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Albuquerque Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Hypoxemia: Low blood oxygen levels can have damaging impacts

Some medical conditions impact how much oxygen is in the blood. For example, a baby who is in distress during labor or delivery might not get sufficient blood to the brain. A lack of oxygen in the blood is known as hypoxemia. Individuals who have this condition can suffer damage to various organs in the body, including the brain, heart, lungs, limbs, and other internal organs.

When a patient shows up at the hospital or a doctor's office with potential hypoxemia, getting them oxygen is critical. The longer the body goes without it, the worse the damage can be. Typically, a person's arterial oxygen is 75 to 100 millimeters of mercury, and individuals with good oxygen will have a pulse oximeter reading of 95 to 100%. A person who has an arterial oxygen of less than 60 mm Hg or a pulse ox of 90% or less has low readings and needs supplemental support.

Risk factors for patient harm in emergency rooms

Emergency room care depends largely on the doctors who work in the department. The problem is that they don't always provide the care that the patient needs to avoid suffering more harm. There are several reasons for this, but each of these is manageable if the hospital puts proper protocols in place to keep their patients safe.

The number of hours these doctors work is one of the primary hazards to patients. As a doctor works through the hours on long shifts, they become more fatigued. This can lead to errors in judgment, which can negatively impact patient care.

Did your loved one experience abuse in his or her nursing home?

When you make the decision to place a loved one in a New Mexico nursing facility, you trusted that the home would provide quality care and the right type of support. Maybe you made your choice based on the recommendation of a friend or you did months of research, but either way, you felt confident you'd found the right place.

It can be devastating to learn that your loved one experienced harm in his or her nursing home. Nursing home abuse in the form of negligent care is a serious problem. If you suspect that your loved one experienced harmful treatment or you have evidence of wrongdoing, you have the right to pursue justice on his or her behalf. With the right help, it is possible to hold liable parties accountable and pursue appropriate compensation for your family member.

Surgical errors are sometimes caused by poor communication

Patients who are taken to the operating room can't watch what's going on or speak up if something isn't going as it should. They are at the mercy of the medical professional people who are working on them. These individuals should be able to communicate freely and work as a team, but this doesn't always happen.

Poor communication is one cause of surgical errors. Each person who is in the room has a specific job to do, and part of this involves letting others know what's going on. For example, if the nurse doesn't relay a patient's vital signs, the surgeon and anesthesiologist might not know that there is something that requires their attention.

Medical professionals should be vigilant about drug allergies

Many people are allergic to specific drugs. Learning what those are often comes only after you have a reaction to one when you take it. From then on, medical professionals shouldn't prescribe that drug to you again. When they do, you can suffer grave consequences.

While it is possible that the allergic reaction might be minor, it is just as likely that it will be serious or fatal. Typically, an allergic reaction will cause a rash or hives, both of which might be itchy. They can also cause a fever or anaphylaxis.

Learning to keep your doctor focused

Let's be clear: Your doctor should always be focused on you when you come in for an appointment. It is no more your job to make sure they don't get distracted than it is your job to make a diagnosis before you get to the office.

That said, you do need to understand that doctors sometimes struggle to stay focused. They get very busy and may be thinking about multiple cases at once. They get distracted by phones and technology just like everyone else. They may even start to daydream, which is the brain's default mode.

Vacuum extractions for delivery can be risky

Most women go through labor with the hope of having an uneventful delivery. This isn't always the case. Sometimes, things don't go as planned and the woman will need help to deliver the baby. One option for this is a vacuum extraction. This involves using a special device to help guide the baby down the birth canal. While it can help with the delivery, it comes with risks.

The vast majority of these deliveries go as planned and without harm. There is a chance that the mother could later suffer from fecal or urinary incontinence or experience trouble urinating. Genital tract tears and perineal pain are also possible. While the risk of those is increased slightly with a vacuum extraction, women who have a normal vaginal delivery might also suffer from those problems.

Failure to diagnose Crohn's disease leads to lifelong issues

People who aren't familiar with Crohn's disease mistakenly think that the disease only impacts the intestines. Unfortunately, this misconception might lead to it not being diagnosed as early as possible. This is a chronic inflammatory condition that impacts the entire digestive tract. Because not everyone with the disease has the exact same presentation, it is often difficult to receive an accurate diagnosis quickly.

Some of the more common symptoms people experience include rectal bleeding, diarrhea, abdominal pain, unexplained fevers, fatigue and weight loss. Some cases don't include all these signs, which complicates the diagnostic process. Children are especially difficult to diagnose because they might not relay everything going on with them.

Medical errors and harm continue to be serious concern

Even with increased technology, innovative techniques and better medicine than ever before, people still suffer from medical mistakes every day. Mistakes and missteps in a medical setting can have grave physical, financial and emotional consequences for victims. Medical harm continues to be a serious concern for patients and care providers. 

According to the World Health Organization, five people die every minute due to various types of medical harm. In response to these troubling statistics, the WHO launched World Patient Safety Day. It hopes that this day will bring awareness to a troubling issue and make people aware of ways that they can protect themselves when they are seeking any type of medical care.

Hospital errors can kill innocent patients, even children

Parents who know their children need medical care will take them to the doctor. When the situation isn't something that can wait for an appointment, they visit the emergency room. They expect that their child can get proper care there, but this isn't always the case.

One child's parents took him to an urgent care facility because he was vomiting and cramping. His parents took him to an emergency room. The hospital admitted him, and his blood pressure was 126/93. His pulse was 104. The boy had an elevated white blood cell count. Ketones and protein were in his urine.

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