Health care providers may attribute such conditions to" unexplained developmental delay". However, such developmental delay may have been caused by preventable events at birth which were the result of medical malpractice. Oxygen deprivation can occur due to umbilical cord compression or strangulation or prolonged periods of contraction activity where the baby's heart rate does not return to baseline. It is therefore important to be vigilant of the events surrounding the birth of your child. If the birth was traumatic and the baby was deprived of oxygen before, during or after the birth, the baby may have suffered brain damage commonly referred to as "hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy" that may result in cerebral palsy and subsequent developmental delay. However, since the cause of such injuries is not always apparent and since developmental delay is not always immediately recognized, parents may unwittingly wait too long to consult a lawyer to review the case. Therefore, when a child fails to reach certain developmental milestones, it is often prudent to consult a birth injury attorney for advice. This might mean interviewing the family and obtaining copies of all relevant medical records relating to the birth and development of the child. It might also mean consulting with a qualified medical expert or experts to determine whether medical malpractice occurred and whether it caused significant harm to the child and their family.

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