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Jacksonville Legal Blog

Medical malpractice and septic shock: A lethal combination

Septic shock can devastate any healthy person’s body. Major surgery disrupts your immune system and may expose your body to various bacteria, so it proves essential for physicians to use care in performing all surgical duties.

Hospitals and surgical rooms must be completely sterile. As sepsis enters the body through wounds, any unsterilized tool, unclean hand or exposed skin cells from surgeons can wreak havoc on the body. Proving that you or a loved one suffered from septic shock from a hospital is crucial to receiving compensation for your medical expenses and losses.

Survey finds link between doctor burnout and medical mistakes

Medical professionals in Florida and elsewhere often report the symptoms of workplace burnout, according to a recent poll of almost 6,700 doctors. The study asked them about symptoms of burnout, medical errors and workplace safety. Over half of them reported fatigue, depression or suicidal thoughts, which represent clear signs of burnout. Responses that indicated burnout were prevalent among the 11 percent of doctors who also admitted to making medical errors in the previous three months.

The lead author of the study explained that poor medical judgment, diagnostic errors and technical errors during procedures represented the most common mistakes. He said that other studies have revealed an association between burnout and problems like medication mistakes, infections and death.

Burnout and Florida medical errors

According to the results of a national survey, over half of the physicians around the country are burned out. As a result, there is a higher chance that they will make medical errors.

For the survey, almost 6,700 hospital and clinic physicians were asked questions about safety in the workplace, medical errors and indications of fatigue, workplace burnout, suicidal thoughts and depression. Over 10 percent of the respondents stated that they were responsible for at least one major medical error within the last three months prior to the survey. After evaluating the responses, investigators determined that the physicians who were burned out were two times as likely to commit a medical error.

Study analyzes the frequency of cellulitis misdiagnoses

Researchers at the Brigham and Women's Hospital conducted a study of patients with presumed cellulitis and published the results back in February. Cellulitis patients in Florida should know what the researchers found out because the condition they have is frequently misdiagnosed.

Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin and is considered a common condition. However, the only way to diagnose it is by looking at the affected area and considering the patient's reported symptoms; no other method, or more accurate method, exists. One symptom being skin inflammation, cellulitis can be confused with other conditions that cause inflammation, called pseudocellulitis.

Self-advocacy can make a difference after surgical errors

When people in Florida enter the hospital for surgery, one of their greatest fears may be the potential for a serious surgical error occurring. Many people have heard news reports about patients that have suffered serious complications during surgery, and no one wants those stories to be about themselves. Since surgery involves cutting into, removing and altering parts of the body, it has a reputation as being the most precise of medical sciences. That precision is critical to ensuring that surgery is a success.

However, when there are complications after surgery, it is important that patients are aware and knowledgeable in order to respond to the situation. In one article in a medical journal, doctors described dealing with the potential for damage to the arteries during a total knee replacement. In one case, a patient spoke about her pain and unusual symptoms as soon as she awoke from surgery. In this case, physicians responded quickly to scan the area and perform a second surgery, using a catheter to repair the tear and restore blood flow. This quick action meant the patient recovered well.

Identifying the ten most common birth injuries

Of the astronomically high number of births each year, the clear majority occur without incident. Although that can be comforting to hear, it’s important to know the risks. Birth injuries occur in 6-8 of every 1,000 babies born in the U.S. each year. Although trained to identify risk, the repetition of so many routine deliveries can lead to a physician’s negligence. Some common causes of birth injuries include improper use of delivery instrumentation, misidentification of obstetrical risk factors or negligence.

We often place physicians on a pedestal for the work that they do, but it’s important to be realistic: they make mistakes, just like everyone else. Unlike most professions, their mistakes can cost livelihoods or even lives, and those affected by a physician’s negligence have the right to seek compensation.

Misdiagnosies might be more likely for women

Inaccurate and delayed diagnoses affect women more than men with regard to at least some specific diseases and medical conditions. With regard to heart disease, for example, women are 50 percent more likely to be incorrectly diagnosed initially, even if they have had a heart attack. Female patients are approximately 30 percent more likely than their male counterparts to have stroke symptoms misdiagnosed. Seventy-five percent of autoimmune disease cases are women, in Florida and across the U.S., and it takes five doctors, on average, before the correct diagnosis is reached.

The first nationwide survey of medical students regarding how medical education addressed gender and sex found that only 43.1 percent of students thought their curricula had increased their understanding of gender and sex medicine. Only 34.5 percent said they thought they'd been prepared to handle gender and sex differences in providing health care. The doctor who published the report said that the misdiagnoses and delays that impact women are results, at least in part, of these gaps in medical education.

Study highlights treatment for pancreatic cancer

There could be some additional hope for Pennsylvania residents diagnosed early on with pancreatic cancer, according to a study released in June 2018 at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference. When patients with pancreatic cancer were given a four-drug combination known as folfirinox, they had significantly better results than patients receiving the traditional drug used for this treatment. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most notoriously difficult-to-treat cancers, especially as it is often discovered too late for surgery to be effective and after the malignancy has spread.

This treatment is designed for patients whose pancreatic cancer was discovered early enough for them to be treated with surgery and before the cancer had spread significantly. While about 20 percent of these patients were free of cancer five years later with the traditional drug, Gemzar, that number rose to 40 percent on the folfirinox treatments. In addition, around 66 percent of patients receiving folfirinox were still alive five years later, but only half of the Gemzar patients were. Doctors hailed the study as a major step forward.

Rapping dermatologist sued for medical malpractice

When Florida residents undergo surgery, they expect their doctors to be honest and qualified. However, several patients accuse a Georgia dermatologist of lying about her qualifications, making inappropriate videos during surgeries, performing different procedures than they agreed to and otherwise botching their care.

One patient went into cardiac arrest during a lengthy procedure in the doctor's Atlanta-based office. When paramedics arrived, they had to wait 30 minutes for the doctor to suture her incision. They were then forced to carry her down the stairs because the office doesn't have elevators large enough for stretchers. She suffered brain damage and now requires round-the-clock care. Another patient suffered a massive infection, renal failure and respiratory failure after undergoing what she believed was a laser liposuction procedure. She was hospitalized for 30 days and later learned the doctor performed surgical liposuction on her. A third patient also received the wrong liposuction procedure and alleges that the doctor dumped her in a random hotel room while she was still sedated.

Florida hospital under investigation for serious surgical errors

The Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, has been under fire in recent months after two citations for serious medical violations by a state agency. Now, the hospital is under federal investigation.

The federal inquiry, undertaken by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, began in earnest after a Florida state agency found the hospital failed to report two serious surgical errors. It is believed that the federal review is broader than the one recently completed by the state. A hospital spokesperson claims that the staff has been transparent throughout all investigations.