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Jacksonville Legal Blog

Insurer estimates misdiagnosis affects at least 10% of patients

According to estimates from a medical malpractice insurer, between 10 and 20 percent of patients do not receive an accurate diagnosis during doctor visits. When people in Florida seek medical care, medical errors are the most likely to occur during the diagnostic phase. The insurer studied over 10,000 medical professional liability claims over a five-year period and concluded that diagnostic errors were the root cause of 33 percent of them.

The study blamed poor clinical decisions for 53 percent of malpractice claims. Over one-third of these mistakes took place in outpatient settings. Medical tests represented another major source of liability claims because tests were involved in half of these claims. Testing problems emerged when doctors failed to order tests or made mistakes when performing tests. Misinterpretation of test results accounted for some misdiagnoses. Errors also arose during the receipt and transmission of test samples and results.

Small intestine cancer: its signs and symptoms

Adenocarcinoma is a form of cancer that develops in the small intestines. Because its initial symptoms include pain, nausea and vomiting, it can be difficult for doctors to pin it down immediately. In fact, it usually takes several months before patients are correctly diagnosed. Residents of Florida who are experiencing these or any of the other symptoms mentioned below will want to see a doctor.

The pain that patients with adenocarcinoma feel will seem like cramping pain because it could get worse after they eat. As the tumor starts to grow, the vomiting and nausea will come in. If it grows large enough, the tumor could obstruct the passage of food. Another frequent sign of the cancer is rapid weight loss without any effort on the patient's part.

Data entry software could help prevent radiology errors

On March 20, researchers published the results of a study that found that data entry software could reduce ultrasound and dual-energy x-ray errors for patients in Florida and elsewhere. It was also found that the software could save up to $1 million in radiology costs over a period of five years.

The study found that errors in data entry occurred in 6 percent to 28 percent of DEXA and ultrasound reports. When the data entry software was used, the results showed that side errors were reduced. Researchers noted however that, while the potential savings could have an impact on hospitals, the initial cost of installing the software system could be difficult for some healthcare providers.

Hospital accused of leaving needle in woman's spine

A Florida naval hospital is facing accusations that it left part of a needle in a woman's spine when she had a caesarean section there in 2003. The woman now lives in Texas, but at the time, her husband was stationed with the Navy in Jacksonville. She had her third son at Naval Hospital Jacksonville and has suffered from pain ever since.

The woman's attorney says he will file a lawsuit against the government if there is no response to the allegations within six months. The woman described the pain as being like a fire or a poker at the base of her back and that it sometimes goes down her leg and into her foot.

Are surgical centers doing enough to protect your safety?

When you think about surgery, your mind might go straight to hospitals. However, hospitals are not the only places where you could end up undergoing a surgical procedure. You could be among the many people here in America who get a surgery at a surgical center.

Wrong diagnosis can be preamble to medical malpractice

When a patient in Florida faces a medical malpractice situation, there is a good chance that the problems started at the diagnostic level. According to a report published in March 2018 by a malpractice insurance provider, a third of the medical wrongdoing claims brought by patients between 2013 and 2017 were related to misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis cases.

In the medical malpractice field, there are three main categories of actus reus that could merit claims: incorrect diagnosis, procedural errors and improper medical management. In the report, procedural errors were mentioned in 24 percent of claims while medical mismanagement was the reason in 14 percent of claims. What this study clearly shows is that poor treatment decisions are often influenced by a wrong diagnosis.

Common factors in medication errors

Even with advances in digital record-keeping technology, healthcare professionals are liable to make mistakes that in turn lead to medication errors. Medication errors account for more than 250,000 deaths in Florida and the rest of the U.S., according to a 2016 study from Johns Hopkins University, so it's important that nurses and other professionals know what factors often contribute to these errors.

The failure to record essential information is usually to blame for subsequent errors. For example, nurses may neglect to note when a drug was administered, by what route, and in what dosage; whether a patient has drug allergies or chronic health conditions; when a drug is discontinued; and what nursing actions were taken on a daily basis. Nurses are encouraged to supplement patients' sheets with a flowchart of their actions, which the next staff member can review before seeing the patient.

Weeding out cases of cellulitis misdiagnosis

Doctors in Florida see many patients with skin inflammation and other symptoms of skin disorders. One skin infection, cellulitis, is common, but there is no reliable tool for diagnosing it. Because its symptoms are similar to those of other skin conditions, many cellulitis diagnoses are false. Now researchers have found that involving a dermatologist in the diagnosis of cellulitis at an early stage can catch misdiagnoses and prevent unnecessary treatment.

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital had previously discovered that approximately one-third of patients admitted to the hospital's emergency room had pseudocellulitis. This prompted an intervention in which a group of 165 patients who were presumed to have cellulitis were given a dermatology consultation prior to being admitted. One-third of those patients were diagnosed with pseudocellulitis. Dermatologists recommended stopping antibiotic treatment for 82.4 percent of those patients, and discharge from admission or observation for half of them. None of the discharged patients experienced any worsening of symptoms thereafter.

New study determines diabetes subcategories

A study that was published in March may change how diabetes patients in Florida, and the doctors who treat them, think about the condition. The authors of the study claim that rather than dividing the condition into type 1 and type 2, having a total of five subcategories could pave the way for earlier diabetes detection and treatment.

To come to this conclusion, researchers conducted a cluster analysis of patients who were recently diagnosed with diabetes. They noted information like the age when they were diagnosed, their body mass index, and their resistance to insulin. This was studied in conjunction with prescription records and records of previous complications.

Could algorithms help with fighting infections at hospitals?

When you are at a private-sector hospital here in the Jacksonville area, you expect your health to be protected. However, it is possible to be subjected to health dangers during a hospital stay. One such danger is a risk of infection.