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Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Health officials urge vigilance as we enter tick season

It's highly likely that many people across Pennsylvania spent the majority of the long Memorial Day holiday weekend outside, soaking up the sun and catching up on their favorite outdoor activities.

However, now that these warmer temperatures are here to stay, both state and federal health officials are reminding everyone -- from the avid camper to the occasional gardener -- to remain incredibly vigilant about the threat posed by Lyme disease.

Patients now rightfully demanding more information

It used to be that the first stop for people who aren't feeling well was the doctor's office, where they could get an exam and hopefully some answers about their condition. However, things have now changed, such that the doctor's office is often the second stop for ailing parties.

The reason for this is simple: Many people first turn to the Internet, where they can now access a wealth of reliable and comprehensive medical information about their symptoms, and possible diagnoses 24/7.

Surgical association warns about the risks of cellphones in the OR

Most of us wouldn't think twice about bringing our cellphones to work, regularly accessing them in workstations, conference rooms and lecture halls. Things are a bit different for medical professionals, however, as exam rooms, patient suites and, of course, operating rooms may not be the best places for these devices.

Indeed, the Council on Surgical & Perioperative Safety -- a multidisciplinary and influential coalition whose members include the American College of Surgeons, the American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses, and the American Society of Anesthesiologists, among others -- recently released a new resource chart designed to raise awareness about the risks associated with cellphones in the OR.

Are hospital ERs equipped to handle pediatric patients?

Parents living in and around the Pittsburgh metropolitan area are fortunate in that they have access to the emergency room of a state-of-the-art children's hospital in the event the unthinkable happens. However, it's important to understand that not everyone here in Pennsylvania, or even across the U.S. has this option.

Indeed, statistics show that on average close to 30 million kids 18 years and under are taken to the emergency room every year and that as many as 90 percent of them won't be going to children's hospitals, but rather community hospitals.

Data discussing Pennsylvania medical malpractice filings released

Earlier this week, the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts released data outlining the number of medical malpractice cases filed throughout the state in 2014 and the results, while somewhat eye opening, must be taken with a grain of salt.

How software could help eliminate spinal surgery errors

The prospect of having to undergo spinal surgery is understandably unnerving to many people due to the stakes involved. Indeed, just one wrong move by the surgeon could have devastating and potentially life-altering consequences as far as mobility is concerned.

As frightening as the prospect of suffering a catastrophic spinal surgery error is, it's also important to understand that these types of errors can also occur on a smaller scale, causing patients pain, spinal instability and the need for costly follow-up procedures.

The dangers of urgent care centers

The public needs to be aware that it is the role and responsibility of these urgent care centers to separate common medical conditions from those that are truly an emergency. Often times people will assume they have a common cold, bronchitis or the flu when in fact, they are experiencing a life threatening medical condition. Unfortunately, because of the mind set of "express" medical care, the doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants at these clinics often have a mindset that what they are seeing and treating is non-emergent, even if the signs and symptoms of an emergency are present.

Why does the FDA want to learn more about hand sanitizers?

While hospitals and other medical facilities have adopted some cutting edge approaches to combating the spread of infections over the years, they still rely heavily on such time-tested techniques as surgical scrubs, hand soap and hand sanitizers.

Interestingly enough, however, one of these three weapons in the never-ending fight against germs is now the subject of an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration.

Do hospitals need to improve credentialing for robotic surgery?

While operating rooms across the U.S. are almost always changing thanks to the semi-regular development of new processes and enhanced surgical tools, this transformation has become especially dramatic over the last ten years thanks to the advent of robotic surgical systems like the da Vinci.

As we discussed in a previous post, the da Vinci, manufactured by Intuitive Surgical, is a robot outfitted with three to four arms -- all of which are outfitted with tiny surgical instruments and cameras -- that is controlled by a surgeon sitting at a nearby computer station. It is designed to perform a host of less invasive and altogether more patient-friendly laparoscopic surgeries.

Hospitals, providers must start paying attention to interoperability

While medicine has always been at the forefront of technological advancements, there has recently been one striking exception: the area of electronic medical records.

Indeed, while we are accustomed to seeing neatly organized, easily updatable and comprehensive digital records for everything from our credit card history and bank statements to our car service records and health insurance data, this hasn't necessarily proven to be the case as far as medical records are concerned.

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