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

Why is prenatal care so important?

As an Oregon expectant mom, your health and that of your growing baby should be your primary concern. To ensure that both of you stay as healthy as possible, you need to see your OB/GYN as early as possible in your pregnancy and continue to visit him or her frequently while you are pregnant. The Office of Women’s Health points out that if you fail to get this vital prenatal care, your baby is three times more likely to have a low birth weight. More alarming still, (s)he has a five times higher risk of dying.

In terms of precisely how often you should see your doctor while pregnant, (s)he likely will give you an appointment schedule during your first visit. In general, experts recommend the following schedule:

  • Once a month between week four and week 28 of your pregnancy
  • Twice a month between week 28 and week 36
  • Once a week between week 36 and the date of your baby’s delivery

How much responsibility do nurses bear for your health?

When you check into an Oregon hospital, you expect competency, skill and compassion from your doctors, nurses and all other hospital personnel. Unfortunately, some of these people may not meet your expectations. Nursing errors or neglect, in particular, may impact you more negatively than those of other health care professionals because your nurses are the people who have the most contact with you and vice versa. Therefore, if they make a mistake, it could endanger your life

Virtually every aspect of your hospital care depends on your nurses’ education, training, skill, competence and dedication, including the following:

  • Administering your medications
  • Monitoring your progress
  • Serving as your first responders in a medical emergency
  • Assisting you so you do not fall
  • Listening to your fears, concerns and complaints
  • Educating you and your family about your post-hospital care and any needed lifestyle changes

Is an episiotomy really necessary?

As an expectant Oregon mother, you undoubtedly look forward to your baby’s literal birth day with great pleasure and excitement. The last thing on your mind is the pain you may suffer during the labor and delivery process. Nevertheless, one of the things you should carefully consider ahead of the great day is whether or not you want an episiotomy, the small cut your OB/GYN makes in your perineum so as to make your baby’s birth easier.

As Parents Magazine explains, episiotomies were a routine delivery room procedure for many decades in the U.S., but have subsequently fallen out of favor. Traditionally thought of as a preventative measure against the vaginal tearing that many women experience during the birthing process, more recent research shows that an episiotomy may in fact cause more tearing and consequent damage to your pelvic floor than a delivery without one. In addition, a vaginal tear that occurs naturally during your baby’s delivery likely will cause you less pain and bleeding than an episiotomy.

Misdiagnosis: More common than some may think

Every year, millions of people across the United States visit outpatient clinics and emergency rooms in hopes of finding a diagnosis to whatever is ailing them. People put their trust in health care professionals and expect them to perform the proper screenings and tests that will alert them to the problem. Surprisingly, studies have found that 12 million Americans who are treated in these settings are misdiagnosed or are not given a diagnosis at all. This is according to a study released in BMJ Quality & Safety. In approximately six million of those cases, patients faced potential harm because of the misdiagnosis. Wrongful diagnosis can lead to a myriad of injuries, including those that may harm a pregnancy or cause birth injuries. Why are doctors misdiagnosing patients at such an alarming rate?

One cause of medical misdiagnosis may be due to the chaotic environment and limited amount of time doctors spend with each patient. In some cases, outpatient physicians see patients who are not established at the clinic. Patients who fail to give doctors a complete medical history, including their pregnancy information, may have an increased risk of being misdiagnosed. Further causes of misdiagnosis include miscommunication between health care professionals, doctors ordering the wrong diagnostic tests and mistakes made by physicians when reading test results.

Is alcoholism an issue with doctors?

Anyone in any profession could have a drinking problem, but people working demanding and stressful jobs may be more likely to turn to alcohol or other substances to cope or to relax. Being a doctor is certainly challenging, and some doctors, perhaps as much as 10 percent, do turn to alcohol and may experience highly negative consequences because of that.

In fact, they are at risk of putting their patients' health in danger. For example, an intoxicated surgeon might make errors such as cutting off the wrong limb or damaging nerves. A patient could even die, and such behaviors amount to medical malpractice. Unfortunately, it is possible that the doctor's hospital/employer and co-workers knew about the alcohol issue and did nothing.

What is shoulder dystocia?

As an expectant Oregon mom, this likely is one of the most exciting times in your life. Nothing surpasses the joy of welcoming a new baby into the world and into your home. The last thing you want or expect is that your baby might suffer a birth injury while being born. Unfortunately, many babies do suffer such injuries, including that of shoulder dystocia.

As explained by WhatToExpect.com, shoulder dystocia happens during labor and delivery when one or both of your baby’s shoulders become stuck behind your pelvic bone as (s)he descends into your birth canal. It usually has to do with his or her size as compared to yours. Only one in 100 babies weighing six pounds or less suffer shoulder dystocia as compared to up to nine in 100 babies weighing nine or more pounds.

What are common symptoms of preeclampsia?

You usually expect your pregnancy to be uneventful. Sometimes, though, you might develop a condition called preeclampsia. A previous blog discussed the dangers of this condition when it is undiagnosed. To speak to your doctor about preeclampsia, you need to recognize the symptoms.

There are numerous symptoms of preeclampsia. The Preeclampsia Foundation says that some women in Oregon may feel anxious or breathless. Other women may gain weight quickly or feel pain in their lower back. Additionally, headaches, swelling and nausea can be signs that you are developing preeclampsia. It is a good idea to monitor your blood pressure during your pregnancy, as hypertension is sometimes the main indication of this condition. Some women may also want to have their urine checked to ensure it does not contain protein.

Understanding birth asphyxia

At the Law Office of Robert A. Miller in Oregon, we know how devastating a birth injury can be, not only for your baby, but also for yourself and other family members. While some birth injuries are more catastrophic than others, all of them are catastrophic for you since they affect your precious baby’s immediate and possibly future health and welfare.

As the Seattle Children’s Hospital explains, birth asphyxia is a birth injury that occurs in less than 1 percent of live births in the U.S. Nevertheless, it poses a serious risk to your baby, especially if (s)he arrives prematurely. If (s)he fails to receive sufficient oxygen before, during or immediately after birth, this could injure his or her brain or other organs.

Doctors are not immune to factors compromising work performance

Once somebody becomes a medical doctor, he or she has typically completed over a decade of education in the field. The path to this profession is stringent for a reason—the task of doctors is to care for people's lives and well-being. With a responsibility this serious, it is imperative that providers be experts. The prestige of the position lends some patients to develop the impression that doctors cannot make errors.

On the contrary, doctors are entirely susceptible to many of the same factors that compromise the work performance of less revered positions. The following are three examples of how common problems can compromise doctors' work performance.

Birth injury or birth defect: which is which?

As an expectant Oregon mother, you undoubtedly think a lot about your growing baby’s development and health. You look forward to his or her birth as one of the happiest days of your life. Occasionally, however, you may worry that your baby will receive a birth injury or that (s)he might be born with a birth defect.

FindLaw explains that thankfully, a birth injury occurs in only 0.5 percent of U.S. births. In comparison, the 7 percent incidence of birth defects is considerably higher, but still very low. Nevertheless, if your baby suffers either an injury or a defect, its consequences can be catastrophic.

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