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Communication errors: A leading cause of malpractice complaints

When you went to the outpatient surgical center to get ready for your surgery, you were surprised by how lighthearted people were acting. There were individuals joking around in the lobby and staff members having personal conversations. You didn't mind, so long as you were taken care of.

While checking in, a nurse walked you through everything that would be happening that day. She started off calling you by the wrong name, so you corrected her. She continued to do so anyway. Then, she started explaining where the surgery would take place, and it seemed like it was on the wrong side of your body. You spoke up, and she said she'd confirm with the surgeon.

Protect yourself against errors at the pharmacy

When you're prescribed medication, you shouldn't hesitate to obtain the drug and take it as outlined by your medical team.

While it's easy to assume that your doctor and pharmacy are on the same page, mistakes can and do happen every now and again. And if a serious mistake comes into play, there's a chance it could have a negative effect on your health and future well-being.

Watch out for peripheral artery disease

People in Georgia might experience the signs and symptoms of peripheral artery disease although they may be unaware of the problem. According to vascular surgeons, up to 8 to 12 million people nationwide may suffer from this condition, or around 5% of all Americans over 50. Peripheral artery disease is linked to atherosclerosis, or fatty buildup inside the arteries. This leads to hardened, narrowed arteries, making it more difficult for blood to travel to and from the heart. Eventually, the disease may cut off blood flow altogether, researchers say.

However, peripheral artery disease may often go misdiagnosed or undetected altogether. Because the disease grows progressively worse, early detection and treatment are important to avoid more serious outcomes like heart attack, stroke or even amputation. Because the symptoms of peripheral artery disease can be similar to other conditions, some physicians may confuse them with a less serious illness. As a result, the disease may grow worse over time.

Study posits link between phone use and nurses' medication errors

A study published in JAMA Pediatrics has analyzed the possible link between distracted behavior in nurses and the rate of error. Georgia residents can probably see how distractions in the medical field can lead to serious problems, even injuries and death.

Researchers focused on 257 nurses in pediatric intensive care units and 3,308 patients whom they encountered. Roughly half of the nurses received a call on their phone 10 minutes before administering medication to a patient. Those who were thus distracted had an error rate of 3.7% while those who were uninterrupted made mistakes at a rate of 3.1%. One cannot say for certain, though, if distraction caused the errors.

Surgery second most common type of malpractice claim

Georgia readers might be concerned to learn that surgery is one of the riskiest procedures medical patients can undergo. In fact, a new report finds that operation errors are the second most common reason that doctors are sued for malpractice.

Researchers from Coverys, a medical liability insurer, analyzed closed malpractice claims between the years of 2014 and 2018 and found that around 25% of all claims involved surgery, making it the second most common type of claim. Meanwhile, the most common type of claim involved diagnosis errors, accounting for 32% of all claims.

Avoiding medication errors in 5 simple steps

A third of adults in Georgia and across the U.S. simultaneously take five or more medications at least once a week, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. This translates to a high risk for medication errors as some drug combinations can create adverse effects. Adverse drug events are known to cause injuries and sometimes death. Below are five tips that medical professionals give to minimize risks.

The first is to use all medications correctly. This means following instructions and never cutting pills without a doctor or pharmacist saying it is safe to do so. The second is to know one's own dosage level. This amount varies with children and adults, the Mayo Clinic says, and it even differs with one's weight and height. The third tip is to be honest and accurate when giving body measurements.

Misdiagnoses can be dangerous

Every year, many Georgia residents are misdiagnosed with medical conditions. While some of these mistakes may be relatively minor and quickly corrected, others may lead to severely worsened health or even death. Across the country, around 12 million people are affected by some type of medical diagnostic error every year, and up to 80,000 people lose their lives as a result of these mistakes. People may receive incorrect medications that cause serious side effects, especially if they do not have the disease in question. Other people may have their complaints of pain and discomfort brushed aside by medical professionals who do not take them seriously.

One of the most serious kinds of medical misdiagnoses is the failure to diagnose a progressive disease like cancer. Because cancer generally grows and worsens with time, early detection and treatment may be key to a successful outcome. Even patients who survive may go through a much more grueling experience if their cancer is not detected until later in its development. In some cases, people went to the doctor and even had tests, but their cancer was not detected due to negligence.

Truckers: April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

In an effort to curb distracted driving across the United States, the National Safety Council has announced that April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This spring, they want drivers to think more about the ramifications of their actions. Police officers may also be on the lookout for distraction to see if they can provide stiffer ramifications for those who can't put the phone down and drive.

The motto that the NSC is using is "just drive." Too often, people try to multitask. They check Facebook notifications or text friends. They take pictures or type an address into Google Maps. They even watch videos and look for new songs to stream over the speakers.

The content on this site is informational and does not create an attorney-client relationship or offer legal or medical advice. Every situation is different.

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