The Patient Advocate

Delayed Diagnosis of Compartment Syndrome

Thousands of people every day suffer injury to part of their leg or forearm.  Broken bones, burns, and penetrating trauma are daily occurrences and common complaints in America’s emergency departments. Few patients or their families consider a fractured bone or

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A World Free Of Polio – Not Yet

In the February 11, 2016 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine the first perspective article was titled “A World Free of Polio – The Final Steps”. Frankly I was shocked by what I read. Beginning in the 1980’s, a series of lawsuits were filed against the Lederle drug company, which was owned by American Cyanamid at the time. These lawsuits were filed first in state and then in federal court and all were based on the proposition that an innocent person, either a vaccine recipient infant or a family member of a recipient, had acquired paralytic polio as a consequence of having been inoculated with the Sabin oral attenuated vaccine or coming in contact with infants who were vaccinated.

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New Recommendations To Help Doctors Diagnose Sepsis and Septic Shock Earlier, Saving Lives

The CDC reports sepsis kills more than 258,000 Americans each year and is the ninth leading cause of disease-related death. With the understanding that early recognition and treatment of such serious illness improves outcomes, an international task force of critical and intensive care physicians has started the process of developing new definitions and more uniform criteria for the diagnosis of sepsis and septic shock.

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Retained Surgical Items Often the Result of Medical Malpractice

Shockingly, the incidence of surgical items mistakenly left inside patients has remained steady over the years. UpToDate estimates that retained surgical items occur in 1 in every 5500 to 18,760 inpatient operations, but may be as high as 1 of every 1000 to 1500 abdominal cavity operations, and even more common during emergency surgery. When a surgical instrument or sponge is mistakenly left inside a patient after surgery, medical malpractice is inevitably the cause.

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New Guidelines Reinforce Established Rights to Access Medical Records

In January 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services issued new guidelines regarding the rights of individuals to access their protected health information under HIPAA. Though the guidelines are new, the rights they describe are not. In 2009 the rights to security, privacy, and access to medical information under HIPAA were modified for the digital age when Congress passed the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

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Patient Suffered Permanent Nerve Damage Due To Botched Saphenous Vein Harvest

This case involves a gentleman in his 60s who suffered needless injury due to medical negligence during his preparation for a coronary bypass surgery (CABG). In preparation, the doctors planned to perform an endoscopic vein harvest of the patient’s saphenous vein. The patient was placed under general anesthesia, and a physician’s assistant endoscopically attempted to remove the necessary saphenous vein from the patient’s leg. Due to lack of proper supervision and experience, the PA mistakenly removed a large portion of the patient’s saphenous nerve instead of the vein, causing permanent and avoidable nerve injury in his leg as a result of the physician’s assistant failing to follow the standard procedure for vein harvesting.

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Central Line Infections – Still Rampant, but Preventable

Hospitals can easily prevent patients from contracting an infection that still affects 45,000 to 90,000 people per year. This infection is from a common device used to administer medicine and fluids called a central venous catheter (CVC), also known as a central line.This device is a tube that leads straight to the patient’s heart, which allows doctors to administer medicine to their patients quickly.

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Pennsylvania’s Act 47 Law

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has unanimously refused to void Pennsylvania’s Act 47. Act 47 prohibits medical malpractice lawsuits which claim damages in the form of wrongful birth and wrongful life.

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