Sep 7 2016

Was My Child Born with Cerebral Palsy Due to Medical Malpractice?

About 500,000 children in the United States have cerebral palsy, a congenital disorder that affects movement, muscle tone and motor skills. The disorder is usually caused by an infant’s brain injury before or during delivery or shortly after birth. Depending on the severity of the injury, cerebral palsy can result in paralysis, preventing children from using certain muscles or muscular functions. According to the Birth Injury Guide, about 10 percent of cases, or 1 in 10 children with cerebral palsy, are the result of a medical professional or staff member’s error.

Cerebral palsy is often due to hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain) or asphyxia (lack of oxygen to the body), premature delivery, or birth trauma — sometimes due to delivery mistakes and medical errors or negligence during labor or childbirth. According to Nolo, the most common signs of cerebral palsy resulting from medical malpractice may include:

  • Failure to identify and/or appropriately treat infections in a pregnant woman

  • Failure to properly monitor a fetus’ heart rate before, during and after labor

  • Failure to observe if umbilical cord prolapse occurs

  • The delay or failure to plan, schedule, or perform a medically necessary cesarean section

  • Medical error or negligence in using instruments like forceps or a vacuum in performing the delivery of a baby

Cerebral palsy may manifest in several different ways. Some types will only affect fine motor skills, such as ataxic cerebral palsy, which may cause balance or depth perception issues, speech impediments, and tremors and make performing tasks such as tying shoelaces, using a pen or buttoning a shirt difficult. The most common form, athetoid cerebral palsy, is characterized by involuntary movement, difficulty swallowing, slurred speech, inability to maintain posture, and lack of muscle tone.

If your newborn child has developed cerebral palsy as a result of a doctor or hospital’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Seeking the guidance of a New York medical malpractice lawyer who is experienced in medical error is vital in protecting your rights and securing the compensation you deserve. Call Alegria & Barovick LLP at 212-861-2800 and 914-761-1133 for a consultation today.

Aug 18 2016

Initiatives New Yorkers Can Take to Prevent Medical Errors

As cited in a previous blog article, medical error is now the third-leading cause of death. Medical error may involve medication mix-ups, mistakes made during surgical procedures, misdiagnoses, or improper use or care of equipment and lab reports. Although some instances may not be avoidable, an individual can take proactive measures to prevent themselves from becoming a victim of medical error.

Although many medical errors may occur as a result of the complexities of the health care system, some may be caused by miscommunication between medical staff and their patients. For this reason, it is important for patients to keep doctors informed about the medications they are taking, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, as well as dietary supplements such as herbs and vitamins. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests patients keep their records up to date by bringing all of their medicines and supplements to their doctor’s visit at least once a year. Patients should alert their health care professional of any allergic and adverse reactions they’ve had to these medications that may cause them harm.

A patient should be proactive when it comes to staying informed about their prescription medication by asking questions about its intended use, dosage, and side effects. Patients should ask if the medication is safe to use in conjunction with other drugs or dietary supplements and what food, drinks, or activities should be avoided while using the medicine. In 1979, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) revealed that one-third of medical professionals’ handwriting was illegible. It may be presumed that handwriting may still be a factor in medical errors today. For this reason, patients should make sure they can read their prescriptions; if a patient has difficulty reading it, the person filling the prescription may also encounter a similar issue.

For surgeries, there should be a mutual agreement among the referring doctor, the surgeon and the patient about what will be done. If a patient has a choice in hospital location, he or she should pick one that has a history of treating many patients for that particular condition. When being discharged, a patient should ask the doctor to explain the treatment or recovery plan to be followed at home.

If you know you are entering the hospital to be treated for a severe condition, try to bring a friend or relative who can participate in the discussion about your care, and maybe even take notes.

The complexities surrounding medical malpractice and errors can be difficult to navigate, especially when victims and their families are dealing with its physical and emotional after effects. The medical malpractice attorneys at Alegria & Barovick LLP are experienced in handling complex negligence cases resulting from medical errors, including misdiagnoses, mistakes made during the birth process, surgeries, and aftercare. Contact the firm at (914) 761-1133 or (212) 861-2800.

Aug 4 2016

Study Shows Team Training of Medical Staff Can Reduce Medical Errors

Researchers at Rice University, the Johns Hopkins University of School of Medicine, the University of Central Florida, the U.S. Department of Defense and the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center recently released a study which showed that health care employees who are trained in a team environment can reduce the number of medical errors made by hospital staff.

According to an article from News Medical, the study, titled “Saving Lives: A Meta-Analysis of Team Training in Health Care,” showed that team training can lower the risk of medical errors by 19%. Further, patient mortality would be reduced by 15%. Researchers found that such interaction in a learning environment would not only save lives, but save hospitals money as well. Researchers stated that medical errors occur in more than 30% of all admissions, costing U.S. hospitals between $735 billion to $980 billion a year.

The study looked at the impact of a team-training environment among 23,018 participants — consisting of physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, therapists, medical and nursing students, and other health care staff members — in 129 previous studies. Among the findings, employees improved their learning of new skills by 31% and their use of these skills on the job by 25%, while health care groups saw a 15% improvement in financial outcomes. Results also showed clinical performance improved by 34% and patient satisfaction was up by 15%.

Researchers concluded that team training helps employees and medical staff communicate better, learn to cooperate and resolve any conflicts that might arise. This, in turn, lowers incidents of medical errors, many of which, they said, are preventable.

Medical errors occur when a doctor fails to provide proper care to a patient, often resulting in serious injury or even death. If you or a loved one has been hurt by medical errors and/or medical malpractice, contact the experienced attorneys at Alegria & Barovick, LLP by calling (914) 761-1133 or (212) 861-2800.

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