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San Antonio Personal Injury Law Blog

Study finds human error behind half of surgical mistakes

More than half of all surgical adverse events suffered by patients in San Antonio and elsewhere are the fault of human error, according to a new study. The study was published in JAMA Network Open on July 31.

Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine conducted a six-month analysis of surgical adverse events to identify preventable surgical errors and improve the quality of care. The data came from three teaching hospitals and involved adverse events from abdominal transplantation services, acute day care surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, general surgery and vascular surgery. Over the period of study, 5,300 surgeries were performed. During those surgeries, 188 adverse events occurred, including those that involved infection, bleeding, neurological complication, rehospitalization and death. Of those 188 adverse events, 106 were attributed to human error, including lack of attention, lack of recognition and cognitive bias. Nearly 55% of the events happened during surgery, 8% happened in pre-op, and about 27% happened in post-op.

Staying safe on an escalator

Many people in the San Antonio area may feel that they don't need to be told about escalator safety. However, accidents do happen, largely because of unsafe riding practices. The National Elevator Industry has some safety tips that riders should take into consideration.

First, passengers must look at the moving steps before stepping on and off, firmly hold the handrail and remain clear of the escalator's sides. If they have a young child with them, passengers should hold that child's free hand and keep him or her from sitting on the steps or approaching the side area. Anyone with loose clothing must especially be wary of the sides.

Aging Committee calls out poor oversight of nursing homes

In a rare bipartisan gesture, the two chairs of the U.S. Senate Committee on Aging released a list of nursing homes across America that the federal government itself thinks need closer oversight. The so-called “secret list” includes facilities in Texas.

There are differences of opinion about the meaning of the list, but all agree it release is designed to agitate for better federal oversight of nursing homes. The move also suggests the U.S. Senate is noticing that angry voters are calling for nursing home reform.

One-third of misdiagnoses lead to death or severe disability

Diagnostic errors in a primary care setting affect some 12 million Americans every year. San Antonio residents should know that misdiagnoses, in particular, can have serious consequences. Roughly 40,000 to 80,000 Americans every year die as a result of such mistakes. Inaccurate diagnoses are the leading factor in malpractice claims that involve death or a serious disability.

This was the conclusion of a study conducted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Researchers analyzed over 55,000 diagnosis-related malpractice claims that resulted in death or serious injuries. Of these, 74.1% involved one of three conditions that researchers dubbed "The Big Three." They are cancer (37.8%), vascular events (22.8%) and infection (13.5%). Lung cancer, stroke and sepsis were the most frequently misdiagnosed conditions in each of these categories.

Surgeons' behavior and patient complications

Texas residents who may need to have surgery in the future should be aware that a link has been found between a higher chance of post-operative complications and surgeons whose unprofessional behavior was reported by co-workers. This is according to a study examining the reports made by the co-workers of 202 surgeons from two academic medical facilities.

The researchers also studied the medical records of 13,653 patients to glean information regarding any medical or surgical difficulties that occurred no later than 30 days of an operation. The unprofessional conduct included in the reports regarding surgeons pertained to polite and clear communication, not fulfilling professional duties, a lack of honesty and inadequate care.

You suspect a misdiagnosis, but what do you do next?

Misdiagnosis is one of the most common incidents of medical malpractice across the country. Individuals worried about their symptoms trust that doctors can tell them what is happening. However, those doctors we think we can trust misdiagnose nearly 40% of people every year. 

Many of those people might suspect that they received a misdiagnosis, but they do not report anything. If someone has a gut feeling that the doctor gave them the wrong diagnosis, there are a few steps they can take to protect themselves. 

Is your parent a victim of abuse in an assisted living facility?

When you help your parent get situated in an assisted living facility, you hope for the best. You do your research, tour the facility and get to know the staff. Once your parent settles in, you make regular visits to ensure everything is going according to plan.

But even if things seem fine from the start, that may not be the case. Staff members at some assisted living facilities are perpetrators of elder abuse. This may be more common than you think. In fact, 10% of Americans aged 60 or older experience elder abuse. But how do you know when this is happening? Here is some information on the forms of abuse that can occur in assisted living facilities and warning signs that should make you suspicious.

How to prepare for and respond to car accidents

Car accidents are traumatic, confusing and expensive. A collision can hurl you into financial and medical turmoil. If you are not prepared for such an event, you may struggle with the aftermath, including insurance costs and hospital bills

Thankfully, you can take steps before and after a car crash to reduce the burdens you deal with as a result. Here are some things you can do to successfully handle an auto accident.

Is the nursing home chemically restraining your parent?

If you are someone who has made the difficult decision to move your parent into a Texas nursing home due to his or her age and/or health condition, you probably worry that the nursing home may not be giving him or her the necessary care (s)he deserves. Sadly, you may have more cause for concern than you realize, especially if your parent suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Recently, an investigation of 15,000 nursing home facilities throughout America revealed that the staffs in many of them routinely administer antipsychotic drugs to their patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other illnesses and conditions for which such drugs are contraindicated. The top three drugs of choice for this illegal drug administration consist of the following:

  1. Haloperidol
  2. Seroquel
  3. Risperidone
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