Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

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The Georgia Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a new trial in a case in which a Clark County jury found a local Hospital and a local obstetrician not liable in a malpractice claim that they mishandled the birth of the Georgia teen which left her permanently disabled in 1998.

In an effort to prevent undue sympathy, the trial judge limited the amount of time the injured teen was permitted in the courtroom. However, in a near unanimous decision, the justices ruled that it was in her right to be present at her own trial.

The parents of the injured Georgia teen maintain that the hospital personnel did not react in a timely manner to readings from the fetal heart monitor and alert doctors of the need to perform a Caesarean section. The lawsuit also states that the baby was not breathing upon delivery and that the loss of oxygen was a factor in her brain damage. The Obstetrician’s decision to induce labor with medication rather than deliver the baby by C-section is also in question.

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The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) claims that 13.1 million cosmetic procedures were performed in the U.S. last year. This is a 5% increase over the previous year. However, as the number of cosmetic procedures increase in Atlanta, so do the number of injuries resulting from such procedures, many of which are caused by negligence.

For example, a plastic surgeon has been named in a medical malpractice lawsuit alleging that he left one of his patients with abnormalities. The plaintiff alleges that the defendant performed abdominoplasty and liposuction that disfigured her and left her in excruciating pain. The plaintiff also alleges that the surgeon neglected to give her post-operative instructions.

The surgery was performed on May 4, 2011, after the defendant referred to himself as a surgical “artist.” The plaintiff was told that the procedure had gone as expected and to wear compression garments. She alleges that the doctor did not inform her how to wear the compression garment or give her any information concerning post-op damage.

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After a recent appearence at the American College of Cardiology convention in Atlanta, some studies are now suggesting that Crestor may be linked to cardiomyopathy, which is a serious condition that has an effect on the muscle of the heart. Crestor is a statin, and statins reduce coenzyme levels, which causes an increased risk for heart failure. Therefore, anyone who takes statins is at risk of cardiomyopathy.

Numerous studies connect statin use to low levels of coenzyme Q10. One such study examined the level of coenzyme Q10 in people taking lovastatin (Mevacor). The researchers concluded that lovastatin does decrease tissue levels of CoQ10, which can reduce heart functioning. Patients with low tissue levels of CoQ10 with moderate or weak heart functioning who are treated with lovastatin are at an increased risk.

Coenzyme is a protective enzyme that protects the heart from failing. Since statins seemingly reduce levels of coenzyme Q10, patients need to supplement coenzyme Q10 to reduce their risk of experiencing heart failure. Another study found that cardiomyopathy caused by statins is more prevalent than documented and that discontinuation and supplemental CoQ10 can reverse such side effects.

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Safyral is a birth control medication that is used by a large number of women in Atlanta. It contains drodpirenone and a supplement designed to increase levels of folate in women. But Safyral, like other birth control medications that contain drodpirenone, is being asked by the FDA to bring its label up to date by including warnings.

In December of 2011, an advisory panel of the FDA considered the safety and value of contraceptives that contain drospirenone. Among the contraceptives that the panel considered were Yasmin, Yaz, Beyaz, and Safyral. This inquiry was the result of concern over the increased risk of blood clotting women who use drospirenone are experiencing.

The advisory panel voted 15 to 11 that the benefits of birth control medications that contain drospirenone, like Safyral, offset the risks linked with its use. However, critics argue that there are older forms of birth control that are safer and just as effective as the newer ones that contain drospirenone.

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Hospitals emergency rooms throughout Atlanta and the rest of the country are adopting a new policy of charging patients $150 if they do not have an urgent problem. Last year, over 80,000 patients left emergency rooms owned by HCA Healthcare without receiving treatment after being told that they would have to pay as much as $150 first because their problems weren’t considered emergencies.

This screening method and upfront fee is being used by hospitals in an effort to ensure that the sickest people receive top priority. While those patients who do not require emergency care are given information they can use to find a more cost-effective and efficient form of care that meets their medical needs.

HCA leads the way with this pay-first strategy that is aimed at discouraging patients with nonemergency ailments from going to the emergency room after being screened. It is now estimated that half the hospitals in the US charge this fee to reduce overcrowding in emergency rooms. However, some doctors fear that patients in need of medical attention will do without treatment because of this fee.

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A study appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that as many as one in five patients (22%) have needlessly had heart implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) implanted against national guidelines. As a result, patients who needlessly received the implants had a considerably higher risk of experiencing complications; even resulting in in-hospital death. And these procedures are costly, unnecessarily wasting thousands of dollars in medical funds.

ICDs are usually implanted in patients with advanced heart failure in an effort to restore normal rhythm to the heart when it beats irregularly. Researchers have yet to find any advantage in implanting these devices in patients who have had a heart attack or who have undergone bypass surgery. Accordingly, national guidelines do not advise implanting defibrillators in patients who have been diagnosed with heart failure or who have short life expectancies.

Dr. Sana Al-Khatib of Duke Universities School of Medicine, the lead author of the study, alleges that some of the implants may have been appropriate; but a lot more were performed in spite of the research evidence. “It’s lack of knowledge. It’s ignorance. It’s not keeping track of the guidelines,” she explained to MSNBC.com. “And we may have some physicians who don’t agree with the guidelines or don’t think the guidelines apply to patients,” she continued.

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The most recent edition of New Zealand Medical Journal Digest includes a discussion of medical doctors and a health psychologist talking about the negative side effects associated with the use of homeopathic remedies. The doctors in the article consider such treatments as arnica, colloidal silver, deer velvet, and a number of other treatments classified as homeopathic remedies to be a “waste of time and money,” and in some instances, harmful to the user.

As much as 95 percent of homeopathic products and hundreds of therapies are not backed by research or credible biologically, according to the doctors. Of these so-called remedies, the doctors expressly discussed arnica, deer velvet, the Lemonade Diet, magnets, propolis, rescue remedy, shark cartilage, and super doses of vitamin C for the treatment of cancer.

Some of these treatments, such as colloidal silver, which is advertised as aiding the immune system in the fight against cancer and HIV, could actually be dangerous. According to Dr. Holt, “Silver does have some anti-microbial actions, but not only is there no clinical evidence of an efficacy for these serious indications, products have been shown to contain widely variable amounts of silver and can cause argyria-dangerous and untreatable silver poisoning.”

According to drugwatch.com, consumers often make the assumption that because they are readily available, supplements must be safe. In and of themselves, that may be true, but when combined with drugs, supplements can cause serious adverse reactions. The FDA cites research that shows at least half of American adults regularly use dietary supplements, which are defined as “products taken by mouth that contain a dietary ingredient.” According to the agency, these include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs or botanicals. St. John’s wort, vitamin E, ginseng and Ginko biloba all have been touted for their ability to boost certain health aspects. Unfortunately, they also interact with various widely prescribed drugs and cause life-threatening reactions.
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A recent study that appeared in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that drugs like Abilify might not effectively treat acute stress. What’s more, the side effects linked with Abilify may be more hazardous than deemed necessary. Problems with Abilify and pregnancy and Abilify for children are other concerns associated with its use. For this reason, women who take Abilify and intend on becoming pregnant or who are already expecting should talk over their options with their doctor.

Drugs that are used to treat post-traumatic stress symptoms have roughly the same rate of effectiveness as placebos but have serious side effects. The study examined the use of Risperdal in the treatment of veterans with post-traumatic stress symptoms. Risperdal is an antipsychotic medication that is in the same class as Abilify and Seroquel. Thus, experts have concluded that the same results could be found with Abilify.

The researchers discovered that military veterans who were given Risperdal to treat post-traumatic stress disorder had a comparable rate of recovery to veterans who were given a placebo. After being treated for six months, about five percent of the veterans in the groups recovered and 10 – 20 percent experienced some improvement. Thus, researchers concluded that the treatment with medication did not significantly benefit these veterans.
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Each year, a number of people in Atlanta undergo gastric bypass surgery in an effort to lose weight. However, gastric bypass surgery is not a cosmetic surgery. It is a “last resort” procedure for persons suffering from obesity. But unfortunately, 35 to 40% of those who elect to have the procedure suffer harmful complications within the first six months following surgery.

One problem is the number of gastric bypass procedures that a surgeon can safely perform in a day. Since the need for the procedure has increased, it has become common practice for some surgeons to perform as many as five operations per day. If a surgeon performs the procedure too quickly or while he or she is too fatigued, the patient is put in danger. This can lead to medical negligence and serious, long-term injuries.

Another cause for concern is that the surgical stapler and staples used in the procedure are prone to malfunction, thus, causing fluid to leak from the gastrointestinal track into the abdominal cavity. These fluids are highly caustic and can harm other areas of the body. The Food and Drug Administration has documented some 9,000 cases of serious complications and 100 deaths caused by failed surgical staples and/or staples used in operations.

Other complications may include:

• excessive bleeding

• hemorrhaging

• hernias

• infections

• nutritional deficiencies

Some procedures were performed in facilities that were not properly suited in caring for obese persons. Consequently, such equipment as CAT scanners, operating tables, instruments, and other diagnostic tools were rendered inadequate due to the patient’s size. In other instances, medical practitioners failed to respond in a timely manner to patient complaints or simply failed to educate patients about post surgery recovery.

As I mentioned earlier, gastric bypass surgery is used specifically to treat obesity. Therefore, it is only considered beneficial for patients who are not less than 100 pounds overweight or who have a body mass index of 40 or more. Only under certain circumstances, such extreme cases of diabetes or cardiopulmonary problems, should the procedure be performed on persons with a slightly lower body mass index. Absent these rare extenuating circumstances, performing bypass surgery on someone who is not more than 100 pounds overweight is a form of medical malpractice. Therefore, patients should be wary of surgeons who try to “sell” them the procedure.

For many people suffering from obesity, gastric bypass surgery has enabled them to lose a considerable amount of weight. However, as we have seen, a number of complications can result after the surgery. Some of these complications may even warrant hospitalization of the patient for the entire length of the treatment, and close supervision upon release from the hospital to ensure that the problems have been corrected.
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A new study finds that there can be a significant reduction in the rate of obstetrics adverse events through the use of a multifaceted quality program. The findings of the study have been published in the Journal for Healthcare Quality, and the researchers believe that comprehensive staff training programs can help improve obstetrics outcomes dramatically.

The researchers developed a two-year obstetrics safety program, which they then implemented at the North Shore University Hospital and LIJ Medical Center, NY. All staff members of the obstetrics wing of the hospitals were included in the initiative. They were required to complete a training program that included evidence-based protocols to reduce the incidence of adverse events.
The researchers found that the incidence of some of the most common adverse events that Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers come across, like a return to the operating room after delivery or birth trauma, decreased significantly after the training program was implemented. The decline was more than 50%. Before the training program, the incidence of such adverse outcomes was about 2%. After the training program, the incidence of adverse events was reduced to about .8%. The researchers also found that the staff was able to maintain these positive outcomes over a two-year study period.
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