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Los Angeles Medical Malpractice Legal Blog

How nurse anesthetists can identify and manage patient risks

Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) provide an important service for patients in California undergoing procedures requiring the proper delivery of anesthesia. Yet these specialists also perform their services with a high degree of independence. This increases the odds of being subjected to a malpractice lawsuit if the patient outcome isn't as expected.

According to the Nurses Service Organization (NSO), medication mistakes, oversights with intervention or treatment and failing to monitor a patient's condition are among the more common anesthesia errors related to allegations made against nurse anesthetists. Based on a review of two case studies, the NSO has come up with suggestions for identifying and managing risks involving nurse anesthetists. The first suggestion is for CRNAs to keep their training, experience and skills up to date. It's also advised that nurse anesthetists always verify that informed consent is properly obtained.

Improving the time out may prevent wrong-site surgery

Anywhere from 20 to 40 wrong-site surgeries are performed every week across the country. California residents should know that wrong-site surgery is often preventable, especially during the time out that precedes surgery. For this and other reasons, the AORN has striven to raise awareness of the importance of time outs through its National Time Out Day, which reached its 15th anniversary in 2019.

Wrong-site surgery is most frequently reported after orthopedic, dental and spinal surgeries, and the most common type is where surgeons perform laterality surgery on an extremity or organ on the wrong side. Many factors can go into wrong-site surgery: poorly trained staff, lack of education on certain policies, communication breakdown, errors in relaying information through electronic or written orders and the all-around lack of a safety-minded culture.

Electronic records linked to pediatric medical errors

A medical mistake made during pediatric care may seem like a nightmare for California parents. Doctor errors, including medication mistakes, can have significant effects on a child's health and well-being. In some cases, these kinds of errors derive from a surprising source: the electronic health records (EHRs) used to track a child's health and treatment. These systems often have clunky workflows and imprecise entry systems that can make some types of medication errors more likely.

Some researchers have noted that federal requirements for EHRs do not distinguish between adult and pediatric patients. Therefore, safety warnings and other safeguards may not activate if a child is prescribed an inappropriate dose. For a recently released study, researchers reviewed thousands of error reports related to medication errors for children linked to EHR usage at two children's hospitals and one large healthcare system. They noted that the EHR system may not fully display all of the relevant health information related to a particular child's care. Instead, the information may only be shown to pharmacists, rather than to the administering nurse. This can easily lead to the administration of an incorrect dosage or medication.

Study finds many schizophrenia patients misdiagnosed

Almost half of California residents who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia may actually be suffering from anxiety, according to a new study. The study was conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University.

For the study, researchers analyzed the medical records of 78 patients who had been referred to the Johns Hopkins Early Psychosis Intervention Clinic with suspected schizophrenia between February 2011 and July 2017. Medical staff at the clinic thoroughly interviewed the patients and their families and reviewed the patients' psychosocial and medical backgrounds. They also gave the patients physical examinations.

The frightening but real world of "never events"

The term has been around for a generation, which some people might reasonably believe would dampen its emotive aspects when it currently comes up in a news story or conversation.

That is not the case, though. For those who know what a "never event" is, its mere mention continues to be - and always will be - chilling.

Glioblastoma: a deadly brain cancer

For many people in California, glioblastoma is a particularly frightening diagnosis. It is the most deadly form of brain cancer, known for its aggressiveness. Each year, there are around 240,000 cases of brain or nervous system tumors found by doctors. Prominent individuals, including Ted Kennedy, John McCain, and Beau Biden have died from this cancer, as even excellent medical treatment often fails to significantly extend a patient's life.

A glioblastoma is a very aggressive brain tumor that begins in the glial cells supporting and surrounding neurons. The tumor forms from cancerous cells in the brain called astrocytes; like other cancers, they quickly multiply. Many people learn of the existence of a brain tumor when outward symptoms surface. As the tumor grows, it puts pressure on the structures of the brain, leading to headaches, seizures, vision changes, or difficulty speaking. In some cases, people may find that their symptoms improve with treatment.

Study: many are misdiagnosed with MS

Researchers at the Cedars-Sinai Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology Center in Los Angeles have published a study showing that many patients are being misdiagnosed with multiple sclerosis. They reviewed the referrals of 241 patients to two MS clinics, one at Cedars-Sinai and one at UCLA. In all, 17 percent of patients at the Cedars-Sinai clinic and 19 percent at the UCLA clinic had been incorrectly diagnosed.

Of those who had been misdiagnosed, 16 percent had migraines, and 9 percent had a condition called radiologically isolated syndrome, where the MRI findings may point toward MS but the patient does not experience any MS-related symptoms. Seven percent had a disorder of the vertebrae called spondylopathy, while another 7 percent had neuropathy.

One-third of medical staff cross-contaminate bacteria

Some healthcare workers in California and elsewhere could be incorrectly removing personal protective garments and accidentally contaminating their clothing and other items with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. A new study showing this was published in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

For the study, researchers observed 125 healthcare professionals working in four adult intensive care units in a hospital for six months. These professionals included 24 physicians and 83 nurses. Half of the participants had been formally trained in the proper use of personal protective equipment when dealing with Ebola patients in the last 12 months. In addition, 90 percent of participants had been trained on the proper way to don and doff personal protective equipment in the last five years.

3 common types of medical malpractice

Medical malpractice situations are becoming more common every day. Many Californians are putting off their health care needs out of fear and miseducation of ending up as victims of medical malpractice. The very professionals who trained for many years and took an oath to protect patient health do not always measure up. Instead, their patients end up suffering grievous and sometimes fatal injury from their negligence.

Many doctors, nurses and other health care professionals work long hours, have poor work/life balance and are overly stressed. These issues affect their jobs and their ability to provide appropriate and accurate care for patients. They are just several of many contributing causes of medical malpractice. Below are three of the most common types of medical malpractice that can occur.

What damages can I claim for medical malpractice in California?

If injured as a patient due to medical malpractice, you are likely facing a variety of financial and emotional challenges. Not only do you need to deal with mounting medical bills, but you may also experience a reduced income and a loss of enjoyment of life.

You may wonder what kind of compensation you can receive if you pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit. Here is some information on the types of damages you can recover in a successful lawsuit against a negligent medical professional.

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