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New Jersey Medical Malpractice and Product Liability Law Blog

Know your legal options after a medical error

One of the worst things about a medical condition or issue popping up is that, in some cases, the condition or issue begets more trips to the hospital and more medical bills to pay. For some people, this is simply the way it goes. It doesn't necessarily have to be an endless cycle of trips to medical facilities, but it can feel that way to people who have been dealing with it for a long time.

We bring this up because, in some ways, this is what can happen as a result of a medical error. Someone goes to a hospital or to the doctor's office expecting tremendous care. Instead, a major mistake turns their life upside down. They may need prescriptions, procedures, or even surgeries -- and maybe extensive rehabilitation -- to recover from the initial medical mistake.

Stent causes clot, man sues for being paralyzed as a result

Imagine you are involved in a catastrophic accident while driving your vehicle, and you need emergency surgery to save your life. As a result, you survive the wreck and are able to live your life at least somewhat normally (if not completely normally). However, you have no idea that the surgery that saved your life was actually done improperly, or that it could cause a serious complication down the line.

So one day, years later, you suddenly collapse and are in immense pain. It turns out that the surgery that happened years prior caused a blood clot, one that has ravaged your system. Emergency surgery is again needed to swiftly correct the issue -- but it is too late. The blood clot has done its damage. You are paralyzed, and your life will never be the same.

Nurses: synchronized devices could reduce medical errors

More than a month ago, we wrote a post about how doctors and medical professionals can be distracted by cellphones and technology. The lesson was that technology can be a hindrance sometimes, but it obviously isn't always a hindrance. What if all the promise and interconnectivity provided by new technology was put to use in medical instruments, potentially ushering in a new era of medical care?

What we are talking about is medical devices that communicate with each other, making the lives of medical professionals less stressful and far easier. A new study discussed this issue, albeit in a different context, with nurses and the findings were quite interesting.

IV bag design comes into question after new study's revelations

Imagine that you are being wheeled in to a hospital with a severe medical issue. As you are placed on a hospital bed, the doctors and nurses examine you and try to do everything they can in this stressful moment to figure out the best course of treatment. Eventually, they figure it out. They need to give you a certain substance via an IV bag. So one of the nurses leaves the room and rushes to go find your medicine.

When the nurse returns, they hook up the IV bag and you start to feel at ease knowing that you will be better soon. There's just one problem: the nurse grabbed the wrong IV bag and you aren't receiving the medicine you need. In fact, within an hour, you start feeling much worse.

Botched post-op care alleged by family of victimized 13-year-old

Last year there was a very unfortunate medical case where a girl who was having surgery for sleep apnea suffered some horrific post-surgery complications that led to her being declared brain dead. The girl's family put her on life support, and to this day she remains on that life support. She is living in a special facility where she receives care and treatment around the clock, but she has not recovered from her brain dead state.

It's a tragic story, and it is only made worse by this added element: there may have been some form of medical negligence or recklessness on the part of the medical team that was treating the girl.

Mistakes and logistical problems can cause major complications

It's easy to think that, behind the scenes, the pharmaceutical industry and the medical field have everything under control and all of their ducks in a row. They paint a lovely facade to give you this sense of security. Plenty of white walls and clean-looking areas. Computers and logistical systems. Employees who seem trained and knowledgeable about all of the critical medical elements they are supposed to know.

But in the end, all of this means nothing when you consider that medication errors and logistical mistakes happen all the time in the medical field. For example, getting a prescription seems simple. A doctor checks your medical condition, fills out a prescription, and you take it to your nearby pharmacy which gives you the necessary medicine.

Lawsuit filed by nurse infected with Ebola

One of the major stories that has come out of the Ebola outbreak that began last year is that a nurse here in the United States became the first person to contract the disease while on U.S. soil. That nurse, Nina Pham, survived the ordeal but it was undoubtedly a painful and disturbing experience for her. So imagine her anger when it was discovered that procedures and policies at her hospital may not have been followed, and these lapses likely contributed to her contraction of the deadly disease.

Pham has since filed a lawsuit against the hospital she works at because she hoped the hospital would be more "open and honest" about its failures during the Ebola outbreak, but she has accepted that this may not happen.

2 'superbug' deaths pinned on unclean instrument

One of the great concerns for our society going forward is "superbugs." These are nasty bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and, as you can imagine, they are very difficult -- if not impossible -- to treat. Our penchant for antibiotic use has led to an increased chance of bacteria growing resistant to some of our medicines that were formerly hailed as miracle drugs. As you can imagine, infections caused by "superbugs" have a high fatality rate.

If there is a silver lining to the "superbug" problem, it is this: these bacteria aren't airborne, and there is an extremely low chance anyone can get these bacteria in public. Usually superbugs are transmitted in hospitals when medical equipment is not properly sterilized.

Respect plays huge role in medical care according to study

As you may be aware, heart disease and cancer are the two leading causes of death in the United States. But can you guess what the third leading cause of death is? It's preventable medical errors. Such a sobering and shocking fact may make you think that going to the hospital could do more harm to you than good, but obviously going to the hospital when you're dealing with a medical emergency is absolutely necessary. You shouldn't be scared to receive medical treatment.

Now, if that medical treatment goes wrong, you should absolutely hold the liable person, party or parties responsible for their negligence. But what if you could influence these entities in a positive way to prevent any medical errors or negligence? One study thinks patients have this power.

How doctors' cellphones can present a danger to patients

Cellphones are an amazing technological advancement in our society, but they certainly have a way of invading our mind and tweaking our behavior in the most unfortunate of ways and at the most unfortunate of times. People willfully (and seemingly blissfully) text while they are driving. People bust out their cellphone during a nice dinner with friends or family. For all of the positive things the cellphone brings to the table, it certainly has some significant drawbacks.

So now imagine that you are about to head into surgery, and right before the medical staff on hand put you under, the surgeon is texting away on his or her phone. Imagine if after you were put under and the procedure was under, your surgeon said "oh wait, let me check one thing" and then he or she opened up an app on his or her cellphone.

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