Health Insurer Gambles on the Odds

By on 4-12-2015 in Medical Risks, Personal Injury

In a surprise move, and contrary to the majority of its competitors, a health insurance company stands fast in continuing to cover the routine use of morcellators despite restrictions by the regulatory body on its use in gynecological surgery.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a succession of warnings regarding the dangers posed by using laparoscopic morcellators for hysterectomies and myomectomies. The FDA went so far as to require manufacturers to add a black box warning to their devices. Large hjealth insurance companies such as UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Aetna Inc. scented danger in the air and restricted or withdrew its cover of morcellation in their policies. Health Care Service Corp. (HCSC), however, decided to hold off on a draft policy that would have made morcellation “not medically necessary.”

Power morcellators have been in use since 1991, and it is a highly efficient and minimally invasive way to perform hysterectomies or myomectomies. This is a good thing for everybody concerned. The devil was in the details.

Laparoscopic morcellation involved cutting up the target tissue into small pieces and extracted through the small incision or throught he vagina canal. Everything would have been fine if the surgeon was able to get everything out, but in most cases small pieces of tissue was left behind in the uterine or abdominal cavity. If the tissue, usually a uterine fibroid mass or the uterus itself, contained hidden cancer cells, the scraps of tissue act like seeds and spreads the cancer. In other words, morcellator use and cancer growth appeared to be linked.

However, this did not scare HCSC into running for the hills. The company is keeping its ears close to the ground, waiting for the first sign of real trouble. They have the support of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which wants the patient to have the freedom to decide on what option to take, provided that the doctor tells the patient about the pros, cons, and options for the procedure.

From Defective Drugs to Malpractice: Potential Medical Dangers

By on 4-12-2015 in Medical Risks, Personal Injury

An effective health care system is an integral part of any community. Medical professionals and pharmaceutical companies play an important role in making sure this system is working well within the quality standards mandated by their profession. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case in real-life scenarios. Sometimes, instances of malpractice and negligence could lead to potential medical dangers and risk the lives of patients expecting the best quality of care.

According to the National Practitioner Data Bank under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a total of 160,619 cases of medical malpractice payments were reported between the years 2003 until 2013. During that time, there were 359,265 recorded medical practitioners in America. In a separate report published by American Nurse Today, researchers estimate that 7,000 people die annually of adverse drug events and medication errors. These alarming statistics only prove that the potential dangers of medical negligence need to be addressed right away.

The community can hold health care professionals to the high standards of their profession by learning more about what goes on behind these devastating scenarios. In this article, we’ll discuss a few of the different situations that could potentially bring harm to patients. These situations vary in contexts. Sometimes, patients are endangered due to carelessness in the part of the doctor. Other times, they could also be hurt by defective drugs and similar pharmaceutical errors.

It is clear from the previously discussed data that medical malpractice is a serious issue in the health care industry. While it may not happen often, it does happen with some notable frequency. Cases of medical malpractice can range from birth injuries, surgical errors, misdiagnosis, and even wrongful death. Basically, any scenario caused by a medical professional’s negligence or carelessness can be considered a case of medical malpractice. Oftentimes, such cases lead to serious consequences.

For example, birth injuries can be caused by a doctor’s negligence any time before or during the delivery. Cerebral palsy is some of the unfortunate outcomes that result from birth injuries. According to the website of the Driscoll Firm, children with cerebral palsy will face long-term problems with movement, communication, and cognition. Sometimes, they are genetically predisposed to the condition, sometimes they are not.

In some cases, medical dangers such as birth injuries also result from defective pharmaceuticals. An example of which is the side effects caused by a drug called Depakote. Williams Kherkher reports on its website that the drug, which is intended to treat manic episodes and seizures for patients with bipolar disorder, has led to many cases of babies born with serious defects. The FDA has issued warnings about the links between birth injuries and the drug. In particular, they cited that pregnant women taking Depakote could end up giving birth to children with spina bifida, brain defects, malformation of face or skull, and malformation of the cardiovascular system.

These grave scenarios only touch on a few cases show potential medical dangers. It only goes to show that the health care community should be held accountable for any instances of negligence that could lead to any dangerous outcomes. In turn, the public should play an active role in making sure these outcomes don’t fall through the cracks. Anyone devastated by medical dangers should approach an experienced personal injury lawyer to learn about their legal options.

Medical Errors that Lead to Wrongful Death

By on 4-12-2015 in Medical Risks, Personal Injury

Working as a medical professional comes with a certain set of responsibilities. When you hold the the life and well-being of other individuals in your hands, there’s very little room to commit any errors. As emphasized on the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, the primary concern of doctors, surgeons, nurses, and other hospital personnel is the health and safety of their patients. When this responsibility is eclipsed by careless and negligent mistakes, these professionals are recognized by law as accountable for damaging consequences that their errors could have caused.

It is an unfortunate reality that the number of medical malpractice cases in the U.S. has been on the rise in recent years. The Civil Justice Resource Group estimates that about 25,000 to 120,000 cases involving medical negligence will lead to patient’s wrongful death. Similarly, the Journal of American Medical Association reports that about 225,000 people die every year due to medical malpractice. In most scenarios, wrongful death is simply due to errors that fall below the standard of care required by the medical profession. A Des Moines personal injury lawyer may cite the following as common factors that lead to fatal outcomes:

  • Failure to properly diagnose the patient’s condition
  • Giving a wrong diagnosis
  • Failure to provide proper treatment in a timely manner
  • Errors while providing treatment in the emergency room or during surgery
  • Birth injuries due to errors made during labor and delivery
  • Infections due to unsanitary conditions

Patients who seek treatment from medical professionals expect to receive the best quality of care. It’s important that doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals are held to a standard that matches these expectations. Closer scrutiny of hospitals and other medical institutions can help in this regard. Cases of wrongful death are tragic but avoidable. As law firm Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. says on its website, the families of victims have legal options they can consider to seek out the justice they deserve.