Law Office of Robert A. Miller
Serving Oregon Medical Malpractice And Car Accident Clients Statewide
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Oregon Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Does your baby have Erb's Palsy?

Bringing a child into the world can be one of the most incredible experiences of your life, but some mistakes made during the delivery can lead to devastating consequences. Many babies in Oregon and across the country suffer from Erb's Palsy, a condition that can occur when a doctor makes crucial errors at the time of birth. 

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, if a doctor attempts to pull the baby from the birth canal and stretches the neck to the side, severe damage can occur. You will often become aware of the problem if you notice that your child has limited mobility in one arm. This can range from total paralysis to a localized weakness.

Aging doctor population a growing concern

Oregon patients need to be able to trust their doctors, but with the age of many M.D.s on the rise, some believe the only way to prevent harm to patients is through testing.

As the Chicago Tribune reports, nearly a quarter of doctors in the United States are 65 or older. While some hospitals have their own systems in place for measuring the ability of doctors of a certain age, there is not a standard in place by which all doctors must abide. In fact, a report from the American Medical Association in 2015 stated that doctors should lead the charge in creating the procedure to ensure that those treating patients remain competent and able to do their jobs effectively. This report notes that if doctors do not come up with a standard then they may have to abide by rules imposed by the outside at a later date. And indeed, other professions do have mandated retirement ages, such as airline pilots and some in the military. 

Work with experienced legal counsel to seek compensation for midwife-related birth injuries

The way a couple chooses to do childbirth is a very personal decision. For some, the standard, hospital-based approach is preferred, while for others, having their child at home allows them to better tailor the process to their preferences. For couples who prefer to do childbirth at home, the services of professional midwives are valuable.

Even though the overall number of home births is still small in Oregon and across the country, the number of home births has significantly increased in recent years. Most home births are supervised by midwives, some of whom are licensed, and some of whom are not licensed. 

Detecting congenital heart defects in children

Congenital heart defects are a common birth defect for babies born in Oregon and across the United States. Typically, severe defects are diagnosed during pregnancy or shortly after a baby is born. However, less severe defects may not be diagnosed until a child is older.

Children with congenital heart defects are usually treated by pediatric cardiologists and cardiac surgeons. To diagnose a heart defect, these specialists listen to a child's heart with a stethoscope and look for physical signs of the condition, which may include a bluish tint to the skin, shortness of breath, rapid breathing, delayed growth or heart failure.

Possible breakthrough in diabetic kidney disease

Oregon residents who suffer from diabetes or are at risk of getting the disease may be interested to know about a study conducted on diabetic kidney disease. The results indicate that there are certain biological pathways involved in diabetic kidney disease that may be useful in creating early diagnostic tests and targeted treatments.

Researchers at a New York City hospital examined the kidney's globular bodies, which contain capillaries and other structures and that are a key component in the filtration of blood. They found that the oxidative stress that occurs within a certain population of kidney cells will progressively reduce the kidneys' abilities to eliminate waste products from the blood and to create urine. The study also reveals that the blockage of a specific cellular receptor can curb the stress reaction. In fact, when the receptor was blocked in mice, doing so saved the kidneys in mice who were genetically predisposed to developing kidney failure.

Study shows kidney damage often misdiagnosed

Acute kidney injury, or AKI, is commonly misdiagnosed in Oregon and nationwide, according to a new study. The results, which were published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology in December, could change the way kidney function is assessed by doctors in certain situations.

An estimated 5 to 7 percent of patients admitted to U.S. hospitals are diagnosed with acute kidney injury. That number increases to 30 to 50 percent for patients in critical or intensive care units. Doctors use a blood test to make the diagnosis, but medical experts say the test only provides a snapshot of the kidney's function at a given moment. Factors like a patient's body size or hydration level can skew the numbers.

What causes misdiagnosis?

Misdiagnosis is a leading cause of patient harm in Oregon and across the United States. According to health care advocates, one of the reasons it occurs so often is because patients, doctors and testing can all contribute to the problem.

While patients are never to blame for a misdiagnosis, their actions can make it harder for doctors to discover the correct diagnosis. For example, patients who self-diagnose or fail to report all symptoms to their physician can slow down the diagnostic process. Patients who fail to complete tests ordered by their doctor can also make diagnosis more difficult. However, even if doctors receive all the needed information from a patient, they can still make the wrong diagnosis. Some things that can increase a doctor's chances of making an incorrect diagnosis include lack of knowledge, lack of skill, media influence, doctor bias, attempts to save a patient money, lack of time and confusing symptoms.

Prefilled syringes could prevent medication errors

Anesthesiologists in Oregon may be less likely to make medication mistakes if they use prefilled syringes. Some hospitals are switching to prefilled syringes as a way to save time, money and improve patient safety. At Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, for example, prefilled ephedrine and neostigmine syringes are used.

Many people aren't aware of how much responsibility anesthesiologists have, especially when a patient requires emergency surgery. Anesthesiologists do many vital tasks without safety checks from other medical professionals. Unless they work at a hospital that buys prefilled syringes, an anesthesiologist will be responsible for prescribing a drug, procuring the drug, putting the drug into a syringe and administering it to the patient.

The use of prefilled syringes in hospitals

Oregon patients might be interested to learn that some hospitals around the country are switching to the use of prefilled syringes over vials of medication in hospital operating rooms. At Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, the syringes are in use in the inpatient areas as well. The hospital's director of pharmacy, business and finance reports that the prefilled syringes have cut down on the workload for nurses and saved money. At Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, some ORs are hoping prefilled syringes will save money and cut down on costs.

Prefilled syringes mean that if an emergency occurs in the OR, valuable time will not be lost measuring and mixing a medication. Administering medication using vials takes about twice as long.

Physician says many people misdiagnosed with fibromyalgia

When physicians tell patients in Oregon that fibromyalgia is the source of their pain, they might want to get a second opinion. In an interview published by the National Pain Report, a physician who has been caring for pain patients for two decades said that close to two-thirds of people diagnosed with fibromyalgia do not have the disease.

He explained that doctors often mistakenly ascribe a diagnosis of fibromyalgia to groups of symptoms that could indicate another real problem. Physicians then prescribe a routine treatment for fibromyalgia that could be inappropriate and ineffective.

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