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Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Should patients be doing more when it comes to their health records?

While it's certainly not uncommon to see your physician taking notes or reading from a paper chart, it's also becoming increasingly common to see them performing these very same tasks via a laptop or tablet computer.

Indeed, thanks to roughly $30 billion in government incentives, both physicians and hospitals have implemented electronic health records' (EHRs) programs. Here, the rationale is that by streamlining the collection and sharing of medical information, both medical professionals and hospitals can reduce overhead and, more significantly, improve the overall quality of care.

Study examines need to keep hospitalist on overnight shift

For decades, one of the primary testing grounds for medical residents were the overnight shifts at the hospital. That's because there were no attending physicians present, meaning they were forced to make decisions on their own, something experts said provided them with not just the necessary experience, but also confidence in their abilities.

This arrangement has recently changed, however, as many teaching hospitals here in the U.S. have implemented what they call overnight academic hospitalist (OAH) programs in order to address concerns about quality of care and overall patient safety.

Data shows how heart attack treatment has improved considerably

When a person feels a sharp, stabbing pain in their left shoulder, there's a very good chance that they're suffering a heart attack, which is essentially an arterial blockage somewhere in the body stopping the flow of blood to the muscles of the heart.

In order to save heart attack patients, cardiologists must first locate the blockage, thread a catheter to its location and inflate a miniscule balloon to dislodge it. Once this is completed, a tiny wire cage known as a stent will be inserted to help keep the artery open.

Medical malpractice tort reform lies debunked

One of the greatest lies the insurance industry has ever tricked anyone into believing resulted in getting more than half the United States to implement medical malpractice "tort reform." Healthcare's great "achievement" was based on the empty promise that limiting injury victims' ability to file medical malpractice suits would improve healthcare overall and significantly reduce costs. Such myths are now clearly debunk-able, but not enough has been made about the lies we were fed.

Take yourself back to a time when we were convinced that physicians were made to be fearful of getting sued, and so they began practicing "defensive medicine" by prescribing superfluous and costly examinations and procedures to protect themselves from those "abundant" lawsuits. That myth, too, was exposed by a recent study found published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). In fact, a team of five physicians and healthcare experts found that tort reform measures passed in at least three states that were specifically designed to detach E.R. doctors from lawsuits actually did nothing to reduce the number of expensive examinations and procedures those E.R. doctors ultimately prescribed.

Report shows how often dietary errors occur at PA hospitals

We now know more than ever about the serious health risk posed by allergies to things like nuts, dairy, wheat and shellfish thanks to the tireless efforts of advocacy groups, government officials and, of course, concerned citizens.

Indeed, you now see food packaging clearly outlining any potential allergens, restaurant menus listing ingredients of which allergy sufferers should be aware and school cafeterias offering alternatives for children with food allergies.

A misdiagnosis of a pulmonary embolism cannot go unaddressed

When a person goes to the emergency room complaining of excessive coughing, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, leg pain and/or dizziness, or if a surgical patient shows these same symptoms, it should put physicians on high alert about the possibility of a pulmonary embolism.

For those unfamiliar with a pulmonary embolism, it is essentially when a blood clot breaks loose, travels through the bloodstream, and ultimately becomes lodged in a location where it impedes the flow of blood to and from the lungs.

Are c-sections as safe as commonly thought?

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 32 percent of pregnant women here in the U.S. underwent a cesarean section in 2013, a rate that was considerably higher than the target rate of 10 to 15 percent supported by the World Health Organization.

This trend has since continued to such a degree that medical professionals -- including both the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists -- have started raising concerns that the surgical procedure, which is by no means minor, is perhaps being overused.

Report shows hospitals must do more when it comes to hand hygiene

Thanks to the efforts of government officials and the medical community, we are now more aware than ever of the threat posed by hospital-acquired infections and, perhaps more importantly, the steps that health care professionals can -- and should -- take to help stop their spread in otherwise high-risk facilities like clinics and hospitals.

Indeed, one of these steps that is known to be exceptionally effective, yet relatively simple to execute, is proper hand hygiene practices, meaning the regular washing of hands and/or the use of hand sanitizers.

Medical malpractice: J&J morcellator investigated by FBI

Richards & Richards has written several times in the past about power morcellators and the detrimental effects they have on women. Problems arise when women with fibroids, a common medical condition, go to have them removed and unknowingly have cancer cells within the fibroids. Odds are that 1:300 - 1:500 women with fibroids have cancerous cells. The morcellator works as a laparoscopic grinder that shreds the fibroid, then sucks what remains out through a tube. Issues arise when women with cancerous cells within those fibroids have those cells scattered about by the morcellator, essentially spreading what would have been stage one cancer with an 85% success rate to stage four cancer with a 15% success rate. Now, the FBI has finally gotten involved after thousands of complaints of medical malpractice occurrences because of power morcellators.

Understanding more about bone cancer - III

According to the National Cancer Institute, roughly 2,300 new cases of bone cancer are diagnosed here in the U.S. every year.

In recognition of this sobering fact -- and the fact that so many families are already struggling with bone cancer -- we'll continue with our discussion of the condition by looking at some of its more common types and some of the diagnostic tests available to physicians.

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