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April 2016 Archives

Failures to diagnose cancer a big problem

Cancer kills many people in New Mexico every year. There are certain types that are difficult to diagnose, especially during the early stages of the disease. People should be on the lookout for specific signs that one of these types of cancer may be present and then to mention them when they see their doctors.

Mother receives $50 million award in childbirth malpractice case

A New Mexico expectant mother might be familiar with the potential need for an episiotomy during the delivery process. However, this procedure is not always necessary, and an unneeded one could have long-term health consequences in some cases. A Bronx woman's case is an example of the possible implications when an episiotomy does not heal properly.

New Mexico doctors and malpractice claims

Each year, Americans file approximately 17,000 malpractice lawsuits against their doctors. According to the American Medical Association, general surgeons and OB-GYNs are more likely to be sued for malpractice than pediatricians and psychiatrists. However, just because a doctor may have been sued does not mean that he or she is a bad physician. In fact, the AMA said in a 2010 report that 65 percent of these types of lawsuits are dropped or dismissed.

New Mexico hospital patients at risk of various errors

Those who spend time in hospitals may already be wary of high-profile medical malpractice incidents, such as surgical errors. Experts, however, say that of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who perish from hospital mistakes each year, many die as a result of lesser-known errors that could have been prevented.

Finding ways to avoid administering an incorrect drug

It is estimated that as many as 7,000 people become the victims of a fatal medication error each year. The risk of medication errors is not limited just to prescription drugs. A dosage mistake or other fatal error can just as easily happen with an over-the-counter medication purchased at a New Mexico supermarket as it can from a medication picked up at a local pharmacy.

Prescription errors in a hospital setting

Most hospitals in New Mexico and throughout the U.S. have computerized systems that allow physicians to enter medication orders for patients. However, a survey conducted by a patient safety group suggests that the software used by hospitals has problems flagging potential safety issues. The data was collected from a voluntary survey of approximately 1,800 hospitals. One of the significant findings was that nearly 40 percent of potentially dangerous orders weren't flagged by computer software.

Test for prostate cancer may save lives

It has been estimated that one out of every seven men will eventually develop prostate cancer. When that cancer is not diagnosed in its early stages, it may spread quickly, making the long-term prognosis of a New Mexico male who has it less hopeful.

Medication errors during surgery higher than once thought

New Mexico residents may be concerned to learn that studies the looking into medication errors made during surgery may have greatly underestimated the problem. Most previous research into this area has relied on reports made by surgical staff, and it generally concluded that errors were exceptionally rare, but a study based on direct observation found that mistakes are far more common. Researchers at a major Massachusetts hospital observed 277 surgical procedures over a seven-month period, and they say that they noticed a medication error in nearly 50 percent of them.

Lawsuit claims surgeon left metal coils in body of woman

New Mexico residents who are scheduled for surgery might want to make sure the operation takes place in the correct area after a March report about a woman who had the wrong rib removed. The 60-year-old woman has filed a malpractice lawsuit against her surgeon after learning that he operated on the incorrect rib and left metal coils used during the procedure inside her body.

Difficulties in monitoring a doctor's disciplinary history

A New Mexico resident might want to learn about a physician's record before making an appointment, but it could actually be difficult to find this information. A Consumer Reports study has evaluated the issue of patient safety and access to pertinent information, and the results are somewhat troubling. The types of offenses for which a physician might face discipline could include the use of controlled substances, addiction, inappropriate contact with a patient or unprofessional behavior. However, state governments often make these details difficult to find.