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April 2015 Archives

Early induction may help large babies avoid birth injury

A recent study on labor and delivery practices for large babies has implications for pregnant women and their doctors in New Mexico. Especially large babies can experience a number of complications during delivery. One that is of particular concern is shoulder dystocia, in which the baby's head is delivered but one or both shoulders get stuck, preventing the rest of the body from emerging. Babies in this situation are at risk for fractures, nerve damage and even suffocation. While shoulder dystocia occurs in about 1 percent of normal-size births, the rate climbs to 10 percent for births of oversized infants.

Medicare approves annual spiral CT scans for smokers

In February 2015, Medicare make an announcement that it would pay for annual spiral CT scans for regular smokers aged 55 to 77. The decision was influenced by a 2011 report that claimed regular CT scans could reduce lung cancer deaths through early detection. Doctors and radiologists have had mixed reactions to the study's recommendations because of the potential of false positives during this test. The presence of abnormal growths could lead doctors in New Mexico and other states to order more invasive and dangerous tests such as lung biopsies to determine if patients have cancer. In the United States, over 150,000 people die each year of lung cancer, making it one of the most prevalent causes of death in the country.

New software could help improve accuracy of spine surgeries

Newly-developed software may help to improve the outcomes of patients in New Mexico and around the country who undergo spine surgeries. Created by researchers at John Hopkins University, LevelCheck software can be used to help surgeons ensure that they operate on the correct vertebrae during spine surgery. In its first clinical evaluation, researchers determined that the software could locate the correct level of the spine in 26 seconds with 100 percent accuracy.

EMRs and medical malpractice lawsuits

As more and more of New Mexico's hospitals are relying on electronic medical records, these records are becoming increasingly important in medical malpractice cases. Verdicts in medical malpractice cases are increasingly turning on the documentation that is included or missing from EMRs, leading to significant jury awards to plaintiffs.

The risks of laser surgery in New Mexico

According to research led by a doctor at Harvard Medical School, there were 174 cases of cutaneous injury during laser surgery between 1985 and 2012. In 146 of those cases, the patient's physician was listed as a defendant in related medical malpractice suits. This was the case even though the physician was only operating the device in 100 of those procedures. Researchers concluded that physicians should be concerned about liability even if they are not directly performing services but instead are leaving it to someone under their control.

A look at the common causes for emergency medical malpractice

New Mexico residents who are interested in issues related to hospital negligence and medical malpractice may wish to know the results of a study that looked at the prevalence of claims against emergency physicians. Issues in the diagnosis stage seem to be the greatest cause of patient injuries, according to the data.

Study shows premature brain aging in people with head injuries

New Mexico residents who have suffered a head injury or whose loved ones have may be interested in the results of a study published in the journal "Annals of Neurology" in April. According to the study, which examined the brain scans of 99 people with traumatic brain injuries, a head injury can lead to premature aging of the brain, and it may occur years after the original injury. For the participants, the time since injury varied widely from one month to 46 years.

Bill adds protection against medical malpractice

Residents in New Mexico may be interested in learning more about legislation that could provide physicians with new protection from medical malpractice lawsuits. The new bill almost went unnoticed by the major media outlets but did receive significant support from both political parties. The new legislation would require physicians to have their performance evaluated by the government on a zero to 100 scale.

Misdiagnosing mental health

New Mexico residents may be interested in learning more about some of the recent data concerning patients being misdiagnosed. Researchers discovered that mental health professionals misdiagnosed disadvantaged patients twice as often as the average patient. Studies indicated that these doctors may be more likely to misdiagnose mental health conditions when they are working amidst a disadvantaged population. Patients may be misdiagnosed according to the stigmas or social status that the medical professional perceives their demographics to reflect.

Patient recieves overdose from hospital

Residents in New Mexico may be interested in learning how one teenage boy received a dangerous overdose from medical staff after he was admitted to the hospital. The incident occurred at a California children's hospital on July 27, 2013. The patient was initially admitted to the hospital to undergo a routine colonoscopy for examining a polyp. At around midnight that night, the boy reportedly began experiencing numbness and tingling in his body.

Doctors ordering more tests to reduce malpractice claims

According to a recent survey, 97 percent of emergency room doctors say that they ordered potentially unnecessary scans due to fears of malpractice lawsuits. All told, nearly $210 billion is spent each year on testing that may not be medically necessary or helpful to patients. Doctors say that they order the tests because they don't want to miss or misdiagnosis an illness even if there is little chance of one being present.