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Providence Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Delayed diagnosis of Ebola virus could affect thousands

The Ebola virus is without a doubt one of the most worrisome viruses on the planet. Not only is it incurable, but the possibility of the virus showing up in the United States has people around the country, including residents of Rhode Island, concerned about related subjects, including the delayed diagnosis of the condition. After all, the long-term potential effects of a delayed diagnosis for an Ebola sufferer by an inadequately trained medical professional could conceivably put many individuals at risk.

The Ebola virus is spread by contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person by a non-infected person. In a hospital environment, such as an emergency room, medical workers like doctors, nurses and interns are constantly moving between patients. This places every individual at risk if the Ebola virus is not immediately diagnosed by personnel so that the sufferer can be appropriately quarantined.

Doctor's negligence allegedly caused infection and death

Medical negligence claims sometimes arise over the placement of stents and medical implants inside the patient’s body. Under Rhode Island law, when a doctor’s negligence results in improper placement or careless monitoring of an implant, there may be a claim against the doctor if serious injury is caused by the negligence. Accordingly, a deceased patient’s estate is suing two doctors and a hospital for negligence in the placement and follow-up of a temporary implant inserted into his body for the treatment of cholestatic liver function and a pancreatic mass.

It is alleged that one of the defendant doctors installed the stint implant on or about Aug. 5, 2009. When released from doctor’s care in Oct. 2009, the suit alleges that the doctor did not advise the patient that the stint was temporary and would have to be removed and replaced. He also allegedly gave the patient no instructions for its care. The lawsuit alleges that in Aug. 2010 the patient became extremely ill and a severe septic infection was found in his stomach.

High tech video medical services may open door to doctor mistakes

Many things that used to be handled face-to-face have fallen to the demand for fast service and convenience, including medical care. There is a proliferation of online applications that purport to offer medical advice and diagnosis right over the handheld screen. However, some fear that this new use of technology may open the door for doctor mistakes and ill consequences for patients. There may be many Rhode Island residents who have used or considered using these services.

Since 2002, medical consultation phone and tablet applications have grown in popularity. As a result, there are new services entering the market every year. While most of these services are targeted to provide care for minor illnesses and injuries, the possibility for mistakes are not negligible. Most of the services work by having the patient answer a variety of questions relating to their complaint and then participate in a video conference with a healthcare provider.

Doctor mistakes may be more common than many realize

Doctor mistakes can be serious, even risking the health and safety of the people they care for. When a Rhode Island patient is affected by doctor mistakes, they may lose trust in their physician and stress about what can be done to correct the injury. A list of major medical errors that are considered the most serious and preventable was published in 2006 by the National Quality Forum and underscores the potential seriousness of physician error.

Mistakes have occurred by giving a patient the wrong blood type or by allowing surgical tools or supplies to be left behind and sewn up internally during a surgery. Statistics show that a surgical tool or item is forgotten and left inside a patient, on average, more than 9,000 times a year. When a foreign object is mistakenly left behind in a patient, they can experience immense pain and infection, requiring additional medical care that can be expensive and life threatening.

Man claims doctor's negligence cost him an important body part

While often necessary for various medical reasons, surgery can be a daunting experience for many patients in Rhode Island. Although the benefits of surgery are often overwhelming, instances arise when complications or mistakes can drastically affect an individual. Recently, a man in another state claimed that a doctor’s negligence caused his procedure to take a bad turn, and woke up from surgery missing an important body part.

In June 2014, a patient went under the knife for what was intended to be a circumcision. However, the patient awoke from surgery to discover that his penis had been completely amputated. He says that consent was not granted, either in part or whole, for the amputation to occur.

Was sponge left in patient a case of wrongful death?

Abdominal pain is a fact of life for some throughout Rhode Island. This pain can range from just a mild case of indigestion to severe problems requiring surgery. For many, the thought of surgery is frightening; therefore, some patients will put off visiting their doctor as long as possible. The majority of the time, this fear is unwarranted; however, for one patient in another state, a sponge which was left behind during her abdominal surgery may be a case of wrongful death.

In 2009, a 58-year-old woman underwent abdominal surgery. During the surgery, the surgical team noted that the sponge count was off. The doctor located one sponge that had been left behind and removed it. The doctor ordered an X-ray, although he apparently did not review it to ensure that all sponges had been removed. In spite of the fact that there had been a surgical team shift change during the operation, he took their word that all sponges had been accounted for and concluded the operation.

Possible physician errors in knee replacement surgery

Many individuals throughout Rhode Island will undergo knee replacement surgery during their lifetime. This surgery is designed to give the individual increased movement and lessen knee pain. Of course, this outcome assumes that physician errors will not occur and that the surgery and rehabilitation will go according to plan.

One patient in another state recently underwent knee replacement surgery. Following surgery, he followed his doctor's orders and participated in physical therapy to gain increased mobility in his knee. However, something went wrong, a screw became loose and his new knee became improperly positioned.

$16.7 million awarded in doctor errors lawsuit

Cancer is a scary word for many throughout Rhode Island. It seems that virtually everyone either has a personal experience or a close relationship with someone who has experienced cancer. For this reason, many will seek medical attention when something just doesn’t feel right. Many also undergo routine examinations as a form of early detection. When doctor errors occur, and cancer is not detected in its early stages, the prognosis is usually not nearly as positive as cancer found in its early stages.

In 2006, a woman had a chest X-ray performed. The radiologist indicated that the X-ray was normal. However, a little over a year later, the woman was diagnosed with lung cancer. Approximately two years after the X-ray was taken, the 47-year-old woman died as a result of the cancer.

Are birth injuries possible from multiple c-sections?

Some Rhode Island mothers may be familiar with the process of having a c-section and wonder if it poses an increased risk for additional birth injuries. While a c-section is not considered "dangerous" in medical circles, it is possible that there is an increased risk for birth injuries with each subsequent delivery. It is estimated that one-third of American births are c-section deliveries, which makes it extremely important for the mother to be informed about her health and the health of her baby.

A mother may have the option to choose a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). While this is often safe and possible for many mothers, it is possible that Rhode Island moms could be at a higher risk for complications. It is possible that a mother could experience uterine rupture, which could endanger her and the health of her baby.

Physician errors claim settled for $1.5 million

In any given year, most individuals throughout Rhode Island will suffer from a sore throat at some point. Sometimes, this sore throat can be managed with over-the-counter medications. At other times, the pain is severe enough to merit a doctor's visit. The assumption is that the doctor will give the individual something to ease the pain and take care of the underlying problem. Medication for a sore throat is not something that typically leads one to think of possible physician errors that could lead to death.

In April 2013, a concerned mother took her 17-year-old daughter to her local urgent care clinic. The girl was complaining of a severe sore throat, and the doctor at the clinic ordered an opioid drug for the girl to relieve the pain. However, the dosage that was ordered and administered was in excess of two times the normal amount prescribed for an adult.

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