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New Jersey Medical Malpractice and Product Liability Law Blog

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.

The tragedy of birth injuries, and why legal help is necessary

The birth of a baby is supposed to be a happy moment; a time when a family becomes whole. The birth of a baby is routine at this point for most medical professionals, and that would make you think that mistakes are very rare. Although they are rare, they do still occur, and a mistake during the birth of a baby can have dramatic and life-changing consequences for the entire family.

A doctor could botch the C-section that the woman is being given, causing irreparable damage to the baby or the mother. The medical professionals on hand could delay or hesitate for too long, creating complications with the birth. Any doctors or nurses on hand could make a bevy of other mistakes that result in an unfortunate outcome with the birth of the baby.

Medication error report paints ugly picture

We've talked about medication errors on this blog numerous times before, but we bring up the topic again because a new report is out about medication errors and pediatric care -- and the numbers aren't good.

The new report found that an average of 63,358 medication errors occur every year in the U.S. in children who are younger than the age of six. Of those errors, one quarter of them are in children aged 12 months or younger. What this means is that one every eight minutes in this country, a child no older than six is victimized by a medication error. The study also admits that these figures could actually be low, since they depend on poison control reports. Many medication errors go unreported. So who knows how much worse it really is.

Poor medical care results in woman suffering undisclosed injuries

While the following story did not occur here in New Jersey, it does display some unfortunate decisions by a hospital and the inadequate response the hospital and medical professionals had towards a patient with a serious issue.

The story involves a woman and her husband, who went to the hospital after the woman complained of an inability to urinate. She had atrial fibrillation due to a prior condition and used blood thinners. As a result, the proper action for the hospital would have been to check on her coagulation times, but medical professionals never did. In fact, according to the story, the medical professionals on hand did very little at all -- except release the woman without properly treating or dealing with her clear medical issue.

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