Most Common Cases of Medical Negligence

In my previous post, I tackled about medical malpractice and medical negligence. In this post, we are going to enumerate the problems often encounter by a patient upon consulting a physician or undergoing surgery, which can be a cause of medical negligence.

When a medical professional failed to do what must be done, it is called medical negligence. It is a poor health care that causes injury, pain, or even death.

Birth Injury

Sad to say but among the common negligence in medical operations are birth injury claims. Along with the excitement for the arrival of a new baby is the risk of complications. These include brachial plexus injury, cerebral palsy, or infant death. For the mother, it could lead to complications from episiotomy or vaginal tears. Therefore, it is very important to be on guard during delivery to prevent possible danger.

Failed Diagnosis

Failed or late diagnosis of a serious disease creates fatal consequences, especially if it is a fatal disease like cancer. While the doctor has not yet diagnosed the illness, the pain and suffering of the victim continues. Even if the disease has already been discovered, the treatment may not be successful anymore.  

Undiagnosed Fracture

Untreated fracture is another common case of medical negligence. It involves a doctor failure to diagnose or correctly treat a fracture that causes severe pain to the victim. This problem virtually leads to terrible consequences.

Wrong Amputation

Another distressing case of medical negligence is the wrong amputation or removing the wrong arm or leg, for instance. Perhaps, it will be the worst nightmare if a patient experience this kind of treatment.

Of course we are always expecting the best from the healthcare professionals in white lab coats. So it is hard to imagine that the people whom we believe could heal and save us will also be the one to harm us. However, just like other professions, doctors too make a mistake. But it could no longer be valid if the mistake itself will already end one’s life.              

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Top Reasons Why CNAs are Lucky

Hey, here’s good news for nursing assistants like me. According to the most recent update of US Bureau of Labor Statistics regarding the employment demands for nursing assistant, most especially for the certified ones, it is projected that the opportunities for the said job will continue to grow to up to 14% until 2016. The reasons for this CNA job’s upswing include the increasing population of baby boomers as well as need to replace soon-to-be-retiring certified nurse assistants. Not to mention the population of CNAs who will be leaving the position.
For persons who have the same passion of helping others especially the elderly or those who have disability and can no longer care for themselves, becoming a nursing assistant is a very excellent career choice.

1. Job Opportunities -  Job openings for nurse assistants who are at the same time expert in using the different hospital and home medical equipments is expected to be more numerous in nursing homes and residential care facilities in hospitals. The increasing population of baby boomers is also another reason for high demand on CNAs. These people will be rushing in nursing homes and home healthcare facilities because in those places they are sure there’s someone who is always available to take care of them.

2. Help Make the Lives of Others Better - Nursing assistants primarily role is to help registered nursing in making the lives of others, especially those weak or sick individuals, to be better by carrying out the procedures administered by the physicians.

3. A Chance to Master the Different Applications of Hospital and Home Medical Equipments - Only selected medical professionals are authorized to make use of the different medical applications found in the hospitals or nursing facility. These people are usually the highly skilled ones. And if you are one  of the CNAs, you might be lucky to use  such tools also.

4. Good salary - A certified nurse assistant can also expect to receive a good salary. Those who are assigned in a much richer state often receive a higher salary rate. 
By the way, if by any chance you landed a job as nursing assistant, your primary task is to support the nursing staff in providing the basic care needs of the patients. As a nursing assistant, you will be required to lift the patient from time to time so that they won’t develop bedsores. You will also assist them in changing their clothing or getting to the bathroom. Apart from monitoring the vital signs of the patients using the different home medical equipment like blood pressure device and thermometer, it is also included in the tasks of certified nursing assistants to administer IV medications. With these tasks, you might probably say that CNAs job is really exhausting especially on times when the ratio of patient-to-nurse is particularly high. But if you really have the desire to help or improve other’s life, all these things are nothing. 

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Health Professionals who Helped Build Better Health System in 2011

While thinking for a nice year-end topic to post on this blog, I came across a site featuring 20 people who had great contributions to make the 2011 healthcare industry better. Some of these individuals are longtime industry fixtures while others can be clearly considered as outsiders. Some are persons we look up to while other seems never won in some popularity contests. However, all of them did an outstanding job to change or build a better health system.

From the 20 individuals introduced in, I chose to feature only 11 of them. These 11 people are health professionals who used to be in scrubs uniforms and skilled in using those hospital medical equipments.

Patrick J. Quinlan, MD
CEO, Ochsner Health System
New Orleans, LA
He headed in creating Change the Kids, Change the Future Program. Patrick J. Quinlan believed that the best way to happiness is found by helping others through improving the health and wellness of the entire community thus, he started it with the children. Hence; he conducted a study that focuses on changing the behavior of children and families in order to reduce chronic disease in the community.

AnnMarie Papa, DNP, RN
President, Emergency Nurses Association
Philadelpha, PA
The increasing prevalence of hospital violence that ER nurses’ often encounter while on the job led AnnMarie Papa to conduct a study concerning the safety of nurses, which then became an eye opener for senior hospital administrators to take a look at their nurse staff.

Vineet Arora, MD, MPP, FACP
Associate Professor of Medicine
University of Chicago
Pritzker School of Medicine
She always wanted to know why some things work while others don’t in healthcare. So she lead a research that reshapes sleep schedules for doctors to improve quality and safety of the patients.

(left)Brad Cohn, MD, and (right)Alex Blau, MD
Physicians and Mobile App Developers
Their study focuses on good communication between doctors and patients. They believed that the ability to communicate with patients, especially when obtaining medical history and physical exam, is the best diagnostic tool a physician could have since not all patients can speak the same language as their health providers.

George Berci, MD
Senior Directory of the Endoscopic Research Laboratory
Cedars Sinai Medical Center
Los Angeles, CA
As a surgeon, one of the difficulties he encountered during diagnostic procedure is seeing what is really happening inside the bile duct. So he asked help from a London physicist and they develop a new form of hospital medical equipment called rod-lens system that has the capacity to improve the visual field for the said procedure.

Robert Donaldson, NPC
Clinical Director of Emergency Medicine
Ellenville Regional Hospital
Ellenville, NY
In his study, he mentioned the important role played by emergency department nurse practitioners. He said that they are basically comparable to doctors as too can admit, manage, and discharge patients when they are rushed into the emergency department.

Thomas Hansen, MD
CEO, Seattle’s Children Hospital
He is the brainchild behind the Hansen ventilation – a hospital medical equipment that could lead to affordable care for infants in developing countries with breathing problems. He knows that in not so well-developed countries, mechanical ventilators are very expensive. And this is among the major factors why thousands of infant lives are not being saved.

Jeanne Yeatman, MBA, BSN, CEN, EMT
Vanderbilt LifeFlight Program Director
Nashville, TN
She believed that coping with the emotional connection to the patients is among the biggest challenges encountered by paramedics or flight nurses. Hence, she developed programs that help improve care coordination among flight crews, paramedics and ED staff.

Michael Edmond, MD
Virginia Commonwealth, U. Medical Center
Richmond, VA
He noticed that the way hospitals try to prevent infections is not making any sense. This is why he developed a program that promotes zero in on simple hand hygiene. He also recommend that hospital staffers should focus more on keeping the hospital medical equipment sterile at all times instead of testing  for MRSA.

Nicholas Christakis, MD
Professor of Medicine and Medical Sociology
Harvard Medical School
Cambridge, MA
He is both an expert physician and a social scientist. Christakis analyzed the old-fashioned face-to-face networks that people form as they connect with friends, families, neighbors, coworkers, and others. And through his study, he learned that people are connected hence; their health is also connected. A person’s health does not only depends on his personal choices and behavior but it is also influenced by the people surrounding him or her.

Diane Whitworth, RN, CWOCN
Nurse Safety Scholar-In-Residence,
Richmond, VA
She has been a champion in the nationwide effort to eliminate hospital-acquired pressure ulcers, which is recorded as the second most common patient safety incident. 

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Home Medical Equipment that Goes Digital

Getting the vital signs of the patient before is a little bit time consuming for nurses. Almost all instruments used monitoring the overall health condition of an individual are mechanically operated. But when advances in medical technology came, digital hospital and home medical equipments were invented.

Medical instruments play crucial roles in saving the lives of people. They are purposely designed to monitor health under difficult conditions. And with digital hospital and home medical equipments, these brought great convenience particularly for the part of nurses most especially on times when there are a lot of patients to attend to. These modern instruments are usually designed with high precision and fast response time. While for the part of the patient, modernize hospital and home medical equipments likewise offer them better comfort than traditional ones.

From a simple thermometer and blood pressure device, all these modern hospital and home medical equipments feature the basic systems of a digitally operated device. And that includes a power/battery management system, control and data processing unit, amplification, amplification and A/D conversion of the sensor input, display units and sensory element. No wonder why modern medical instruments are much better and safer to use.

By the way, I have hear some of the common hospital and home medical equipments that go digital:

Digital Thermometer

This replaces the glass thermometer that typically contains mercury. It is much safer to use and results are easier to read.

Digital Blood Pressure Device

Early diagnosis of hypertension becomes possible. One can easily check his or her blood pressure anywhere with a digital blood pressure device.

Digital Pulse Monitor

Monitoring ones heart rate and rhythm is made easier with this digital pulse monitor. It only needs to strap the opto-pulse transducer on the thumb/finger with Velcro straps; turn the power switch on and the pulse in beats per minute will be automatically displayed.

Portable Glucose Meter

Monitoring the blood sugar is very easy with portable glucose meter. With modern glucose meter, it uses a so called “drum” mechanism so there is no need to use test strips.

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Medical Malpractice or Medical Negligence?

While searching for nurses who have been sued for medical malpractice, I came across Legal Law Help site and certain post makes me stop and think for a while. The said post talks about medical malpractice and medical negligence.

Here's the part of the write-up that makes me wonder whether the words medical malpractice and medical negligence can be used interchangeably.

Medical Malpractice, also called medical negligence, is the failure of a medical professional to meet the standard of good medical practice in the field in which the medical professional practices.
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider - doctor, hospital, HMO, nurse, other individual or entity licensed to provide medical care or treatment - does something that competent doctors would not have done, or fails to do what a competent doctor would have done, resulting in personal injury or wrongful death.

But as far as I can recall my law101, malpractice and negligence are two different law terms with different meanings. The first term is used to refer when a professional did a wrong thing or procedure that results in injury or damage. The latter term is used when a professional knows what must be done but failed to do it. Hence, medical malpractice should never be used as synonym for medical negligence.

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New Study Reveals Healthy Lifestyle Help Lower Diabetes Risk

A group of researchers claimed recently that if people will only have a long term commitment to healthier food intake and/or exercise on the succeeding years, this will help bring down the risk of developing diabetes. Based on their study, taking an additional step at a time toward healthy lifestyle significantly lowered their risk of developing the said disease despite their family history of diabetes or of being overweight.

This new study, which was led by Jared Reis Ph. D., highlighted 5 healthy habits that were deemed to bring a significant effect on lowering the person’s risk fall to diabetes. These healthy habits include maintaining a normal weight, avoiding smoking, being physically active, drinking alcohol moderately or no to drinking, and opting for hale and hearty diet.  The research result revealed that individuals who follow at least one of those five stated healthy behaviors reduce their chances to suffer from this metabolic condition at about 30% percent.

Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States and this health condition allows the government to spend $174 billion every year, not to mention the $116 billion paid for direct medical expenses. Meanwhile in WHO data, diabetes ranks 9th as the leading cause of death worldwide. Since 2000, the American Diabetes Association estimated that there are a total of 171 million people who are suffering from diabetes who have been diagnosed to have diabetes and this figure is projected to increase up to 366 million in 2030.  This is exactly the reason why healthcare professionals who often comes wearing a white lab coat and uses stethoscope as among their primary medical instruments, keep on advising everyone to avoid unhealthy lifestyle behaviors to curb the risk of developing chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes.

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The Effects of Boxing to Youngster’s Health

With Pacman’s unconquerable career in boxing, many amateur boxers of today are trying to follow his footstep. Sadly, boxing is not an appropriate sport for young children or those who are under 19 years of age. This is what the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Paediatric Society is telling to the public, particularly to concerned parents. These two organizations of pediatricians do believe that boxing could compromise the health of the youngsters.

image obtained from Blitzsport

Based on their recent studies, the number of amateur boxers who developed serious facial and brain injuries are found to be higher these days compared to the cases of boxing injuries recorded by US and Canadian healthcare officials in the past decades.  Aside from facial and brain injuries, one thing more that this concerned medical doctors worry about children and youth who are into boxing is that this sport could lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy – a brain disorder brought by recurring blows to the head. A person with chronic traumatic encephalopathy may experience dementia-like symptoms in the later life.

We all know that a boxer is being rewarded for dedicated and deliberate blows to the opponent’s head. And even if amateur boxers are equipped with the same protect safety gear being used by professional boxers, the group of medical doctors (who often come with a pediatric littman steth hanging on their neck) highly stressed that these safety gears particularly the head guard provides no evidence that it can actually reduce the incidence of concussions and lacerations. 

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