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San Antonio Personal Injury Law Blog

Study shows MRI scans may prevent misdiagnoses

Some Texas patients who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease may actually be suffering from memory loss related to traumatic brain injury. According to a new study that included 40 medical patients with an average age of 68 years old, up to 21% of older patients who have dementia might be misdiagnosed with Alzheimer's. The Alzheimer's Association has reported that as many as 40% of dementia cases are the result of a condition other than Alzheimer's.

The risk of misdiagnosis, according to the study, can be mitigated with the use of MRI scans. One of the authors, a research fellow at UCLA, said the study was designed to determine whether MRI scans could be used to find certain traumatic brain injury abnormalities. In the study, the scans showed that traumatic brain injury patients are likely to have more brain damage in the ventral diencephalon than in the hippocampus. The former area of the brain is responsible for emotions and learning, while the latter is associated with memory and the most affected by Alzheimer's. The study involved examining MRI scans with specialized software.

Top forms of potentially dangerous distraction for drivers

Distractions are always trying to pull your attention away from the task at hand. What may be merely frustrating when you want to focus on composing an email can be particularly dangerous while you operate a motor vehicle in heavy traffic.

Distractions are a major contributing factor to many crashes that would otherwise be preventable. Learning more about the most common forms of distraction can help you avoid falling victim to them during your daily commute.

Nursing home staff accused of encouraging residents to fight

Media outlets in Texas and around the country have covered several stories in recent years about elder abuse in nursing homes and assisted care facilities. One of the latest such stories involves a disturbing series of events that allegedly took place at a North Carolina nursing home in June. Three female employees of the Salem facility have been charged with assaulting elderly residents, recording the assaults and then sharing the footage on social media. On Aug. 21, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services ordered the facility to cease accepting new residents.

The Winston-Salem Police Department began investigating the facility after receiving a tip about abuse. Investigators discovered that the three women pushed and shoved residents and encouraged them to fight one another for their entertainment. Many of the victims suffered from dementia. Police say the women cheered particularly loudly when one of the residents begged for help as she was being beaten. The women are scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 14.

Why male breast cancer has lower survival rates

Men in San Antonio who have breast cancer may not be getting the care and attention they need. A study published on September 19 in JAMA Oncology has found that American men are less likely to be considered for clinical trials and don't receive the same cutting-edge treatments that women with breast cancer receive.

Many diseases provide women with treatments and medications that were predominately tested in men. However, the study found that the opposite is true in those with male breast cancer. An estimated 2,670 men develop breast cancer each year in the U.S. Because so few men develop the disease, many treatments aren't aimed to treat male breast cancer. The study found that this results in men faring worse than females with the disease.

Premises liability lawsuit filed by Walmart mass shooting victims

The Texas Supreme Court ruled several years ago that premises owners cannot be held legally responsible for actions taken by criminals in their establishments when no warning was given and the violent acts committed were not foreseeable. Those who suffer injury at the hands of a criminal while visiting a store, hotel or other establishment can prevail in a premises liability lawsuit only when they can establish that the defendants knew about, or should have known about, the threat.

This long-standing legal doctrine is being challenged in the wake of a mass shooting incident at an El Paso Walmart store that claimed the lives of 22 people and left 24 others injured. Two people who suffered serious injuries in the shooting have filed a lawsuit that claims the big-box retailer acted negligently by not hiring and deploying armed security guards.

Tip to police reveals ongoing nursing home abuse

Stories of shocking abuse remind people that they cannot make assumptions about the safety of nursing home residents in Texas. A recent case in a neighboring state came to light after the local police department received a tip about abuse by caretakers at a nursing home. The investigation resulted in the arrest of one certified nursing assistant. Police expect to arrest three other former employees of the facility suspected of abuse.

The police chief said that he later learned that someone had filed a complaint with the Department of Human Services months before the police department received a tip. He said that DHS should have alerted his department at that time, but a statement from DHS said that the agency was not required to inform law enforcement.

Beware of common insurance company tricks

A car accident can leave you and your loved ones rattled. Another driver's negligence could leave you facing catastrophic and life-changing injuries, and you are not sure how to move forward. You know you can recover compensation, but how?

Many people believe that they have to rely on the insurance company to get them the help they need. Unfortunately, many insurance companies are more concerned with their own profit than your well-being and best interests after a car accident. 

The most common causes of medical malpractice lawsuits

Doctors in Texas and around the country face medical malpractice litigation when the care they provide fails to meet generally accepted medical standards and their patients suffer injury, loss or damage as a result. This type of lawsuit is often filed when doctors fail to diagnose a serious medical condition or diagnose the wrong condition. A delayed or missed diagnosis can result in patients being denied potentially life-saving treatment or suffering the side effects of unnecessary treatment. To prevail in court, medical malpractice patients must convince a jury that another doctor with the same set of facts would have made an accurate or timelier diagnosis.

The consequences of prescription drug interactions can be catastrophic, and this kind of medical mistake remains worryingly common despite improvements in the software used by doctors, hospitals and pharmacies. Surgical operations are closely monitored in hospitals, but thousands of patients every year undergo unnecessary surgery, have the wrong procedure performed on them or develop complications because a sponge or piece of medical equipment was left inside them.

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.

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