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March 2016 Archives

Communication key to reducing medication errors

Medication errors are some of the most common types of medical mistakes doctors, hospitals and other medical professionals make. There are several things New Mexico residents can do in order to reduce the likelihood that such an error will happen to them or to their loved ones.

Apologies and IT in medical error cases

A New Mexico patient who is harmed by a medical error might not hear an apology after the fact. Although many states have legislation in place to allow a professional to apologize without the act being considered as evidence in a malpractice case, New Mexico lacks such protections for medical professionals. Unfortunately, an apology could go a long way in helping an injured patient family to cope with the situation. Further, acknowledging errors may allow the source of trouble to be more carefully investigated so that future occurrences can be avoided.

An overview of Lassa fever

Lassa fever is a virus that causes hemorrhaging and fevers, and New Mexico residents may want to be aware that Mastomys rodents transmit it through their droppings and urine. In West Africa, it affects as many as 500,000 people every year, resulting in around 5,000 deaths. In some parts of Liberia and Sierra Leone, 10 to 16 percent of annual hospitalized patients have Lassa fever.

How to avoid common medication errors

Each year, hospital emergency rooms across the United States see roughly 7,000 children injured because of medication errors, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. However, many senior citizens and other adults in New Mexico and around the country also encounter problems including taking a dangerous mixture of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications.

Misdiagnosis of difficult patients

Although patients in New Mexico and throughout the United States may feel that it is important to be assertive during medical appointments, those who demonstrate difficult behaviors could be more at risk of medical errors such as a misdiagnosis. Recent research indicates that aggressive behavior, demanding attitudes and questioning of a professional's medical knowledge or competence distract from the attention that would otherwise be focused on the medical issues at hand.

Malpractice claims against hospitalists

As of 2016, hospital medicine as a specialty has existed for only two decades. Despite board certification for the discipline not occurring until 2009, New Mexico patients might be surprised that hospitalists have significantly grown in number across the country over the previous decade. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported about 44,000 hospitalists working in the country in 2014, according to data from the Society of Hospital Medicine.

Reducing IV medication errors in New Mexico

It has been believed by many individuals in the medical community that medication errors could be reduced in hospitals by employing new technology. However, while this appears to be true, it seems that errors that occur when intravenous medications are administered may also be tied to hospital workers' failure to follow hospital protocol.

Researchers tie TBI to brain connection problems

New Mexico residents who have sustained traumatic brain injuries may be interested to learn that Texas researchers believe they have gained insights into how TBIs impact chronic sufferers. Their study revealed that six or more months following an injury, patients may display signs of connectivity problems between different areas of their brains. This phenomenon might contribute to long-term cognitive impairments associated with TBI, and scientists are hopeful that the discovery could lead to improved treatment methods.

Parents may spot medical errors

According to a study conducted by Massachusetts researchers, parents in New Mexico and around the U.S. might be likely to catch errors on their children that have been missed by doctors. The study was published in JAMA Pediatrics and examined data on almost 400 children at a Boston hospital from 2013 and 2014.

Interruptions may lead to medication errors

Based on the results of multiple studies, researchers have found that nurses in New Mexico and elsewhere could benefit from an automatic dispensing cabinet to help cut down on patient medication errors. Nurses are often distracted while preparing medication, and this distraction can lead to errors. With an automatic dispensing cabinet, a nurse's steps up to the point of interruption are saved, and this prevents nurses from having to mentally retrace their steps each time they return to a task.

A potentially more accurate test for tuberculosis discovered

New Mexico patients may have access to a better diagnostic method for tuberculosis in the future. At Stanford University School of Medicine, researchers have developed a blood test that identifies tuberculosis in children with a positive result accuracy of 86 percent. The World Health Organization has called for a test that has a 66 percent positive accuracy with children. Researcher say its negative results are 99 percent accurate.